The mid-season premiere (Season 4, ep. 13, Let It Bleed) was extremely well-written by series creator Tim Kring . I loved it. Over the course of this 4th season the show has steadily veered back to where it began and it's exactly what I wanted: the evil Sylar, persecuted and misunderstood mutants, and the cheerleader as the fulcrum of all their fates.
I've really liked the new storyline with the cult-leader semi-villain Samuel as the device to bring focus to the mess the story had become in Seasons 2 and 3. The actor portraying Samuel, Robert Knepper, is terrific, as are many of the new secondary characters in the disjointed in space-and-time Twilight-Zoneish carnival in which they live/hide. There has definitely been a reboot to the show and I'm guessing that Mark Verheiden of Battlestar fame has been a guiding hand in this story-focusing and writing-honing process. The show once again has clarity, depth, humanity and menace. It feels much more adult than the past two seasons and never was that more clear than in the writing in Let It Bleed.
I could just gush and gush about bits of dialog and especially how again and again the dialog and situations took sharp turns from what appeared to be a straight walk into cliche. We saw archetypal situations throughout the 2-hour episode and were not only surprised at what people said and did but a bit astonished at the sophistication of the writing. Truly adult and in some cases very wise words. The cheerleader has now shown us how she's earned her stripes as the voice-of-conscience among this motley crew. This episode marks the restoration of Heroes and I certainly hope it portends to more like it. If you haven't seen it, you should watch it above on the Hulu embed. Visually, I've enjoyed the color-saturation and soft-focus and the tighter framing of shots - it has a more surreal feel this season.