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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  • Review is of both parts of this two-hander: 'Dying of the Light' AND 'Eris Quod Sum'.

    I've harped on just about enough over the past few weeks about this show's return to season one standards so I'm not going to bore you all again with it, except to say that yes, episodes six and seven, the two part 'Dying of the Light'/'Eris Quod Sum', are really rather good. You wouldn't know it from glancing at TV.com, of course, but then, how far can you really trust reviews that consist of 'omg Claire is so annoying and Jesus won't they just get rid of Maya and no one cares about Peter and omg omg omg omg explode!'? Well, I'll let you all make up your own minds about that one. I read an interesting article in the current issue of the UK's SFX magazine the other day, in which Tim Kring revealed that the writing staff's current approach to scripting the show consists of 'Haiku storytelling'. To quote the man, 'You take a story that would normally take ten beats to tell and you try to find a way to tell it in five. It makes for a very exciting kind of storytelling where every scene is very complete and very full.' For the most part, I agree with the implementation of this approach. Slowness of pace and padding of plot is what made Heroes' second season somewhat below par, so upping the ante in this fashion has got to be a good thing… and from the evidence we've been given for the past few weeks, that theory's been borne out. I do have one major reservation, however, and that is that the active attempt to shoehorn plot, to compact it into a set amount of narratalogical space, may ultimately prove counter productive to its own execution. Sometimes, narrative has to be allowed room to breathe; events and developments need some time to develop and prosper. This is particularly true of character beats: while it hasn't happened to a significant extent yet, it is possible that Kring's notion of 'Haiku storytelling' may not allow his audience to warm to any changes or developments in the arcs of particular characters. On a minute scale, Tracey and Nathan's minor-scale romance (holding hands!) is indicative of this as it seems to have sprung out of nowhere, while Sylar's attempts to be a 'hero', to rid himself of his villainous past, while explained quite logically within the context of the plot and also understandable, nevertheless niggle a little when compared to the sheer wealth of his, well, evilness in seasons past. Perhaps if this development had been given, say, eight or nine episodes to reach the point where he is trying to be good rather than, well, one or two, viewers wouldn't be so ready to down remotes in bemused disgust and return to their copies of The Umbrella Academy.

    Still, this reviewer is perfectly happy to accept Sylar's current status as potential hero-in-the-making, if only because, well, you do have to drop all semblance of believability when it comes to this show really, don't you? It's making for some great sequences between he and Peter (the electro-fight in the first episode is awesome) and, ultimately, Kring and co are careful to ensure that shafts of Gabriel past come shining through when the carrot is dangled in front of him: see his potential 'recruitment' to Pinehurst for further evidence of this. And hey, what a series of twists and turns overall, eh? First, Adam Monroe snuffs it in one of the most surprising deaths by old age ever depicted on screen. Then, Maury Parkman bites the dust without even so much as a 'Goodbye Matty, nice messing with your head'. And let's not forget Daphne's betrayal (nope, definitely didn't see that one coming), the split second in which we all thought it might be curtains for poor Matt and his turtle (is it just me, or is Knox getting ever more likeably bad ass with each episode?), Mohinder's continued lack of mental stability and, of course, that moment at the end of episode six in which Peter's powers go bye bye. Which is probably a good thing, in all honesty, for the foreseeable future. Arthur's power – transference of others' abilities from them to him – is completely logical, given Sylar and Peter's similar variants on the theme, and is, evidently, the most potentially lethal of them all, making him a superbly sinister villain. And on that subject, what about Puppet Guy, eh? His scenes in 'Dying of the Light' simply ooze menace; for the first time since the season opener, the production staff take their time with the depiction of the sequence, milking every possible scare out of a deliciously harrowing situation. The 'Russian Roulette' with Claire's family is fascinating to watch, even if the outcome is ultimately rather predictable, and it's largely thanks to the actor playing Doyle: I defy you not to want to crawl right behind the sofa whenever he opens his mouth or, indeed, moves a limb. In amongst all of this general marvellousness, we are also treated to some lovely comedy moments involving Hiro and Ando (Mr. African Isaac is first and foremost), Maya's potential exit from the show (am I the only one whooping? Sorry…) and, um, Sylar's frankly ridiculous escape from Level 5. 'You don't know what you're capable of' and then wham bam, thank you ma'am, I'm out? Hmm. A little too convenient methinks. Shame really, as it's the only real blot on an otherwise damn fine couple of episodes. Here's to Hiro's spirit walk in a couple of weeks…