‘Heroes’: You Will Watch the Watchmen

Malcolm McDowell and Adrian Pasdar in Photo: Courtesy of NBC

Of all the momentous scenes in last night's return of Heroes — Peter getting killed by Sylar but coming back to life; Claire meeting her real father; Matt, HRG and the Geico Caveman escaping from the paper factory — the one that went the furthest in explaining where the show is going was Malcolm McDowell's diabolical mobster Linderman claiming he's actually a good guy.

Well, it depends on your definition of "good." Linderman has powers — he can bring plants back to life — and apparently at one time was part of a superhero team. It's true he's the one who plans to blow up New York, but he's doing it, you know, to make the world a better place. It was during this scene that comics lovers would be forgiven for jumping out of their chairs and yelling, "Watchmen! Watchmen!" Indeed, Linderman's plot is a dead ringer for the plan enacted by Ozymandias, the ex-hero turned wealthy industrialist, in Alan Moore's seminal comics series. Like Linderman, Ozymandias plans to destroy New York in order to bring about peace (with the Soviets, in Moore's Cold War-era story). And in Watchmen, Ozymandias succeeds — sort of.

Director Zack Snyder, who after the success of 300 is now bringing Watchmen to the screen, must be getting a little nervous right about now … especially because earlier drafts of the Watchmen screenplay had Ozymandias destroy New York with — you guessed it — an atomic explosion, caused by a radioactive hero.