Heroes Back on Track

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


mojo-photo-heroes1106.jpgIt’s been a rough couple weeks for the “little X-Men that could,” as NBC’s breakout hit from last season seemed to wilt under the pressure of being, well, NBC’s only breakout hit from last season. The first episodes so far this season have been both confusing and kind of dull, with our heroes scattered around the world (and throughout time), one of them even affected with amnesia in, well, a place people are often affected with amnesia, actually: a bar in Ireland. I’d come close to giving up on the show, to be honest, but a scene two weeks ago hinted at intriguing directions to come: a new villain, Maury, the father of Matt the mind-reading policeman, emerged with the ability to trap you in a literal nightmare, oblivious to the outside world. The two nightmare scenes had a minimal beauty and elemental terror, hinting at how the show has often achieved surprising, unique moments.

This week, the tangled plot lines seemed to finally come into focus, and suddenly, in retrospect, the long buildup seems like an envelope-pushing experiment rather than aimless wandering. The show was at its best last season when it hinted at the apocalyptic future that might have been (if the heroes hadn’t done their job right); last night’s episode finally revealed this season’s “what if,” a threat even scarier than that New York bomb: a virus (“Shanti”) that will apparently kill “93%” of the world’s population. The scenes of an abandoned New York City, refugees marching through a containment center, echoed last year’s great Children of Men, again showing how Heroes often aims way above typical TV.

Nightmare guy showed up again too, giving Matt a chance to shine in a great scene that was weighty with symbolism: father and son both attempting to trap each other permanently in a nightmare comprised of their apartment on the day dad abandoned his family. Ulp. Think of all the money you’d save on therapy if you could do that!

Non-mutant non-superhero researcher Suresh has always been a kind of annoying character, almost willfully blinded by his search for scientific truth, colluding with baddies as if he could stay above it all. This episode, he finally admitted as much, in a refreshing bit of honesty that also felt a little like giving the viewers a voice (as the show’s sometime narrator): he reveals to the Company that he’s been working against them, and that he’s not sure who’s right and who’s wrong any more. Tell me about it! Self-healing cheerleader Claire’s dad was such a creepy baddie for so long last season it was really tough to adjust to him being a daughter-protecting, family-loving good guy; but last night, he too seemed to reemerge as a compromised character.

Next week, the previews promised, our questions will be answered, and thank Shanti for that. Has (apparently immortal) Brit baddie Adam really been harboring his grudge against Hiro for, like, a thousand years? How did Peter survive the supposedly involuntary blowing-up in the sky at the end of last season? And can we have some more naked hose-down shots of Peter, by the way? Speaking of gayitude, that’s one area the show continues to disappoint: like Star Trek, its plot seems designed for maximum diversity, with characters of every conceivable ethnic background, and multiple mixed-race romantic couples. The whole point is the heroes are everybody, the heroes are us. Like usual, though, apparently no homos can be heroes, or even friends with heroes. In a show that does so much right, it’s an inexcusable oversight. Plus how awesome would it be if one of the Petrellis was queer?

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate