'Heroes': It's coming together

Alilarter_leonardroberts_heroes_s1_240Although he made a brief appearance last week, Monday's Heroes brought Leonard Roberts officially into the fold (that wasn't him playing HRG's memory-wiping sidekick in previous episodes). The show's regular cast is now fully present, so it seems fitting that, more than any previous episode, this one started really to make the connections between our main characters.

I was a little distressed at first by the heavy focus on Roberts and Ali Larter's characters, given that her Niki hasn't been as well-defined as some of the others, either in terms of character or what her ability is. As the hour progressed, though, and we finally got a clear picture of the Good Niki-Bad Niki dynamic -- a very literal split personality -- I got more and more into her story.

The arrival of Roberts' D.L., Niki's fugitive husband, helps immensely in the clarity of this plot thread. We know now just what Bad Niki has been up to, framing the guy for her truly grisly crimes and plotting to steal his $2 million. Given the way she was left in that last scene, though, it doesn't look like it's going so well. But given how the two Nikis were conversing before, I have to wonder: What does D.L. putting his fist through (and I do mean through) Bad Niki mean for the future of her alter ego?

Given her presence at the poker-game bloodbath, Niki's comment to Ando that she's "not the same person" as she is online takes on a little extra meaning too. She also inspired a crisis of faith in Hiro, who wondered if he'd done enough to save the poker guys. Will this doubt affect him as he and Peter and whoever else try to save Claire?

And speaking of our cheerleader, I'd be interested to hear what you all think about the meeting with her biological parents. Are we meant to believe that Mr. Bennet hired people to pose as her real mom and dad, or that he was holding something over them not to say too much? I'm inclined to believe the first, but I'm not sure.

Finally, and maybe because I was so enamored of her performance in Brick and really wanted to like her here, but I didn't really see the revelation of Nora Zehetner's Eden as a bad guy coming. In hindsight, it makes perfect sense: Why else would she have befriended a possibly off-his-nut old professor from India, then taken equal interest in his son? It could also explain how, a couple of episodes back, Sylar's place was scrubbed clean when Mohinder brought the cops there.

Missed Greg Grunberg this time, but so far I'm liking that the writers aren't trying to shoehorn in every lead character every week. He'll be back next week, it appears, and it looks like D.L. and Hiro will cross paths as well.

So then: What of Good Niki? How long will it take Peter to track down that missing painting? And, are you liking the connections being forged in Heroes?