To start off this review, I’m going to be perfectly honest with you all: while I have watched every episode of Heroes’ 3+ seasons, bought the graphic novels, and grown attached to a few of the characters, I haven’t been 100% for the show. Like many of you (I’m assuming), I was about to give out on the show halfway through the show’s second season. At the half season break last year, I stopped recording the show. I don’t know. It stopped connecting with me I guess. Despite all this, I stuck with Heroes, more on the principle need to see a superhero show that doesn’t start with “Small” or end with “Ville” succeed. I’ve been there through all the ups and downs, which, to be honest makes the Alps look like a dirt mound. With the series starting up with a kind of “clean slate,” I decided to let go of my past opinions of Heroes, and look at this show with a fresh eye. Hopefully, this season can recapture that same spark from its inaugural season, but only time will tell.

I’m going to take a slightly different approach for summarizing the episode in this review. Instead of laying out every single event in chronological order and waiting until the end to give my “witty” opinions, I’m going to outline each character’s segment in full, and voice my humble opinions as we go. Hopefully this will cut down on confusion, both on your part as the reader, and on my end, because I don’t want to miss anything. This review is also going to contain a lot of spoilers (no kidding, right?), so if want to be surprised when you finally get around to watching it on your TiVo, I’d maybe skip this review for now. And finally, I’m only going to list the actor’s names for new characters. I figure if you’re reading this review, you already kno the characters enough to not need actor notation. Sound good? Great! Let’s dive in!

The newest volume, titled “Redemption,” starts up roughly 6 weeks after the Company’s fateful battle with Sylar, the one which ended with his mind being erased by former cop Matt Parkman, and being psychically convinced he’s Senator Nathan Petrelli. And since Sylar has shapechanging abilities now, he instinctively morphs into Nathan. Nothing could go wrong with this plan, right? WRONG! Sy-Nathan is beginning to show some of Sylar’s more subtle tendencies, like correcting clocks that are out of sync, slightly heightened aggression, and oh yeah, telekinesis and electric powers. This is most troubling to his mother, who has been having visions of Sylar returning for good, and unfortunately, her predictions are usually right. She tries to convince Matt to rework his mind wipe, “fill in the cracks” if you will, but Matt claims he has given up his using his powers. See, he’s been having problems of his own, but we’ll get to that later.

This is the most predictable segment of Heroes so far. I mean, did anyone honestly think Sylar would stay hidden for ever, of at the least, for the remainder of the season? No, I didn’t either. I understand the need to keep the actors who play these roles on the show. If they’re temporarily let out of their contract, they’re likely to not come back. Fine. But c’mon, do something that’s a little more creative than reprise the whole “Morph/Proteus” story for the Exiles comic.

In the six weeks between seasons, Matt has somehow found his way back onto the police force, despite being labeled a terrorist not 3 months ago, show-wise. He’s also gotten back together with his estranged wife Janice, and is raising their child (and one of my favorite characters from last season) Matt Jr. The officer claims to have given up using his ability to read and alter people’s minds, partly because he found he’d become addicted to getting everyone to do what he said. But Matt hasn’t been right since the battle with Sylar, and in this episode we find out why: Sylar somehow leeched his conciseness into Matt during the mind wipe, and Matt is now seeing Sylar everywhere, telling him to put his mind back in his body or else. Ooooh, that’s ominous.

As much as I despised Sylar being turned into Nathan, I love the idea of him being inside Matt, making him do… things. This could possibly be the highlight to the season.

At the open to the show, we are instantly introduced to our new additions to the cast, the Sullivan Bros. carnival to be more precise. The leader, Samuel Sullivan (Robert Knepper), is performing a circus funeral for his brother Sean (I think it was Sean, anyways), and ends it with closing the hole in the Earth with his mind. We may have a terrapath (I always called it geopath, but who knows?), right? Later that evening, he meets with his ladyfriend Lydia (Dawn Olivieri), who shows him a glimpse of the future… using the tattoos on her back. Very cool effect. She shows Sam the face of the man who killed his brother and stole something of great importance. That man was Danko, the super-hunter. Sam summons Edgar (Ray Park!), and tells him to retrieve the artifact. When Edgar refuses, Sam jabs him with some tattoo ink, which forms a skeleton hand around Edgar’s neck and begins to squeeze. Wow. Looks like Sam has a few extra tricks up his sleeve. After a little “incentive,” Edgar races off… and I literally mean races. Apparently he’s a superspeeder. This leads to an awesome fight scene later, but first over to…

