By simply following up on last season, rather than ignoring it, Heroes kicked off its' third year in a lot better shape. As ever, the world's Going To Be Destroyed, but unlike last year, every one of the main characters is going somewhere with their storyline.
Last volume's cliffhanger is answered within seconds, as we learn a future iteration of Peter Petrelli was responsible for shooting his brother Nathan before he could reveal the Specials' existence to the world. After disposing of Present-Day Peter and Parkman, Future Peter later heals Nathan, who instead credits the Almighty for the save, despite the fact that Peter saved him last year. Well, the Petrelli boys were never known for their super-intellect, so that's consistent.
Case in point: Future Pete's save, according to the ever-EEEEVIL Mama Petrelli, leads to Sylar assaulting Claire Benett at home and stealing both her ability and a dossier of the baddest of the bad, imprisoned in the eponymous Company's “Level 5.” We learn Future Pete somehow imprisoned Our Peter in the body of super-criminal Jesse Murphy. Jesse/Peter is last seen rolling with three murderous escapees after an attack on Level 5 by Sylar. For his trouble, Sylar appears to be the newest recruit to the Company, now headed by Mama P, and slated to partner with the understandably terrified Mr. Benett.
Meanwhile, in Japan, Hiro is shaken out of his corporate doldrums – Nakamura-sama gave him 51 percent of the family business, so Hiro really is Bruce Wayne now – by the theft of a super-secret formula his father says could endanger the world. He's also shaken after a visit to the future shows him he gets struck down by sidekick Ando – now sporting superpowers of his own. The revelation strains the would-be Dynamic Duo's relationship immediately, even as they trail super-fast thief Daphne Millbrook (Brea Grant, bratty without being annoying).
How could Ando get powers? The answer may lie with Suresh; he finds a way to trigger them via injection. Of course, he's his own test subject, gaining Peter Parker's powers, and using them to immediately bed Maya, but apparently mutating because of them. I guess The Fly never made it to India.
Back in the hospital, Nathan accepts more responsibilities, choosing to accept a Senatorial seat offered to him by NY Governor Malden (Bruce Boxleitner). As part of the deal, though, he takes Malden's advisor, Tracy Strauss – yet another personality unlocked by the woman we know as Niki Sanders. Tracy has no memories of Niki, but has her own ability, which she uses to put a too-roving reporter (welcome back, William Katt) literally on ice.
In the midst of all this, a new, ominous painting begins to appear: the world being split in two by the series' signature Helix. Parkman sees it on a rock after being exiled to Africa; the image is seen on a wall behind Suresh after he gains his powers. And a mysterious figure (Ntare Mwine) says it's not happening like he painted it. Hmmm ...
All in all, a welcome return for the series, harkening back to the dynamite first season. Can we get the writers to strike more?
The Racialicious Scorecard: Hiro & Ando: Their relationship and its' potential crumbling could decide the latest volume, if not the season. We'll know within 13 episodes, I guess. But Hiro's via-DVD interplay with his late father was golden. Maya & Mohinder: Both give in. Maya initially stands up to Mohinder, arguing that a super-powered steroid would be too dangerous. However, he gives in to the want of power, and Maya ends up giving in to him. You'd think after the Sylar episode she'd be wary, right? Ah well, somebody had to provide the slashfic. D.L.: Still dead. The guy wasn't even named in the semi-obnoxious countdown special preceding the premiere. That's just cold. Micah & Monica: No mention of them in the first two episodes, either. But, Micah was name-checked on the special, so we should probably expect to see them at some point. Jesse Murphy: This prison escapee currently houses housing the consciousness of present-day Peter Petrelli. He looks like a Latino gangbanger, but is actually played by Italian-American actor Francis Capra. Knox: Part of the escapee group with Jesse. No power displays yet, but Mr. Benett tells Claire he takes strength from other peoples' fear. So, he's a Republican? Usutu: Mentions a “spirit walk” for Parkman while leading him out of the African desert, which bears watching. Also hints at having abilities similar to the late Isaac Mendez's.
Besides writing my thoughts and reviews here, I'm a Special Correspondent for Racialicious.com and the co-creator and co-host of Hour 42, a podcast covering superheroes -- in the air, on the air and all around us.
I'm not a good person. I'm the guy who whistled "Always Look On The Bright Side" during Passion Of The Christ. I've gone to SCA battles and yelled, "WHAT'S IN YOUR WALLET?!" You can say it, it's okay: Smart-ass. Jerk. Bigmouth. This is where I share my take on ... well, basically everything. But especially the geeky stuff in life.