Usually I find the technique of going back in time to find out more about the characters a bit of a let down; it seems sometimes like it’s the work of lazy writing. However, we are talking about Heroes here, and I think the writers working on this show have proven time and again that they are anything but lazy. Which is why, when I realised what was going to happen for a full hour, I didn’t shut off the TV or groan – I actually leaned forward in anticipation.
I love how this show is blurring the lines between good and evil. Interestingly enough, I find that this makes the show all the more real, in that not many things in life are black and white; there are many, MANY shades of grey, and Heroes seems to be exploring them all.
First and foremost, we have Sylar. We were all convinced in season 1 that he was nothing but pure evil. But in the last couple of episodes and, more strikingly so in this week’s episode, he has shown his good side; Sylar cannot be categorised as a pure villain anymore. He is someone fighting a hunger deep inside him; the fact that he had succumbed to it, only to regain control – doesn’t that make him more of a hero than a villain?
These shades of grey are further demonstrated by a great parallel drawn between what Noah Bennett did to his wife and what Arthur Petrelli did to his. Both are lying to their wives and tampering with their memories. But while one is motivated by a desire to rid the world of dangerous people, the other is motivated by greed. Does it make it more forgivable then for Noah Bennett to tamper with his wife’s memories than it is for Arthur Petrelli? Does the objective justify the means?
Belle seems to be a demonstration of the lighter shades of grey. She’s too nice, and that was her downfall: she couldn’t do what, as an agent, she was supposed to do. As Noah Bennett said: “We are agents, Belle. We follow orders. That’s what we do”. Does this justify any agent doing evil deeds, even if it is in the name of the company they are working for? And does being good mean that we have to be blindly good? While Belle’s intentions were good (and, for the sake of the argument, we can also mention Meredith’s good intentions in saving her brother from the Company), does it mean that anything she did can be excused?
Credit should also be given for the brilliant weaving of the various characters’ stories, and the weaving of those stories in this show’s first episodes. We find out that the fire Claire saved the fireman from is one started by Meredith, her biological mother; we find out that Noah met Suresh in his taxi not only right after he himself had met Peter, but also right after the debacle with Belle and Sylar.
On the lighter (pun intended) side, my favourite line was spoken by Meredith to her brother: “You remember what Dad used to say. God gave you a big sister instead of a brain.” Another detail that made me smile is Linderman telling Arthur Petrelli that he knows a guy in Montreal who could do the job of killing Nathan. Props to Montreal!