As a special treat for Comic Con attendees, creator Tim Kring joined the entire Heroes cast onstage with a metal briefcase handcuffed to his wrist, and proceeded to pull out a burned DVD with the handwritten text “Heroes Volume III (Episode One)” written on it. This could only mean one thing, and as the lights dimmed, fans erupted in applause.

For those, like myself, who found the second season of Heroes to have been incredibly weak but with a small handful of redeeming qualities toward the end, you’ll be happy to know that for the most part things do seem like they’ll be getting better. Whereas last season’s premiere was both dull and uninvolving, volume three kicks off immediately with an onslaught of new developments that are sure to keep viewers on their toes. Not all of them are entirely successful though, partially because the dialogue and execution are way too cheesy in a number of instances, and partially because some of the newly introduced subplots are just plain dumb.

If you’re not interested in having the first episode of the season spoiled for you, you should stop reading now.

The episode starts off four year into the future, with a scarred Peter running for his very life. He enters a building and finds Claire waiting for him, holding a gun to his head. She tries to shoot him, but he slows down time and evades the bullet by simply walking out of its path. Then he grabs her gun and jumps through time to the present. Now we’re back to where season two ended, with Nathan being shot by an unknown assailant. As it turns out, “Future Peter” is that unknown assailant.

Nathan gets taken to the hospital, but the wounds are too severe and he dies… for about five minutes. His pale lifeless body jumps up on the hospital bed. The experience of dying and coming back to life makes him rethink his purpose, and instead of continuing what he started by announcing to the world about people like him, he comes to the realization that they exist to serve God’s will.

Later on, Angela Petrelli confronts “Future Peter” about changing the future for the worse.

Meanwhile, Claire finds herself attacked by Sylar, who captures her and splits her head open. We then see Sylar examining Claire’s exposed brain. A mildly concious Claire asks “Are you gonna eat it?” “Am I gonna eat it? That’s disgusting, Claire.” Soon afterward, Sylar locates the necessary part of Claire’s mind with his powers. He looks down and a wound on his stomach starts to heal. Claire is confused, wondering why he doesn’t kill her. “You’re not like the others, Claire. You can’t die. And now, neither can I.”

On the other side of the world, Hiro is the head of his father’s company and has all the money anyone could ever ask for, yet still feels left without a purpose. Before he can dwell on it for too long though, he receives a video tape of his late father explaining to him he must protect a world-altering secret that’s hidden within a safe in the office, and must not ever open it. Unwilling to listen to reason, Hiro opens the safe anyway, much to Ando’s chagrin. Inside is another tape of his father, this time yelling at Hiro for opening the safe. He then explains that the safe contains half of a formula that must never get in the wrong hands.

Moments later, the paper vanishes from Hiro’s hand. He stops time as fast as he can, and notices this lengthy red blur traveling through the office. He follows it all the way through the building until it connects to a blond girl, who he soon finds out isn’t actually frozen in time. His power has no effect on her. In order to get away, she punches him and speeds out of the building. Needing to get the formula back, Hiro travels to the future and sees “Future Hiro” battling Ando, who demands he give back the formula. Unwilling to do so, “Future Ando” blasts “Furure Hiro” with red bolts of electricity. Hiro quickly travels back to the present.

The last character subplot involves Mohinder and Maya. Maya gets upset that Mohinder wants to leave, and when her powers start to take effect, Mohinder realizes how people get their powers: through the adrenal gland. He then figures out how to replicate the abilities in other people, later deciding to inject himself with it, causing him to lose conciousness. As he wakes up, two muggers try to rob him. He grab one of their guns and bends it in half, and then throws one of the guys halfway across the street. The other mugger takes off without a second thought, while Mohinder stands there amazed at what he just did.

As much as I like where the storylines with Sylar, Hiro, and Peter are heading, I really dislike what they’ve done with Mohinder. It was bad enough when they made it so that Claire’s blood could revive anyone simply by injecting it (thus removing any tension about whether or not certain characters would survive), but now it’s even worse. Within a single episode, two powerless characters have been either given powers or shown having powers. What do you guys think? Is this a bad move, or do you like the prospect of any normal individual being able to gain superpowers on the show?

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