Monday was a night of surprises, as Heroes was good and Castle...well, I'll save that for later. Also, someone was surprised on Top Chef, and not in the good way. Intrigued? Well, then let your eyes wander another 3 millimeters down the screen...
Heroes: I'm not gonna lie, this was a good episode. Not good as in "I'm ready to declare Heroes to be awesome", but good as in "it told a story this time and didn't make me feel like I wasted in hour". After throwing a lot of new ingredients into the old Heroes gumbo, the storylines are finally starting to simmer and become something cohesive. Starting off, Samuel has gone from "really annoying" to "Ahh, he's supposed to be Magneto". He throws the hard sell on Tracy tonight, who is called into play by HRG to help Omega...err, Jeremy get out of legal trouble. HRG's still going by the Company playbook, which would be to get Jeremy out of town, then set him up in a new identity in D.C. while Tracy mentors him in using his powers. Samuel, on the other hand, wants Jeremy to come to Genosh...to the Carni-notsoevil where he can be around family. HRG's plan gets Jeremy out of jail, but is foiled by a combination of an angry mob, Jeremy speaking in class today, and a length of chain. HRG is sad, Tracy gets out her compass, and Samuel wanders into town to collapse the whole police station. Awesome visual, and after the events in town, you're pretty much rooting for Samuel at this point. He's going to need a Charles Xavier eventually though, otherwise it's just one badass with powers going against the Ambiguous Motivation Gang.
Meanwhile, Parkman gets jiggy with Mrs. Parkman, only it turns into a freaky three-way with Sylar, who also misses a golden "How do you like them apples?" setup. Parkman discovers that booze makes the problems go away...and makes Sylar go away too. Ahh alcohol: The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. Parkman does shots while Sylar writhes in agony, then Parkman blacks out. When he comes to, his wife and sponsor are there for him, but then it turns out that...PARKMAN IS SYLAR NOW!!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! EEEEEEE-VIL!!!!
But yeah, Sylar tricks Parkman (and really, how hard has that ever been?) into letting Sylar take control, and now Sylar is driving the bus. The big, empty, shlubby bus.
And Claire did something boring.
On to Castle! Best first minute of an episode ever, as Nathan Fillion gets back into the Captain Tightpants outfit for the first time in too long. I like that this show isn't afraid to turn directly to the camera and give us a big ol' wink like that. Also nice were the nods to Ryan and Esposito's former gigs (Ryan was a doctor/Seamus Dever was on General Hospital, and Esposito was a soldier/Jon Huertas was in Generation Kill) at the big costume party at the end. In between was a fairly good vampire story, some more good scenes between Castle and his daughter, pretty much everything that keeps this show running smoothly.
Top Chef: Poor Mike. Unfortunately for him, the Foreshadowing Elves had it out for him. To be honest, I'd feel confident any time Robin was in the competition, as she's been in the bottom so often, Lisa from season 4 might have to come back to take her down. Fun episode, as they get all excited about cooking meat, then find out that Natalie Portman (who is OMGCute as always) is the guest judge, and is a vegetarian. I blame all that milk in The Professional. Anyway, the game plan shifts, and Jennifer, Mike, and Robin land in the bottom three. I'm a little surprised that Kevin won again, considering all the praise they had for Eli, but I guess vegetables that feel like meat win out over lighter fare. Jennifer is totally freaking out, and she may be headed for a burnout and an explicable "Robin the final five" scenario. Robin has been "second worst" so many times, and it's always surprising that cumulative scores aren't part of the judging criteria for who goes home. Then again, maybe his leeks were just that bad. Also, there were dick jokes, so see the episode for that alone.