Season 3 Episode 6

Dying of the Light

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Oct 20, 2008 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (36)

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  • Good, but not enough to boost Heroes back

    Well, not too long ago I was certain people would be coming back to Heroes. While there were still plenty of flaws, it was a lot more entertaining than last season. Apparently I'm the only non-fanboy who felt this way, as the show seems to be teetering towards ruin, which is unfortunate. People are far less forgiving of the flaws that have always been there and ignoring some decent entertainment. The show is at a serious crossroads, and this episode isn't enough to push it towards the better side.

    One act of course correction is welcome. The danger with writing these reviews as they air is that sometimes a plot or development that seems stupid or inaccurate at the time redeems itself later. Here it turns out Hiro stabbing Ando was all orchestrated by freezing time and getting a dummy sword and blood. While it may be a cheap means of garnering shock (which is really the fault of the last episode), it helps negate what was a ludicrous and unearned character turn.

    It obviously works on Knox and Daphne, who send him to Africa to pick up Usutu (who since his name hasn't been mentioned on the show yet, tech unsavy viewers only know him as "African Isaac"). Petrelli wants to get anyone who can see the future out of the way, which surprisingly no past villain has attempted to do. His ability makes him a difficult person to catch as Hiro finds out in a series of humorous situations wherein he repeats the same mistake. It also solidifies Hiro's resolve not to use his power to go back in time to find out more about the villains he's up against. Usutu doesn't seem concerned about whether Hiro and Ando will take him, likely because he had visions and knew they would be valuable against the four baddies. Of the four villains Usutu pictured, three are easily identifiable: Petrelli, Knox and Flint (why Flint is such a major villain I don't know). The fourth man is more ambiguous, scruffy to obscure who it might be. If it's someone we've met, it's likely either Peter or Sylar, the former being the likelier candidate with his story this season.

    Sylar's redemptive arc still doesn't feel natural yet, but Peter's downfall does. Emphasizing his self importance due to his powers is a major red flag, and attacking Sylar as brutally as he did doesn't help him either. These are clearly steps towards Future Peter. Ultimately that rashness causes him to go unprepared to Pinehearst and have his powers stolen.

    In his brief appearances at the beginning and end of the episode, Robert Forster shows promising menace. Besides knowing he could steal their powers, Petrelli's underlings had to be afraid of him. It's a bit like Linderman without the sense of wonder he had. One can hope the story behind why he faked his death and the explanation for his actions isn't too far away.

    Petrelli's power is vague at first. Turning Adam to dust implied that he sucked the life out of him, but in reality Petrelli just steals powers. Some argued that Peter should've died too because of the fatal injuries he has received that Claire's power saved him from, but Adam died because his regeneration couldn't override three hundred years of not aging any longer. Peter was in no present pain or condition where it should be an issue. Petrelli's also absorbed some form of telepathy which, like Matt and his father, has trapped someone in their own nightmare, in his case his wife's. The big twist is where he steals Peter's power arsenal at the end of the episode. This could be just a way of collaring his son so he can explain himself, but it could also be how Peter gets his scar since he can't instantly heal now. Obviously Peter is going to get his powers back somehow, and since Petrelli's power is open for rules, that could be easy.

    Those looking for the ensemble to be trimmed must've been happy (unless they really liked the character) when Adam turned to dust like a Buffy vampire. Heroes has often been criticized for a heavy ensemble cast with many members staying much longer than they should, a function of the show's original concept clashing with the strategy for long term success.

    It's also an important expectation viewers have going into a volume of the show called "Villains". Bodies should be dropping. For the villains to be a true threat, people have to die, and it can't be just extras or characters introduced in the background the episode before. Granted Petrelli's involvement makes it personal, but they should go one step further.

    Doyle's mind games, while a little predictable, were still tense and creepy, thanks to David Lawrence XVII (following up a remark made in an earlier review, he was the 17th David Lawrence on IMDB, and registered under that name for SAG). Anything involving someone using another person's body against their will is going to be unsettling. Forcing Claire to play Russian roulette with her adoptive and biological mothers gave him the added sick pleasure of playing off the tensions between the mothers that's been brewing since Meredith came around.

    Claire's attempt to be a vigilante Company associate is further fleshed out by bringing her mother along, following the "one of us, one of them" rule. With so few people on the show not having powers, it was nice to bring one of the underused ones to the forefront. The show was originally about people juggling real world problems with extraordinary abilities, but that has been muted as the series has gone on, so it was nice to see someone from the real world side involved. For someone with little experience dealing with people with dangerous powers, Mrs. Bennet did well.

    However, it is Claire using her regenerative power to her advantage in the roulette game that is most telling of her effectiveness as an agent. Even Bennet gives her credit, which she isn't willing to accept because, in a nice case of continuity, of what happened with Stephen.

    There is also the promise of recruiting Meredith to help Bennet. There is a major qualm with this element: why isn't The Haitian involved? Was he was killed in early drafts for this season, but when they revised, failed to adjust accordingly?

    Elsewhere, Nathan and Tracy try to get answers about their synthetic powers from Mohinder, who is still up to his wacky shenanigans. While Mohinder's story has been uninspired all season, bringing it closer to the other main stories makes it a little easier to swallow. And at least someone used their powers smartly, when Tracy froze up Mohinder's hand to free herself, even if she earlier froze potentially helpful blood samples.

    Daphne's recruitment of Matt adds towards her redemptive arc. Unlike her associates at Pinehearst, Daphne's not a real villain. She steals for monetary gain, but took serious issue when Knox made Hiro "kill" Ando. Obviously Petrelli's team is going to kill more people, but for real in their case. On top of that, Matt tells her this affiliation's going to get her killed. So the question becomes will she get out before Petrelli and Pinehearst realize she's a liability?

    Apparently my feelings that Heroes is getting back to being fun entertainment aren't shared by the public. Those I've talked to have been unhappy with the progress (or lack thereof) made this season and feel it has grown stale. Ratings are at a series low and Entertainment Weekly's even devoted a cover story to why Heroes is floundering. I've enjoyed most of the season so far, but that doesn't seem to be enough. For the show, they're going to have to best this caliber to regain its buzz.