In the great and hoary tradition of such Marvel What Ifs as "What If … the X-Men died on their first mission?" and "What If … Conan battled Thor??" comes this week's Heroes. Set five years into a future where the destruction of New York hasn't been stopped, this episode could easily be called, "What If … everything sucked?"
That's right, everything. Future Hiro is a brooding samurai, and Future Ando is dead. Future Peter has a big ugly scar marring his baby face, and he's married to Future Niki, who works in one of those semi-clothed strip clubs that only exist on network TV. D.L. and Micah: dead. Claire, HRG, the Haitian: dead by the end of the episode. Nathan: dead, being impersonated in the White House by Sylar. Suresh and Parkman: working for Sylar. People of Earth: being played for saps.
All in all, it's a ludicrous bloodbath, and therefore one of the best episodes of Heroes ever. It holds true to the freewheeling, no-rules spirit of those old What If comics in jamming about a dozen episodes' worth of story into 44 minutes. About ten major characters get killed, and by the end a superpowered Peter is facing off, Matrix style, with a superpowered Sylar. Best of all, when all is said and done, Hiro and Ando return to the present day, loaded for bear and ready to save the world.
Nerds rejoice! We're sure the nerdiest are already cataloguing the episode, determining that Hiro and Ando visited Earth 714 in the Heroes Multiverse. The rest of us are just glad we latched on to a show that isn't afraid to deliver pulpy fun, in big, sloppy bucketloads.