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Heroes: Stalling For Time

Heroes has never been shy about time travel. Whether by virtue of powers, visions, flash forwards, or flash backs, if you’re a series regular, you’ve been somewhen other than when you belong. However, Arthur sending Hiro’s mind back in time while his body remained in the here and now was definitely a first. If only it made a damned lick of sense. I consider myself a very forgiving Heroes fan, one who is willing to look beyond the occasional convoluted plot hole or glaring character inconsistency for the sake of being taken on a quality thrill ride. But when each of an entire episode’s storylines are ludicrous at best, embarrassing at worst, and uniformly blah, it’s time to make some noise.

Starting with Arthur and Hiro. Mr. Petrelli is a scary-ass villain because he can suck your powers dry, never to be used again. He reduced Adam to dust and left Peter just another average Joe. When he took hold of poor Hiro’s noggin at the end of chapter 8, I was shocked and fearful for a world where Arthur commands time & space and Hiro’s left to get by on spunk. But that was only under the assumption that what happened next would follow any semblance of logic. Instead, Hiro remained fully powerful albeit with the mind of his 10-year-old self. Watching Masi Oka clown around like a moron and be forced to relearn all the basics of his powers is not my idea of story progression.

And nobody else fares much better. Mohinder bums around Pinehearst still in a state of degrading mutation, but too sane to be entertaining anymore. Arthur’s got him juicing test subjects with a beta version of the powers formula that leaves them in a truly hideous state. In a scene that’s funny for all the wrong reasons, Mohinder actually approaches one of his guinea pigs to empathetically whisper, “I’m sorry.”

Sylar sprints towards character redundancy and irrelevance when his dad locks him in a room with Elle in an attempt to acquire a power without killing. Elle is understandably enraged to see him, what with the killing of her father and the knowledge that she helped make him a monster. Things get messed up and kinky in a hurry when Sy asks Elle to fry him over and over again in an attempt to work through her pain and give him the punishment he deserves. It’s kinda intense and well played for a while, but the unintentional hilarity button gets pressed once again when one of Elle’s bolts “coincidentally” burns the shirt off Sylar’s chiseled torso. Are there even enough women left in this show’s demographic to warrant gratuitous beefcake? Elle works through her issues, Sylar winds up about as threatening as Peter, and I reach for my season 1 DVDs to remember a happier time when the man was scary.

Peter & Claire just spend the hour scampering away from Knox & Flint, while Nathan & Tracy do some major soul searching over which Petrelli parent to side with. Tracy becomes a (pun clearly intended) ice queen by bunkering down with Arthur and promising to sway Nathan, who at least for now holds onto enough common sense to remember the depths of evil that his father is capable of. Angela comes off looking smarter than anyone else in this episode, mostly because she spends the whole time in a coma. Matt eventually snaps her out of it with a few tricks he picked up from his dad, and Daphne continues to waffle between the love Matt offers and the protection Arthur provides. And somewhere along the way, somebody realizes that Arthur’s literally earth-shattering formula needs a blood catalyst to work, most likely Claire.

In spite of this truly inane outing, I still have enough faith in Heroes to at least ride out the rest of the Villains arc and if the mysterious upcoming eclipse can awaken and revitalize not just the characters but also their writers, then there are still plenty of adventures to be had.

Season 3, Episode 9: It’s Coming (originally aired November 17, 2008)

For another take on this episode, check out Inisia Lewis‘ review here.

For more on Heroes, click here.

Mondays at 9/8C on NBC

Photographs courtesy of NBC

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