Heroes episode review/recap “The Second Coming” and “The Butterfly Effect”

The first hour of Heroes‘ third season premiere reintroduced us to familiar faces in new situations. Rather than doing a blow-by-blow, I thought it’d be simpler to follow the individual character threads.

We start of with a femme fatale brunette Claire Bennet pointing a gun at the scarred face of FuturePeter Petrelli. He stops time and jumps to the present day, where we left off last season at his brother Nathan‘s press conference. Before Nathan can disclose his ability to fly to the world, FuturePeter fatally shoots him and runs away. He runs into PresentPeter and somehow makes PresentPeter disappear and changes his appearance to hide the scar. FuturePeter is pretending to be PresentPeter. Got that? Then, Nathan suddenly comes back from the dead in his hospital bed. His experience has turned him into a religious man with a new campaign slogan: “Save ourselves, save the world.” But it wasn’t God that saved Nathan’s life, it was the healer Mr. Linderman (an always welcome Malcolm McDowell) seemingly back and looking to inspire Nathan to further political heights. It is also revealed that Mama Petrelli has the power of prophetic dreams. We see a particularly nasty one where Hiro, Peter, Matt, and possibly more (I don’t have a copy of the episode, so no rewatches for me yet) are dead at the hands of Niki Sanders/Tracy Strauss (more on that later,) the immortal Adam Monroe, Sylar and two as yet unidentified bad guys.

In his New York studio, Mohinder begins working on a formula inspired by Maya’s pleas for a cure to her deadly crying power. Once again, Mohinder exists to mess around with plot points. But things get a little more interesting when he injects himself with superpowers and becomes a changed man. He uses his strength to beat up some muggers and do his best Jeff-Goldblum-in-The Fly impersonation before getting horizontal on a lab table with a disbelieving Maya. I’ll give Mohinder this: he looks pretty good shirtless. TV scientists obviously have a membership to Crunch.

In Tokyo, Hiro Nakamura is feeling existential after saving the world twice only to end up owning 51% of his deceased father’s company, a fleet of private jets, and a lot of money. He still wants a special destiny. As fate would have it, a lawyer delivers a DVD bequeathed to Hiro upon the event of his father’s death. Any appearance by George Takei is a welcome one in my book. Mr. Nakamura tells his son that he must guard one half of a formula hidden in a safe that must never be opened. If the formula gets in the wrong hands, the world will be destroyed. Naturally Hiro and his best friend Ando open the safe. And then the formula ends up in the wrong hands. A super-fast blond girl zooms into the room and swipe the slip of paper from Hiro, seemingly immune to his time-stopping abilities. It’s a cute meeting and I wonder if Hiro might end up wth someone more interesting than the generic princess from last season. But Hiro’s got bigger things on his mind: he jumps to the future and sees an apparently superpowered Ando killing FutureHiro over something. And then Tokyo explodes. Hiro jumps back to the present feeling very wary of his best friend, who of course, cannot believe he’d ever kill Hiro over anything. They also learn that the speedy thief is a woman living in Paris named Daphne Millbrook. They jump to her apartment to retrieve the formula but don’t get it. Funny Catwoman/Batman dialogue ensues. Even though Hiro is still worried about Ando’s future as a potential villain, the pair tracks Daphne to Berlin.

In California, a present day, less vampy Claire Bennet and Mr. Muggles get a visit from Sylar who is looking to gain Claire’s ability to heal. After a cool Halloween homage with Claire trapped in a closet, Sylar eventually dissects her brain and figures out how to heal himself. (He doesn’t eat brains! “That’s disgusting,” he says.) He creepily tells Claire that he knows more about herself than she does and that she can never die. He leaves and Claire is left without the ability to feel any pain. This is a bad thing to her, as pain reminded her that she was still human. Also painful is the fact that Sylar is nearly unstoppable and has stolen her father Noah’s files about the super-powered criminals locked away in The Company‘s Level 5 maximum security prison. Also hiding away in the Odessa, Texas basement is Noah. And a young Vin Diesel lookalike claiming to be the PresentPeter Petrelli. FuturePeter hid his past self within the incarcerated body of Jesse Murphy in order to keep him out of harm’s way. But with Sylar on the way to do some gift shopping, PresentPeter is in grave danger.

And in Washington, D.C., a woman who looks exactly like Niki Sanders named Tracy Strauss is sleeping with a governor who wants to make the miraculously recovered Nathan Petrelli the Junior Senator of the State of New York. A reporter is following her, telling her he knows about her secret past as a stripper in Vegas. Tracy has no idea what he is talking about. She visits Nathan who definitely remembers his last meeting with Niki.

If this seems like a lot of information, that’s exactly what the first hour and half of Heroes was. I didn’t really get into the episode until the last half hour. Finally, we got a scene with Noah, aka H.R.G.. I’d been waiting nine months for this. Lightening-powered Elle Bishop finds out that Sylar has infiltrated The Company and murdered her father. She high-tails it to Level 5 with a gun to give to the bespectacled badass. Then Sylar appears and tries to kill her, too. But she releases a burst of lightening and manages to knock Sylar out. She also knocks out the electrical grid and all of the hyped-up villains of Level 5 make their escape. For a brief moment Veronica and Weevil are reunited, but PresentPeter must run with the others. The others being an assortment of really messed up men with the power to manipulate metal, create blue flame, thrive on fear, and more. You can read more about these guys here. Tracy is accosted by the nosy journalist again, who now wants to blackmail her (well, Niki) for sleeping with her new boss Nathan. She freaks out and turns The Greatest American Hero into ice! That was not one of Niki’s powers! Meanwhile, dopey cop Matt wakes up in Africa and meets a quippy local. A painting of the world torn apart appears on a rock. The painting made an appearance on a wall in New York, too. Also in New York, Mohinder wakes up from his wild night and continues his Seth Brundle impersonation — pieces of his skin is breaking down. So much for looking good shirtless. Claire reunites with her dad, who is determined to find and collect all of the escaped villains. She wants to go with him but he leaves her in the care of her pyrotechnic biological mom. Linderman is not quite back from the dead afterall; only Nathan can see him. FuturePeter feels responsible for Sylar’s latest antics as well as his role in changing the shape of the future for the worst and decides to stick around to make things right. Speaking of Sylar, Mama Petrelli is now the head of The Company. She fires Elle and tells the captured Sylar a secret: he is her son. The end.

How do other people feel about last night’s episode and what it sets up for the new season? I’m definitely excited to meet the Level 5 escapees and watch the relationship between Hiro and Ando change. And I suppose I should be grateful that the boringness of Mohinder and Maya are now combined instead of stinking up the show separately. I can’t say I’m thrilled about having two whiny Peter Petrellis this year, though. One was too much for me! But I’ll be watching next week just the same. As a TV addict, I continue to feed my habit even when I know it’s not exactly good for me. There are too many burning questions. Will Ando go evil? Is Sylar really related to Peter and Nathan? Does Tracy exist solely to provide an opportunity for the show to continue having Ali Larter model lingerie? Is Heroes back with a vengeance?

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