Heroes

Season 4 Episode 1

(Volume 5: Redemption) Orientation

5
Aired Monday 9:00 PM Sep 21, 2009 on NBC
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (17)

8.5
out of 10
Average
533 votes
  • yay this show is finnally good again

    10
    stuff happens and calire is like say whaaaaaaa then hiro is like say whaaaaaaa, then that chubby cop is like you say whaaaa, so hiro is like say whaaaa? then theres this turtle right, he can dance, and claire starts dating this turtle that can dance, and they both start dancing. hiro reveals that he is chinese because evryone thought that he was african american. this was very surprising, i think hiro's story opened up so many new chapters, also fonzi was in it and get this, the fonz walks up to claire and says AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA and then claire is all like say whaaaaa? and the fonz tells her to shut up cuz he is the new bad guy of the season, holy crap:O good episode
  • Back to the beginning...

    10
    This double episode was very eerie. the tone was very forboding, and you can definitely tell the difference from the two previous season openers. It reminded me a lot of the series' premiere, drawing blatant parallels, while still continuing the stories set up from last season. there is a real sense of dimension to all of our characters, and i especially like the direction they are taking with matt parkman. i'm still confused as to how peter appears to be hanging on to more than one power at a time, but i could be mistaken about that. i really appreciate that they didn't telegraph everything that went on in the episode. for instance, we did not see the attack that left noah bleeding on the steps. i'm VERY excited to see the direction this volume is taking, and hope that it means a rebirth of creativity.
  • Our heroes are trying to find ways to cope with recent events. Some (Claire, Matt) trying to find normality and others (Hiro, Ando, Peter) trying to use their abilities to do good. Angela worries about Sylar,

    10
    This episode was great i loved, I feel Claire has grown up she sound more mature rather than wining all the time. Peter is doing great he has calmed and Angela is worry I am sure that is going to be a ugly sylar when he return, Matt he is making me mad, Tracy she great I love her… over all I like the way Heroes has returned. Looks good it will deff keep me as a regular viwe, too bad next week we only getting one hour jee jee yeah i am greedy like that sorry guys. but what can i say i love the show.
  • And so it begins...

    7.5
    I am really torn about this. Of course this may well be the start of the final season and if it will be then at least it looks intriguing.
    I oringally thought that Robert Knepper would stand out as the new villian and I was only partially right. He did steal whatever scene he was in and I'm glad this new charactor isn't just T-Bag with superpowers; he is an entirley new charactor that Knepper is protraying. The compass is interesting but also confusing... didn't he toss it in the grave with his brother. The first five minuites were especially good, with Samauel seeming to have replaced Mohinder as narrator. Where is Mohinder anyway?
    Of the rest of the heroes... like I said I'm torn. Claire's story bored me... I mean haven't they done her being snoopy and secretive in a school soceity like a gazillian times??? Peter... you know funnily enough I never liked how he lost all his cool powers but I do like what they are doing with his touch and recieve ones. And that fight scene with knife dude was pretty awesome. As for the rest...
    Nathen/Sylar/Matt... if you want to know how to keep a villain in a show well passed their sell by date... this is it. Sylar's still about haunting Matt's dreams and also slowley starting to emerge out of Nathen. Given that Samuel seems to want to find Sylar it seems unlikley this will remain the same for long. Ahhh... I admit I still want my fix of Sylar. He is one of the best villians on TV. Noah and Tracy? Is love blossoming? Who knows? And after Nathen's ridiculous actions last season (when it was actually him) I am not surprised by our heroes committing stupid and unbelievable acts but even so... Tracy killing those blokes made no sense..... at all. Also knew Danko would be dead before long... he's an addition after season 1 and they are allll doomed!
    Hiro and Ando... Hiro is dying!!! NOOOOOOO!!! Interesting aspect though. So what will he put right? Save the other cheerleader? Save his Texan friend Charlie? Stop Arthur from taking Peter's powers (please)? Of course theirs obviously going to be consequences. Things have to have changed... I mean Ando and Kimko being in love creates plot holes everywhere!
    So all in all I'm hopeful. It seems more promising than Volume 2 and easier to follow than Volume 3 (even though that had one of the best openers imo). I'll keep watching... I'm not a Heroes hater.
  • The more times I watch it the better it becomes.

    10
    There are a lot of things that are improved in this episode. The acting and dialogue is a lot better. Characters are back trying to live an ordinary life. There were some scenes, that I wasn't expecting like Hiro being basically forced back in time, or the second time traveler. Peter for the moment seems to have some of his season 1 characteristics back. He is doing what he does best by using his powers to save lives. Peter has grown up a lot from six weeks ago. All the characters at the Carnival seem to be interesting. Claire is somewhat less annoying. She took up too much screen time. Gretchen seems to up to something. Annie was annoying but i didn't want her to die right away. Some of the Nathan bits was really fun to watch. He was like "what the" I hope they don't kill off all the new characters like they did in Season 3. Danko is dead thank god. Edgar is awesome. The only problem I had was the cheap fight scenes which has always pledged Heroes. This season has a lot of potential. It's better to watch Heroes without commercials. NBC should do what Fringe and Dollhouse does and put less commercials because it ruins the fluidity of the episode. I watched it on Hulu and it's much better. That is my theory for these bad bad reviews. I don't know what the problem is people. My eyes didn't bleed like half of season 3, so i am pleased. If you guys didn't like it the first time, try watching it again.
  • Return to form? Not exactly...

    10
    Heroes seasons four is starting off even better than the vaunted season one ever was. When you find yourself rewinding certain scenes over and over again with a giddy grin on your face, you know you're watching an entertaining show. It's difficult to sum up in just a few words what makes this so special, but here are just a few reasons:
    Tracy Strauss is finally getting the treatment she deserves. By that I mean she won't spend 18 episodes attached to a chair while sadistic "guards" taunt her. Instead, she's given eye-popping scenes with Edgar (Ray Park) and awkward but sweet scenes with Noah.

    Peter finally grows up. He's been plagued with inner demons and mental anguish since the show started, so it's finally good to see him have some sense of stability and purpose in his life. He's committed himself to doing what he's always wanted to do: saving peoples lives, and he's loving every minute of it. And because he's enjoying himself, he's finally a joy to watch.

    Instead, the man with inner demons is now Detective Matt Parkman. Parkman has always been one of my favorites characters, and that's mostly because Greg Grunberg is a very talented actor. Pairing him up with Sylar has thus far proven to be a very effective matching, resulting in some very intense and entertaining scenes and dialog. Of course, anyone who's ever watched TV for any length of time knows that Sylar will eventually reemerge from his cage. But for now, it's a blast watching Angela and Parkman's inner conflicts with the whole Sylar/Nathan mess.

    For the first time in a long time, I'm excited to watch Heroes again. Perhaps the shows creators are trying to find Redemption for themselves as well.
  • No Mohinder = already they're improving

    9.0
    There is something to be said about how fresh every new season of Heroes feels. For some reason, as disappointing as the season prior was, I always give the show the benefit of the doubt and I get excited for the start of the next volume. Admittedly, I thought the start of "Villains" was damn entertaining. I may have been too kind...

    But if Heroes is making the same mistakes, then so am I, because I thought this 2-part premiere was very, VERY good- Like, Season 1 good...

    First and foremost is the show is going back to getting grounded in reality. No more exhibitions of cool powers. Ordinary people, extraordinary abilities. How about that? This is as simple a move as just giving our heroes NORMAL supporting players to interact with. Claire has started college and she's dealing with a new roommate. Peter is back to his medical duties, and has another EMT he works with. Even Hiro and Ando have started a 'superhero business', but they have to deal with Hiro's sister. It's amazing how regular people can keep a show about superheroes rooted (instead of everyone we meet having a power). It's nice getting our leads back to dealing with the every-day. That's why Spiderman works. The plot really begins to move forward when a family of carnies sends one of their own to retrieve a special compass (LOST) and in the process, kill Danko. (If Heroes wants to stay good, he'll stay dead) and Nik- sorry, Tracy and HRG are on the case. I won't really miss the Danko character, as the more we wash our hands of Season 3, the better off we'll be. Tracy begins to develop a relationship with Noah after he, too is attacked by Darth Maul. Note: Ray Park is such an amazing martial artist, I wish we could see him work without all the flashy FX- He's a speedster like Daphne. I don't mind the potential romance because a) they're taking their time and letting it play out, and b) Ali Larter is still the hottest chick on the show. Noah's divorce is sort of heartbreaking, and I think we can understand his aimlessness right now.

    One critique I have is they are already playing the Sylar-emerging-from-Nathan card. (They jumped at this at the end of last volume's teaser). This is way too soon. It's as if the writers can't function without Sylar or something. Give us a break from him, using him sparingly, and when he does show up, it will have 10x more impact. But another notable difference is it seems the characters are acknowledging their past mistakes- and getting smarter for it. I liked that Matt Parkman regrets how he used his power in the finale (and his continued insecurities about his family). I liked that Peter declined to go on another 'hunt' with Noah. And I liked Claire's new roomate's call-back to the high school massacre. Nice twist with revealing the old roomate did commit suicide. It looked like the beginning of another long investigation, but Nope. No big mystery. (her new roommate is kind of annoying, though. Why is she so obsessed with death?)

    The carnies themselves are an unknown factor. Their leader has some sort of painting/foresight ability (like Isaac and the African dude), so that keeps Tim Sale's art on the show. But this time the twist is tattoos. None of this was really exciting or interesting, but I'm going to wait to see how it all plays out. Overall, I was impressed by how little I was annoyed by this premiere, and the best thing about the eps was it seems Peter might get back to being a badass again. Using his powers to help others on his own,at the sacrifice of having a life is fascinating. Batman-like. Lovin' it. Speaking of that, will we ever see future Hiro come to pass? I don't mind his new mission of changing the past (this will only lead to trouble, you idiot) but I am weary of the lovable geek. It's time to slick the hair back! And finally, I didn't miss Mohinder at all.
  • amazing .. new poeple .. new powers .. just amazing

    10
    I watched the first 2 epsiodes together and they blowed my mind .. u mean T-bag from prison break joined the family of heroes and he seams to have great powers and wierd poeple too!!
    the orientation showed us how everyone changed .. and Scyler really it ws something i mean he started to see his powers and he keeps show up to Mat .. Damn I love it .. really the first episode show us how gret this season will be .. and that there is a lot of things yet to come .. and the beuty of it that u can't expect anything .. i mean is the new poeple are good or bad!!
  • I thought I was going to slip into a coma...

    2.5
    I sincerely don't know what the writers of this show have been drinking, but they need to ease back a bit. Apparently, the waves of criticism the past two seasons have generated were completely lost on them. Instead of reinventing the show to recapture the freshness of season 1, they plodded along with the individual storylines of half a dozen familiar faces who were doing.....NOTHING!! The obvious problem of what had been done with Sylar in last season's finale immediately came to light. Since Peter Petrelli had recovered his memories in season 2 thanks to his regenerative power, why in the world would Angela and HRG think that the same wouldn't happen to Sylar? Claire decides that using her real name is a slick move and is then shocked when someone connects her with her old life in Texas. Ando and Hiro actually spend their time setting up a business that exploits their powers, despite how many times in the past that other people have tried to kill or capture them for the very same reason.

    The writers must think we're idiots. I've officially given up up on this tired show. It needs to go....the sooner the better.
  • An exceptional season opener.

    8.5
    Claire: I love how she starts college, it annoyed me the previous season, how she just dropped out of high school, cause I loved the high school episodes. And this college experience starts off with a bang, when her roommate is found dead! Thank god, she was really bugging me.

    Peter: OMG. I love Peter in this episode, he didn't have much airtime, but he's awesome as a paramedic.

    Tracy: Probably my favorite storyline. Turns out when you hit her she just shapes back to form cause she's like water. Whoa. Annoying Danko dies. Hooray! Nathan/Sylar/Matt: Nathan still having Sylar inside him was obvious. But inside of Matt's head? I guess we'll just have to wait till the next episode.

    Hiro/Ando: Their business is cute. Haha. Where's Mohinder?
  • A mysterious compass is pursued by a Carnivale troop while Sylar is kept in check by Matt and Nathan/Sylar.

    8.5
    The thing with this episode is can you spot all of the Prison Break references in this one? 1: Bleeding from Hiro's nose. Not to spoil anything but didn't a certain important character on Prison Break die from this last year?

    2: A new character called Gretchen. Hmmm, this is more subtle but I believe it is deliberate. Maybe we shouldn't trust anyone named Gretchen. I'm just saying.

    3: Did I just see Teabag in this episode. A really cool actor and character choice. That's a copy too, but I give them mad props for that choice for the next supervillain.

    OK, well let's review. This was a solid if not necessarily fantastic episode. There was nothing overtly bad about it. But I did have some minor problems.

    There just seems to be too much I'm really busy and want to live my life so who cares if Sylar comes back out of Nathan going on. If Sylar comes back everything will go boom. This is not that believable to me. But is alas a plot device. Maybe if I give them some time it will make more sense.

    I don't buy that Matt can just stop using his powers like that. This is fake and is a plot device too. He doesn't just use his powers like the other Heroes. It is like a 6th or 7th sense. He can't stop his power anymore than I can stop hearing without cutting off my ears. I'm sorry, but they don't have the right to write this storyline. And by the way they ripped this off from a show called Dexter, just so you know.

    OK, so they got this new girl called Gretchen and she is really good on Californication. But either use the accent the whole time or lose it. This is not her fault. This is the Director's fault. He should be telling her if she can't do the accent than she should just drop it and be herself. I like the reboot of Peter, but I still miss him not having all of his powers. And on a side note. He took someone's powers, but that doesn't mean he can beat that guy at his own game, without practice first. That guy has to have an experience advantage over Peter, but why should logic get in the way of a good story so moving on.

    And even though they keep butterfly effecting Hiro, I like that storyline they've done with him, I just don't like him without his powers. This overall was still a pretty descent premiere. They don't have to kick it into gear too much. Just set it up nicely. Now, I will say the Compass being where it was made absolutley no sense, but whatever, I still like this show and I can look over the small stuff as long as the big stuff is satisfying. I can't wait for more.
  • Heroes is back with a slow but decent first episode.

    8.5
    Our heroes are trying to find ways to cope with recent events. Some (Claire, Matt) trying to find normality and others (Hiro, Ando, Peter) trying to use their abilities to do good. Angela worries about Sylar, and a new threat arrives in the form of a mysterious carnival. Heroes has had it's ups and downs over it's three year run but near the end of last season the show begun to get better again. Well episode one of season four is slow to say the least but it slowly develops the story and is very engaging. Sylar is only used for a second in this episode so I was left waiting for more.
  • 'Orientation' is so keen to press the refresh button, so desperate to erase what are perceived as past mistakes, that it ends up tripping over its own good intentions.

    5.5
    Four months after the curtain fell on a thoroughly lacklustre third season of Heroes, in which characters abandoned their well-established histories to service gimmicky, flash-in-the-pan plots and the narrative shunted from relentless over-indulgence to repetitive mundanity over the course of two volumes, Tim Kring is unleashing his 'Redemption' on us and he's absolutely, undeniably determined to get it right this time. This is 'back to basics', 'new beginnings', the return of what supposedly made the deliciously creative, potential-fuelled monolith such a phenomenon in its freshman year… only, therein lies the fundamental problem. Going backwards to move forwards is a flawed endeavour at best, and one that it's notoriously difficult to pull off. Heroes is such a different show now, such a well-established show, that it seems fruitless to deny it; what we need, Tim, is originality, fresh blood, an injection of something that we haven't seen a hundred or so times before. A pity, then, that from the evidence of 'Orientation', our season four opener, Kring seems hell bent on recreating season two… only without that troublesome Mohinder Suresh to have to slot into the story somewhere.

