Isaac Mendez -
Hiro Nakamura -
Claire Bennett -
Mr Bennett -
Nathan Petrelli -
Niki Sanders -
Matt Parkman -
Mohinder Suresh -
Peter Petrelli -
Simone Deveaux -
Micah Sanders -
OTHER HEROES SEASONS
OTHER SUPERHERO SHOWS
Birds of Prey
Across the world, ordinary people are becoming aware that they have amazing abilities, strange powers that set them apart from their fellow men. One man, a geneticist from India, believes this to be the next step in human evolution and that it is his destiny to find these people and help them to come to terms with this. His father felt the same, but he was ridiculed and eventually murdered, possibly by a man called Sylar and possibly by a shadowy organisation that is collecting the gifted people against their will and using them for their own purposes.
HEROES is what is known in the comic book world as an origin story. It tells of how the characters discover their abilities and start to use them. It's a tale that has been done many times, especially in recent years, but a 23 episode series allows for the the story to be laid out in much greater detail and depth than before. The characters beneath the heroes can be better explored and understood, their dilemmas and fears better examined.
A 23 episode series is, however, too long for this particular origin story. This is a ten or twelve episode story spun out to nearly twice it's length, leading to a certain amount of padding and meandering, especially in the middle section. After the fascinating set ups and early revelations, there is a lot of pointless moving about acheiving nothing until the story gets back on track and comes together in the final third.
HEROES, though, is a brave series. It is willing to introduce likeable characters and then reveal them to be less likeable, and then kill them off. None of the major characters is truly safe and the ends that are met are often brutal. This makes the sense of impending doom that covers the later episodes all the more effective.
The cast of characters is critical to success here and it is unfair to single out specific ones. The ensemble works well together and (for the early parts at least) alone, giving their roles depth and making them thinking, living people. This level of characterisation is welcome.
Superhero shows, like superhero movies, though, live and die by their action scenes and it is here that HEROES comes unstuck. Chapter 9 - Homecoming shows a glimpse of what might be coming, Chapter 19 - 0.07% teases with the battle that is inevitably going to be the climax and then everything falls unforgiveably flat at the end.
HEROES is a rollercoaster ride for its audience as much as its characters, with as many lows as there are high points. It is only through the reality and likeability of the characters and occasional clever plot revelations that it attains its memorability.Top
Meet a whole group of people from across the world. There's a genetics professor who is living in the shadow of a brilliant, but eccentric father. There's an internet stripper who's struggling to make ends meet. There's the brother of a congressional candidate who feels he was always second. There's an office worker who hates his job, a painter fighting with his drugs problem and a cheerleader dealing with the whole high school thing. Ordinary lives of ordinary people. Except they're not. The cheerleader can't be harmed permanently, the brother thinks he can fly, the painter paints the future when he's high and the office worker can do things with time and space, though he's not sure what yet.
HEROES is being touted as the new LOST. The opening episode is certainly intriguing, but doesn't quite hit that standard. It's an introduction to the characters, not through back story but just by plunging us straight into their stories. They're confused, frightened and have no idea that they are not alone.
The style is quite uncompromising and adult-orientated. The fact that one of the characters strips off on the internet might have given you that, but there is also a level of violence to be contended with. When the cheerleader pushes her broken ribs back into place it's a strong person that won't wince. Mohinder provides most of the backstory with his father dying whilst investigating an outbreak of what he considers to be a leap in evolution (erm are the XMEN's lawyers watching this?) and his son setting out to find out what caused his death, or whom because there are shadowy figures lurking in the background.
Not a revelation then, but there is certainly more than enough intriguing potential to keep us watching.Top
Don't Look Back
Enter a cop who can hear what people are thinking. He gets himself involved in a case involving a name that Mohinder has also heard, a name that might spell trouble. Meanwhile, the cheerleader is dodging the credit for saving a man's life and the stripper appears to have killed some real villains. Hiro (and don't you just love that name) tops them all, when he finds that he's the star of a comic book made by the painter and goes there only to be arrested for stealing the man's brain(!)
Well, we've met most everyone now so it's time to get on with the story and the action and there is plenty of both. There's also violence with the stripper burying her tormentors who did not die easy, the cheerleader walking through fire and the painter losing his head. Links are already forming and a sense of impending doom has just been dropped over the whole thing. This is extremely well written stuff with plenty to keep us interested, whet our appetite for the future and a twist in Hiro's story that is just plain bloody brilliant.
