Monday, January 22, 2007, marked the mid-season premier of NBC’s phenomenal hit series “Heroes.” The latest episode entitled Godsend begins exactly where the fall finale left off. If you happen to be one of the half-dozen or so individuals in the world who hasn’t yet watched an episode of this series, I have to ask: Where have you been? This is very likely the best-written, most well-directed and perfectly casted show on television today. Like ABC’s “Lost”, the show also challenges the heart, mind, and soul of its viewers and weaves meticulously written sub-stories for each member of the cast. This process makes the audience feel that they know each character intimatly. However, unlike “Lost”, which often mumbles, stumbles, and falls, leaving the audience totally confused and really lost, “Heroes” keeps answering the questions it raises, all the while raising even more questions.
The premise of the show is that ordinary people suddenly discover that they have developed superhuman powers. They don’t know from where the powers came, why they were selected for these powers, how they are supposed to use their powers, or what this change means for their everyday lives.
With a keen similarity in thought to Stan Lee’s X-Men comics, these newly found mutants are the subject of theory to a Dr. Suresh who believes them to be the next step of man’s evolution. Unfortunately his scientific exploration into his theory gets him killed by a young man that he had pegged as a possible mutant. Angry that the professor ultimately determines him not be “special” (meaning mutant) after all, he steals information from the professor to locate another individual on the list. After that person shows what he can do telekinetically, the man kills him and somehow manages to absorb his powers. He names himself Sylar.
Upon the professor’s untimely death, his son – – Mohinder Suresh, (played by skillful control by Senhil Ramamurthy) – – comes to America to find out exactly what happened. Mohinder meets a young woman who claims to be a friend of his father. She helps him to uncover the name Sylar, which the young professor believes might be one of the mutants that his father was seeking. Together they go to his apartment only to find some alarming information that instead tells them that Sylar is responsible for the seniior professor’s death and will very likely be guilty of many more deaths of newly formed mutants.
Other characters involved in the mix include:
- Peter Petrelli (played soulfully by Mila Ventimiglia), a male nurse who is caring for the dying father of a woman (Simone Deveux, played by Tawny Cypress) that he has fallen in love with. While Peter wrestles with his personal issues – – he absorbs other hero powers – – and his new found love, she wrestles with her lover, a drugged out artist – – who claims that he can paint the future.
- Isaac Mendez (played by Santiago Cabera), the artist, has taken much of his artistic efforts and put it into a comic book in order to earn enough money for the drugs that he needs to keep painting his futuristic work. In the comics that he creates is a Japanese boy named Hiro who can supposedly bend time and space.
- Hiro Nakamura (played with absolute brilliance by Masi Oka) finds himself in the comic book created by Isaac Mendez, bends time and space to move from Japan to New York in the blink of an eye. He rushes to the artist’s apartment to find out how he knows so much about him. When he arrives he finds the artist dead in a very suspicious way. While he is there, he watches as New York City explodes before his very eyes; or so he thinks.
- Claire Benett (played with skill way beyond her age by Hayden Panettiere), a young teenage cheerleader who leaps off of a tall trestle, seemingly to her death. However, the audience quickly learns that she has tried to kill herself several different ways but it appears that she is now an indestructible hero. Her father, HRG, a rather shady character who is also in search of the heroes. However, the audience is never really sure if it is for the good or detriment of mankind.
- Nathan Petrolli (played by the amazing Adrian Pasdar), Peter’s brother, who is running for political office. He can fly, but he wants no part of his new powers.
- Niki Sanders (played by multi-talented Ali Later), a Vegas Internet porn queen, who sees something unusual when she looks in the mirror; an image of herself but not quite herself. It turns out that she has a split personality; taking on the persona of her dead sister Jessica as her altar, butt kicking ego.
- D.I. Hawkins (beautifully played by Leonard Roberts), Niki’s husband who can walk through almost anything.
- Matt Parkman (played by Greg Grunberg), a cop who is tapped to work with the FBI when he begins to interpret other people’s thoughts and latches on to the name Sylar.
Together, these characters form a disparate group of heroes that it appears will be tasked with saving the world.
In the most recent episode – – Godsend – – the audience is privy to Peter Petrelli’s dream whereby he is led to believe that he will turn into a human bomb that blows up New York. He has, therefore, retreated into himself and is in a coma. His brother Nathan sits by his side for as long as he can but finally decides to go with Simone to the artists’ loft to find out what else he has painted in hopes of determining what will actually happen and so that they can stop it.
The cops and FBI, led by a tip given to them by Matt Parkman, think that they know where the vicious killer Sylar is being held. However, when they go to that location, which is owned by Claire’s father HRG, they can’t find anything to indicate that Sylar was ever there. While Matt knows that he heard that name in HRG’s mind, he can’t reach anything further because something is blocking his ability.
Mohinder Suresh is more determined than ever to continue his father’s work. He finds a list of people that he believes his father was using to identify future heroes. HRG asks Mohinder to help him locate the people on the list but the young professor doesn’t trust the older man’s intentions and declines.
Hiro Nakamura is in search of a sword that he believes can help him better focus his powers which appear to be failing. He finds the sword at the Museum of Natural History. Using his powers to bend time, he steals it from its case only to find out that it is a fake and that the real one has been sold. He goes to the loft of the artist for help and finds Nathan Petrelli there as well. He recognizes the flying man right away and the two develop an uneasy relationship. With Simone, they go off in search of Hiro’s sword which Simone believes to be in the hands of the art collector who has been buying up Isaac’s paintings.
Niki Sanders is in jail. She turned herself in to protect her son and husband from her altar ego Jessica. However, Jessica wants Niki’s husband dead and is intent on creating havoc with everyone’s lives. She ends up getting Niki committed to an insane asylum.
Claire Benett, now realizing what her father is capable of, is trying to make sense of her life and retreats back to attempts to kill herself in order to redevelop a bond with her once best friend.
As the show ends, Peter awakens after yet another dream and decides to get as far away from New York as he can. He chooses to go to Nevada, the exact spot where a supposed hero who can absorb nuclear power is located. On his way he notices a man who seemingly moves about unnoticed taking money out of people’s wallets, stealing tips off of restaurant tables, and from street vendor cash drawers. He confronts the man who screams at him “You can’t see me. No one can see me!” With these words the audience realizes that they have just been introduced to the newest hero; an invisible man.
This fast paced, thrill ride of a series executive produced by creator/writer Tim Kring makes time fly much as it does for Hiro. It is an absolute feast for the mind as well as the soul. It challenges, provokes, and questions just about everything that the audiences believes to be true. It shows both the best qualities of mankind, as well as its most hideous. It forces the audience to think and to question ever step of the way. It is absolute fun which is exactly everything that television should be.
If “Heroes” can keep up its pace and not fall by the wayside in need of recharging as has “Lost,” it is destined to make television history. All I have to say it long may it reign!