Heroes 3.3: "One of Us, One of Them"

It's easy to forget how odd the pace of "Heroes" can be. Every time I think I know how the writers will progress with a plot thread, they surprise me by speeding things up or slowing things down. The surprises aren’t the problem; it's the end effect. Sometimes, playing for the big moments too quickly can divest a situation of all its impact. It also doesn’t help when the script is full of logical errors.

The problem with introducing characters with time-travel abilities, particularly those with control like Hiro and Future Peter, is that bad decisions and troublesome events can easily be remedied. Villains have been released from Level 5 thanks to Elle? Future Peter should be able to jump right back to the moments before the circumstances of the escape, or even better, attack Sylar before he ever gets his hands on Claire. By the same logic, Hiro should be able to jump back in time to the moments before he opened the safe and tell himself that it’s a pretty stupid idea.

Of course, if either of those things happened, a lot of the drama would disappear. Angela Petrelli wouldn’t show her true dark side (which, at least, was previously displayed, though not quite to such a degree), and other characters wouldn't struggle with ways to solve the problems without using the most obvious powers. Hiro imposes restrictions upon himself, which is hard to reconcile but at least is addressed, but Future Peter (and now Present Peter) both have no reason to hold back.

So where does that leave the story? The villains that were released turn on each other and force a confrontation with Mr. Bennett, and do so publicly despite the inevitable private opportunities that would have presented themselves in short order. (Oh, and Future Peter? I think the public display of powers by the villains might have wiped out the benefit of trying to kill your brother.) Why set up these released villains as a powerful nuisance if they were going to be killed or recaptured an episode later?

The answer seems to be: Sylar. Angela may be ruthless and cunning, but she's incredibly stupid. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Angela believes that Sylar can be tamed and controlled. Sylar, on the other hand, continues his endless quest for more and more power, and now Angela (and indirectly, Noah) has become his enabler. If Future Peter and Present Peter were smart, the two pseudo-Supermen would team up before Sylar gets even more powerful and hand him back to Angela in a bucket.

Speaking of how to deal with invulnerability powers, besides employing a blender, cutting off their oxygen supply is the way to go. It may not kill Claire, but it will render her useless. Of course, that's if the laws of physics still apply, which is a big question on "Heroes". Claire's biological mother delivers an odd lesson. Apparently she's not affected when her flames remove oxygen from a confined space, and when she extinguishes her flame, oxygen magically reappears. (Oh, and as lessons go, teaching Claire to beat the crap out of anyone trying to stop her from breathing might be more effective. Just a thought.)

A couple of other plot threads continue to percolate. Matt Parkman's magical mystery tour with the Magical Minority Isaac Clone feels like one big continuity mess. Did the writers decide they needed someone just like Isaac, and couldn't think of a way to pull off the same exposition using another method? It feels like pure repetition, and badly managed at that.

Tracy's plot thread finally intersects with Ali Larter's previous appearances, and it turns out that there is a connection between Tracy, Niki, and the rest of her kind. Dr. Zimmerman may have been working for Linderman on further experiments on metahuman powers. Tracy looks like she might have been a clone of some kind (perhaps the result of fertility treatment modifications). I'm still not sold on the need to bring Ali Larter back, since it continues the trend of rob


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Sep 30, 2008 9:16PM EDT

I'm not willing to take Heroes even remotely seriously - it's endlessly predictable and consistently dumb. But I don't mind. It's not as intriguing as Lost or Dexter, but it's always at least relatively entertaining.

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