I don't have all too much time to beat around the bush tonight, so I'll just come right out and say it -- tonight's episode of "Heroes," the second episode of "Volume 4: Fugitives," was pretty darned good.
I say that, mind you, considering there were still several flaws evident that I've spoke about in the past. But, all things considered, this episode, "Trust and Blood," felt like the "Heroes" of old. Which is ironic, seeing as the episode was written by Mark Verheiden, a first-time "Heroes" writer but a veteran of "Smallville" and "Battlestar Galactica."
As I said, it's late, I've an early morning, I'm going to make this quick. So let's get right into the positives for this episode:
- Nathan returned to being a three-dimensional character. Sure, it's still kind of ridiculous that he started this powers-hunting initiative in the first place, but at least here we saw that the man still has a heart. And more importantly, we saw this is the same old Nathan -- once again he's in waaaaay over his head. Kudos goes out to Verheiden for using Nathan's conversation with Momma Petrelli as both a framing device and a way of hammering Nathan's ineptitude home.
- For as cliched as HRG's character has become (Gee, Noah, you're doing all this to protect your family? Really?), it was also nice to see the writers have added to his old motivations. In this episode, we saw that he is not only looking to protect Claire, but also looking to protect the human rights of the powered people. And I cannot wait for the HRG vs. Danko throwdown.
- Speaking of Claire, I do find myself intrigued that she is receiving messages from -- was that Wireless sending out messages?
- It was also nice that we received a reason for Peter's confusing actions during the plane crash, explaining early on that he can only hold one power at a time. While there is no logical reason why this would be the case, it was still simply nice to hear that the plane fiasco was not simply shoddy writing.
- And finally, last but most certainly not least -- how kick ass was Parkman in this episode, taking over one soldier to kill the rest?!? That's the kind of power use we just don't see enough of in this series, and it was one of the best moments since season one.
However, it was also in that scene that was saw the same old negatives which are still plaguing this series:
- Killing Daphne is NOT a good idea. When fans like myself have said "Heroes" needs to kill characters, it means "Heroes" needs to kill some ESTABLISHED characters in order to return a sense of gravity to the series. Daphne would be just the next in a long, long line of new characters who have bitten the dust while the same old main cast survives. Now, Daphne will appear in at least one more episode this season, according to IMDB, so let's hope it's not simply a flashback.
- And speaking of Daphne and Matt, am I the only one SICK AND TIRED of this whole drawing the future thing? Especially lately, it just feels like lazy writing trying to put characters into place for events without giving a reason to do so. I imagine the writers' interaction to go like this:
"We need Matt at the crash site."
"Why in the world would Matt go to the crash site?"
"Ummm... let's force him to randomly paint the future in order to make him want to go there. Yeah, that's the ticket."
And could that painting scene be any goofier? The man breaks into a mobile home and comes out with his art supplies? Seriously?
- I'm also pretty darned sick of Sylar. The man is the Jason Todd of the "Heroes" universe, always showing up with a different personality in each episode. This time he decided to be Mr. Sentimental, helping out a young boy he identifies with. And in a most ridiculously contrite turn of events, the boy may be his half-brother. Give me a break! I don't care about Sylar's Daddy issues, and frankly, I don't care about Sylar, especially when the writers decided to give him phantom mental complexes just to get him and his insanely powerful talents away from the main storyline for a while.
- I'm also pretty sick of Mr. Rah-Rah Peter. We get it, you want to be a hero even without your normal set of powers. And I know the writers are trying to paint him as a heartfelt leader opposing Nathan, a leader who never listens to his heart. But right now Peter just feels like a whiny little Emo boy to me.
Remember back before the Season One finale, I said I wanted both Sylar and Peter killed off in the final episode? Let's see a show of hands of who thinks I was right?
As I said, this was a downright entertaining episode of "Heroes." But the same old problems still remain.
In all fairness, another six or seven episodes like this will prove a great deal in terms of the writers being able to navigate around those same old issues and still deliver entertaining television. But, until that happens, the horrors that were Volumes 2 and 3 are preventing me from trusting this series or its writers.