This week's episode, "Villains," was chock-full of ... well, it was supposed to be meaningful information. Through the portal of Hiro's "spirit walk" through Flashback Town, we learned that:
Mister Petrelli is and has been the Big Bad: Not only was Arthur in league with Linderman as part of the original group of Heroes, but apparently Linderman was little more than a crony for Mr. P. It was Arthur who masterminded the attempt on Nathan's second wife's life in Season 1; it was Arthur who pushed for the destruction of New York City that same year; and it was Arthur who apparently created the take-no-prisoners persona we've seen in Angela, as he mentally subjugated her until she was freed by Linderman.
Elle and Sylar weren't always crazy: Despite being established as batsh-t crazy over the course of the series, this episode we were taught that really, both were well-meaning kids before each was undone, Gabriel by “The Hunger,” and a misguided crush on her, and Elle by the realization that Primatech was bad people.
Claire has yet another super-powered relative: For reasons yet unknown, a fair portion of the episode focused on her biological mom, Meredith, and her brother ... Flint. She's quickly established as the brains of the outfit, and is recruited by Primatech agent Thompson -- E-ROB ON THE JOB! -- for a spot on the team, while Flint is incarcerated in Level 5 with promises of training of his own. Eventually, Meredith breaks them both loose, yet Thompson, previously established as an amoral Primatech loyalist, lets her escape after learning Meredith has no idea Claire is still alive.
Usutu can't escape his own destiny: More on that in a bit.
Coming off the election week hiatus, "Villains" was probably meant to be equal parts palate-cleanser, fun semi-annual time-travel story, and set-up for future story arcs. Instead, it came off as the flattest of the series' temporal adventures, and undermined several existing characters in the name of “providing depth.” Sylar as a hurt geek? Elle as a disillusioned nutcase? Linderman as a conflicted soul? Sometimes, bad guys need to be bad, period. The stink of sentimentality (toward white characters, anyway) continues to grow on this show, and at a time when it can ill afford to alienate more viewers.
The Racialicious Scorecard: Usutu: So, his purpose was to point Hiro back toward a primary storyline before serving as yet another example of Mr. Petrelli's EEEEEVILness. At least the writers were kind enough to let Hiro name-check Usutu before we saw the corpse.
Hiro + Ando: Not much to do but hit the Happy Paste. Will Ando be able to stop Arthur from deep-frying Hiro's brain?
The Haitian: Shows up at Mrs. Petrelli's request to neutralize Arthur, thus establishing not only his service to the Company, but his potential as one of the few metahumans who could stand up to Il Capo Di Capos.
MIA: Practically everybody else, though we see Suresh during his cab-driving, non-arachnid days.
Next Week: The forecast calls for an eclipse. What will happen? Who packed their suntan lotion?
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.