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Peter's in peril again? Come on!

March 07, 2007|Geoff Berkshire | Special to The Times

Seven weeks! That's how long viewers have to wait for the next chapter of the addictive super-powered serial "Heroes."

When the series returns on April 23, there will be a lot to answer for after Monday night's heavy on setup, low on follow-through episode. The entire ensemble was back in action after last week's "Lost"-esque detour that focused on a handful of characters and made plenty of time for flashbacks. While this didn't allow for a lot of plot development, at least there was no downtime with any of the characters or any "filler" subplots. Everyone was being positioned for (hopefully) bigger moments down the line.

All discussions of "Heroes" must begin with the end, and this week's cliffhanger raises an important question: How many times can the writers place unofficial lead Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) in bogus mortal peril? He has exploded, collapsed, fallen off multiple buildings and is now the prisoner of superhero serial killer Sylar (Zachary Quinto), who finished off the episode in style by slicing open Peter's head (and, maybe more important, chopping off a few locks of Peter's floppy hair).

Sure, it's promising to see the show's ultimate good guy and ultimate bad guy in position for a grand showdown, but it's difficult to fret over Peter's life-threatening situation given how many close calls he's escaped before.

The hour did deliver some intriguing twists. Peter's mother, Angela (Cristine Rose), is more informed than anyone thought. She's been working with the mysterious mind-erasing Haitian (Jimmy Jean-Louis) to protect her long-lost granddaughter, Claire (Hayden Panettiere).

Claire's biological father, morally ambiguous politician Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar), isn't as crooked as he seems. He's been assisting the FBI to bring down the oft spoken of, but previously unseen, criminal mastermind Mr. Linderman.

Linderman himself was finally revealed in the suitably intimidating form of Malcolm McDowell, whose previous experience in "A Clockwork Orange" and "Entourage" lends considerable gravitas to this key role. His introduction was unexpected, and showing him cooking was a nice touch that managed to be both mundane and menacing (even though his comment about people only eating "when they're happy" suggests he doesn't watch much Dr. Phil).

In a non-Petrelli related development, new character Candice (Missy Peregrym) showed off her power when she took the form of deceased former regular Simone (Tawny Cypress). Seems Candice is a shape-shifter, a lot like the "X-Men" character Mystique. And just like Mystique, she's working for the bad guys. Gotta keep your eye on those shifty types. Candice, though, was instantly grating, perhaps appropriate for a villain, but why is she so very eager to please the bad guys?

Monday's episode didn't leave me as eager for more as the fall finale did, but it did promise that some big things are brewing for the few remaining episodes.


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