See you in episode 3.Top
One Giant Leap
Hiro manages to persuade his friend to go to the US and try to stop the destruction of New York. Claire gets hit on by the local quarterback, but finds his attentions far from honourable. Niki finishes burying the villains only to find that their boss wants to speak with her. Mohinder's investigations continue to bring him closer to Sylar, but Matt the cop faces off against the shadowy figure before getting drugged. Peter learns that the love of a brother isn't always what it's cracked up to be.
The various stories are forging ahead rapidly, but only inching towards each other. That doesn't matter because there is enough in each tale to keep our interest and the various people are starting to learn about or control their powers. Hiro saves a girl's life through his mastery of time and Matt manages to direct his peeking into other people's minds. It remains classy, grown up stuff, more about the people and less about the powers.And it's getting more fascinating with each passing episode. The final shot with Claire waking up to find herself....well it's a real kicker.Top
Matt wakes up to find himself in a lab at the mercy of Claire's father and a man who appears to have the ability to blank thought. Mohinder finds his way to Sylar's lair, but the killer gets out of there before he can alert anyone. Niki is offered the chance to repay her debt by sleeping with congressman wannabe Nathan Petrelli whilst Hiro learns to use his power to play the casinos of Las Vegas. Claire decides to take revenge on the stud who would be a serial rapist in her own special manner.
The plotlines are starting to converge. Peter has met up with Mohinder, Niki is in bed with Nathan. Hiro and his friend are in the same town as Niki and Nathan, but then so is Claire's father. It is impossible to tell where any of this is going, but it's proving to be one hell of a ride. If you thought Isaac's empty head and the busted hand and body of Claire was hard to take then finding her on the autopsy table is going to be way too much. For kids this most certainly is not. We can't wait to see where this takes us next.Top
Hiro tells Peter that he has to go back to Isaac's and then tell Hiro where they are to meet. It takes the entire episode for that to happen, but in the meantime his brother manages to escape from Claire's father by flying away. Niki explains that it wasn't her that spent the night with him, although it clearly was. The person in the mirror is capable of a good many things that she is not, which raises some questions about what her criminal husband actually did.
The titular heroes are slowly coming together (no that's not a pun in the case of Niki and Nathan), but half of them are actually missing each other in the process. The fate of everyone relies on 'saving the cheerleader', but from whom remains a mystery. This was all character-driven with almost no action at all. It will be fascinating to see how this is all going to develop. We have to admit it, we're finally hooked on HEROES.Top
Niki's husband is back and he is insistent that he was framed. He also tells his son that he was able to walk out of prison. Hiro and his friend get caught up in another poker game, but this one ends on a very violent note. Niki learns the truth about the violence that has been surrounding her life and so does her husband. Claire meets her biological parents and learns nothing, whilst her father learns a whole lot more from his agent who has been keeping tabs on Mohinder.
This episode concentrates on Niki, Hiro and Claire. The bigger picture is slowly starting to emerge. Claire's adoptive father seems to have surveillance on just about everyone, but Claire is now beginning to suspect. The real revelations come as Niki tells herself that she is two people, one of whom is a superviolent killer and the other who is just confused. Her husband, though, turns out to be able to move through objects. The fact that both husband and wife are 'special' takes credibility beyond the breaking point, but otherwise HEROES continues to enthrall, intrigue and entertain.Top
Nothing to Hide
Niki's son has been taken and the only way to get him back is to let her murderous alter ego out of the box. Peter Petrelli needs the missing painting that Isaac made that holds the key to finding the cheeleader. She is having problems when her adopted brother learns her secret and Matt the cop tracks down a radioactive killer and finds out his wife has been cheating on him.
HEROES was touted as the new LOST and now it's starting to drift just like the mystery island show does when it's filling time. The main plot of New York going up in smoke seems to have been forgotten. Hiro and his pal are meeting just about every one of the other secret power holders without ever really connecting and how long does is take to get out of Las Vegas because they really don't seem to have gotten very far.
Get things moving or interest will start to drift.Top
Seven Minutes to Midnight
Hiro meets a waitress who can remember everything that she reads. Minutes later she is dead with her brain removed. Hiro isn't about to let that happen in a fight and disappears off through time. Isaac is in the hands of the Cheerleader's father who is certain that she is to be killed by Sylar the following night and needs Isaac to paint the future even if it means plying him with the drugs that are ruining his life. Mohinder starts to have dreams of things he could not possibly know about, dreams that are leading him back to his father's work.
The pace ups and the focus seems to get a little sharper as the death of the cheerleader looms. Marv the cop is told to find the Haitian, which is another diversion waiting to happen, but there was a real sense of events beginning to pile up.Top
Claire becomes Homecoming queen and intends to show up to the game even though her father has grounded her, knowing as he does that Sylar intends to kill her there and remove her brain. Peter Petrelli intends to stop him, even though Isaac's last painting shows him dead at the High School. Mohinder unlocks his father's computer file and makes a decision.
