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- TV Series: Heroes
- Episode: Once Upon a Time in Texas
- Starring: Hayden Panettiere, Masi Oka, Ali Larter, Milo Ventimiglia, Jack Coleman, Leonard Roberts, Greg Grunberg, Adrian Pasdar
- Written By: Aron Eli Coleite, Aury Wallington
- Directed By: Nate Goodman
- Network: NBC
- Series: Heroes
Heroes: Once Upon a Time in Texas
Haven't we been here before?
By Stephen Lackey
November 03, 2009
© NBC/Bob Trate
This week Heroes harkens back to the early days of the series, and dredges up what was most irritating about those days. There’s so much about this episode that either doesn’t make sense or is just a waste of time that it’s hard to mention it all. Hiro is dying and he wants to make sure and complete a few tasks before his demise. One of those tasks is to save Charlie, his one true love, from death at the hands of Sylar, or as he calls him, the “brain man”. So at the end of last week’s episode Hiro blinks out and this week its three years ago and Hiro is at the greasy spoon where Charlie works as a waitress. If you don’t remember Charlie has the ability to remember everything and soak up information like a Sham Wow! At this point in Heroes history, Sylar is still bouncing around the country stealing abilities from other special individuals by slicing the tops of their heads off. Sylar meets Charlie in the diner and she compares herself to Wikipedia, a joke that’s very of the now, not so much three years ago when this is supposed to have occurred.
Hiro knows that he can’t succeed at saving Charlie because he’s tried many times before. Why do it again? Is he really that stupid? With some prodding from Samuel, he does make the attempt and as much as he thinks he hasn’t affected the past he has changed things. In this part of the past, a secondary story involving HRG, Claire, and another company agent is the secondary story of the episode and it is completely uninteresting and unnecessary. Things change, yes, but the things that do change simply don’t matter and if they do, they are sure to negate everything we’ve seen so far. The problem with time travel in this show is that the writers tell the same story over and over again with a few tweaks. It was frustrating in Season One and it is sleep inducing now. Heroes has finally become too similar to current comic books. The two major comic book companies have rebooted much of their universes and they are now taking advantage of that reboot to retell some of their greatest stories with tweaks to make those stories more modern. Marvel is the worst offender by far. Now instead of breaking new ground, Heroes is going back to the early days.
Sure, there’s more to this episode than a simple Hiro changes the past again. There’s a cliffhanger and that cliffhanger and everything else that happened in this episode totally destroys the emotional beats that were hit between Hiro, Charlie and Sylar in Season One. Much of Hiro’s motivation in Season One, outside of his desire to simply be a super hero, is negated now. The worst thing about this episode of all is some of the fat that was trimmed from the show seems to be returning as part of the cliffhanger ending of the episode. One of the most uninteresting characters in the history of Heroes appears to be making his triumphant return and it couldn’t be more disappointing. This is without a doubt the worst episode of the season and the pace that it sets is extremely disheartening. Now we’ll have to see more about the changes Hiro made to the past and how that changes this story arc and that one. What about a completely new story? What a novel idea!
This season of Heroes started with so much potential. The bloated ensemble was trimmed back the remaining characters were getting better development. Now the show seems to have taken several steps back into the murky mistakes of previous seasons. There were a few good scenes between Sylar and Hiro, but they weren’t nearly interesting enough to save the episode. I just can’t wait to see Sylar of three years ago go after the cheerleader again, or at least see what changes have happened since Hiro made his adjustments to the past!