After a very long wait, and a somewhat disappointing second season, Heroes has finally returned for Season 3: Villains.
At the end of season 2, Sylar (Zachary Quinto) had just gotten his powers back, Noah Bennet aka "HRG" (Jack Coleman) had just gone back to work for "the company" in order to spare his family, and Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar) had been apparently fatally shot just as he was about to reveal his ability to fly to the world.
BTW, full-on spoilers in the review below.
Heroes is run by folks (led by series creator Tim Kring) who actually listen to the fans, take their complaints to heart, and use that information to improve the show. This season there will be no slow, dragged out story arcs, and Kring says there will not be any new characters introduced (although this episode seems to contradict that). This season will also be comprised of two "volumes." The first half of the season will be called "Villains," but there is no title for the second half yet.
Enough of that... on to the season opener!
The episode opens with Claire (Hayden Panettiere, looking all "Matrixed" out in black leather) trying to kill Peter (Milo Ventimiglia), four years after Nathan's announcement of his powers. Peter goes back in time to change the past, since it seems that things became very bad for super-powered beings after Nathan's revelation.
So yes, the assassin is Peter Petrelli from the future.
Cut to Japan, where Hiro (Masi Oka) now owns his father's corporation. He's quite bored by the whole thing and yearning for a new quest. Of course, the show is happy to oblige. He watches a video left behind by his father stating that he needs to guard the contents of a safe (without ever opening it), the contents of which could lead to the end of the world. It is half of some sort of chemical formula.
Of course, he opens it.
A blonde girl who moves as fast as The Flash promptly steals it. And here lies the first thing that bugged me about this episode: Why didn't Hiro just go back in time 60 seconds and put that piece of paper back in the damned safe?
Instead he goes to the future, sees his best friend Ando (James Kyson Lee) who is now super-powered kill him, and the destruction of Tokyo.
Nathan was dead for all of five seconds, but came back to life somehow - and claims to have seen God. I'm curious how they develop this and how it comes across to fans as he comes across downright born-again. Linderman is also back despite the fact that he seemed definitively dead during last season. Turns out he healed Nathan and has big plans for him.
Sylar finds Claire, intent on once again trying to take her healing power. He does the skull slice trick on her, sucks her powers... but surprisingly, leaves her alive after a very creepy scene in which he talks to her while he has the top of her skull off. Sylar tells Claire that she is not like the others - she is special and she can never die. And now, neither can he.
Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) is with Maya (Dania Ramirez, who unfortunately is still on the show) and she still wants to be cured. He flashes on the idea that the abilities are not based in the blood but in the adrenal gland. Suddenly he shifts his research (and ridiculously quickly creates a serum) from curing super-powers to being able to give them to anyone via an injection.