Heroes: The Season Finale

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.

Likes

  • 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.

Dislikes

  • 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?

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2 Responses to Heroes: The Season Finale

  1. Dave says:

    I agree with all your dislikes – and none of your likes. lol

    I loved this show from its premier all the way thru March. When we saw that episode tag back then saying “Heroes will return on April 24th” I thought I’d die from waiting that long to get another new ep! Then it finally came back, and… I thought the show had turned really boring. I suddenly didn’t care about ANY of the characters (gone was what you refer to as the “key emotional scenes”), and the plotting/editing – in my opinion – was just really clunky; like key *plot* scenes had been left out.

    To me, the heart of this show was Claire and her father, in their strange little family. That was entirely abandoned after March, for obvious plot reasons, but nonetheless that kind of stuff was tossed aside for endless scenes of people on the run.

    But my big problem with this show was in how the season was built, telling us that NYC would be blown up unless our heroes prevailed. So sure, in the finale, our heroes did prevail – by succeeding to prevent anything exciting from happening.

    I dunno. I’m really worried for Season 2 of this series. I want smoother storytelling, human moments, and well-paced action/suspense… or this comic fan is going to be watching “Dancing with the Stars” on Monday nights! :)

  2. Jason says:

    In terms of this season finale, I thought it was decent but it should’ve blown me away like the second to last episode did. That particular episode was where everything seemed to hit the fan(with the death of three big characters & so many twists and turns that I found myself yelling out my excitement – a rare thing. Last time I did that for a show was the last three episodes of Season 4 of THE SHIELD). To give the producers credit, they viewed this as a three episode finale but you would have expected the last 15 minutes of such a finale to end with a bigger bang.

    I was hoping for an all out fight between Sylar and the other HEROES as he was the most experience and powerful member of the group. It seemed like he exhibited more powers (ice capabilities) which I don’t remember him getting which implies he killed others we haven’t seen. But the fight itself was so quick that if you blinked, you missed it. As for Peter potentially blowing up NYC, it would have been cooler to have Hiro simply teleport him out to a desert in Navada to blow up there (lord knows the two of them been there before dozens of times — what’s one more visit?). I felt that Nathan’s appearance was cheap as it seemed like a tactic to surprise the audience with a twist to the story as opposed to something authentic to the character of Nathan. I thought Nathan’s character could have continued his arch as a potential villain as opposed to sacrificing himself. But then again, if you care about your younger brother (much like I do in real life) he would have done anything to help his only sibling out. After all, family comes first.

    Sylar escaping didn’t sit well with me either as I felt that it was another cheap story tactic. It reminded me of the original live action Ninja Turtles movie ending only to have a guy who was supposed crush by a trash compactor come back alive without a scratch.

    I loved Claire’s storyline – kind of had that “Luke Skywalker being lured by Darth Vader to the Dark Side of the force” feel. Hiro’s storyline was really good too. As a character he rocks and continues to do so. He was one of my favorite characters because he embraced who he was and was able to share that with his friend. It was literally, “What if a comic geek had superpowers?” That seed of the next subplot revolving around a man far worse than Sylar (as mentioned by the little girl who can locate “HEROES”) peeks my interest greatly. Something tells me that Peter’s dad won’t be so missing come next season as he may be that person. Peter’s dad could also be a good guy hiding from the organization much like Claude the Invisible Man did.

    Overall I thought the season started out slow and meandered on two occasions (Hiro and friend treking across America to SAVE THE CHEERLEADER & Nikki’s storyline involving being a hitwoman) but greatly improved towards the middle and end. In a recent WIZARD article from last month Tim Kring acknowledges he doesn’t want any loose ends or long standing mysteries because people will only give you so much of themselves before they say “screw this.” It’s for this reason that LOST is finally answering questions this season as oppose to giving people more mysteries / unanswered questions while stringing viewers along with stale crumbs. Hell, that’s why I stopped watching it. Give me a good story — beginning, middle and end. Don’t pussyfoot with me. It just tells me you don’t know how to get yourself out of a hole you dug both of us in. FIN!

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