    So we start, ladies and gentlemen, with the question, 'what do heroes do when forced to return to normality?', the answer to which can be found in the first few hours of 'Generations': bore the audience to death. This penchant for pressing the reset button on the protagonists' complicated, evil-fighting, end-of-the-world-preventing lives may seem appealing at first glance, given that it tends to avoid the sort of out-of-character repositioning that littered, and somewhat spoiled, last year's 'Villains', but it quickly becomes dry and uninteresting, especially when you consider that, having spent so many years getting to the point where everyone was seemingly quite comfortable with their special abilities, we really just want them to get on with it already and become the extraordinary people that they really are, not retreat into themselves and deny their inherent heroism. Yet again, we find the 'collective' disbanded, going their separate ways, living their own lives, but you just know that in the space of five or six episodes, they're all going to be reunited, working together to prevent some as yet undisclosed catastrophe or getting at each other's throats in an endless cycle of pointless deceit and double cross. It's just such a repetitive formula, and it's bloody difficult to swallow.

    We really have seen it all before. How many times is Kring going to have Matt Parkman renounce his ability before he realises it's getting old? How many new educational institutions does Claire have to frequent before she gets an interesting story? When will Noah actually right his wrongs and stop lapsing into the same mistakes two seconds later? These are simply the same frustratingly banal character beats that we seem to spend a good chunk of every successive volume of the show deliberating over and you would think that by now, by year bleeding four, the production staff would realise that they are as predictable as day turning to night. But no, sadly; Kring clearly thinks that having Peter be a paramedic again, complete with uber-friendly everyman best mate, obligatory loner complex and a nifty penchant for rescuing the helpless just in the nick of time, is tantamount to innovation. In reality, it's just tiresome. He also seems to be obsessed with showing us every baby step in Claire's educational career; this year, she's in college, making a vow (somewhat refreshingly) to tell the truth. Woo hoo! How thoroughly engaging! And look, there's a caricature, straight out of Stereotype 101, of an annoyingly over-confident and over-enthusiastic roommate, designed to provide cheap laughs and guide young Claire towards her real college destiny… realising that popularity and academic super-stardom are nothing compared to the integrity and true friendship you'll find by befriending the awkward outsider. Euck, this story is so moralistically archetypal, it's almost sickening. Claire's roomie is completely unbelievable, a one-dimensional cipher whose ludicrousness increases and increases with each passing scene. You just know she's going to get her comeuppance; in fact, she's there for precisely that purpose. If I were being generous, I'd say that Kring had been watching too much Joss Whedon, since the story is taken straight out of the first few episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's fourth season, only without the added bonus of the irritating one actually being a demon (well, we presume at any rate.) However, unlike Whedon, Kring does nothing with the archetype, preferring instead to let it run its course in the laziest, most monotonous fashion possible (she's got a trajectory? Really?); in fact, it's essentially the West storyline all over again… I'm just waiting for Gretchen to start breathing fire or something.

