So last night Heroes‘ fifth volume (fourth season) “Redemption” had its two-hour premiere on NBC and I’m sure a lot of you have already voiced your opinion over at our Heroes discussion forum. My goal here is to review the show, and let you know (since you care) if I personally think that our favorite Heroes are truly on the road to Redemption.

“Redemption” picked up some six weeks after the finale of last season’s “Fugitives” storyline, with our Heroes all trying to return to normal lives NOT being on the run from government agents.

And is it just me, or has Mohinder (Sendhil Ramamurthy) fallen into a black hole and vanished?

As the season opens Claire (Hayden Panettiere) is starting school; Parkman (Greg Grunberg) has reunited with his estranged wife and is raising his baby son; Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) has found purpose as a super-powered paramedic; Noah “HRG” Bennett (Jack Coleman) is reluctantly starting a new “Company” with help from Angela Petrelli (Cristine Rose); Hiro and Ando (Masi Oka and James Kyson Lee) are trying to start a hero business of their own; Nathan (Adrian Pasdar) isn’t feeling quite himself (because he’s not); and Sylar (Zachary Quinto) is still wreaking havoc as a “ghost.”  Fun all around.

While our old favorites (and not-so-favorites) tried to get their grooves back, a new band of super powered individuals appeared on the scene, this time in the form of a traveling carnival led by mysterious “earth-mover” Samuel (Prison Break‘s Robert Knepper). Samuel is a ringmaster of questionable allegiances, who operates with the help of his super-speedster henchman (Ray Park) and “magic tattoo canvas,” Lydia (Dawn Olivieri).

For a two-hour episode, I have to say very little happened: Hiro found out he’s dying and also that he can make select changes to the past if he’s not an idiot about it; Noah settled old beef between himself, government pit bull Emile Denko (Zeljko Ivanek) and ice (now water) queen, Tracy Strauss (Ali Larter); Peter then helped Noah track down a mysterious compass that Denko had kept hidden (which was promptly stolen by Samuel’s speedster henchman); Parkman kept freaking out an imaginary Sylar; Nathan was having an identity crisis (though nothing really happened with him); and Claire’s new over-achiever college roommate took a header out their dorm room window, and ended up street pizza (leading to Claire to inadvertently reveal her power to new BFF Gretchen (Madeline Zima).

And, in the “surprise twist” ending, [SPOILER ALERT!!!] We learned that Samuel thinks Claire, Hiro and Peter are fated to join the carnival. DUH, DUH, DUUUUUUHHHHHHHH…

Ok, so it was nice to catch up with our Heroes again – but was this premiere episode truly deserving of the label “Redemption?” Not quite yet, IMHO. We had one real moment of quality action (Peter vs. Ray Park) but other than that, meh….

It irks me that aside from Peter (and now Tracy Strauss), it still seems like none of these characters have come to terms with who they are, or how best to use their powers – that’s a four-season identity crisis!!! Also (and a lot of us have been saying this for awhile now), it’s time to definitely make some cuts. Show creator Tim Kring once revealed that originally, Heroes was suppossed to rotate characters and stories like seasonal cleaning – time to go back to that original plan. Parkman can definitely go (waste of a telepath), Nathan should STAY dead, Hiro is no longer needed and Mrs. Petrelli barely had any shining moments to begin with. I WOULD keep Ali Larter onboard (loving her new character and powers) and though I love him to death, I think Claire would have a lot more room to breath as a character if her daddy HRG bit the big one.

Strip those characters I just mentioned away and watch the show open up for Ando, Peter, Claire, and Tracy – enough of the old to keep the show familiar, with enough room (and budget) freed up to bring in some new blood. And we need a new villain, somebody to equal the maniacal brilliance of Zachary Quinto’s Sylar. Every new villain since Sylar has showed promise (Adam, Father Petrelli, Denko) only to be wasted. Quinto is obviously moving up in the world – time to let him go, Heroes.

As for “The Carnival?” Meh… We’ll see. Could be interesting, could turn out to be another Heroes storyline that starts strong but ultimately sputters out. Too early to tell. (What’s up with Robert Knepper’s oscillating accent?)

Finally, as I asked at the opening – has anybody seen Mohinder??? It occurred to me months ago, after I attended the Heroes panel at Comic Con, that in the midst of all the talk about upcoming storylines and preview clips, there wasn’t a single mention of Mohinder. And after the character was a no-show last night, I’m beginning to SERIOUSLY wonder. Small loss if he never comes back.

So that wraps my review of the Heroes: Redemption season premiere. What did you think?