While the more-than-3000 fans stood and cheered the stars of NBC’s “Heroes,” there was a lingering sense that the crowd is looking for “Chapter Five: Redemption” to restore the luster to the show itself, in addition to their favorite characters.
If the opening trailer and its reaction were anything to go by, there is good reason for optimism. We find our returning characters back in familiar circumstances where we found them in season one, some dead characters resurrected, a new character promising much, and Claire in college sharing an experimental kiss with a female friend.
“G4’s” Blair Butler introduced the panel — Heroes creator Tim Kring, returning cast Jack Coleman (Noah Bennet), Masi Oka (Hiro Nakamura), Hayden Panettiere (Claire Bennet), Adrian Pasdar (Nathan Petrelli), Zachary Quinto (Sylar) and Milo Ventimiglia (Peter Petrelli), and brand-new cast members Robert Knepper (T-Bag in “Prison Break”), Dawn Olivieri, Ray Park and Madeline Zima.
Kring explained that the theme of “Redemption” has been in the plans for a long time. With the government no longer hunting those with abilities, the heroes and villains are each able to forge the next chapters of their lives as they choose.
Matt Parkman has returned to the police force. After suffering and causing so much pain, “Peter is back to being a paramedic” (wasn’t he a nurse?). Claire is a college freshman. Noah is starting a new company.
Unfortunately for Hiro, the nose bleeding from last season is only the start of his problems. He learns he is very ill, with little time left to live. Oka reports that Hiro’s redemption journey will mark the return of significant time travel for the character in his attempts to right the perceived wrongs in his life in the days or weeks he has remaining.
The trailer showed Nathan shot, dead and buried… but ended with Sylar bursting from the grave. The panel revealed that Nathan and Sylar will be sharing a body this season… and Matt and Sylar sharing a mind. Quinto seemed to delight in being able to “mess with his head.”
Meanwhile, Ali Larter fans will be pleased to see the character of Tracy back. It turns out the fragments of her frozen and shattered body were able to melt, liquify and re-assemble like a transparent T-1000.
The season’s catalyst will be the character of Samuel played by Knepper, best known as T-Bag from “Prison Break.” He is the head of a carnival where Kring says a whole new group of people with abilities have been hiding in plain sight from the government crack-down. “If you can breath fire, where better to hide than a carnival?” When Samuel’s brother dies, the character decides to try to take the world in a new direction.
According to Knepper, his character will be interacting with all of the others as the central figure, guiding events toward goals and a conclusion that not even the actor yet knows.
Working with Samuel is the character played by Olivieri. The two are able to combine powers causing tattoos to appear on her body which can reveal events. “I’m mostly naked the entire time,” the actress smiled. While her character generally stays within the protective confines of the carnival, exciting possibilities are promised.
Another carnival member is the character played by Ray Park who possesses super speed. A sequence of Park and Peter performing an intricate Flash-fast knife fight earned cheers from the crowd. Ventimiglia admitted to “geeking out” over his battles with the man who played Darth Maul.
Meanwhile, Zima joins the cast as Claire’s college roommate – her first genuine friend and confidant since the first season. While the panel and audience fostered the implication that the female pair would be enjoying on-screen romance, Kring eventually clarified that the innuendo was all in the spirit of panel fun. “Their relationship is nothing like that,” he proclaimed.
“Heroes: Chapter Five – Redemption” premieres on NBC Monday, September 21st.