The Story So Far: Okay, so when Heroes Season 4 took its holiday hiatus, there wasn’t really much to build up to. In fact, despite the medium sized payoff of the really slow plot in episode 11, episode 12 went on to majorly mire it in the same depressive doldrums that plagued the rest of the season. Despite all that, let me state my stand that Season 4 has otherwise been the only really worthy successor to the hype that Season 1 deserved. Samuel is a fantastic antagonist, at once sympathetic, at once manipulative, and it is precisely this dual nature, coupled with his unique and potentially limitless power, that pushes the plot forward. Despite my comparisons to Season 1, however, it is ironic that instead of mandating that all the ‘good guys’ team up to combat the significant villain, a la Sylar in Kirby Plaza, our epynomous heroes are a ragtag, leaderless group, hardly organised, hardly significant in some cases (see: Parkman, Matt and Suresh, Mohinder). Let’s hope this episode manages to salvage some direction and fast.
Afterthoughts: I suppose my expectations were too high, so naturally my disappointment will show in this review. There were good parts, of course. I loved the development of Emma’s character, finally revealing her power as a siren and naturally making her decision to join Samuel a potentially intense move. I must admit I’ve been a great fan of Deanna Bray’s work thus far. Her talent and ability to emote and express really tugs at the emotional heartstrings, proving that being deaf is no disability at all. The other part I enjoyed was the introduction of Ian Michaels, the plant man. Due to the Biblical origins of the episode’s title “Upon This Rock” (a phrase which has personal significance to me, naturally) I consequently linked the creation of Samuel’s homeland to the Genesis story of creation, and it was a treat to see actor Adam Lazarre-White’s look of proud accomplishment as he gazes at the miracle his character Michaels performed. It’s small touches like these that really make an episode stand out.
Unfortunately, in all other aspects, the episode failed to deliver. Claire’s storyline revolving around her need to figure out Samuel’s true agenda got bogged down by shot after shot of her being stalked by multiple-man Eli. He’s creepy, she’s in danger, we get it. Worse still, because of Claire’s almost immortality, there is no way the audience can feel even a hint of concern for the former cheerleader.
My other gripe was that pacing once again became an issue that continues to plague this series. The first 20 minutes was WAY TOO SLOW. I found myself looking for things to do while I waited for the plot to plod along. In contrast, the funeral scene of Nathan Petrelli came so late in the episode and was so rushed that all the emotional investment as a result of his awkward, but sentimental death was squandered without a suitable payoff. What a pity. Adrian Pasdar deserved so much better.
In closing, this episode could be best summed up by using the Hiro plot as a parallel. It started out promising, with lots of references thrown in to please a niche audience, but novelty soon turned into a drag as a little plot device was stretched unnecessarily to fill up a whole episode’s time. A pity, really, there’s so much potential in each character for an engaging plot, but the writers have obviously lost their inspiration or are simply plain lazy to develop these beloved roles any further.
Blade Grade: C+