Tim Kring and company must have actually listened to the criticism of the second season of Heroes. Even if you object to the actual storylines of season 3, Heroes is certainly speeding up the plot this year. Last night was just the third episode, but already paths are crossing, story arcs are ending and beginning anew, and Heroes is dwelling on any one character for too long.

The main complaint for season 2, echoed by myself and others, was that it was so slow. Hiro spent half the year in feudal Japan while Peter spent half the year not knowing who he was. Maya and Alejandro spent all year trying to get to New York City, Sylar was powerless, Claire was a cheerleader and it was all so tedious up until the last episode or two, when everything happened at once.

Watch Heroes Episode 3.3 “One of Us, One of Them”>>

Heroes season 3 is not making that mistake again. The wacky misadventures of Hiro and Daphne were fun, but before they get too cutesy and silly and pointless, along comes the Haitian to lock Hiro and Ando up in Level 5. Heroes works best when the main characters get to interact with one another, so speeding up the timeline for Hiro to become a part of the main action was one of many smart moves the writers made last night.

The second good idea was with Tracy. Rather than waste half the season trying to figure out how she’s connected to Niki, she sees Niki’s corpse, learns from Micah about their connection and goes to see the doctor who claimed to be their creator. If this storyline existed in the first two seasons of Heroes, the events of last night would have taken three or four episodes.

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Finally, there’s Peter. I actually think the writers made a mistake in this plot last night, but it was the exact opposite of the problems of previous seasons. The whole idea of Peter being stuck in a villain’s body was intriguing, and while it would have grown a little tiresome after four or five episodes, cutting that plot short last night was probably a mistake to do it so soon, mostly because we never got a chance to see Kristen Bell and Francis Capra share a scene together.

Heroes may still have some serious problems, but pacing is no longer one of them. Sure, they still need to trim the cast down to a more manageable size and there is a potential danger that Parkman in Africa is this year’s Hiro in Japan, but things are still looking bright, because at least the story is moving forward rather than staying in place like it did for most of last season.

-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of NBC)