Episode Title: Better Halves
Original Airdate: 10-30-2006
After several episodes of dancing around it, we finally get one that more or less reveals what is really going on with Niki and her alter ego, along with the real introduction of D.L. and his powers. Meanwhile, there’s also a bit of connections floating around that reveal more than they were initially letting on. One of my remembered story twists were also revealed in this episode, though not exactly the way I had originally remembered. The biggest issue that I had with this episode is that the focus is on Niki for most of the run time, and she is honestly the least interesting character out of the entire first season group.
One other semi-random thing that I noticed during this episode is how progressive this show was about inter-racial relationships. Even almost 10 years later, there are very few inter-racial relationships on TV, but Heroes has D.L. and Niki, Isaac/Peter and Simone, and not exactly a relationship but there’s the flirtation between Eden and Mohinder. Not only that, but there’s never any commentary about their relationships, they just exist.
Aside from that observation, this episode brings quite a bit of the focus on Niki and Jessica, though they still have yet to reveal Jessica’s name. Near the end of the episode, they finally have a conversation with each other. She is one of the most problematic characters in this show and I can see why she was eventually written out of the show. It initially seems like a good concept to have this character that is completely oblivious to this amazing power that she possesses, and it also allows her to give two performances. She plays the innocent single mother scared of everything going on around her, and also the take charge woman who knows what she wants and is willing to rip people apart with her bare hands to achieve it. But once the two halves of the character start working together, the interest disappears.
The episode also finally reveals exactly what D.L. is able to do, there’s been hints at his ability, but it hasn’t been explicitly shown how he basically has the abilities of Kitty Pryde to pass through solid objects at will. There’s also the reveal of who Mohinder’s neighbor Eden is really working for as she takes a call from Noah Bennett and is sent over to Isaac’s place for a housecall. There’s also a hint as to what her abilities are when Noah implies that she should have been able to make Mohinder stay in New York rather than leave back to India to scatter his father’s ashes. It’s still quite fascinating to watch the mystery of the series play out when I only half remember some of the plot twists before they happen so I often realize what’s coming up, but often only shortly before it finally does come up.
Finally, there’s the thread of Hiro coming to grips with his place on his own hero’s journey. In his mind, he feels like he should be well on his way to becoming a hero in his own right, but he wasn’t able to use his abilities in time to save the people they were playing cards with, even though they weren’t exactly the best people in the world. It’s not until Ando reminds him that the road to becoming a hero is a journey, and it’s something that takes more than one step to accomplish that he starts to accept his failings. It’s still pretty great to see Hiro grow even in just these few episodes. He’s still the overly optimistic comic book fan that sees himself as a hero but doesn’t know how to go about it exactly. But within just a few episodes, he’s already starting to speak broken English and become a more fully fleshed out character. It’s easy to see how he became one of the fan favorites in this series, he is still my favorite out of the first season group so far.