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October 30, 2014

Heroes: Orientation (season premiere)

by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 22nd 2009 2:12AM
Robert Knepper in Heroes(S04E01) Volume Five - "Redemption"

A new volume and new faces ... on the show, that is. At this point, I think it's a bit of a pipe dream by NBC to think they can nab new viewers. And as much as I was hoping they'd make this as accessible as possible, things are still pretty hopelessly complex. The situation with Nathan/Sylar alone is enough to make any new viewer change the channel. Maybe see how House is coping with life in the asylum.

On the other hand, Robert Knepper has joined the cast as Samuel, the leader of the Sullivan Brothers Carnival, and I couldn't be more excited. No matter how ridiculous Prison Break got over four years, Knepper was just deliciously villainous as T-Bag. And he's just as enigmatic on camera here.

Tonight's premiere is a two-hour extravaganza, including the first two episodes of the new season. Look for my review of the second hour in a separate post.

The carnival adds a whole new dynamic to the show, including countless new possible characters with new abilities. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what Samuel's (Knepper) ability is. I find myself more interested in these new characters than I am in some of the old ones.

Maybe they should have framed this season almost as if it was a new show. Start with the carnival and then re-introduce the main characters as if they were new ones. This way, they could utilize the strength of Knepper's performance to lure in potential new viewers without immediately confusing the hell out of them.

As usual, a new volume of Heroes starts out like an anthology series. We have several different stories to follow that seem to have virtually no connection to one another. At least not yet.

Hiro and Ando are back in Tokyo, again, decidedly not working at the company Hiro's supposed to be running. Instead, Hiro's concocted another wacky idea. They've launched "Dial a Hero," a business that offers their super-powered services to anyone in trouble. First client: cat stuck on top of a building.

I was hoping that Hiro and Ando would have a more integral part in the major storylines this season, and it looks like they will. After revealing that he's dying, Hiro accidentally (sort of) transports back fourteen years to a pivotal moment in his life; when he first learned of his heroic destiny. Coincidentally, it happened at Sullivan Bros. Carnival.

In the present day, Samuel somehow uses ink on a tattooed girl named Lydia to get visions of significant people. One of those is Hiro. He then convinces an old man to send him back fourteen years to find Hiro.

Angela is doing her best to pretend that Sylar is Nathan, for his sake as much as anyone else's. It's actually better than I expected, watching Adrian Pasdar and Zachary Quinto share this role as they each struggle for control of the character. It's kind of sad, because as you see Nathan walking around, you know it's just a matter of time before he's gone for good. But the slow awakening of Sylar is very cool to watch.

Danko wants to kill Tracy, and she wants to kill everyone who was involved in her "death" last season, including Noah. I kind of expected that Danko would die, but I was pleased to see that he too had a connection to the carnival. Danko has something of Samuel's that he wants back, so he sent Edgar (Ray Park) to acquire it. Edgar has super speed, but it doesn't really matter how fast you slash at Tracy. She's water so she'll just pull herself back together.

Claire's going to take another go at the whole "normal girl" thing. Now in college, I was intrigued by her overly ambitious roommate Annie, but I guess that's kind of irrelevant now. Of course, you can't take anything for granted on this show, including and especially death. Less interesting, but more alive, was Claire's new friend Gretchen.

Peter walked away from everything, and became obsessed with saving as many lives as possible as a paramedic. Across the country, Matt is focusing his energies on being the best father he can be to his son. I guess we get to see all these attempts at normalcy just so we can feel bad for them when it all falls apart. The calm before another storm, probably.

I think Sylar's appearance (probably not real) at the end of the hour, holding Matt's baby was indicative of Matt's guilt in his role in transforming Sylar into Nathan, as well as his sense of obligation now that his "trick" is unraveling.

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It's nice to see that product placement is alive and well. Got to make more money on expected diminished returns, so a special shout out to Houlihans, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and Guitar Hero 3 for your blatant presence in the show.

For clips and full episodes, be sure and check out Heroes on SlashControl, or browse around right here.

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Redbeard2005

Did nobody make the connection to the Groucho Marx song Lydia the Tatooed Lady? I though that was hysterical!!!!

September 24 2009 at 10:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Horse N. Buggy

So, was it just me that thought it was strange that a carnival would travel all the way to Japan? I know it's a carnival of "special" people, but still, that would take a LOT of planning. How did they get all the rides and booths over there? I may be assuming too much, but it seems like people with abilities would travel with a carnival to keep it on the DL. But taking your carnival overseas seems like it would do just the opposite. Or maybe they have a different carnival troupe located on each continent? Am I over thinking this?

September 24 2009 at 4:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Greg

They said they were playing Guitar Hero 3, but it was actually GH5.

September 22 2009 at 9:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Greg's comment
driftwood

I did think it was odd that they named Guitar Hero 3 when Guitar Hero 5 was just released.

September 22 2009 at 10:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Darnell

I like how they're in Japan, but there are Sprint ads all around the place, which makes no sense. And if that's the only thing I could remember about the show, then it's a pretty bad show.

September 22 2009 at 6:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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