Heroes, like its direct predecessor in the “serialized tv” game Lost, is broken up into two seasons this, er, season. I’m pretty sure this was the plan all along, but with the Writer’s Strike entering its second month, who knows for sure. We do know that the strike means that there’s no specific date set for the shows’ return, so it could be months before we find out where the show goes from here.
Which is too bad, because holy crap.
(Immense spoilers to follow.)
First of all, let’s talk about the title for the next “volume.” Heroes is structured like a very smart comic book – X-Men is obviously the first one you’re going to think of, but Dark Knight isn’t far off – and is thus divided into “volumes” rather than seasons. Volume II, “Generations,” ended last night. The title of the next volume is “Villains,” written on the alley wall above Sylar’s head as he shot Mohinder’s blood into his veins, thus curing the disease that had deadened his powers.
As those of you who watch the series know, Sylar is what happens when a sociopath gets superpowers. He’s not a cardboard villain, nor is he doing this for greed or world domination or for revenge or anything like that – Sylar simply kills because he has no compassion. The side effect of killing another “hero” may be that Sylar obtains that hero’s power, but Zachary Quinto plays him almost as an innocent who seems to enjoy killing because he doesn’t know any better. There’s no reasoning with the guy, and now he seems to be indestructible.
If you take the title of the next volume of stories into consideration, then we’re quite possibly in for a series of shows where Sylar assembles an army of super villains to combat Peter and Mohinder and Parkman and company. I’ll bet you anything that Niki comes back to life, stuck in the form of evil alter ego Jessica, and joins Sylar’s team, that indestructible “first hero” Adam (interesting name, that) is “unearthed”, shall we say, and that Lightning Girl Ellie is torn between good and evil all season until love conquers all or something.
But, man, what an apparent bloodbath that was. From the moment Niki ran into the burning building to save “copycat” Monica, you knew that one or both of them weren’t going to last, if for no other reason than the fact that we saw Claire do the same thing in season one and survive, and then we saw Niki’s husband do the same thing three episodes ago and survive. Three times is a bit much, and besides, neither Niki nor Monica’s powers were designed to allow them to survive fire. Monica got out, thank God; her character is one of the most interesting ones in the show, and someone’s gotta take care of Micah now that he’s lost Mom and Dad in a matter of weeks. (By the way: Nichelle “Uhura” Nichols has been great as Micha’s grandma – was she one of the original “Hero” types from that Corporation photo? If so, she might be the only one left now. It’ll be interesting to see if they do anything with her from now on.)
And Nathan’s been shot, too, just as he was about to reveal his secret to the world. Perhaps, then, it’s a good thing West managed to talk Claire out of it. I for one have no problem with West – a lot of people seem to think he’s the boring shmoopy boyfriend with no point being in the show, and if you’re a Buffy fan, you’re probably thinking of Riley too. But Riley served his purpose – we now know Buffy can’t be with anyone normal, not even a genetically engineered super-soldier – and West served his purpose too, as Claire needed someone she could confide in and relate to for a change, if only so that person could then turn around and tell Claire not to “show the world what she can do.” Unlike her biological father Nathan, who finally stopped being a cowardly politico this year to his own demise. Apparent demise. He’s probably not really dead… is he? ::sniff::
Apparently, some folks have been upset about this season “sucking” so far, but I completely disagree. The arc this year has been all about parents and heroes letting you down, but then sacrificing all they have for their kids anyway. Hiro’s father is murdered by his boyhood hero. Nathan and Peter’s mother takes the blame because if she doesn’t, “it’s all over.” HRG is shot, comes back to life, and bids his family farewell, apparently forever, in order to protect them. It all fits together into a very neat thematic package, and I for one have enjoyed this volume immensely.
Here’s Tim Kring, discussing the finale, in a TV Guide article. Interesting stuff, and worth reading.