'Heroes': Rabbit, run

Zacharyquinto2_heroes_240 Well, it kind of makes sense that Lionel Luthor would be Sylar's father, doesn't it? That, along with Claire deciding what she wants to be and Nathan getting (surprise) outmaneuvered again, are the big takeaways from this week's Heroes.

These spoilers just want to go back to the way things were [insert season one joke here].

Sylar's family reunion

The episode was called "Shades of Gray," because there was some morally ambiguous ground covered but also because Sylar found his real dad, Samson Gray (get it?). Former Smallville bad dad John Glover and Zachary Quinto took what could have (maybe even should have) been some really hammy material about the son following in the footsteps of the father and made it reasonably interesting. The look on Glover's face alone when he rediscovered his zeal for the hunt would have made the exercise at least partly worthwhile.

All we really learned, though, was that Sylar inherited his power from his father and that Pops is none too impressed with his son, noting that just about everyone he's killed thus far has been easy prey, like the small animals Samson traps and stuffs. "There will come a day ... when you realize your entire life was meaningless and disappointing because there was no challenge in it," he says. Duly motivated, Sylar leaves his wheezing, cancer-ridden dad alone with his disease and takes the rabbit (poor bunny) to Danko's place in Washington, where he lies in wait just before the "To be continued" card comes up.

Claire vs. comic-book guys

Extraordinarily flimsy set-up ("What if I had a cover job?" Because, sure, the agents constantly surveilling you would never suspect anything there) and easy joke about comic geeks leering at a cute girl aside, Claire's latest run-in with puppet master Doyle was part of what I was curious to see this week. And I'm glad the show didn't cheap out on the idea: Claire gets Doyle what he needs to disappear despite her distaste for him, even though on some level she probably thinks she's letting a bad guy loose.

Did the show need to drive that point home with comic-store guy's "What kind of hero are you?" question or the phone call to dad, both of which had all the subtlety of a 16-ton weight falling from the sky? Probably not. But I'll take what I can get from Heroes, and the fact that we got to see Claire struggle with the idea that she might not always do things that are purely good and still try anyway points to a possibly encouraging direction for both her and the show.

The final scene with her, though, is problematic. By having Nathan be at her window when the agents come, the show sort of implies that Nathan either is Rebel or is in cahoots with him -- which would pretty much invalidate the entirety of Nathan's character arc for "Fugitives" thus far. I'm hoping that Nathan just knew about the raid on the Bennet house because he's overseeing the operation, and not because he's a secret good guy who's only orchestrating a massive black-ops program as a cover for his secretly good intentions.

Speaking of that black-ops program:

Building 26

Adrianpasdar_heroes_s2_240 After discovering, then defusing, the bomb Danko had attached to Parkman (with a little delay help from Rebel and some useful mind-reading on Matt's part), Nathan moves to have Danko relieved of duty -- except Danko's not the kind of guy to take a thing like that lightly. First he shows the video of Tracy screaming "You're one of us!" (glad that did, in fact, come back) to the whole team, and when his own (very short) interrogation fails to elicit anything from her, he goes straight at Nathan, hoping to get the senator so riled up that he makes a mistake.

Nathan, of course, obliges, albeit not in the way you might expect. He manages to keep his cool long enough to get the president to formally remove Danko from his post, but then Danko shows up with a gun. He puts two holes in the glass behind Nathan and then shoves him out the window, and Nathan, self-preserving guy that he is, only lets himself fall a couple stories before hovering, then flying off. Danko now has his proof that Nathan is one of the people who should be locked up, so presumably that will be his new mission, with a reluctant Noah in tow (and given that Danko looks alive and well in the previews for the next episode, it looks like Sylar's rabbit was only a warning).

I'm still waiting for an explanation of why Danko is such a zealot, but some of that might lie in the Angola incident Angela referred to during their meeting. I'm guessing we may discover that someone with powers was involved there, and rightly or wrongly Danko blames that person, and by association everyone else with abilities, for the massacre.

Other notes from "Shades of Gray":

  • Hiro and Ando re-enter the picture this week, following Rebel's directive to an address in Los Angeles, where they must find and protect "Matt Parkman." The quotes are necessary because it's Matt Parkman Jr., the child his ex-wife has apparently inexplicably named after the man to whom she's no longer married. Oof.

  • In a power-dampening drug-induced haze, Tracy sees a message from Rebel ("Help is coming. Have hope") flashed on a monitor as she's being led to her cell. How come none of the several armed guards around her notice it?
  • Doyle has become one of my favorite side characters in the Heroes-verse over the course of his few appearances this season. It also became clear tonight that he doesn't always need his ability to manipulate people into doing what he wants.
  • IMDB tells me that John Glover will be back as Sylar's father. I hope so.

What do you think of this week's Heroes and the way Claire's newfound role is shaping up? Does the show feel like it's starting to head back in the right direction?