Heroes, NBC, Airs Mondays 9/8c

Episode: “1961” (Season 3, Episode 23)

Synopsis: Angela Pertrelli (Cristine Rose) and the heroes examine the origin of Primatech, revealing that the family ties extend beyond the ones they’ve grown used to.

Review: When we have criticized Heroes this season, much of it has come in regards to superfluous scenes of backstory (see Sylar’s (Zachary Quinto) search for his family.) Angela’s return to the Coyote Sands Relocation Center qualifies as important and 1961 gave an important piece of the puzzle to Heroes history.

George Lucas once explained that even evil people believe they are doing the right thing, and the episode helped us understand why Angela was so willing to be ruthless in her endeavors throughout the show. The past few episodes have made her a very sympathetic character, and the scenes with Rose and a younger version of Angela, played by Alexa Nicolas, brought us closer to the heroes, maybe more so the villains.

Learning about why Angela had to leave her sister Alice (played by Laura Marano as a child and Diana Scarwid as an adult) puts a face to her actions, something we haven’t been able to see much of this season. And yes, I am aware of the hypocrisy of me liking one family plot line and not another. Chalk it up to better execution.

While Angela was wrestling with sibling issues, the rest of the gang was talking about the merits of forgiveness. Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) complained to Nathan (Adrian Pasdar) about his selfishness, Claire (Hayden Panettiere) ripped on H.R.G. (Jack Coleman) about his failed attempt to make things right, while also continuing her endless set of monologues about how hard it is being a teen (we get it). Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) worked towards forgiving himself. We walked away feeling like the group knows they can’t overcome The Hunter (Zeljko Ivanek) and Sylar if they tear each other down.

The best scene, in my opinion, came at the end as we saw that Sylar had shape-shifted into Nathan and is calling the shots as Senator. The ability to imitate others may be Sylar’s greatest superpower yet, and it’s going to be fun to see how the heroes are able to fight against it. In more ways than one, they will likely be fighting against themselves.

Some people will find 1961 to be slow and a bit too expositional, but sometimes you have to explain what is going on before we are willing to invest ourselves in big bangs and explosions. 1961 changed the mold of characters like Angela, something that isn’t easy to do after spending so long making her a villainous archetype. For that, 1961 soars.

Sylar continues his unusual partnership and begins to have an unexpected identity crisis. Hiro (Masi Oka) and Ando (James Kyson Lee) take measures toward bringing down Building 26. Meanwhile, Matt’s (Greg Grunberg) new found fatherhood changes his priorities. Elsewhere, Nathan sets a plan in motion to right the wrongs of his government operation.

Read More: Heroes Recaps

Did you watch this week’s episode? If so, what worked and what didn’t for you?

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