The “heroes” on Heroes sure have been caught up in worldly pursuits lately. Boring worldly pursuits. Hiro is stuck piddling around in the past, sending messages to his pal Andu that are bizarrely outdated. (The show has never quite figured out the space-time continuum thing; the letters serve as lazy voice-over narration.) Niki — always the dullest character, played by the most wooden actress — has returned to play the dutiful, sorry-I-have-to-put-you- through-this-but-good-luck! mother, dropping off her beleaguered child in New Orleans, thereby setting up a current-events backdrop we're not sure we trust the show to handle.
Meanwhile, Peter — who, as we pointed out last week, has freaking superpowers and has plenty better to do than rob armored trucks and drink Guinness — has been stricken with amnesia (clever!) and is now choosing not to learn who he is. Why? Hot Irish chicks! The end of this episode, which featured Peter ignoring Pandora’s Box of Past Plotlines to suck face with his Irish lass, was thoroughly depressing; we now have to sit through three or four episodes of Peter Realizing Who He Is And What He Is Meant For before he’ll start productively kicking ass again.
And the new characters haven’t been much help. So far “company” leader Stephen Tobolowsky just looks buffoonishly mysterious. Claire’s new boyfriend can fly, which isn’t even a new superpower. And Maya and Alexander, the two most promising characters, have transformed from a metaphor for immigrants on the run to the planet’s most dunderheaded fugitives. (The best way to sneak from Guatemala while being trailed by the police, we’ve found, is to bust out a car window right in front of a cop.)
The big event last night was supposed to be the return of Sylar, the supervillain with mother issues. His weakness and vulnerability made him a compelling bad guy; he even felt guilty, briefly, when he realized he might be responsible for the deaths of millions of people. But now he’s just cartoonishly evil, killing his supposed savior for no reason other than because she was there. (Zachary Quinto is a charismatic, electric actor — we still can’t believe he’s playing Spock in J.J. Abrams's Star Trek remake — but they’re turning him into Snidley Whiplash.)
We’re three weeks into season two and not a single plotline has been advanced nor a single worthwhile character introduced. But next week promises some excitement: Nathan shaves! —Will Leitch