    As if these stale narratives weren't enough, we also have Tracey Strauss's killing spree to contend with, which gets all of about five minutes of screen time, despite seeming like a rather significant plot point when it featured in the small preview of volume five that we were treated to at the end of last year. It's questionable whether Ali Larter should still be hanging around, given that she struggles to convincingly portray her myriad characters at the best of times, but at least it does give us the chance to witness the rather nifty attempted murder of Noah Bennet. Of course, it's stopped by Zelkjo Ivanek's Danko, who is still loitering like a bad smell, trying in vein to kill off, lock up or just generally get on the heroes' nerves for no good reason. Really, what is his investment in all of this these days? Personal vendetta? Megalomania? Fetishism? No matter, we need him around to die a dramatic death at hour's end that, rather depressingly, was spoiled by TV.com days before the episode aired. Sigh. Oh, and then we have poor Hiro and Ando, who Kring continues to bastardise by lumbering them with a bunch of lacklustre comedic beats. 'Dial A Hero' might raise a smirk or two but it's complete fluff, and only actually shows signs of beginning to go somewhere about ¾ of the way into the episode. The strand is saddled with some hopelessly clunky dialogue too, as the need to re-establish Hiro's sister as Ando's unrequited love interest results in a chunk of unvarnished exposition being lumped into their diction. Ando essentially reminds Hiro that he's in love with the woman, despite this being a well-known, well-established fact between the two of them. It would be rather like you having a conversation with your mother about the wallpaper in your bedroom, and stopping to tell her that the bedroom is the one at the top of the stairs, next to the toilet. It's just completely unnecessary and, as such, it comes across as forced; as a function of the narrative rather than an organic part of the story. Regrettably, it happens at several other points in the episode too, and most memorably during Angela's conversations with both Noah and Matt. They essentially recount the events that occurred at the close of season three, obviously for the benefit of the casual, forgetful or brand spanking new viewer, but it's entirely pointless from a realist perspective since they were all there in the first place. Tellingly, it's when Kring bothers to do something new or out of the ordinary that 'Orientation' begins to gain momentum. The Carnival is probably the best thing about the show right now, beautifully depicted with its luscious cinematography, Batman-esque camera work and unusual, unnerving underscore. The new characters all seem interesting and fairly well rounded, with powers that are engagingly different: the use of ink for foresight, depiction and manifestation is a particularly fascinating trope. The strand has a feeling of complexity to it; the individuals we see here aren't simply ciphers or determinable heroes/villains, they are people, with all their foibles and difficulties. Robert Knepper is just excellent as Samuel, bringing a real sense of uncertainty to the role, painting the character as simultaneously compassionate (the scene at the graveyard) and disturbing (his interactions with 'knife-man'.) Speaking of acting chops, kudos to Cristine Rose, Adrian Pasdar and Zachary Quinto for some top notch work in the scenes between Nathan, Angela and 'Sylar' in the restaurant. This is really engaging stuff, with Quinto as deliciously eerie as he's ever been and Pasdar showing a real talent for subtlety, taking care not to give too much away in Nathan's minor lapses into Gabriel Gray. Rose finally gets a fresh set of character beats to play too; rather than depicting a maniacal power monger, here she gets to be a fragile, concerned mother, desperately trying to hold things together. Her subsequent phone call to Matt Parkman positively reeks of desperation and it's all the more moving because of it. These elements bring a fresh emotional quotient into the mix, reliant on the events of volumes past, and it makes you wish that Kring would spend a bit more time trying something new instead of resorting to half-baked rehashes of former glories.

    As an introduction to the fifth volume of Heroes, 'Orientation' disappoints more than it engages. Kring's script is so keen to press the refresh button, so desperate to erase what the Zeitgeist perceives as past mistakes, that it ends up tripping over its own good intentions. The preoccupation with going 'back to basics' proves to be the episode's undoing, as it results in a narrative littered with predictable story developments, lazy, one-dimensional characters and uninteresting motifs. A good chunk of the hour is spent rehashing the fundamental tenants of the show's second season, which is far from a good thing, getting bogged down in the question of 'how extraordinary people return to ordinary lives', which is exactly what we don't want to see in the show. There is some promise here, the most encouraging of which is the successful introduction of The Carnival, the show's new blood, but, then, that's rather telling in itself: when the production staff take the time to create something, to delve into that pesky pool of originality, to look forwards, they tend to come up trumps. It's when they lock eyes on the past that things start to go astray and unfortunately, there's just far too much reflection and navel-gazing in 'Orientation' for it to be considered anything other than decidedly average.
  • One more time, heroes is showing saturation signs...

    5.8
    Presentation Phase -» (6/10) the only thing good about the beginning is the appearance of Samuel, who plays as the center villain, the rest was a review, compared with the season 3 premiere, this season premiere lack something;

    Complication Phase - » (5/10) Claire scenes was super boring, Hiro and Ando continue in the same role, comical relief which can be boring too, peter scenes was nice to see, seeing Angela was more a recap than anything else, the same goes for Nathan/Sylar role, Tracy continues to be boring;

    Climax Phase - » (5/10) Tracy with the super fast villain, could be better, poor effects and a poor fight;
    Ending - » (6/10) nothing special or really surprising, Claire roommate death was more a relief;