For a brief moment, things come together as Sylar's attack on the cheerleader takes place and Peter is there to try and prevent it. The other stories are still hanging, but there is action and there is tension and the show finally lives up, in part, to its billing.Top
Six Months Ago
Hiro goes back in time six months in order to try and save Charlie the waitress from Sylar's attack. Sylar, at this point, is approached by Mohinder's father and starts to understand about his power. Nathan Petrelli learns he can fly and Claire Bennet finds out she is different. Niki's personality splits and her sister is reborn in her.
All of the stories stop dead after the excellent Homecoming to allow the writers to take us back in time and see the moments when the characters started to learn about their powers. It's interesting, but completely jams on the brakes in terms of the larger story dynamic. Hiro's tale is the central one as he fights to make Charlie realise her danger, but she has a secret for him that proves he cannot save her and change the past.
Most important of all, though, is Sylar's story. The shadowy serial killer comes out of the gloom and takes centre stage for the first time.Top
In the aftermath of the events of Homecoming, the police have Peter in custody and are trying to understand the events of that night. Claire begins to suspect that her father is not all he appears. Isaac learns to control his power without drugs and draws Hiro fighting a dinosaur, whilst Sylar proves that no prison can hold him.
No key story here, but more fragments of the individual stories with a few choice hints thrown in about what is to come. Sylar has escaped, Hiro's going to battle dragons and Peter is the man who explodes and takes out the whole of New York City. It's all interesting, appetite-whetting stuff, but you can't help feel that there's a bit too much padding going on here and wish that the writers would just get on with telling the story.Top
Peter Petrelli is in a coma, dreaming dreams of the future that include meeting a man whose power is either invisibility or looking like Doctor Who. His brother, Hiro and Isaac finally meet up to figure out what is going on. Nikki is looking to get an insanity plea to save her from years in jail and Claire's father is in total control of everything, or so he thinks.
HEROES is back in a holding pattern, telling small tales of each character, but not taking any story too far. Isaac's painting of Hiro fighting a dinosaur is explained in a disappointing fashion and Claire is running through the whole of her first episode again just to get her friend to remember. Now, it looks like everyone's going back to Las Vegas to look for the sword that Hiro needs to refocus his powers.
The show needs a little refocussing of its own otherwise it's going to meander into uninteresting.Top
Nikki is visited in her padded room by her husband and starts the long process to recovery, a process that is sure to be interrupted. Micah reveals his talent by emptying every cashpoint in the area. Hiro and Ando are kidnapped by the mysterious 'Boss' and Peter Petrelli makes contact with an invisible man who seems in better control of his power. Sylar, though, dies and then comes back when the body is unrestrained.
Another episode that is mainly padding. We have nothing against character building in sci fi shows (God knows a lot of them could use some more of that), but when there is no plot to go with that then it starts to drift and become a little bit dull. Claire takes the entire time phoning round people who might be her real mother, Hiro and Ando spend the whole time in a van. Nikki's in a padded room throughout. Action is so absent that its nonpresence is actually felt.
If you haven't got a great cliffhanger (and we think Sylar back on his feet is pretty well good enough) then you introduce a recognisable guest star apparently. Last week it was DOCTOR WHO's Christopher Ecclestone and this week it's STAR TREK's George Takei.Top
Sylar breaks out from his prison and goes after Claire. She's visiting the home of her real mother to catch up a bit, so she avoids the fight between Sylar and Mr Bennett. When Bennett orders his wife mind-wiped again complications occur. Meanwhile, Hiro is avoiding joining the family company and Peter is trying to learn how to harness his abilities with the dubious help of the invisible man. Nikki gets let out of jail and Jessica takes over.
Last time around, Hiro and Ando spent the whole show in the back of a van. This week they spend the whole show explaining to Hiro's dad why Hiro shouldn't be forced to help run his company. This is far from rivetting stuff.
Better are the strands that follow Sylar's breakout and subsequent terrorising of Claire's adoptive mother. This has some real threat to it. Peter's lessons on how to control his powers is the only strand that shows any progress along the main plotline. The show is starting to get uneven and a bit ragged around the edges.Top
Matt Parkman is now working security, but his first assignment doesn't go so well when Jessica turns up and starts a running battle to kill his client. Claire finds that her adopted mother is losing her mind, but finds that her father is coming to visit her real mother and is hoping for a connection. In the meantime, Hiro and Ando get suckered in Vegas and Mohinder teams up with a man he doesn't realise is Sylar.
