The Story So Far: This followed immediately after the previous episode, so maybe they’ll take the opportunity to give Nathan’s death a little more gravity. I have my doubts, but here goes.
Afterthoughts: So, let me get this straight. Bennet and Lauren interrogate Ray “Darth Maul” Park, Peter and Claire bond creepily at Nathan’s wake and try to play ‘Superhero’ and Sylar visits Samuel… and is told that Claire is his future?
Yes, it is as bad as it sounds. To no one’s surprise, all three subplots do nothing to further the storyline, nor bring anything new to the characters. What a waste of time.
Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman) has consistently been one of the most arresting (pun intended) characters in this series, so it’s a pity that the writers don’t seem to have much for him this time around except be all angsty. He demonstrates that monochromatic quality best in this episode, which sees him resort to torture in order to interrogate the speedster Edgar (Ray Park) and finding ways to defeat the Carnival. Naturally, he comes into conflict with love interest Lauren (Elisabeth Röhm), who prefers the carrot to the stick, suggesting instead that Edgar help them get the advantage over Samuel (Robert Knepper). The good cop-bad cop routine is so contrived and predictable that I actually cheered when Edgar changes his mind at the last minute, deciding taking Samuel down is not worth risking the rest of his adopted family, only to realise soon after that I’d just wasted my time on a subplot that went nowhere.
But that doesn’t come close to the creepiness of seeing Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) and Claire (Hayden Panettiere) bond over sucky parents at, of all places, Nathan’s wake. It’s especially creepy because 1) the characters are essentially uncle and niece, and 2) both actors dated for almost 2 years, but parted amicably in early 2009. There’s so much subtext and tension between the two that it totally overshadows the weak subplot about Peter’s grief pushing him to suicidal heroic tendencies – which has already been flogged in the first half of the season.
Perhaps what little redemption this episode possessed lies with the interactions between Samuel and Sylar (Zachary Quinto). One of the things I really wanted was for Sylar (now in full possession of body and mind) to meet Samuel and have the two villains have a power struggle. They gave us that in a pretty decent showdown. Sylar pins Samuel to a trailer wall, but cannot lay the killing blow. Instead, Samuel retaliates with a sand dervish that rips out half of Sylar’s flesh, leaving him unconscious. That naturally establishes Samuel as THE bad guy, since he beat the original villain convincingly. Good on the creative team for finally doing something right. Unfortunately, this means Sylar goes back to his lone wolf trail, which means more weak subplots while they figure out what to do with the most talented actor in their cast.
I honestly fear what the rest of this season is going to be like, if NBC actually thought they could come back from their holiday break with this lack of quality. Only time will tell.
Blade Grade: D