Secret Identities Explained

Super-mutants fighting to save the future on Heroes are having to resolve all their issues in speeded-up time. The writer's strike has forced show lead Tim Kring to wrap up in 11 episodes a plot arc he expected to unfold over 24. So last night's episode felt a little frantic, with characters making bizarro decisions purely to set up next week's finale. How will they ever resolve psychic cop Matt's issues with his mind-controlling dad, omni-mutant Peter's issues with a world-destroying virus, and unbreakable cheerleader Claire's issues with sparky-handed Elle?

Apparently, they'll do it via specious references to comic books, as this clip demonstrates. Here Micah speaks lines that could have been written for time-bending otaku Hiro, who is always nattering about how superheroes in comic books behave. This kind of heavy-handed self-referentiality has always been the trouble with Heroes, which stumbled on more than just Superman references in last night's episode. There was also the completely unconvincing alliance between naive ex-nun Maya and serial killer Sylar — why would a chick who can murder an entire village with her mind hook up with a dude who practically rubs his hands together and chants "mwahahaahahaah"? And why exactly does Peter still trust Adam despite all the obvious clues that Adam has been murdering the older generation of superhero mutants?

And why oh why do we have the stupid subplot with Micah and his cousin, whose special power is that she can do whatever she sees on her video iPod? When Micah's valuable comic is stolen, his cousin watches a cat burglary video on YouTube and tries to retrieve the comic from the thieves' house. What could go wrong with that? And why are Kring and Co. introducing yet another complicated subplot with gangsters when we are already overloaded with subplots, main plots, and metaplots? This episode may disappoint, but you'll want to tune in next week to check out superhuman feats of narrative closure.

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