The opening of Monday’s Heroes, its first new episode in seven weeks, is a marvel of efficient storytelling. Within a few minutes we’re informed that it’s "Two Weeks Later" and are brought up to speed on Hiro (in New York), Peter (in a coma), Claire (faking memory loss), Niki (in jail) and Sylar (drugged silly). It’s yet another sign that this show gets what it is, and what its fans want — none of which is an accident, creator Tim Kring says.
"It was a very conscious choice to save the cheerleader two episodes before [the show’s first set of episodes concluded], because we wanted to tell the audience, ‘We’re not that show.’ We’re not going to take the pop-culture phrase and string it out and make that our cliffhanger."
That would seem to bode well for the show’s new marketing tag, "Are you on the list?" And indeed, Monday’s episode reveals that the FBI is on the trail of Prof. Suresh’s list — which doesn’t impress Mohinder too much, since he’s been trying to get the bureau to pay attention to him for most of the series.
The episode also finds Hiro seeking his sword — it’s not as easy as he first hoped, and it may involve the mysterious Linderman. Ando also comes up with a key bit of information regarding the glyph we’ve seen on Jessica’s back and the Haitian’s necklace.
Speaking of the Haitian, he’s back, and speaking again, as he keeps an eye on Claire. He also utters what, for my money at least, is a better tagline than "Are you on the list?" — "Respect the calling." That’s just cool.
All that, plus we see Christopher Eccleston for the first time. That’s quite a lot for one hour of TV, and if it’s a lot of setup, rest easy. This batch of episodes will run for seven weeks, Kring says, ending with another cliffhanger, before returning for five hours in the late spring to close the season.
"The idea was really, from very early on, to make sure people felt like they’d gotten their money’s worth," Kring says. "We constantly said to the network, ‘This is a show where s**t happens.’ We really wanted to make that pact with the audience."