Remember the episode of Lost that gave the backstories of Nikki and Paulo, two random background characters? To integrate them into the ongoing story, the producers actually reshot iconic scenes with the duo in the foreground. There’s Nikki screaming as the plane burns behind her! There’s Paulo talking to Arst like they knew each other all along! They were always here — you just didn’t see them! For about the 450th time, Heroes borrows a Lost trick, with a “One Year Ago” episode — told through the eyes of a hallucinating Hiro, for no apparent reason — where Robert Forster’s Arthur Petrelli shows up in scenes from Heroes past. Turns out he was behind the whole shebang all along! Perhaps that’s why the show hasn’t made any sense for two years: It’s been controlled by a character who was just introduced.
Not to say it isn’t entertaining to see the great Forster sniff at some of the show’s dumber conceits — we had forgotten Peter Petrelli was originally a nurse until Forster sneers at his son’s “compassion” — or watch Malcolm McDowell’s Linderman, who was initially an omniscient force of evil, follow Arthur around like a puppy dog. We still, though, haven’t figured out Angela Petrelli — one episode she’s a mastermind, the next a confused, put-upon wife — and her backstory is muddying the picture. The “shock” ending of having Arthur pop up behind Hiro doesn’t make any sense either, though it’s difficult to argue with another peripheral character (Usutu) being beheaded.
But the real work is once again done by Zachary Quinto who, as Sylar, it turns out had been observed by the company for years before he was exposed as a killer. Quinto is the one actor who doesn’t seem to think he’s in a schlocky Lost ripoff … and the one who, when he’s making big Hollywood productions in ten years, you’ll likely forget was ever hanging around this show. Heroes needs to wrap his character up before his role as Spock in J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek peels him away.