Tuesday, May 22, 2007

HEROES: How to Stop an Exploding Man

I speak of spoilers below. You have been warned.

Well, season 1 of Heroes has ended, and thankfully viewers got some closure to the main story arc. The build-up to the, ahem, explosive climax was note-perfect. There were so many nifty, unexpected twists (such as the old guy from the past in the flashback/dream sequence telling future Peter "I can see you, you know" and Linderman's abrupt and unexpected death) that I was downright giddy by the time the moment of truth arrived.

Except the actual final 10 minutes stumbled a bit. Despite all the deft touches the writers have when dealing with the individual heroes, when it comes to conflict involving powers, or group interactions, the just don't have a handle on things. Instead, everyone stands around watching as one mini-drama unfolds, then when that concludes, the next mini-drama steps up. When Sylar is pulling a Darth Vader on Peter, the cop from ALIAS steps in to shoot at Sylar. Fine. But when Sylar stops the bullets, everyone gawks rather than take advantage of the distraction. Nikki/Jessica comes up to wallop Sylar with a parking meter, but rather than finish the most dangerous man alive off, she wanders back to her family when Peter says, "Don't worry, I can finish this." I mean come on! Did everyone take stupid pills off-screen? Dogpile, man, dogpile! And I'm really befuddled by Peter Petrelli, who doesn't seem to have an ounce of fight in him. While Sylar is choking him, Peter does nothing to fight back as far as I can tell. He's right there with Sylar, which means he has access to all of Sylar's stolen powers. What I wanted to see happen was Peter start slicing off the top of Sylar's own skull--that's have been turnabout in a big way. And I also expected Sylar to try to go boom and have Peter absorb the energy, which is what triggers his own meltdown. But the writers had other ideas. And said writers still can't write lines for little girl Molly that sound better than the worst dialogue from George Lucas' movies.

As for Nathan's last-minute heroics... why couldn't Peter fly himself away? I assume he's like Ultra Boy, in that he can only use one power at a time. In any event, that was the one dramatic reveal that was completely expected.

There were some other great things as well, but these mostly fall into the category of hints for next season. Micah's "job" for Linderman is never followed up on, which leaves a fascinating plot thread dangling. And Molly's refusal to find a big bad guy who's "worse than Sylar" and can see her when she locates him is intriguing foreshadowning (next up: The Heroes venture into Mordor to confront Sauron!). But my favorite bit is Hiro's cliffhanger, where he finds himself stranded in feudal Japan between two hostile armies just as an eclipse begins. Sure, everyone got excited about that, but how many of them are fans of the 1990 Japanese samurai epic "Heaven and Earth" (Ten to Chi to) by Haruki Kadokawa? Gorgeous film, and one I love to death. It's probably got the most beautiful medieval battles ever filmed. I'd love to see them riff on that early on next season, but logic says Hiro will teleport out around the 5 minute mark, thus saving the budget for another day.

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  1. Anonymous5:39 PM

    I agree; for some reason, the fight scenes on Heroes are boring and pathetic. Nathan's move was interesting, but otherwise the whole thing seemed disjointed and illogical.

    By the way, Micah's "job" was to rig the election; and I thought the bad guy who could see Molly was Sylar. Maybe I missed something.

  2. Ah! You're right of course--Nathan's come-from-behind win can only be explained by Micah's intervention. I must've missed that.

    But there's someone else out there that's worse than Sylar (even if Sylar did survive--bloody trail to the open manhole cover making that look pretty likely). Molly pinpointed Sylar, aka "The Boogeyman" for Mohinder a couple of times, then said she could "find" anyone in the world except for one person who was "worse than the Boogeyman."

    If Linderman was a kind of Ozymandias analog pulling strings, I'm pretty convinced at this point that there is a Dr. Doom type above even him and the other, older-generation heroes, who is pulling the strings. The older folks had much general knowledge of what was going to happen, but little in the way of details. That tells me they were being fed info by some other source. I wonder if the Illuminati and Vandal Savage are involved? :-)