The Heroic and the Stupid
Last Episode of Heroes Volume One
I caught this ending a little while ago thanks to, er, well, if you know you know. Anyway, we couldn’t wait to see the end and found ways of skipping through them all at a much faster rate. It was almost worth it, too.
Heroes has been compared to that other show featuring super humans. I haven’t seen the 4400 at time of writing, but I can say that from my impressions of it, it differs from Heroes by having many more characters introduced each week. Heroes, by contrast, concentrated on the fortunes of a smaller group of regular characters. It occasionally devoted whole episodes to only one, such as the history of Horned Rimmed Glasses guy, Mr Bennett.
Heroes has had a great deal of success largely thanks to this small but cleverly interlocking group of characters. Beautiful effects and clever camerawork kept the show afloat, even when it stumbled now and then in the first half. I’m incredibly grateful I didn’t have to hang on through the months of hiatus that American fans had to endure.
So, now it’s all over, the bomb has…
IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW, PLEASE DON’T READ
Peter really IS the bomb. The events of this first volume have been promising a bloody great explosion in the middle of New York City. The likelihood increased as we were introduced to Ted Sprague, whose radioactive powers kept going out of control. He killed his wife by accident, unaware of how dangerous he was. So, at first it appeared that HE would be at the centre of it all.
Enter Peter Petrelli. The doe-eyed empathic hero discovered that he absorbs the powers of any hero he meets, generally without knowing it. Sometimes, they can overwhelm him, and it took some brutal training by Christopher Ecclestone’s wonderful invisible man, Claude Rains, to stop him going kablooey. So, it seemed that Peter might be able to control it. After meeting Sprague at the end of the last ep, it looked like he could control Sprague’s lethal power within seconds.
The murderous psychopath spent the entire season stealing the powers of ‘those who don’t deserve them’. After a flash forward to ‘5 years in the future’ we see that he’s managed to become Nathan Petrelli – and US President. He blames his old name for the explosion. But, it was actually Peter. In the present day he paints a picture of a man blowing up, and believes that it will be he who destroys New York.
And here’s where it falls apart.
In Five Years Gone, everything’s gone to crap. No one’s saved the cheerleader and the world is at the mercy of evil Sylar President, who wants all heroes on the planet wiped out by his pet Professor Mohinder Suresh.
As a side note, why does Mohinder always end up working alongside the very guy who murdered his father? That’s pretty screwed up right there.
Our little group of heroes have turned into more badass versions of themselves. Little Hiro is a wanted terrorist, a scarred Peter Petrelli is having super-moody relations with a super-miserable pole-dancing Nikki. And they all hang around in Vegas now, as you would.
Future Matt Parkman. Now a git.
Oh, and Matt Parkman is now a git. A mind-reading git. Time to get out the tinfoil hats! (see above)
This was all an interesting way for the characters to go. The episode signed off with a showdown between an uber-powerful Peter Petrelli, and Sylar shedding his human disguise to face off against the only man who can really match him. So far, so good.
Then, Hiro and Ando bugger back to the present day, and are determined to stop these events. Everything that transpires after this suddenly seems so…
Dull wouldn’t be the right word. It’s still a show that’s leagues ahead of anything else right now. No, I haven’t seen enough of Lost to compare it to that. From what I have seen of that, it would annoy the crap out of me. Basically, the thing with Heroes is that the plot MOVES beautifully. It gave us hints, and rewarded us when we watched closely, and patted our tummies when we realised what the paintings actually meant. Yes, it’s called ‘not pulling plot out of your arse’ and it was perfect for 20 glorious weeks.
I was even willing to let the appearance of Malcolm MacDowell pass. Once upon a time, he was the no-good droog from Clockwork Orange. Now, and a Tank Girl movie later, he just seems to dodge the whole acting issue altogether. His scenes with Nathan Petrelli were downright embarrassing, as the delectable Adrian Pasdar acted him off the screen. Died in a cool way, mind you. Yowch.
So I could forgive the lacklustre Linderman. I can get over the fact that the 5YG timeline didn’t entirely make sense once Hiro had gone back and Peter had saved the cheerleader.
What I can’t forgive, yet, is this:
SFX August 2007: Spoiler Section
The Creator Speaks
So why exactly did Peter need Nathan to help him fly anyway? Surely he possessed that power himself?
“You know,” says series creator Tim Kring, “theoretically you’re not supposed to be thinking about that. The real explanation is that we wanted Nathan to show up and save the day! Yes, I will admit that there’s a very tiny window of logic thdre, but what can I say? It requires the proverbial suspension of disbelief.”
So, basically, he was hoping that no one would wonder this. When it’s been the most heavily analysed show on the internet since about the end of the first episode. Since they’ve been building up the bomb to suggest that it either goes off, or Peter dies, or Nathan definitely dies.
What do we do?
What did they do?
They missed the only thing that would have made sense – that we wanted and expected to happen. All it required to mend this plot hole was a moment where Peter yells “I can’t control it!” and if Sylar had managed to fight back, instead of standing there like a pillock for the duration, it might have been believable. Sylar has Sprague’s power by now! Okay, he didn’t have the ability to regenerate. He didn’t appear to care all that much at this point.
What we had, it hurts me to say, is Sylar meeting all the Heroes and just standing there. He just stood there and took it, letting Nikki whack him with a parking meter (looked great though), Peter to hit him with the same parking meter…and Hiro to slice him through the middle with a – massively brilliantly delivered “Yatta.”
So Sylar’s, just, dead. And then Peter’s suddenly going ‘oh no! I’m about to exploooooooooooooode!!’ cute emo bangs and everything.
He wants poor Claire to shoot him in the head, so he’ll stop blowing up. This makes no sense. It would traumatise Claire and probably make him explode even faster. Second, he made no indication that he couldn’t now deal with more than one power at a time. Third, well, why did he need help to fly, if this wasn’t the case? Why did Nathan have to carry him up?
There’s a term called ‘fanwank’ that isn’t quite as filthy as it sounds, and it applies especially to cases like this. This is where the scriptwriters haven’t just left a small window for people to suggest their own theories; they’ve left half a barn uncompleted which requires major fan scaffolding to hold it together.
I hope they learn from this. I hope they remember that Sci Fi fans, at the best of times, are total pains in the arse when it comes to things like this.
I’ll end this bit on a plea: Please get Volume Two to work!