Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Heroes Season 4 Premiere: Metaphysics, University, and Carnival

Heroes returned for Season 4 last night, with a two-hour premiere that was less apocalyptic than usual, and therefore I actually found more enjoyable. For the first time I can recall with Heroes, I was able to sit down and relax with it. In part this was because of the story lines, in part this was because the heroes are almost becoming old friends that we haven't seen in a few months, and it was good to see again.

Among the highlights, Sylar killed Nathan at the end of Season 3 and shape shifted into Nathan, but Angela got Matt Parkman to make Sylar in Nathan's body think he (Sylar) is really Nathan. But Parkman learns he has a price to pay - Sylar's persona is now inhabiting part of Parkman's head, and he comes out to advise and needle Parkman and otherwise make life difficult for him. We've of course seen this set-up before with Baltar and Six on Battlestar Galactica, and even with House and Amber, but Zachary Quinto did a good job of it anyway as Parkman's internal nemesis.

Over in Tokyo, we do get some bad news - Hiro is dying - but, as always, nothing is necessarily permanent with time travel. I've got to admit that I'm always in the mood for a time travel story, and Heroes has done well with such threads over the years. Hiro at first vows he'll never again try to change the past - he realizes, in prime metaphysician form, that it's too dangerous (and he's right) - but he goes back more than a decade into the past anyway, and does a good deed for Ando's love life. He accidentally stops Ando from spilling a slushy all on Kimiko (Hiro's sister), which open the door to their falling in love. The takeaway for Hiro: he now knows he can change the past for the better, and he'll use his powers to correct his own mistakes in the past, the punishing metaphysics of time travel notwithstanding.

Apropos such high falutin' terminology like metaphysics, Claire's a freshman in college now, and so is Gretchen (new to Heroes, played by Madeline Zima from Californication, which will also be back on Showtime this Sunday). HRG's turning into about as good a guy we've so far seen, and he's creating an alliance with Tracy.

At the other side of the spectrum from university life, there are a new group of possible villains led by Samuel, centered around a carnival. Too soon to tell yet what they're really up to, but like most else in this premiere they were refreshing to see.

I'll keep you letting you know how it all works out.

8-min podcast review of Heroes

See also reviews of Season 3 Heroes Gets Lost ... Heroes 3 Begins: Best Yet, Riddled with Time Travel and Paradox ... Sylar's Redemption and other Heroes and Villains Mergers ... Costa Nuclear ... Hearts of Gold and the Debased ... Seeing the Future Trumps Time Travel ... Superpowered Chess with Shifting Pieces ... Villains and Backstories ... The Redemption of Sylar ... Thoughts on the Eclipse, Part I ... The Lore of the Comic Book Store ... Hiro's Time Traveling Closure ... Augmented ... Shades of Recalibration ... Baby, Rebel, and Last Fantasy ... All that Shape Changes Remains the Same? ... Season 3 Finale: Hopeful Deceptions

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