By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García, also posted to The Instant Callback
*Warning: Spoilers Ahead*
… Well, at least Volume IV looks promising. Sort of.
You could almost see the hands of writer Jeph Loeb moving everyone around in “Dual,” frantically tying up the loose plot threads of this latest arc, as the decks get cleared for a new status quo when “Fugitives” kicks off in a couple of months.
But the road to get there, creatively and critically, has decidedly been full of lows. And this episode was barely an exception. At the end of the day, Tim Kring’s precious Benetrellis are still standing, though in houses divided, although their respective houses of science, Primatech and Pinehearst are not. And the false family member, Sylar, once again falls hard.
Taking his place, for now, as the Big Bad black sheep is Nathan, who completes the shift from conflicted good guy to conniving bad guy even as his plan to create a meta-human army is foiled by not only his brother, but former employees Knox and Flint. As Pinehearst is about to explode, Peter shoots himself up with Mohinder’s formula in order to save Nathan, a favor Nate rejects, telling Pete, “I wouldn’t have done the same” before zooming back to Washington. Well, okay then.
Over at Primatech, Sylar further re-establishes his dark side, playing an unconvincing game of
Saw cat-and-mouse with Noah, Claire, Angela and Meredith. Unfortunately for him (and us as viewers), Sy gives in to his inner Bond villain and threatens to monologue everybody to death before Claire puts him down with a well-timed shank.
As dull as the protracted battle was, though, the confrontation between Sylar and Angela, where she finally revealed her ability (persuasion) and her relation to Gabriel (none), did generate a sense of tension before they were rudely interrupted. But I wouldn’t bet on Sylar’s quest for the truth coming to an end just yet.
Hiro’s quest – to destroy the formula that started this mess of a half-season in the first place – came to a happy ending, thanks in large part to Ando’s newfound super powers. Though that keeps Hiro’s original vision of the two coming to blows in play, as we leave them, things seemed pleasant between not only them, but the happy couple of Daphne and Matt. And watching over them, for no apparent damn reason, was Usutu.
And that was that. Just that flat, just that pat. The housecleaning viewers had been clamoring for happened, alright – but all the characters picked off were ineffectual. C’mon, Meredith? Puppet Master guy? Metal Arm guy? Once again we’re back to the core players – only this time, in “a new direction.” Everything has changed, but not really. For a series that once proclaimed it was defying comic book tropes, the creators sure seem to keep relying on them. Can they afford to do that as the show’s ratings continue to slide?
At this point, “Fugitives,” the next story arc, might be the series’ last hope for retaining relevancy – and more importantly, viewers. The set-up this time has Nathan finally using his political connections, to hand in the rest of the Heroes over to President
Palmer WORF. From here, an ominous voice-over explains, the gang “will need each other.” Cue the Guantanamo references!
Hey, wait a second. Super-powered people on the run from a world that fears them? Hmm … why does that sound familiar? Nevermind. One hopes, at least, that banding the Heroes together in adversity will lead to a better-organized set of stories in the next volume. It could work.
The Racialicious Scorecard:
Hiro &; Ando: Reunited, and it feels so good? Ando was indeed the key to bringing Hiro back from the early ’90s and destroying the formula. Funny thing, though: Ando’s powers make him the ultimate sidekick – no powers on his own, but he can charge up anybody else’s skills. Can we dub him The Ornament? Not a strong outing for Hiro otherwise, but – and not that this series doesn’t have enough problems re: violence against women – his at least saying “excuse me” before belting Tracy was good for a laugh.
Mohinder: Daphne stole the formula from him before he could cure his condition; Flint, Knox and Peter trashed his lab and beat him up; he lucked into a cure when he got slimed with the Catalyst; and he got stuck wandering home after everybody else left. Oh well, at least Tracy picked him up. Nowhere to go but up, right, Mo?
Knox: Alas, poor Benjamin, we hardly knew ye or your flaring nostrils. Just as he was making his move and taking on Nathan, Tracy puts the literal deep freeze on him. Really, did he accomplish anything?
Echo DeMille: The unnamed third Level 5 inmate Noah freed in this episode was a character in a couple of webisodes and comic-book supplements to the series. So if you followed that media and liked the character, congratulations: all that character development went toward making your guy a footnote. Way to reward the fans, Mr. Kring.
Usutu: Truly, a moment for the Magic Negro pantheon. Dude’s ghost just appears out of nowhere at Matt’s victory party and doesn’t say a word? Is Matt’s spirit walk over? Has it “only begun”? Why not have the guy offer up one of these?
The Haitian: Normally we’d file him as MIA, but this was so egregious it deserved its’ own entry. Last we saw of the guy, he was sent by Peter to tail Sylar. Not only did we not get a resolution to that chase, but the Haitian didn’t appear at all, despite the chase leading back to his home base. What a suitably lazy note for the writers to close this chapter on.