… Noah Bennett (or HRG, I like that better), who has just dropped his daughter Claire off at college, and is currently being drowned in his car. Thing is, his car is on land at the time, which means only one thing- Tracy Strouse is still on her revenge quest for the men who “killed” her. He escapes, and is later confronted by Danko, claiming that they need to work together since they’re the only two people left that Tracy’s after. HRG declines, and drived his point home by mind wiping Danko to Tracy’s existence, possibly to get on her good side. Tracy appears at Danko’s apartment, and is about to leave, deciding there’s no reason to kill a man that doesn’t know what he did, when a blur rushes past her and stabs Danko multiple dozens of times at superspeed. He takes a few swings at Tracy, but it does not faze her because she’s practically all water now. HRG investigates the murder, and finds a key to a lockbox within Danko’s stomach. HRG wants to investigate, but knows he needs help. Cut to…

… Peter Petrelli, now making a decent living as a paramedic. He’s been secretly using powers borrowed from Dr. Surresh, and within the six weeks has saved 53 lives. The job is starting to take its toll on Peter’s psyche, as he’s becoming both more secluded and driven to save everyone. I like to call this “delusions of Batman.” Anyways, HRG convinces Peter to be his muscle in case the assassin returns. He opens the lockbox and discovers an old broken compass, one that only works in the hands of a Special. As soon as the compass is discovered, Edgar reappears, pulls out two long knives, and begins hacking at the heroic (ish) duo. In a split second, Peter absorbs Ed’s superspeed, steals a knife, and proceeds to fight the superspeed ninja. Like I said, amazing fight scene. This episode is worth watching simply for this scene. Very cool.

While all this is happening, Hiro and Ando have started up their own “Heroes for Hire” service, aptly titled “Dial-A-Hero,” much to the chagrin of Hiro’s sister, Kimiko. She personally blames Ando for Hiro’s crazy scheme, and we discover that she’s hated Ando since they were kids, oddly enough for spilling Slushee on her favorite dress. We go through a comical scene where the team helps their first client, a little girl with a cat stuck on the roof of a building. This is when we first see Hiro’s power backfire, and eventuall discover it’s because he’s dying. Let me say that again. Hiro is dying from his power. Bummer. He attempts to find the source of his downfall, and instinctively travels back to the time where he got a fortune saying he’ll be a great hero… which happens to be the same night Kimiko began hating Ando. Hiro was unable to affect his own destiny, but was tricked into preventing the “Slushee Incident,” causing time for Ando and Kimilo to change drastically. Did I mention that this all took place at a carnival (wait for it…) and the man responsible for tricking Hiro was none other than Sam Sullivan, who also time traveled to the past? This is really setting up Hiro’s story nicely for the season ahead.

Oh yeah, and Claire goes to college, meets a overachieving roommate, drops a class, meets another girl (Madeline Zima), find out that her roommate has jumped out her window, and “accidentily” reveals to her new friend that she’s a superhealer. I know I kinda glossed over this section, but to be honest, it has nothing to do with the rest of the story in any aspect. There’s also so much overacting, I can hardly stand it. There’s hints that the friend has powers (if by hint you mean being beaten with a baseball bat with the work “HINT” written on it in neon green paint), but beyond that and the promise of a melodramatic, awkward, girl-on-girl kiss, I’m totally uninterested in Claire’s storyline… for the third year in a row.

All in all, this episode is pretty solid. It accomplished exactly what a good season opener should – it left me wanting more. If the rest of the season is as good as the first 80% of this double-sized episode (it loses 20% for Claire), this season of Heroes could be very promising. But as I said earlier, only time will tell. I give the Heroes: Season 4 Premiere a whopping 4 out of 5 stars.

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The Author

Sam Dunham

Sam Dunham

Sam Dunham was born at a very early age, and shortly after became entangled in the world of film. His first memories are of seeing King Ralph in his local theater. He learned to talk with the help of Adam West's Batman: The Movie. He's one of the few people to still own a working RCA Videodisc player (heck, it's where he first watched Young Frankenstein!). When Sam is not perusing his extensive B- movie collection or sitting in dark theaters with a tub of popcorn, he is usually found reading comic books, fixing computers, toiling away at his day job, working some nights at a local radio station as a "soundboard guy," and going to class so that he can one day toil away at his day job fixing computers. One time, Lou Ferrigno conned him out of $20.00. But that's another story...