More incident without real progress. The showdown between the ultimate assassin and the mindreader is pretty good stuff and worth every minute of its screen time, but the latest scrape that Ando and Hiro get themselves into is so obvious that you can't help but feel that we're in the land of filling in time. The link between all of this is the mysterious Mr Lindeman, but we are no closer to meeting with him than we were when his name was first mentioned weeks ago.
When Claire's real father was revealed as Nathan Petrelli, it was supposed to be a big surprise and it was, but it makes sense in a genetic fashion. What it doesn't do is make sense in any other fashion. Not only are Nikki and her husband both gifted, but now we have another couple who just happen to both be gifted giving birth to the indestructible Claire. That's another coincidence too far.
Unless HEROES gets down to some serious storytelling rather than this pointless meandering then it is seriously in danger of losing our interest.Top
Hiro and Ando get caught up in a gunfight between thieves, causing Hiro to use his power once again and bringing him to a painful decision. The invisible man gives up training Peter when Mr Bennett shows up to try and grab them both, but the unexpected threat spurs Peter into using all of his powers with a high degree of control. Matt Parkman gets contacted by the radioactive man and together they go to pay a visit to Mr Bennet to repay what he did to them and Jessica gets the order to kill Nathan Petrelli. Sylar's latest acquisition seems to be causing him some trouble.
At last, an episode where there is a real sense of plot threads coming together rather than spinning off in random directions. There's plenty of action to go around and it all seems to be drawing the disparate groups together, admittedly not to a single point, but at least to several smaller points of convergence.
This episode shows what the series can really achieve without surrendering any of the human core that has been so important to it. The characters don't lose their interest because they're using their powers. There is hope yet that HEROES will live up to its billing.Top
Carrying straight on from the cliffhanger at the end of Unexpected, Matt Parkman and Ted Sprague (the radioactive man) take Mr Bennett and his family hostage. Ted's a little on the unstable side and it's as much up to Matt to keep him from going nuclear as it is to get some answers from Mr Bennett about just what his role in the abduction and mistreatment of the talented people is.
Flashbacks can be a real pain if they are not carefully integrated into the ongoing story of a series. Here, though, they are the story. They tell how Mr Bennett was recruited by the company to find the people with the new talents and either harness them or kill them. We learn how he was recruited, how he worked with and then killed the invisible man (Christopher Ecclestone), how he adopted and came to love Claire, what his link is with Hiro's father and in the end just how far he will go for the mysterious company.
Concentrating tightly on one story does this episode of HEROES no end of good, not least because it has a fascinating story to tell. At one point Mr Bennett states that he is comfortable with morally grey and that sums him up perfectly. Exactly how grey those morals have become is what lies at the core of the show.
The modern day part of the story in which Parkman walks a tightrope between the untrustworthy Bennett and the unstable Ted also works pretty well, keeping up the tension and exploding with the kind of believable superhero action that we have been waiting for.
If it keeps up to this standard then HEROES may yet reach the promised heights in our esteem.Top
There's a new talent in town and she can take on the form of others. This comes in handy when the cops show up looking for Simone, but proves to be a bit more of a hazard for Mr Bennett. Suresh, though, has Sylar under his control, or does he? Claire, goes looking for Peter Petrelli and finds a grandmother. Hiro gets his sword and goes to the future to find that he has failed to stop the bomb going off.
There are too many plotlines with too many characters for all of this to gel properly, but there is also so much going on that you can't help but need to find out what's going to happen. The cliffhanger, though, is something of a beauty as Sylar starts cutting into Peter's head.Top
The fight with Sylar kills Peter Petrelli. Claire is finally reunited with Nathan, her father. Her adoptive father stages a breakout with the help of Matt Parkman and Ted Sprague. Jessica tells Lindeman that he can't have Micah, so he takes him anyway.
Plot strands come colliding together in one of the best episodes to date. The fight scene between Sylar and Peter is really good, but lasts about a minute. It's to be hoped that the finale will up the ante on that somewhat. Parkman, Sprague and Mr Bennett are now all on their way to New York where Claire, Peter and Nathan have all been reunited.
The best thing, though, about all of this is the backstory that is hinted at. Once upon a time, there were a group of heroes who banded together to save the world, but some became disillusioned and used their powers to make money. Lindeman was one of these heroes and now plans to help in the destruction of New York to help create what he believes to be a brighter future. Nathan and Peter's mother was also one of these, it seems - or knew about it all at the very least. This is classy stuff and delivered in a very nice way, never quite telling the whole story, but building it up in snippets.
It is also let slip that Sylar is the one that explodes, which begs the question, why does he look like Peter when he does and does the presence of a shapeshifter in recent episodes have a bearing on that?