    Details/Progress (To point A to B) -» (6/10) this presentation didn´t add almost nothing new, since the plot is growing, there is little space for developments, only news villains appearance;
    Time and Scene Management - » (6/10) So much stretching;

    Plot Details/Holes- » (7/10) the timing of the villain is always right, they existed before, but now the writers have to link them, associating them to the past somehow, the rest is fine;
    Storyline -» (6/10) multiples storylines doesn´t really help any type of episode, for the worse, there wasn´t any single storyline that can be considered good this time;

    Drama - » (6/10) nothing special, but nothing bad either,
    Surprises/Shocks/Twists - » (6/10) this old characteristic was well develop in the first season, but in season 4 things are not easy, at least, Hiro have a new, and Danko says goodbye

    One more time, heroes is showing saturation signs, since this show structure was to run a season with a fresh set of characters every new season, this season premiere only shows that they don´t have good ideas to keep the old characters storylines interesting.
  • A mediocre start to a series' redemption

    6.0
    While there are exceptions to every rule, the conventional wisdom is that the third season of "Heroes" was a disappointment. Despite the heavily promoted premiere and several attempts to jumpstart the storyline, the writers couldn't escape the fact that they were making things up as they went along. Tim Kring's decision to fire the main writers backfired when his own writing solutions turned out to be just as poorly conceived.

    The return of Bryan Fuller to the writing staff gave many fans hope of a true resurrection, but those hopes were dashed when he announced his latest departure over the summer hiatus. Since then, most of the press releases about the show have been met with scorn and even a bit of ridicule. Considering that this was once the show hailed as the best genre show on the air, the fall from grace has been brutal.

    It's not hard to trace the problem back to its source. The original concept for the show was a series of season-long arcs, with each story centering on a fresh set of characters. In other words, the now-familiar faces were supposed to exit the stage when the first season concluded. Instead, the producers (at some insistence from the network, to be sure) changed their plans and softened the first season finale to leave things open-ended. Not only did it undermine that finale tremendously, but it set the writers into the "24" syndrome: making things up season after season, and relying on the same plot devices when the going gets tough.

    The bottom line is that the fourth season has a lot going against it in the eyes of fandom, even accounting for a devoted core still clinging to the best aspects of the series. "Redemption" isn't just the name of this volume; it's what the entire production staff is striving for, particularly the writers.

    It's far too early to tell if the mistakes of the past will be a strong enough lesson, since some planning goes into the beginning of a season. The name of the episode says it all: this is the setup for the new status quo. The writers take a few familiar faces and give some targeted updates on what has happened in the six weeks since the end of the third season.

    As one would expect, the situation with Nathan/Sylar is already falling apart, and that was telegraphed so quickly (at the end of the third season finale, in fact) that it feels old and worn already. This feels like it will drag out, and I have little confidence that it will be handled well. It might have been better for the writers to wait a while, even a full season, before pulling this particular trigger.

    On the other hand, it's good to see that the formation of the new Company is not a smooth operation, and that Matt is suffering the effects of his involvement in Sylar's reprogramming. Done well, this could be an interesting twist. What if Sylar not only recovers his original personality, but gains control of Matt as well?

    Another direct follow-up is Tracy's killing spree, which doesn't make an already tedious character any more interesting. I understand that the producers want to stand by their cast members, but Ali Larter's characters have worn out their welcome. Sadly, so has Claire. Her first days at college were annoying and a bit reminiscent of the early fourth season episodes of "Buffy". I wasn't intrigued by Annie's death; I was relieved.

    Kring falls on the same bad habits with Hiro and Ando. Ever since the second season, which should have been a turning point for Hiro, these characters have been little more than comic relief. Hiro's medical condition added some necessary gravitas by the end of the hour, but I'd love to see these characters have a stretch of episodes that didn't involve wacky slapstick situations. Let the characters grow already!