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13 Comments

  1. Navarre
    September 22, 2009 at 4:53 pm — Reply

    I enjoyed the premier.

    I liked Matt Parkman in Season 1 because he was our everyman character. But I have liked him less and less with each episode.

    His domestic issues just don’t do it for me. And, professionally, I too would like someone to explain to me how he is back on any police force. This is the same guy who had bombs strapped on him last season, right?

    Why do you think Claire’s friend, Gretchen, has powers? It didn’t seem as obvious to me as it apparently did to you, though you’re probably right.

    • Rus in Ottawa
      September 22, 2009 at 5:38 pm — Reply

      During the party scene, Gretchen remarked, “I guess I’m picking up on this Guitar Hero pretty fast” (or something like that), and if you notice, she goes from not doing too well to hitting every note suspiciously quick. She also rattled off that serious CSI line about the tragectory of a falling body, then brushed it off as “hearing it on TV once.” If I know my Heroes, those are hints that she has an ability, possibly photographic memory, like Charlie (the redhead waitress) from Season 1. I dunno. Could be wrong.

      • GeorgeWook
        September 24, 2009 at 2:30 am — Reply

        How did Matt Parkman get his job back on the Police force? Quite easily I imagine, I assume he simply used his powers on anyone who questioned his past!!

  2. FJ
    September 22, 2009 at 5:35 pm — Reply

    I liked the Sylar in Matt’s head subplot better when it was Scorpius in Crichton’s brain on Farscape.

  3. Sam Dunham
    September 22, 2009 at 9:28 pm — Reply

    @Navarre and Russ

    Good eye, Rus! Took the words right out of my mouth. Just figured it was a little suspect for the writers to go the distance to tell us that this girl could pick up stuff so easily…

    • Navarre
      September 22, 2009 at 9:31 pm — Reply

      Would this be like a combination of Charlie and Monica’s ability, you think?

      • Sam Dunham
        September 23, 2009 at 12:28 pm — Reply

        Yeah, that’s what I thought as well.

  4. Mr J in London
    September 23, 2009 at 3:10 am — Reply

    I liked this ep, good solid start to new volume, I really didn’t like S3. I hope that they give Peter his full abilities back, I find him quite boring without them. Great to see Ray Park again. And I hope that they don’t screw up the Nathan/Sylar – or Naylar – story it could be really good if handled well

  5. bob
    September 23, 2009 at 4:07 am — Reply

    The 1st thing I thought of with Parkman and Sylar was Magneto and Xavier.Chucky mindwiped Mags and a bit of Mags went into Chucky.Sounds very similar.Like alot of people,the last season started poorly for me and then got better.I’m hoping this 1st episode is not a fluke and they have got back to good story telling.

    • Navarre
      September 23, 2009 at 7:01 am — Reply

      Matt Parkman is Onslaught!

  6. anonymous :)
    September 23, 2009 at 11:37 am — Reply

    Heya yeah i’m new to this site, but just to confirm, I don’t wanna sound like a know-it-all or anything but Gretchen does have powers. She can absorb (like Peter) and she can, I’m not quite sure how to put this, attract people so they follow her around and get really close. Now this is not confirmed, it’s just a personal thought of mine but I think that Gretchen killed the roomate to get closer to claire, dunno why though- perhaps we’ll find out later in the series. One thing i did notice was that when she tried to talk to claire, the roomate got in the way. Did anyone else notice that? she said they had to stick together. Wow this is a long post- I mean i fully support gretchen for killing her- she did my head in but i hope i’m right about this or i’ll look like a right idiot!! Haha good ideas though from you all.
    And yeah hiro is dying, sylar is arising and matt is going evil from despair. What a happy show this is!! Lol

  7. DrNobody
    September 23, 2009 at 3:14 pm — Reply

    I thought the same thing as well, anonymous… You are not alone!!

  8. Navarre
    September 23, 2009 at 4:28 pm — Reply

    Man, I must be unobservant. For some reason it never occurred to me. But it does seem likely to be true.

    There are an awful lot of these powered people running around for a world that is supposed to be normal. Odd that they run into each other so easily and that there aren’t more reported incidents.

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