Episode Title: Don’t Look Back
Original Airdate: 10-2-06
More than the pilot episode, re-watching this second episode of the series really helped solidify what it was about this show that really helped make it resonate with me and likely with many of its other viewers. It certainly had an air of mystery to it and compelling characters, but there was something more to it than that. There was an air of deep mythology associated within itself, something that it was able to develop a shorthand for within the span of just two episodes it made if feel like there was a much deeper world to this show and we were only getting to see a brief glimpse into what was a very deep pool. This episode introduced the concept of what was internally referred to as the helix, and it was something that I don’t remember much about from my first viewing, but this time I definitely noticed it pop up in a few places and caught myself looking more closely for it everywhere once I saw it.
This helix is just a very simple symbol that looks like an S with a single line on one side and a double line on the other, looking it up it’s actually more of a combination of two Japanese characters and was intended to have ties to Hiro. Something else that I noticed with this episode that I had also forgotten about was the concept of time, specifically how the episode made reference to the exact date that it aired. Hiro’s watch reads October 2nd at the end of the episode, and this originally aired on October 2nd. There’s often a use of similar seasons within episodes of a TV show, and holidays often correlate, but this was one of the first times I remember actually seeing a show that made a direct reference to “today’s” date. This really helped give it a feel of taking place not only in the real world, but in the real world at the same exact time and place. If you were someone who lived in New York, you might almost wonder if it was shot earlier that day, at least if you were a bit more naive than the average person.
Aside from the symbolism, the show also introduces a few more characters, including one of my favorites Matt Parkman who learns that he has the ability to hear people’s thoughts but hasn’t been able to pass the test to get promoted to Detective. We’re also introduced to the aftermath of Sylar as well as that he was connected to Mohinder’s father. Not only that, but Mohinder’s father quite possibly helped set him on the path to becoming the serial killer/power stealer that he has become. We also get a little bit more insight into Niki/Jessica’s power where Jessica leaves some breadcrumbs for Niki to follow and finds where Jessica has been hiding the bodies. It’s still not clear what Jessica is able to do, or that her name is even Jessica yet but it’s still one of those things that I do remember about the show. We also get a bit more with Claire and Horn Rimmed Glasses, which is another example of great character development that shows both the closeness of their relationship as adoptive father and daughter, but also how easily he is able to hide something so important to her when it’s revealed that he has the tape of her experimenting with her powers. It also ends with that great cliffhanger ending where Hiro realizes that he’s five weeks into the future and sees the explosion go off in New York before sending himself back in time to the correct date as well as back to Japan. As much as I do still remember about this show, there are so many things that I had forgotten, like Mohinder’s neighbor. It has been holding up very well so far aside from the occasional moment like Claire getting hit by a football player who breaks her neck and would have killed her if she had been a normal girl, but she just shakes it off like it’s nothing. It just seems like such a random thing to have happen, like if she had been a normal girl that would have been a fatal accident that would have scarred everyone there for life. But aside from that it set up the characters and helped further the ongoing mystery incredibly well.