    Given all these worrisome signs of more of the same, it's telling that the most compelling aspect of the premiere was the introduction of the carnies. This is largely due to the acting talents of Robert Knepper as Samuel Sullivan. Knepper always seems to bring depth to his characters, and this is no exception. In fact, I was left wondering if it might have been a better idea to focus more on the new characters and their motivations. If that's not a sign that the familiar characters have reached a saturation point, I don't know what is.

    It's hard to judge the potential strengths and weaknesses of a season from the first hour, but there are some signs and portents to consider. A few subplots feel a bit predictable, since they were foreshadowed a long time ago, and other developments aren't particularly compelling. I'm worried about yet another time-travel plot that looks to retroactively change the continuity of the series. Hopefully it will be a short foray and not a major portion of the season arc.

    Mostly, I've simply grown skeptical of the writing staff. As Noah was droning on to Tracy about the desire for redemption, I was reminded of something a friend said months ago. Redemption is the sort of thing that should happen organically. The characters should just do it, not talk about how they intend to do it. The writers should trust the audience to recognize when a character is seeking redemption, and show us success or failure, not tell us. The closest they came to the right balance was with Peter in the first act.

    So for now, my fears remain, though I will continue to hope that the show still has something to bring to the table. The trick will be avoiding the plot devices that have been done to death, staying true to the characters, and showing the audience redemption instead of telling us about it.
  • Heroes has yet to redeem itself.

    3.0
    So this is what they do, add a few new guys, get rid of a few old guys, and try to keep us guessing. I'm tired of guessing.

    #1. Matt Parkman's character is not only insincere, but he is boring and BORING. We spent last season with him and Daphanie's relationship being shoved down our throats, and now after 6 weeks he is reconciled with his 'ex' wife? wtf? And he has NO chemistry with his on screen counterparts. He had more chemistry with Seresh. Is Matt Parkman in the closet? If so, give him an on screen partner that he can connect to, even if it's a guy cuz it's painful watching him try to be 'endearing'.

    #2. Hiro and Ando. Let's get past the disgustingly horrible Japanese they speak. Cuz it's kinda hard to sit through. Cringe-worthy is what I wanna say. And why does Tokyo look like something out of a 1930's movie? As for Hiro and Ando, they just seem kinda hapless. #3. Niki, I mean, Jessica, I mean Tracey is back, and her character is actually one I can stand. She does a great job as usual but not much screen time.

    #4. Clair. Yeah, like that creepy girl being her friend the first day was SOOOOOO not obvious to lead to something else. uh-huh. Give us something interesting. Like show us who's out to get her, and then the real question is 'why' and 'how do you stop him/her'.

    #5. Peter's character is doing fine though I wish he had his original power. This whole touch and take thing.... 'sigh'.

    #6. Noah, sad, just sad. How the mighty have fallen.

    #7. and the granddaddy of them all, Syler. Oh Syler. How I grow tired of you and your boring taunts. Boring, Boring, Boring. We all knew Syler would never leave the show, because the actor might be sleeping with one of the producers, who knows. Utterly useless character with no purpose other than to make you wonder 'where are they going with this'.

    It's a shame really, cuz the new additions seem interesting. But Heroes had 2 hours, TWO hours to win me back, and they lost me. 2 hours of my life I won't get back any time soon. No longer wasting my time with Heroes.... When's True Blood coming back?
  • Hiro and Ando start a business together, Peter and Matt try to get back to their own lives, Claire attends college and Tracy seeks revenge. But nothing seems to be working when a new group of special ones emerge.

    8.0
    The first chapter of the fifth volume left me with a bittersweet taste. Although, I liked the whole Peter trying to become a paramedic again and Claire attending college, I didn't like Tracy's story. Danko (although Zeljko is an amazing actor) didn't really fit to this volume as he is supposedly the villain of volume 4. He does die in this chapter though. Matt's story is cool as well (especially in the following chapter). Again I didn't like the Nathan/Angela story. Found it a little bit old.
    The whole idea of the Carnival though seems pretty promising especially when you think that this villain, Samuel may become the new Sylar that we all once loved but ended up getting tired of.
    Finally, Hiro's story may prove to be the most interesting this season. Only time will tell though if this time travelling will be any good this time around.
    Enjoy!
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