Apr 28 2009
Last night marked the season finale of the latest volume of Heroes, “Fugitives.” Unlike Sub-Zero, who has for a while now bashed the show, I’ve defended it, arguing that despite sloppy writing and inconsistent character arcs, this season has shown flashes of quality reminiscent of Volume 1. Volume 2 I was willing to forgive because of the writers’ strike, and we can all agree that Volume 3 was pretty terrible. Brian Fuller returned this season, but his presence may not have been enough to save a show that everyone seems to love to hate. So, how did the Volume 4 finale hold up? Keep reading my review to see what worked, what didn’t, and what we can expect (or hope for) in Volume 5. Spoilers ahead.
Right away, we find out how Sylar survived a knife to the “sweet spot” in the back of his head. Fully understanding his shapeshifting ability, he simply moved the spot to a different, presumably well-protected area. Works for me. He becomes pretty much immortal, and with his ability to know an object’s or person’s history by touching it, Sylar seems a sure bet to meet and touch the President. Claire, Nathan, Peter, and Angela go after Sylar, while Hiro and Ando invade building 26. Noah, after a brief hiatus, joins in the hunt for Sylar. The plot is set, and we know that it’s whether or not Petrelli & Associates can stop Sylar before he meets the President. There are a few wrinkles, though.
For one, Hiro gets messed up every time he stops time: first, his nose bleeds, next, it’s his ear. The writers did a good job of limiting time travel or manipulation – a concept that has plagued this show – and setting up a Hiro self-sacrifice scenario. One big problem with Heroes is that characters usually don’t stay dead (more on that later), so Hiro killing himself to save others at some point in the future wouldn’t be a bad idea – and a good way to write the character off the show. He’s used mostly for comic relief, time travel has proved precarious, and I think most fans agree he’s worn out his welcome. I don’t mean for this review to be a “how to fix Heroes” article, but it’s tough to not point out the potential a show like this has.
Nathan and Peter get to Sylar eventually, and there’s a huge, explosive fight…but we never see it. Maybe the budget is tight, maybe the director was going for style points, or maybe two dudes flying around a man shooting lightning would probably look pretty silly. In any event, Peter managed to touch Sylar and gain his ability. Which ability, we don’t find out until later. Nathan and Sylar soon confront one another and in a scene I definitely did not expect, Sylar uses telekinesis to slit Nathan’s throat. It was f*cking sweet. But once again, Heroes figured out a way to bring the dead back to life.
It turns out Peter absorbed Sylar’s shapeshifting ability and then beat Sylar to the President. Looking just like the President, Peter ambushes Sylar and hits him with a tranq in the thoat. Sylar can’t die (we have to assume the “sweet spot” is virtually impossible to find), so what will Noah and the Petrellis do with the body? This is where the show gets pretty creative (or maybe it just ripped from X-Men?) and takes a chance to do something different than what it has done in the past. That’s a good sign. Since Sylar has almost all of Nathan’s memories, Parkman is able to wipe away all personalities and memories Sylar has collected – including his own – except Nathan’s. Sylar’s body shapeshifts to look like Nathan, and Viola! Sylar is dead, Nathan is back.
If that was the end, I think I’d be OK. I’d be disappointed Sylar was killed (he’s my favorite character on the show; without a powerful villain, heroes are nothing), but at least the show figured out a way to kill off a 1) seemingly immortal character and 2) a major character. But no. In the prologue to Volume 5, we see Nathan telling Angela he hasn’t been feeling like himself. He realizes that a clock is a second or two fast, and it’s clear that Sylar is starting to develop inside of Nathan. Once again, nobody stayed dead, and where’s the suspense now in Volume 5? We know that Nathan will struggle to keep Sylar from emerging, and I’m sure we’ll have a big, dramatic “I’m back!” scene from Sylar.
And just to nitpick, Sylar wasn’t able to fly, right? If “new” Nathan has all of Nathan’s memories, won’t he be curious to know why he can’t fly anymore? Am I wrong on this?
I know it sounds like I hated the finale, but I really didn’t. I thought some scenes were pretty cool. It’s just that I really don’t have any desire to watch Volume 5, and once again, I was left disappointed by a show that I think has a lot of potential. Sort of like how my ex-girlfriends feel about me. Boom! Anyway, what’d you all think? Like it or no?
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