As an outspoken critic of Heroes when it started– and certainly some of those claims still have merit– and a recent fan of the series after the first few episodes, many people have asked me what I thought of the season finale, which aired last week.
So what did I think?
I loved it. Sure, the fights weren’t as big as some might like and at moments it felt like they were fast forwarding through some big emotional moments, they hit all the right notes to satisfy me. I was captivated throughout the entire episode and I felt like the major themes & stories of the seasons reached their logical– and satisfying– conclusions.
- Peter & Nathan: These two have been the core of the show since the beginning and Nathan’s heroism at the end really provided a nice end to his story (for now at least). It also allowed for us to see Peter become pro-active and stop whining about events spiraling out of control. Both characters have grown quite a lot since the beginning of the show and to see them come together was quite touching. Sure, not everyone liked the idea that love was really the key to saving the world because it reinforced that this show was about people, not powers. The powers were a metaphor and vehicle to put these characters in situations that helped examine the human condition, and with these two characters in particular, the bond between brothers. Powerful stuff.
- Hiro & Ando: I didn’t like these two at first, partly because Hiro felt a bit like a naive fool to me, and also because I didn’t feel any real connection to their adventure. But by the end of the season, I found myself enthralled by their depiction of friendship and a different kind of brotherly love– that between people who choose someone to become a new type of family. When Ando tells Hiro “You look badass,” it’s touching because we’ve seen these two suffer so much for each other and bond through shared hardship. This story was treated perfectly in the finale and with Hiro stuck in the past, it’ll be interesting to see where Ando’s story goes. I’d love to see him become a superhero in his own right, becoming like Batman (in terms of skill), and earning his status through his hard work, to show the place a real man has in this world of super powers.
- Claire Rejecting Her Real Parents: Claire’s story was one of the most interesting in the series and I thought the scene of her jumping out the window was one of the series’ strongest. She’d been searching for her real family and in the end, her search brought her to that “real” family: her adopted parents and her Uncle Peter. Once again, the story is one about someone trying to find their place in the world and the kind of love one needs to survive. As Claire’s story illustrates, you don’t always need that love from a biological relative– sometimes those you choose to love and who choose to love you back can give you all you need.
- Set-Up For The Next Season: Chapter 2 was set up nicely, with Peter’s dream sequence and Ando stuck in the past. All the characters have a lot of room to grow and with the hints of the 5 Years Later episode, we could see some interesting changes ahead.
- Sylar Developing As A Character: Sure, Sylar was always creepy and made a great villain, but the moment in the finale where he believes he’s the hero stopping Peter showed just how much Sylar could be explored as a fallen angel, one who’s drowning in sin but may not be the traditional villain.
- Lack Of Action: While this show was about more than action, when you have super powers, it seems silly not to have a big fight in the finale, especially when this whole series has been leading up to it. Sylar and Peter using their powers would have been great, as these two could do almost anything and create some memorable visuals. I’d be lying if I said the fight wasn’t disappointing.
- Surviving Cast Members: I’m still not sure how DL survived or if Parkman survived (perhaps he was wearing a bulletproof vest), but it feels odd that no one really died in such a big battle (Peter & Nathan “died” post-battle). Sylar seemed ruthless enough to kill more characters and the lack of that death made everything seem a little, frankly, ordinary.
- Key Emotional Scenes Neutered: With such a short running time, I really felt like I needed to see why Nathan decided to turn on his mother, why Nikki/Jessica intervened in the Sylar battle and what was going through the mind of Parkman. All this really would have raised this episode up a few notches, driving home why characters made certain decisions and showing us new sides of these series regulars.
- Short Running Time: This is an episode that could easily have run 30 minutes or an hour longer, fitting in many of the complaints I had about the season finale. I’m sure there are financial concerns to consider to in how long the show could run, but given how much was expected and how much needed to be wrapped up, it could have gone longer. Instead of so-so reviews for the finale, everyone would have been pleased and raving about how it exceeded expectations.
So there you go. My thoughts on the Heroes finale. What did you think?