'Heroes' recap: Characters make progress on a show that refuses to | EW.com

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'Heroes' recap: Characters make progress on a show that refuses to

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heroes-ali-larter_dlWe’re gonna do something a little different with this week’s Heroes recap. Sure, I could blow on for hundreds and hundreds of words about what worked in “Acceptance” and what didn’t. Instead, I’ll pick out a couple of noteworthy threads, and end with a “bold” prediction.

WHAT WORKED

An overall sense of cohesiveness. “Acceptance” was about four characters who did just that – came to grips with who they are, and what they’re here to do: Noah, Hiro, Nathan, and Tracy. I particularly liked Noah’s aimlessness as he sat for a career-counseling session with Claire. Episode writer Bryan Fuller has always had some insight into this company man, and he brought out the futility of Noah Bennet – he devoted his life to his job, and without the job, there’s no life.

The Swoosie Kurtz gambit. Nathan visits Millie, the mother of the girl Nathan accidentally killed in a pool mishap (which was then covered up by Angela Petrelli), and confesses to the deed. While at a cordial dinner with Angela, Millie exacts her own revenge: She hired a thug to grab Nathan in a parking garage, drive him out to the boonies, and shoot him in a shallow grave. And all the while, Millie is as still and cool as a mountain lake. Nice to see another actress of a certain age who can bring the creepy.

WHAT DIDN’T

Hiro’s time loops. Isn’t this a guy who knows he’s going to die because of all the temporal jaunts he takes? So what does he do? Travel into the past dozens of times to save one suicidal wage slave who got fired for photocopying his butt. I get that it’s the sheer monotony/inevitability of it that teaches Hiro his lesson – but why didn’t Hiro just grab him from the ledge of the building he was gonna jump from? It got Hiro to an interesting place – willing to open up to his sister about his superpowers – but I wish it hadn’t been so rudimentarily frustrating. (Plus, shouldn’t his continued pollution of the timeline have some significant ramifications at some point? Heroes used to make a lot more of the butterfly effect…now it pretends as if it doesn’t exist.)

THE “BOLD” PREDICTION

Slowly but surely, the story will force all the characters into an inevitable confrontation with the Samuel the Earthmover-Inkbender and Sylar the Shapeshifter. Not that bold, actually: Does anyone really think that something different will happen? I wish I could see something else on the horizon, but that’s just the Heroes m.o., and I don’t think Tim Kring has another card in his deck. Every season has been about building the team to defeat the threat, and during every hiatus, that team is mysteriously dismantled. Doesn’t he realize that one of the great joys of group comic books like The X-Men, The Avengers, and Justice League of America comes with watching what that team does after they’re together?

There is no second act to this story – without one, Heroes will always feel like it’s spinning its wheels.

Still, this was an improvement over last week’s episode. Even though the reappearance of the Sylar body was the only real plot progression, the time spent with the characters was well handled. What’d you think? Are we on the right path, or still floundering? And I never thought in a million years I’d be asking this, but where’s Mohinder?

Image Credit: Jusin Lubin/NBC

Originally posted October 6 2009 — 12:01 AM EDT

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