Spoilers for the "Heroes" season three premiere coming up just as soon as I quote Dan Fogelberg...
I made my feelings on "The Second Coming" half of this episode pretty clear in yesterday's column, and nothing in "The Butterfly Effect" changed that opinion. For every cool moment like Daphne's frozen speed lines or Mohinder casually doing a Spider-Man impression (two of the better FX sequences the show has ever done), there were a half-dozen moments that had me questioning the intelligence of the characters, the script, or both.
Since some people already started talking about the episodes in the original review post, I'm just going to make some random observations:
• Just when I thought Mohinder and Peter were so far ahead of the pack in the "Heroes" Stupid-Off that no other character could catch up, Hiro has to go and open the safe, when the only thing his dad asked him to do was to not open the thing. He doesn't want to be a sentinel? Fine: use your powers to bury the safe in an underground bunker no one else can access, then go on with your adventuring life. For someone who's read as many superhero comics as Hiro has (and I did enjoy the Batman/Catwoman/Robin banter with Ando), he seems to not grasp how this stuff works.
• Which isn't to say that Mohinder isn't still an idiot (albeit one in a comic book mad scientist vein, ala Curt Connors), or that Peter, past or present, isn't. I did love Ma Petrelli calling out Future Peter for never being as smart as he thought he was, vis a vis the butterfly effect. But at the same time, I don't see how this time travel escapade led to Claire being assaulted and Sylar stealing (or, rather, duplicating) her powers. Yes, Future Peter told her not to come to Odessa, but if he hadn't traveled back in time and shot Nathan in the first place, she would have had no reason to go there, blah blah blah.
• I had forgotten how stilted Zachary Quinto's attempt to be creepy could be sometimes. We reached the point of diminishing returns with Sylar a while back, and though giving him Claire's powers finally takes away the "Why doesn't someone just kill him?" problem that ran through parts of the first two seasons, it also means we're going to be stuck with him for the run of the show.
• Fair is fair: I'm at least vaguely intrigued by the Niki/Tracy thing, and about whether Linderman is a ghost, an angel or just a figment of Nathan's imagination. Vaguely.
• Really? They hired William Katt (aka The Greatest American Hero, aka the man with the greatest theme song of all time, aka the man whose theme song led to the greatest outgoing answering machine message of all time) so he could pop up twice in a parking garage and get frozen to death?
• Is it me, or did Future Claire's line about always loving Future Peter sound like it was in a non-uncle way?
• Where's my Bubbles at? Jamie Hector (aka Marlo from the greatest drama ever) popped up briefly as one of the escaped supervillains, but after I saw fellow "Wire" alum Andre Royo's name in the guest credits for the second hour, I kept on waiting and waiting and waiting, and... nothing.
• Daphne's apartment lived up to Roger Ebert's rule that every fictional building in Paris must have a view of the Eiffel Tower.
• I'm glad Adrian Pasdar, one of the few genuinely strong actors in the cast, is getting a lot to do this year after being sidelined last year, but there didn't seem to be an emotional throughline between Holy Nathan of the first hour and the much more normal Nathan (who could crack a joke about knowing Niki/Tracy "Biblically") in the second.
• Fair is fair, part two: Elle tossing HRG a gun to go after Sylar was also a nice moment. But how are people getting back and forth to Claire's house in California from either New York (Sylar) or Texas (HRG) so quickly? Are we supposed to assume the scenes aren't all taking place in chronological order (especially when you factor in things like Mohinder randomly putting Molly on a plane to some new life outside the country), or just that the writers are lazy?
• Ando with powers? Boo! Ando's whole role is to be the normal guy, the one who brings real world logic to superhero problems -- or, on occasion, vice versa, like his suggestion that Future Ando was a robot or shapeshifter. I only hope that's true.
• Is this them writing out Elle, or will she now get a storyline about the struggles of being a super trying to live in the real world? They rarely used Kristen Bell well last season, but she's still one of that handful of good actors on the show, and I'd hate to see that number diminish.
• Speaking of "Veronica Mars" alums, is Francis Capra now going to be reduced to a "Quantum Leap" reflection for the rest of this storyline?
• Unlike Papa Nakamura, they bothered to finally reveal Ma Petrelli's power while she's still alive. But I don't like the "Sylar, I am your mother" twist at all.
What did everybody else think?