Welcome Back, Sylar: The Racialicious Review of Heroes 3.12

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García, also Posted At The Instant Callback

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

    Welcome Back, Sylar

(To be sung to the theme from Welcome Back Kotter)
Welcome back,
Your powers were your ticket out

Welcome back,
You slicing heads was all we cared about

Well your hair has changed since you last swung around
But now Sylar’s back and Elle’s in the ground

The Petrellis said they’d breed ya (when they just need ya)
Noah didn’t keed ya (even if he did beat ya)

Yeah we tease him a lot ’cause he’d kill us if not, welcome back,
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back …

Despite being called “Our Father,” this week’s episode was about the current generation of meta-humans – the actual, the adopted, the altered and the alleged, culminating in a bloodletting at Pinehearst.

Running through the middle of things, pulsating like a morbid bass groove, was the exceedingly apparent return of Sylar, as writers Adam Armus and Kay Foster took great pains to show us that the Sy of old was Doing Bad Things in the midst of his quest to figure out if he really was the third Petrelli brother. Oh, and that apparently He Scares Asians. I’m surprised nobody went for the Gabezilla joke.

While Sylar was moving forward in his quest, Hiro and Claire went back – 16 years back. In an egregious violation of Gallifreyan regulations, they both met their younger selves (Claire an infant, Hiro an “irresponsible” 10-year-old) and reconnected with their parents while solving the mystery of the Catalyst.

For Hiro, the answer comes sealed with a kiss. We meet his mother, Ishi (Tamlyn Tomita), a healer and the carrier of the Catalyst — a literal bundle of light, which she bequeaths upon her son while restoring his mind – at the cost of her own life. And for all the series’ increased reliance on the Benetrelli saga, the scenes with the Nakamura family, thankfully, sang. From Kaito’s frustration with the young Hiro to present-day Hiro’s joy at rediscovering Ishi to her own belief in her son, the sequence displayed the kind of heart you remember from the series’ increasingly-distant first year.

Claire-Bear also got some quality time with the younger versions of her parents, seeing how overwhelmed Sandra was by being a new mother, and getting a taste of the budding fury of the younger Noah. But because he’s still NRG rather than HRG, Noah is still able to be convinced by Claire to not take the call that would lead to her getting injected with the Catalyst. For some reason, though, she apparently gets irked when the fully-restored Hiro tells her he took the magic bullet, instead.

This revelation is undercut, however, by Arthur, who appears from out of nowhere to strip Hiro of both the Catalyst and his powers, while sending Claire somewhere to tell his wife, “It’s over.” While we wonder if Claire is now in line for her own spirit walk, Hiro is left, literally, hanging off the side of a building.

But we soon find out Arthur’s antics might just have been a last hurrah. Even as he’s traveling time, he’s allowing himself to be turfed out by Tracy and Nathan, who assumes command of Pinehearst, and the company’s plan to create a group of Super-Marines (the argument for this ridiculous exercise goes something like this: “War Guilt War Guilt War Guilt Hajis War Guilt War Guilt. Oh, and Hajis.”) And as Arthur loses his grip on his company, he gains something else during a botched assasination attempt by Peter and The Haitian. In the ensuing showdown, Sylar, buoyed by some handy new lie-detection powers, finally confirms that he is not a Petrelli and hurls a bullet at point-blank range into Arthur’s head. Interestingly, though, Arthur’s death does not seem to restore Peter’s abilities, as Sylar dismisses him.

Thanks primarily to the Nakamura storyline, this episode is a strong rebound from the underwhelming “Eclipse” saga, and if Arthur is indeed out of play, the reshuffling at the top of the deck could lead somewhere good. We can only hope.

The Racialicious Scorecard:
The Nakamura Family: Perhaps the best outing yet for Masi Oka as an actor in the series, as Hiro’s emotional reunion with Ishi was a hell of a moment, notwithstanding the Magic McGuffin nature of the Catalyst. Interesting to note that Ishi is just as optimistic as Angela Petrelli about her offspring, but lacking the killer instinct. Was this because of her illness? Her power? A deliberate exercise in contrast? And where was Kimiko while all this was going on?

Ando: New team-up! This week Ando helped Daphne and Parkman find the missing 9th Wonders sketchbook, where they see Hiro’s trapped in the timeline. When Daphne points out that Arthur’s trip back was likely thanks to another time-traveller, Ando wonders if it’s supposed to be him. What if he’s wrong?

Mohinder: Seemed stuck in Mad Scientist mode this go-round, as he shuffled about and watched Arthur inject the stolen Catalyst into the Meta-Juice without even asking what it was, then injected the test subject. But something tells me the Ultramarine Corps will spur Mo into action, and not in a good way.

The Haitian: His scenes with Peter hewed close to Mystic Negro territory — “I know you”? How long did these guys actually hang out before the Petrelli boys’ vacation to Haiti? How does Peter just order the dude to go after Sylar? And by now, seeing people just call him “The Haitian” to his face is damn uncomfortable. Or is this all supposed to build motivation for an eventual turn to the, uh, pardon the term, dark side?

Knox: We saw him standing in a Pinehearst hallway with Flint, glowering at power couple Nathan and Tracy. Is a coup building? And how long ’til we get the Flint/Tracy Fire v. Ice showdown?

Nakamura and Mohinder images courtesy of Greg Beeman
All other images & character bios courtesy of HeroesWiki
Previously: Racialicious Heroes Archive

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

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