Heroes 22 & 23

“Landslide” & “How to Stop an Exploding Man”

What, did people honestly expect me to write about these Heroes? When your penultimate episode is so lacklustre that you couldn’t be bothered to even watch the finale until almost a week after the fact, something is wrong.

Fortunately for Heroes, I failed to be disappointed. I yelled at the screen and felt a little angry, but it’s impossible to be disappointed when you can’t raise hackles enough to care.

Spoilers

I don’t recall Landslide very well, so I’ll give some bare facts:

Sylar uses his super hearing to report Ted for terrorism, and proceeds to decapitate him and steal his nuclear powers. This is essentially an excuse for a final cameo of Clea DuVall’s Audrey Hanson. It also means that Claire and Peter Petrelli have to stay in New York.
Meanwhile, Hiro gets “stopped” by his father – but stopped in order to practise the arts of sword fightery! Ando decides to be stupid, procures a sword of his own and heads off to Sylar Town, population: Sylar.
Bennet and Matt break into the Linderman building using telepathy, and briefly team up with DL and Jessica. Linderman shoots DL, so DL retaliates by crushing Linderman’s brain. Niki takes this opportunity to claim her body back from Jessica – with Jessica’s apparent consent. Bennet and Matt spend their time killing Thompson and pointing guns at Molly Walker, thus rendering the Company unmanaged – unless you count Mamma Petrelli.

Sylar says “boom”.

“How To Stop an Exploding Man” goes thus:

It wastes a lot of time recapping the previous episode’s events, and I’ll put them into magical sentences: Ando sneaks up on Sylar, but Hiro saves Ando from stupidity and deposits him in Japan, having learned the true value of bravery.
Niki leaves DL in the hallway of the floor where Mohinder and Bennet are still in their intense Mexican stand off. She stumbles into another office where she fights “Jessica”, who is actually Candice. The real Jessica gives Niki permission to beat the Hell out of Candice. Now with super strength, Niki proceeds to beat the hell out of said Candice and steals back Micah.
Matt and Molly recognise each other and everyone decides not to kill a little girl.
Peter Petrelli delivers Claire to Nathan and Mamma Petrelli, then reads their minds to realise that they totally want New York to explode. In a haze of betrayal, he somehow travels back into the past and speaks to Simone’s father, who didn’t want the explosion to go on – which is presumably where he and Mr. Nakamura disagreed with Mamma Petrelli and Linderman.
Bennet wakes Peter Petrelli, tells him “call me Noah”, and they travel to Kirby Plaza, where everyone teams up to fight Sylar using their unique powers that finally kind of unite the characters who were supposed to converge a metric age ago.
With Sylar beaten by Niki’s (and then, subsequently, Peter Petrelli’s) super strength, and then stabbed by Hiro (who gets blown away in time), Peter Petrelli proceeds to start blowing up. Bennet gives Claire a gun to shoot Peter Petrelli, but Nathan steps in between them.

“I love you, Peter,” he says.
“I love you too, Nathan.”

And thus they fly up into the Heavens together, and explode. In the aftermath, DL and Niki appear to adopt Molly, Matt gets carted off to recover from his multiple bullet wounds, and Bennet and Claire reunite as a family … while Sylar appears to have escaped into the sewers, presumably to steal the powers of the various mutant turtles and rats that reside there.

END OF VOLUME ONE

Beginning of Volume Two: Hiro in the past, attacked by Japanese people with the “Godsend” flag. Then … solar eclipse. Full circle, Heroes! But at what price?

The end of the series would have been infinitely cooler if, instead of a bunch of Japanese dudes on horses, Hiro faced off against a giant dinosaur. Not as much room for a sequel series, but infinitely cooler.

So this conclusion to Heroes isn’t a total cop-out, but it’s super unimpressive. Not once did I see Mamma Petrelli’s power. We got to see Shaft’s power, we got to see the incredibly telegraphic body language of Past Peter and Past Simone, we even got to see Linderman have his brain pulled at, but no powers from Mamma Petrelli. Being a bitch isn’t a power, Tim Kring; it’s just a natural chemical response generated by the desire to blow up New York City.
It was satisfying to see everyone fight each other a whole bunch at the end, but Sylar put up the crappiest fight ever, Matt was his consistently idiot self, and no one noticed that Sylar got away, albeit with a gaping sword wound?

I don’t really feel like saying much about this, because … what more is there to say about Heroes? It was super awesome for the first half – or at least super compelling. The thing about a first half is that it makes a lot of promises, writes a lot of cheques. The thing about a second half is that it has to cash these cheques and make them equal or accrue interest upon what is written out on them.
No surprises, here, old bean. No cataclysmic end of days battles, just a simple thing. This needed more time, less loose ends (like where the Hell is the Haitian?) and more satisfaction. The last time this show had any emotion was Episode 18. That was some damn good TV. Less good TV after that, and the shape of things became like a caricature of what they once were.

Heroes, in the end, is skeletal, storyboard TV. Sometimes the skeletons had flesh, but ultimately they radiated away into triviality.

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