It's been a long, conflicted ride with NBC's Heroes and if you read my reviews last season then you know I was less than impressed overall and ambivalent about this upcoming season. In watching the two hour season premiere I was surprised with how much I ended up enjoying everything. Sure there were some yawn moments and the whole two hours in total was a bit much, but this wasn't terrible viewing. But does the show have enough to sustain a whole season?
Claire attends college and attempts to have a normal life with an overachieving roommate named Annie, but her past comes back to haunt her when a new friend named Gretchen brings up the events in Odessa. Hiro and Ando have started a “Dial a Hero” business that seems doomed to failure according to Hiro's sister, Kimiko. Hiro is forced to reveal his fatal illness to Ando, and goes back in time with dire consequences. Peter is working as an EMT in New York and using his powers to save lives while Nathan is dealing with the residual powers from Sylar that are causing him to freak out. Angela wants Matt to wipe any remaining Sylar traces from Nathan but her refuses as Sylar attempts to infiltrate his own mind. Noah is dealing with being alone for the first time and turns a hit on his life from Tracy into a possible alliance. A mysterious carnival arrives in town and the barker Samuel enlists his second, Edgar, to retrieve a mysterious object from Danko.
All that in two hours and boy did things actually turn out well. There were less missteps this episode and everything seemed to have coherence, and there were actually references made to things from the first season. Claire's had several (and I do mean several) attempts to make a normal life and her college experience actually seems like a breath of fresh air, compliments of the character Gretchen played by Madeline Zima. Zima seems like the perfect addition to the cast and her ability to stick her foot in her mouth led to a moment of levity in the episode. Claire actually didn't come off as annoying and it was great to know the “homecoming massacre” wasn't swept under the rug. On the flipside Noah's story was heartfelt as he copes with being alone and having nothing. His talk with Peter about needing to live life seemed to show that these characters have aged and aren't capable of being as ruthless and malicious as in the past. Sylar continues to be the best baddie of them all and while Parkman's story is so boring, Sylar's scene with baby Matt was utterly disturbing and pure awesome. I'm on the fence about the Tracy/Noah alliance, if they keep it strictly professional it might work since both have similar mindsets. If these reviews have any weight, writers DO NOT make Noah and Tracy form a romance! The best and most standout moments were with the carnival and at this point they need to be the front and center because those scenes were the best. We got a taste of Robert Knepper and Ray Park and still don't have all the answers but these guys were on fire! Knepper has the fantastic blend of creepy and fascinating and his power with the tattoos was so fun to watch. Park didn't have much to do but his super speed and knife abilities were welcome additions. Again, they need more screentime and in two hours there was not enough. Who is Joseph? What is up with the old guy and why is Hiro needed? That's a storyline I need to see more of!
The other characters seem completely unnecessary at this point and any scenes not mentioned above were a bit boring and cause me to tune out. Hiro's attempts to change the past seem to have been done to death and his changing the past with Ando and Kimiko was cute, but it feels like it's been done. Same with Peter and his moping about wanting to save people. Nathan barely felt like he was in the episode which is odd since it seemed like him being Sylar was going to be a major plot point. The biggest waste of time and celluloid went to Matt. Sylar was the best aspect of his arc and having Matt go to the dark side seems like such a cop-out and totally off the mark. When I'm yearning to see more of Claire, you know the storyline isn't working. And did I mention there wasn't enough Knepper and Park?
No one was more surprised than me that I enjoyed this episode. If the writers stick to the carnival, Claire and Gretchen, and not making Tracy and Noah hook up I'll be a happy camper. Nathan, Matt and Peter are useless so hopefully they either get better stories or they're dumped. This might be a glimmer of hope or a fluke of epic proportions. This season premiere gets a 3.5/.5
Heroes: Orientation/Jump, Push, Fall (Season Premiere)