Heroes Fall 2009 Review

Ah, Heroes. What more can be said? This series is like that person in your life that you have special feelings for – you’re willing to make excuses to yourself and others to justify their behavior, but when you ultimately come to realize what they’ve become, it stings that much more.

As I’ve mentioned on my blog, Heroes can sometimes be so disappointing because it has so much potential. And every now and then, they do show moments of brilliance (like this season’s understated episode “Thanksgiving”). And to their credit, Heroes has made some strides this season. In the first twelve episodes of “Redemption,” we have seen a significant reduction in useless characters like Mohinder and Ando. And previously unnecessary characters like Parkman have seemingly found a new purpose. And, thankfully, it seems that the writers have finally abandoned their tired formula of discovering a grave future and attempting to avoid it.

Presumably at the halfway point of the season, where do we find each character?

We’ll start with the tragic. The Volume kicked off with Nathan already suspecting that something just isn’t Kosher. Through his journey of self-rediscovery, he…ahem…discovered that he covered up an accidental death. When the mother of the girl killed found this out, she put a hit on him. He then resurrected as Sylar (more on him later). Upon reverting back to NathanSylar, he reunited with Peter. He would soon realize the grim truth about his death, culminating in a touching scene with Peter following their Thanksgiving meal. Ultimately, “Nathan” succumbed to Sylar’s power, effectively dying. For real this time.

Peter distanced himself from his family and friends, acquiring whatever abilities he could in order to save the most amount of people. However, he soon came in contact with some old friends (HRG and Hiro, most prominently) which resulted in him once again becoming involved in some zany adventures. Oh, and he also got involved with a deaf girl who can see colors. Not quite sure what that’s all about.

Hiro is dying and still acts like he’s 12.

Tracy has decided to let bygones be bygones regarding The Company. She kinda-sorta had something going on with HRG as they attempted to rescue and help those with abilities, but that’s seemingly fizzled. Last we saw, it seems that she’s being lured towards the Carnival for some contrived reason.

Segue alert! That brings us to Claire, who despite wanting nothing more than to be a normal girl – and seemingly finding true happiness upon receiving that – she randomly decides she wants to be with a bunch of strangers in a weird carnival, so that she can be with people just like her. Not like she’s got a biological family of people that fit that description or anything. Oh, and she shared a lesbian kiss.

HRG is apparently then only person who read the title of this Volume and is attempting to make amends for his past sins, going back to all those people with abilities that he didn’t properly look after. He’s also reconnecting with a former co-worker, who was conveniently re-written into the show’s history in order to give the guy a girlfriend. Even though they had already done a pretty nice job of building something between him and Tracy.

Parkman was getting haunted by Sylar, whose consciousness had taken residency in the mind reader’s subconscious. What proceeds was a surprisingly compelling game of one-upmanship, as the two battle not only over Parkman’s mind, but his body as well. What typically resulted was one controlling the body while the other controlled the mind. This culminated in Parkman attempting suicide, but ultimately coming up short thanks to Peter. Sylar has now returned to his own body, leaving Parkman’s purpose unknown at this point.

Sylar was all over the place this season. He’s part Nathan, part Parkman, and playing a role in Hiro’s time traveling activities. Perhaps my greatest criticism of the season has been the complete overexposure of Sylar. As we approach the show’s return, it seems that his body and mind have finally reunited. Now hopefully they’ll just allow him to be a villainous bad ass instead of trying to make him complex and deep. That ship has long sailed.

Then, finally, we have the Carnival. We’ve finally learned Samuel’s motive: It seems that the more special people he surrounds himself with, the more powerful he becomes. Hence his campaigning. We also discovered that he killed his brother, who was trying to withhold this information. His underlings are starting to suspect that something just isn’t right with him, though.

Anything else? Not that comes to mind. Could this be the last season of a show once seemingly destined to become the next big series (this very website voted it as the show of the year in 2007)? That remains to be seen. No matter what happens, the second half of this season could end up being very interesting.

Heroes returns Monday, January 4th with a double feature: “Upon this Rock” and “Let it Bleed.”

Matt Basilo has been writing for Inside Pulse since April 2005, providing his insight into popular television shows such as Lost, 24, Heroes, and Smallville. Be sure to visit his blog at [a case of the blog] and follow him on Twitter.