'Heroes': Ice, ice baby

Alilarter_heroes_s2_240 If you're like me, your spirits rose a little when the words "Written by Bryan Fuller" appeared on screen a little ways into Monday's "Heroes." Now, one man working on one episode can't fix everything just like that, but in addressing a few things fans have been carping about, this episode at least felt like a pretty confident step in the right direction.

Which is not to say that everything worked this week -- this is not a "'Heroes' is back, baby!" post. But I'll take it.

The spoilers forgot their umbrella.

First of all, those of you who had Micah in the "Who is Rebel?" pool, congratulations. You win ... the respect and admiration of your peers, especially if you had a side bet on Noah Gray-Cabey looking and sounding significantly older than when we last saw him on the show. Our favorite technopath has been the one behind all the hacks of Building 26 and messages of hope to the other supers, and tonight he steps things up by turning off 26's security system and helping Tracy -- his mom's doppelganger -- escape, along with Matt, the still-injured Daphne and Suresh.

It's not quite the victory Micah seems to think, though, because in exchange for being left alone afterward, Tracy strikes a deal with Bennet to lead the G-men to Rebel. Tracy is mortified at what she's done when she sees that her nephew is Rebel, and he's a little more than disappointed in her: He read Tracy's bio, which has a rather idealistic explanation for her entry into politics, and is really angry that the real person doesn't match up (he's still a kid, after all, and that kind of letdown hits you harder when you're a kid).

With Danko and his goons closing in, though, Tracy makes like Micah's mom and gives herself up to save someone else, freezing both the goons and herself so Micah can get away (note to Danko: You really should make sure you have all possible exits covered when you run one of these operations). Danko then makes good on the order to shoot Tracy if necessary, shattering her into lots of little icy pieces -- including one that still blinks. I'm not quite sure what to make of that particular image -- was it meant to imply a T-1000 sort of thing, in which Tracy comes back together when she thaws out? I was figuring we'd just move on to the third, still-unseen sister and give Ali Larter some new sort of power.

Elsewhere:

Masioka_heroes_s2_240 Hiro and Ando return to the action tonight, and it's here where Fuller's touch is most apparent. I cringed when they ended up with Baby Parkman two weeks ago (and I still don't know why Janice would have named the child after her ex), but by the end of the episode I started to come around to it. For starters, Hiro and Ando seemed more like life-long friends tonight than they have for some time, with Hiro finally opening up about seeing his mom during his time travels and Ando lending a sympathetic ear.

Plus, Baby Parkman and his ability to switch things on ("He's like a baby Genesis Device," Hiro marvels) also gives Hiro his power back -- at least in part. He still can't teleport, but Hiro can once again stop time, which allows him to take the baby and Ando and flee Danko's men (who have a warrant to question the baby -- oy) before going off in search of Matt.

I'm not sure anyone could have completely salvaged the Matt-loves-Daphne story -- his I-saw-it-in-my-vision basis for his devotion to her never rang true. But at least, in the end-of-life hallucination he creates for her, she can gently explain to him that while she appreciates what he's done for her, they were really never meant to be.

Matt does, though, do one last thing for Daphne, mind-whisking her off to Paris, where she stares out at the city from a rooftop (I half expected a song to break out) and he takes her on a flight around the Eiffel Tower and then to the moon (Matt's ability to fly is what tips Daphne off that what she's seeing isn't real). In that final scene, at least, it was believable that Matt really did have serious feelings for Daphne, and that's probably as much as we could ask.

A few more notes from this week's episode:

  • The episode opens with puppet-master Doyle strung up in Danko's apartment with a tag that reads "My gift to you." I'm assuming that he's a present from Sylar, along the lines of the bunny from the previous episode. Also liked the skeptical "How'd you catch him?" from Noah, who didn't really seem to be buying the idea that Danko captured Doyle on his own.
  • Angela is now a hunted person too, and turns to an old friend named Millie -- played by Fuller's former "Pushing Daisies" cohort Swoosie Kurtz -- for help in disappearing. It was nice to see Kurtz, but I have to think that if you hire her as a guest star, it's got to be for more than just one scene. Most of the reports about her casting seemed to say the part could become a recurring one; I hope so.
  • Millie's money, however, doesn't even get Angela out of New York before the G-men corner her in an elevator. Peter comes to save the day, though, whisking her off to the Statue of Liberty and asking "What do you want to do now?" right before we fade out.
  • We were Nathan- and Claire-free this week, which means we'll have to wait until next Monday to see how the senator recovers from revealing his secret to Danko.

What did you think of "Heroes" this week? Did the Hiro-Ando-baby story surprise you as well? Were you happy to see Micah again?