The Top 10 Heroes Episodes

Photo Credit:!.jpeg

Ah, Heroes, what a complicated relationship we have. I can’t think of another series that dropped in quality quite like you. Yet I’ve seen every episode, probably more than once. Now comes Heroes Reborn, like an ex-lover that suddenly appears all shiny and new again. But I’ve moved on. The CW and Netflix have delivered better superhero fare since NBC forcibly, and necessarily, ended our relationship in 2010. But I did a stupid thing. I watched the pilot again. And then I watched more, and more, and more. Suddenly, Heroes Reborn is all I can think about. What if it’s what I always wanted Heroes to become? And like the doldrums of season four’s aggressively terrible carnival storyline, I will watch every episode. Here are ten episodes that give me hope for the reboot. And no, they are not all from season one (though most of them are).


Photo Credit: “How to Stop an Exploding Man” (Season 1 Episode 23)

Did Heroes‘ first finale deliver the big showdown with Sylar it should have? No, but the season still wrapped many of its storylines up in rewarding ways. Niki’s fight against herself, with Jessica finally giving in to give her strength, was perhaps the character’s finest moment. Then there was the shocking ending, where the previously cold Nathan flew in and saved the city from his exploding brother. It was undeniably touching.


Photo Credit: “A Clear and Present Danger” (Season 3 Episode 14)

If you remember, or were still watching at this point, Heroes‘s third season was chopped into two “volumes.” The second one, titled “Fugitives,” started off with this big bang of an episode. Sure, Nathan’s motives were certainly unfounded, but here was a new story that started with all the heroes fighting together. Claire gets to be a true badass here, and the final sequence on the plane is one of the best the show ever produced. It felt like a true advance for the series and the start of something exciting, even if it never panned out.


Photo Credit: “Fallout” (Season 1 Episode 11)

The aftermath of Claire’s homecoming led to some great moments. At this point, the Company has Sylar captive, and this episode really allows Zachary Quinto to stretch his legs as one of TV’s most instantly iconic villains. We also get Peter’s vision of the apocalyptic future where everyone is in New York, as well as the smart decision to have the Haitian not erase Claire’s memory. This was a perfect lead in for the outstanding second half of the season.


Photo Credit: “Unexpected” (Season 1 Episode 16)

Here was a big episode at a time when Heroes already felt like it couldn’t get any bigger. This is the one where Peter and Isaac face off and Simone gets killed in the crossfire. It also has Sylar in his prime, traveling with Mohinder and stealing as many powers as he can. Throw in some of the best Hiro and Ando antics, and this is a legit classic and probably the best non-event episode of the series.


Photo Credit: “Homecoming” (Season 1 Episode 9)

Let me take you back to fall 2006, when “Save the cheerleader, save the world” was all any TV fan could think about. It all culminated in this classic episode. All of Isaac’s paintings came true in remarkable and unexpected ways. Back then, Heroes was essentially a horror series, with Sylar tearing people’s skulls off. His attack on Claire was truly chilling, while Peter showed us exactly why he’s the show’s true star.


Photo Credit: “Powerless” (Season 2 Episode 11)

People tend to forget that the end of season two of Heroes is actually pretty good. The last five episodes or so are all pretty strong, the finale being the best of the bunch. It’s the only episode of the season where Niki and Sylar get to do something of worth, the former becoming a true hero and the latter returning to his scene-stealing villainy (he even shoots Maya, a truly cheer-worthy moment for frustrated fans). But the bulk of this finale is rightfully devoted to the epic showdown at Primatech between Peter, Hiro, Nathan, Matt, and Adam. The action never got better than this on Heroes.


Photo Credit: “Landslide” (Season 1 Episode 22)

The penultimate episode of the first season is where we get way more of the emotional payoffs the season needed to deliver. Niki and DL facing off with Linderman remains one of the most intense and shocking scenes of the series. But this is an episode filled with big moments. Noah, aka HRG, killing his boss, Thompson. Sylar murdering Ted and making him another contender as the bomb. Hiro learning to fight from his father. Nathan winning the election. The 21 episodes before this one all led to these moments, and justified our time in ways “How to Stop an Exploding Man” couldn’t quite measure up to.


Photo Credit:!3. “Genesis” (Season 1 Episode 1)

Let’s talk about superhero television as a whole for a second. I dare you to find me a more iconic moment in the genre than Hiro teleporting to Times Square and exclaiming “Yatta!” It was the pilot’s sense of hope and joyful wonder that got fans hooked. With instantly likable characters and some dark twists, Heroes perhaps got off to a start it would never be able to top. Well, except twice.


Photo Credit: “Five Years Gone” (Season 1 Episode 20)

While it’s true that every other time Heroes would dive into a dark future things just became overly complicated, the first time made for one a fun and dark hour that left us thirsty for where these characters would end up. The future versions of these characters were starkly different, but still believable. In the end, everything still felt natural, unlike every other future we’d visit as the series went on.


Photo Credit: “Company Man” (Season 1 Episode 17)

Bryan Fuller is credited with a lot of Heroes‘ initial success. Having written this episode, it’s hard not to see why. HRG’s motives finally getting revealed in this brilliantly paced, unbearably tense hour that ditches the show’s jumpy format to tell this single story. Even though you know she’s going to live, Claire entering that house while Ted is about to explode still makes me gasp. And if those final moments where her father makes a huge sacrifice for her to escape the Company don’t make you weep, nothing will.



What were your favorite episodes of Heroes? Are you excited for Heroes Reborn? Let us know in the comments!


By Matt Dougherty


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