‘Don’t look back’ follows straight on from where ‘Genesis’ ended, continuing the storylines set out in the pilot episode. The lack of forward momentum means that the second episode feels very much the second half of a two hour pilot. Beginning with the Petrelli brothers (Milo Ventimiglia and Adrian Pasdar) discussing the last scene of the episode, where Peter jumped of a building to be saved by a flying David, the show straight away allows the obvious tension between the pair resonate in the hospital. This tension brings a dynamic change, to the manner they were handled in the first episode. Undecided on whether they like or loathe each other, this short scene brings a new layer to the chemistry of the two characters.
Mohinder has very little to do in this episode. Still searching for his fathers work, he is attacked by a mysterious man in his fathers apartment. This added peril really develops his story arc – quite quickly- into carrying some tension. Meeting another character, Eden (Nora Zehetner), in the same sequence, the pair begin to search for subject zero- the individual that began his fathers initial research. What motives Eden has in the search of this individual is still mysterious, but having a dynamic between the two really does bring another level to the scientist, giving the character someone to act off.
With regard to subject-zero, ‘Don’t look back’ hints towards this individual throughout. A man called Sylar, he is first mentioned in three separate places within the context of this episode. At the place of Isaacs supposed death, during a crime scene of a vicious murder – where new character Matt Parkman is introduced to have the power to hear peoples thoughts – and within a phone message heard by Mohinder, between his father and this individual. Blamed for a lot of this episodes crimes, Sylar seems very much the antagonist of the series. Kept in the dark, Sylar is never explained, described or seen and as such is a hidden villain – much like the comic book antagonist’s that the show obviously aims to emulate. Through the awareness of this character being made, the show connects the multiple storylines together. Asking lots of questions, but not answering any, ‘Heroes’ has begun to enhance its appeal and mystery – behind its own mythology.
Being an episode that only really follows the pilot in setting up the characters for the plots to come, ‘Don’t Look Back’ does very little in moving the plot on. Aside from the introduction of the few new characters, the episode lacks in developing the story arc into anything more than what the first began. That is, until the final ten minutes of the episode – where a lot is progressed. Claire’s father – the mysterious man from ‘Genesis’ is first revealed to know about his daughters healing ability. Also Hiro is revealed to have time travelled five months into the future, and through this creates the time limit to the explosion first show by Isaacs painting during the final moments of ‘Genesis’. Giving the show a focus and limit to when the main story arc will supposedly finish, Hiro’s reveal allows for the characters and story to have somewhere to progress towards for the remainder of the season.
‘Don’t look back’ really only adds to what the first episode began without revealing much in regard to its own purpose. As such it should be seen as the second part of a two hour pilot. Like the first, the characters are all acted in a manner which does not allow to much given away with regard to their characteristics of aims. Ali Larter stands out with her ability to act only against herself in the most interesting moments of the show. Mystery and intrigue is also enhance throughout this episode, with the inclusion of Sylar’s name being a part of some of the key sequences within. What this character will bring will undoubtedly be massive in the shows premise. Much like the first, the editing of these sequences is of a high standard – creating transitions between characters in time and place smooth throughout. The second episode does a lot right, but still struggles to find enough time to complement the roster it has introduced fully. Still striving for fair introductions, some characters are only seen for a small sequence with not much development given. Perhaps with the connections being made, this will change in the episodes that follow.