Apparently we all took the same sleeping pill, and while we were knocked out we had the same nightmare: that "Heroes" was going nowhere very fast, introducing new characters who we didn't care about because we knew nothing about them and creating plot scenarios which felt forced and clichéd.

Last night we all woke up. We had the chance to start the season over and watch the premiere of a new series called "Villains." It was much better than its "Heroes" counterpart. It had characters we knew and cared about, and it revealed back stories in an interesting and thought provoking way. It interlinked past seasons and revisited plot points from another character's point of view in order to give us a fresh perspective and new reasons to route for our favorite characters.

This new series has heart, character development and solid motivation that makes sense as it unfolds. In a refreshingly balanced episode it answered questions, surprised us and left us asking new questions, something "Heroes" hasn't been able to do in recent weeks. Hopefully NBC will pick up a full season of "Villains" and cancel that sad, forced and badly written show called "Heroes."

The narrative that "Heroes" has relied upon to open the show since the first episode is back where it belongs this week, opening the episode. Suresh asks, "A child is born to innocence, a child is drawn towards good, why then do so many among us go so horribly wrong?" The same question could have been asked of this series in the past weeks, but this episode reminds us of why we loved this show in the first season and gives us a glimpse of all the potential it still has left in it.

Turns out the two characters with fire throwing ability, Meredith and Flint (how punny), are brother and sister, go figure. They were robbing convenience stores before getting caught by "The Company" which HRG works for and told they would be turned into agents. Meredith at first goes along with the plan and becomes Thompson's partner but later betrays him by releasing her younger brother from Level 5. Thompson told Flint he would become an agent, he was feeling very useful and a part of something bigger than himself. Meredith tells her little bro not to trust anything "The Company" tells him. As she puts it, "God gave you a big sister instead of a brain." Turns out Flint is a little slow and needs a lot of direction. We learned more about Flint in five minutes of this episode than in five of the previous episodes he's been in this season. Now we can care more about him and understand why he's so angry and distrustful of HRG in the present. We also know why it's weird for Meredith to work with HRG in the present.

After helping her brother escape and loading him onto a train, Thompson jumps out from a hiding place in the same train car and shoots Meredith with a stun gun. A fight ensues, and Flint jumps off the train. Meredith sets the train car on fire and just as the conveniently placed tanks of oxygen are about to explode both Meredith and Thompson jump off. The train derails after the explosion. Meredith and Thompson walk away from the fiery wreckage with Meredith in cuffs. She reveals that she has a grudge against the company because they caused the death of her baby girl. Thompson mumbles, "That's what they told you," under his breath and then lets Meredith go free. Then the camera follows a girl in a cheerleading outfit into the fire where we see her pause and hear a man in distress. For those of you who missed the first season it's Claire, and she saves the guy from the fire and doesn't take the credit, which saves her life and the world from blowing up, the first time.

Hiro takes the magic potion from the man in Africa and falls under a spell in which he sees the back stories of all the current villains. Arthur used his ability to erase bad memories from Angela's mind. He has been doing this for all 40-plus years of their marriage in order to cover up anything Angela caught him doing wrong. Nathan was then the New York D.A. and investigating Linderman. If he were successful in uncovering all of Linderman's evil doings then he would also reveal the connection to his own father, Arthur. Since Arthur couldn't convince Nathan to back off and drop the case he put a hit out on his own son. This resulted in a car accident, which revealed Nathan's ability to fly and broke his wife's back in three places, thus causing her paralysis.

Linderman healed Angela's mind and helped her recover all of the memories Arthur tried to erase. Taking her revenge Angela called in the Haitian to assist her. He stood behind Arthur after Arthur ate the soup Angela prepared and poisoned for her dear hubby. Arthur wasn't able to read her mind since the Haitian was blocking Arthur's abilities so he couldn't see the hit coming. The poison didn't kill him, but it did paralyze him. Just as Angela was cleaning up her mess and preparing to transport Arthur to Level 5, Nathan showed up and discovered his Dad on the floor. Arthur was rushed to the hospital where he used his powers to manipulate the doctor onto lying to Angela and Nathan. Faking his own death and getting the doctor to substitute another body for the cremation Angela demanded be performed right away. He lay in that bed until he was able to manipulate people into bringing Adam Monroe to him so that he could heal himself.

Sylar was in the process of hanging himself for killing the guy with the power to move objects with his mind. He had just stepped off a chair and was choking when Elle conveniently showed up just in time to save him. She befriends him and then starts to date him in order to observe him "in the wild." Turns out she was partnered with HRG and their assignment was to watch Sylar kill a "special" person to figure out how he acquired their abilities. Sylar had turned over a new leaf and was really falling for Elle. Elle had real feelings for Sylar as well and wanted to abort her mission. HRG wouldn't hear of it and insisted that they do their job.

So Elle set Sylar up on a blind date, of sorts, inviting another "special" person over for dinner in order to make Sylar so crazy angry that he tried to take off the guys skull and poke around. Elle used her powers to try and stop Sylar, but he felt betrayed by her lies and threw her against a wall forcing her to save herself and run away. Then he cut open the "special" guy's head and took his powers while HRG watched from a van parked outside Sylar's apartment and Elle cried over what she had done.

At the end of the episode Hiro comes out of his trance and babbles about all the things he saw and all the people he needs to warn. Then Hiro and Ando hear screaming and run to find out what happened. The African man has had his head chopped off. When Hiro walks over to look at the severed head Arthur pops out from behind a bush and says, "I heard you've been dreaming about me." Then he grabs Hiro's head in between his hands and Hiro starts screaming. Since Arthur has the ability to steal other people's powers and cause them to become normal we can only guess that this is another dream sequence with no real threat to Hiro. If they follow through and remove Hiro's abilities completely then something very brave and interesting could be happening on this show. It could be raising the stakes.

The temporary reprieve from "Heroes" otherwise failing season doesn't ensure that it will have a lasting affect. Just because the writers decided to rename their show "Villains" for a night doesn't mean it's going to solve all of its problems. This episode proves two things: one, it would have been much easier and more believable to have all the people with "special" abilities meet because they all attend an academy for people with "special" abilities where they are taught how to use them for good and team up to wear matching leather outfits and fight a war for man's destiny but that plot was already taken. And two, if Hiro wakes up next week from a nightmare within a dream and gets to re-do the ending of this week's episode we'll consider it a step backwards in an otherwise forward thinking plot arc.

Heroes stars: Hayden Panettiere / Milo Ventimiglia / Ali Larter / Masi Oka / Zachary Quinto / Dania Ramirez / Kristen Bell / Noah Gray-Cabey / James Kyson Lee / Greg Grunberg / Adrian Pasdar / Malcolm McDowell / more

Story by Erin MacMillan-Ramirez

Starpulse contributing writer