Hiro meeting himself is nice and the brutality of Sylar's meeting with Isaac reminds everyone of what is at stake here. There's a real sense of danger and urgency starting to build.
Oh, and the title refers to the percentage of the world's population that will be killed if New York does blow up.Top
Five Years Gone
Hiro and Ando are now five years into the future, a future where nobody saved the Cheerleader, Sylar wasn't stopped, New York was destroyed and most of the cast had their lives turned into a living hell. This Hiro, though, is determined to go back and stop it from happening. The future Hiro thinks that it might be possible, but it's going to take Peter Petrelli.
Just about the best episode yet as we are shown what is at stake in the heroes' fight to stop Sylar. The world is a much darker place with the gifted being hunted down, imprisoned and killed. All of this is being done by Nathan Petrelli, who is the President and not in a good way. Or is he?
Because we have spent time with these characters, what has happened to them in this alternate future is effective and much more personal. Parkman's now an assassin, Mr Bennett's running the underground, Peter and Nikki are together in a lapdancing club and Ando is just plain dead. Some of the time conundrums don't stand up to close scrutiny (is Claire dead or not?), but that doesn't matter too much.
The show has stepped up a gear, shown us the stakes and the race is on save the world.Top
The Hard Part
Hiro and Ando are back in the present and set about tracking down Sylar. They don't have to go too far as they encounter him amongst the aftermath of his murder of Isaac Mendez. They follow him to a surprising rendezvous. As Nathan is tempted deeper into Lindermans's plan to set off the bomb, Peter persuades Claire to help him prevent the disaster, by killing Peter if necessary. Ted Sprague, the other candidate for exploding man, arrives in New York with Matt Parkman and Mr Bennett, looking for the tracking system used by Mr Bennett's ex-employers. That turns out to be the little girl that Parkman saved way back in Don't Look Back. Meanwhile, Jessica is on the trail of her missing son.
The intersecting lines have almost all come together in New York. Nearly all of the heroes are now there and the three candidates for exploding man, Peter Petrelli, Ted Sprague and Sylar, are all present and correct in the city. The end is nigh and a sense of impending doom is gathering.
The surprising heart of this episode, though, is Sylar. He makes a visit to his mother and pleads for her to accept him as an ordinary watchmaker, so that he no longer has to go on killing, being special. This is a powerful sequence that gives him even more depth and makes him an almost sympathetic character. Inevitably it all goes pear-shaped, but it still gives his evil an edge, turning him further away from being a pantomime villain.
The darkness is gathering and you can feel it. The impressive run continues.Top
It's election day and Linderman uses Micah to control the computers into giving Nathan Petrelli a landslide victory. He then meets Jessica and his maker, in that order. Sylar has his eye on Ted Sprague's explosive power and finds a way to get hold of it. Mr Bennet and Matt Parkman get inside the company building to learn that Molly is the tracking system, but Mohinder isn't about to let them kill her. Hiro has a surprise meeting that will decide his destiny, but Ando can't wait and sets out to face Sylar alone.
It's the penultimate episode and already it's not a good night for the villains. By the end, only Sylar is left standing and he is looking pretty hard to beat, but he isn't the only darkness left in the show. Is Mr Bennet willing to kill a little girl to earn peace for the gifted? That's one cliffhanger still to be resolved. Is Nathan Petrelli willing to allow New York to be turned to rubble to ensure his political future? It's looking that way.
The final face-off is prepared. Tomorrow it's all going to kick off in the Big Apple and the truth of it is that there's no telling how it's going to end or who's going to survive.
How great is it to be able to say that?Top
How to Stop an Exploding Man
Hiro saves Ando from Sylar and then goes back to face his destiny. Peter learns the truth about his brother and then goes to meet Sylar and face his destiny. Claire refuses to leave the city and goes to help Peter and face her destiny. Matt Parkman decides that he is cop to take Sylar down and face his...you get the picture. It's time to find out if the HEROes can actually stop an exploding man.
'And so, the end is near', or in the case of HEROES actually here and we have to say "Is that it??'. The build up throughout the episode is flawless as the heroes are slowly pulled together into the plaza where they will finally face Sylar for the big showdown and.....where'd the big showdown go? The final fight is a total damp squib and we're left with a total sense of 'so what?'.
It's been a bumpy ride at times, and a meandering one too, but Season two is already catered for as Molly, the people-finder, reveals that there's somebody out there who is far worse than Sylar and Hiro is left stranded in medieval Japan, the fate of the Petrellis is left unknown and everybody else is struggling to get over their injuries, so there are plenty of reasons to come back again, but this final episode isn't one of them.Top
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