Heroes Keeps on Surprising Me

Heroes Season 4 is Shockingly Good

Heroes, as I recently discussed here, has made it a habit this season of making me eat my hat. I’ve been shocked to observe that, following a very mediocre intro episode to Heroes Season 4 that got the season off to a battered limp, every single episode subsequent has been very good. This week’s was no different. The show caught me off guard on three separate occasions. If you haven’t seen the episode yet and don’t want to know, you’re hereby advised to avert your eyes.

The first surprise in Heroes Season 4 I found involved Blank-Sylar, who quite unexpectedly reverted to the form of Nathan. This was complete with Nathan abilities and memories intact-who promptly realized he was standing in Freakshow, USA and flew away. Subsequent to Nathan getting his ass shot to death a few episodes back, and the recent news that Adrian Pasdar had been canned from the show without even being told by the producers until he read it in the script, I really didn’t expect to see him back. Of course, I should have accepted by now that Heroes only rarely kills off characters for really-reals. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. In any case, I was.

The next surprise was really a two-fer, and came when the ever-annoying Matt Parkman, whom I believe should have been killed off a long time ago, finally manned up. He stopped whining and acted like a Hero instead of a crybaby. If you’ve seen the episode, you know by now that Parkman manipulated Sylar-now in control of Parkman’s body-to write a murder note on a napkin at a diner, which resulted in his being surrounded by cops. Shockingly, Parkman then forced Sylar to act like he was pulling a gun, which of course lead to his being shot repeatedly, apparently falling to both their deaths. Sylar hit the ground with a soggy thud, and Parkman disappeared. In a perfect world, this is the way these two characters-both long past their usefulness-meet their ignominious ends.

In any case, the episode went off extremely well, and the final few minutes were practically dripping with a sense of foreboding about the future. A major conflict appears to be brewing, and as I realize we’re 8 episodes into the season, I’m actually a little shocked that there’s no sign of it involving some character travelling to the future only to uncover some horrific event that they have to stop. Bravo to Heroes for breaking out of a very weak plot trend!

heroes season 4 - all that nerdy stuffUnfortunately there’s also some worry that comes from having now watched the trailer for next week’s episode. There are SPOILERS for Heroes Season 4 after the jump, so if you don’t want to know and you haven’t seen the trailer, stop here and enjoy life!

So, the sad truth is that the writers-utterly unable to keep a secret or kill off a major cast member with any permanence, apparently, have already revealed the return of both Parkman and Sylar. The trailer for next week’s episode features the two quite prominently, alive and healthy thanks to Peter Petrelli. Evidently the cops in Texas have decided it might be a great idea to rush their would-be-murderer to a hospital in New York City, where Peter works. Evidently, NYC is just a hop, skip and a jump away. From Texas.

While I can’t be too surprised about this move, I am very, very disappointed in the writers. Not only have they ruined, in the space of less than one episode, what was a poetic and shocking death for two of the series’ major mainstays who really have needed to be put down for awhile now, but they’ve put us right back where we were two episodes ago: with Parkman being haunted by Sylar, a plot thread that was stale the moment they introduced it.

Perhaps they have something better planned, but I don’t know and I sure don’t bet on it. Although Heroes is in the middle of enjoying its second best season to date, some of the inherent problems of the series remains. Why it is that the writers are unwilling to permanently end the lives of major characters is beyond me, and utterly disappointing. They really should look to shows like Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer for inspiration, both of which were not only better written shows about superheroes, but they both used the deaths of major characters to superb effect.

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