Cue up the John Sebastian, people, ’cause it’s time to formally offer a hearty “welcome back” to Bryan Fuller. Tonight’s episode is the first time we’ve seen the man’s name in the writing credits since the glory days of “Heroes,” i.e. Season 1, and although his return comes at the expense of “Pushing Daisies,” you have to respect the guy for trying to do his part of save the series that he helped to make. And, yeah, I know, it’s not like he created the show, but given how many times Fuller’s “Company Man” has been held up as the series’ definitive episode, you can’t deny that his contributions helped make “Heroes” appointment television during the 2007 – 2008 TV season.
It was clear from the opening sequence, with Zeljko literally being handed a gift-wrapped Puppet Master, that we were finally going to get something we hadn’t seen in forever: a “Heroes” episode that actually felt like it was taken from a comic book. You wouldn’t think it’d be so hard to accomplish that in a show about people with superhuman abilities…and, apparently, it isn’t hard for Fuller, since he’s proven time and time again that he can manage it. Watching Zeljko turn the tables on Mohinder was awesome (“Why did you bring me here?” “I thought it’d be a whole lot easier than carrying you.”), and his typically tense conversations with HRG were typically solid, as was the HRG / Mama Petrelli chat at the beginning.
I don’t think there was anything that came out of Hiro’s mouth tonight that wasn’t genius, whether it was his addressing of Matt Parkman, Jr. (“Baby Matt Parkman, we will save you; if you understand, shake rattle once for ‘yes’ and twice for ‘no'”), his using a “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode to rationalize how a de-aging process might’ve occurred and offering up a “Wrath of Khan” reference (“Life from lifelessness!”), or his asking Ando, “What are we saving the baby from? Lead-based toys?” I thought it was a great touch that, despite the TV being turned on and off repeatedly, Hiro and Ando still never once noticed that it was actually the baby’s daddy on the screen. The sequence where Hiro finally addressed having witnessed his mother’s death in the past and had an emotional bonding moment with Ando was unexpectedly effective (sometimes you forget that those guys can work together in drama as well as comedy), but then it was back to the comedy with the “E.T.” homage. And once the men in black busted in to take Li’l Parkman and Matt’s ex into custody…words fail me. Hiro’s powers are back! Thank you, Toddler Touch and Go! Except they’re not entirely, which means he can stop time again but still can’t teleport. Oh, well, so the kid’s not perfect. Anyone else do a spit take when Hiro rolled Ando out in a wheelbarrow?
Like it wasn’t good enough to see that Bryan Fuller had brought his buddy Swoozie Kurtz over from “Pushing Daisies,” he even gave her one of the great opening lines in “Heroes” history: “Oh, my God: you look like you’ve been mugged, and the first thing they stole was your dignity.” Her appearance gave us a very different side of Angela Petrelli. Was Millie her sister? Was that what we were supposed to infer from the watercress soup comment at the end…? Anyway, her escape from the men in black was action-packed, and having Peter save her was the icing on the cake.
Daphne looked pretty smokin’ with her new Gwen Stefani haircut (nice ruse at the hospital, wasn’t it?), but, y’know, the best part of the whole Matt & Daphne storyline this week was the fact that, for once, they were talking solely in cliches. I should’ve known it was too good to be true, particularly when Parkman mysteriously developed the ability to fly from out of nowhere.
The HRG / Tracy conversation in the dressing room was hilarious, and it was nice to see HRG call her out for her egotism in leaving Parkman behind. Of course, it turns out that the theory floated by the folks over at TV Squad was right on the money: Rebel was indeed the long-missing Micah, who’s grown up a hell of a lot since we saw him last. Of course, that surprise would’ve gone a lot farther if they hadn’t put Little Dude’s name in the opening credits! Not that it should surprise me. It isn’t the first time they’ve pulled that stunt. (Remember when they ruined the first appearance of George Takei?) The effects involved in Tracy’s move in the parking garage were extremely well executed, but, wow, Zeijko’s destruction of her was…you’ll pardon the pun…pretty damned cold. My God, though, how horrifying was that shot of her eye blinking amongst the shards of her shattered face? I don’t know about you, but I got chills.
So we end by looking through the State of Liberty, with Angela having been reunited with Peter once more. Will next week be as good without a Bryan Fuller script? I’m certainly going to be there to find out.