The usual mystical guff and hero montage starts off the 'Redemption' volume, as T-Bag from Prison Break dons some eyeshadow and terrakinetic powers in his latest bid to avoid capture. OK, that's probably doing actor Robert Knepper a disservice, as he's perfectly fine and suitably restrained in his role as the mysterious Samuel. In fact, the scene in which he strangles his henchman Edgar (Ray Park) via the medium of tattoo ink provides one of the most inventive and stunning moments in the history of Heroes. It's just a shame that he soon became embroiled in the tedious Hiro butterfly effect story arc.
As if that butterfly-related part of the new Heroes wasn't stale enough, we were also treated to the usual cheap thrill dream sequences with some kind of shock development only for the action to cut to a character waking up. Even primary school children writing creative stories were told (in my school at least) to abstain from whacking an 'and then he woke up and it was all a bad dream' onto the end of their scribblings.
Furthermore, the essence of the scenes between Matt Parkman and the vision of Sylar that only he can see - which leads to confusion as the surrounding characters think Matt is addressing them - has been done on countless other series and movies in the past. As for Claire's sojourn to university, there's more life left in the cheerleader's squished roommate than that frivolous subplot. It echoes the trip undertaken by James Hurley in the second season of Twin Peaks, where the writers simply didn't know what to do with the character so made him pack his bags and become embroiled in a woefully poor murder mystery strand that was very disconnected from the main action.
Fortunately, a couple of the action sequences packed enough of a visceral punch to sustain the attention. Noah Bennet's struggle to escape from his watery car is tense and claustrophobic, while the top-speed battle between Peter and Edgar is expertly choreographed and staged. Bennet and Peter, pretty much the sole redeeming characters left, also share a reasonably absorbing discussion about where their lives have ended up after all the previous strife.
Hiro and Ando may have had little luck attracting customers for their 'Dial A Hero' scheme, but that venture looks to have a safer future than Heroes itself judging by the lacklustre start to 'Redemption'. The programme is still skilfully assembled in the visual sense, yet that's not been matched by the distinctly flat storylines that the writers have resorted to.
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