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October 30, 2014

Heroes: Five Years Gone

by Michael Canfield, posted May 1st 2007 9:02AM

(S01E20)
This episode is listed as "String Theory" on my PVR and some places online, but on NBC's site and the screen itself it says "Five Years Gone" so that's what I went with.

"What if?" stories are fun. They allow the creators to play around with characters and show them in unexpected new lights. This isn't a purely "what if?" story, however. What happens here determines "our" Hiro's (younger Hiro's) ability to return to the present and change history in the coming episodes -- or fail to.

Future HiroIt's evident that, though Linderman's destruction of New York succeeded, his stated goals for this odd plan failed. Instead of the unified peaceful-world scenario Linderman laid out to entice Nathan to hitch himself to the wagon, this post-blast America is a fascist state, run by a chief executive with strongly-centralized powers enforced by a homeland security department reporting directly to himself. The "specials" go underground to survive, while the President directs his advisor Mohinder to implement a "final solution."

In this episode, I found Mohinder much more compelling as a character than usual. Maybe because, here, he actually knows most of the other characters and knows what is going on. He's better able to interact. Though you have to wonder how Sylar could disguise his twisted personality for up to five years from someone who has certainly learned about Sylar the hard way. Hm. They can always say Sylar picked up a insanity-cloaker or maybe a super-charisma power along the way if that argument ever comes up.

In Isaac's loft, Mohinder thinks he finds a way around the President's genocide plot: get Hiro to go back and fix the past. Easy. Chillingly, Fake-Nathan says "that doesn't work for me." Nathan is really Sylar we soon find out, who has absorbed Candice's shape-shifting. Genocide is what Sylar wants.

But another question is whether Sylar hatched this plan alone or took over what Nathan and Linderman were already planning? Nuking New York may have been only stage one for the billionaire. Stage two could have been to unite the world through xenophobia, fear of the Other, all along, which would make Liderman and Nathan betrayers of their own kind.Future Peter

In his final confrontation with Sylar, Peter says Sylar will pay for "what he did" to Nathan. "What I did?" sneers Sylar. "When he died he had already turned against his own kind." Meaning, I think, that Nathan had already decided to wipe out, or at least control, anyone with abilities when Sylar killed him. Peter calls Sylar a liar, but that still remains to be seen. I think that back in the present timeline Nathan is still on this fence, though leaning hard toward the direction that puts him in power.

There are similarities to a lot different superhero universes here. Not only The X-Men (in both print and film) and The Watchmen, but also Marvel's own post-9/11 "Civil Wars" storyline, with its Mutant Registration Act, which pits a chunk of Marvel's pantheon against another chunk. None of which bothers me. Comic book sagas borrow from each other all the time. It really comes down to interesting characters and It gets called "borrowing," "stealing," or "homage," depending on how you feel about the results.
Jessica but not Jessica really. Niki in a wig
Anyway. One of the most fun things for me tonight was seeing many of the characters paired up in new unexpected ways. The Haitian and Matt Parkman as partners. Peter and Niki as a couple. Couple of what though, I don't know exactly. Jessica comes out on stage to ride the pole. But it is really Niki just using the other name for the stage. Jessica died with D.L. and Micah in New York. Which means that one mirror twin can survive without the other one, I guess. This supports the theory that Jessica and Niki both have their own bodies. Either that or will get them real soon, or Niki would have died in New York too?

The post-nuke years have turned Matt Parkman into one cold bastard. One of the most sympathetic of the series regulars, and one always struggling the fit in in the normal timeline, here he has found his confidence but lost much of his humanity. He even breaks a secret alliance with Bennet who had helped rescue Matt's wife and their son, Matthew Jr., who has inherited abilities of his own.

Bennet runs an underground railroad, creating new identities for specials on the run. HRG no longer! Here as he has traded his horn-rims for a softer look sometime after separating from the Company. Mr. Rimless Glasses

Eric Roberts' character, and all the "golden age" characters: Mama Petrelli, Linderman, Mr. Nakamura were left out of this episode. Possibly Sylar disposed of them all sometime after he met the most-handy Candice; it would have been easy enough for him to do. Or maybe some of these folks are still behind everything, pulling the strings, even in this possible future.

Isaac really did get to be a hero; Mohinder finds his final issue of 9th Wonders. It's the only clue Hiro has to use in the past to change the timeline, after future Hiro's sudden demise. Younger Hiro is stunned by the death of his future self, and it's Ando who snaps him out of it, and gets Hiro to jump back to the present. Ando's more vital than ever now -- thanks to Peter's revelation. Future Hiro was reluctant to reveal Ando's own death in the explosion to him, but Peter's beyond sparing anyone's feelings at that point. Good thing too, because now Ando knows he has an important role to play in Hiro's life.
Showdown Sylar and Peter
Throughout the series it's been made clear that Peter is the guy who goes nuclear and destroys New York. Tonight the future world's been led to believe that it was Sylar who exploded -- and that he also died in the explosion. The truth is that it IS going Peter as we always thought and he survived in tonight's timeline (via Claire's ability I presume). But seeing Peter tonight with his teleporting, time-stopping, and various fighting powers ... well the way he keeps picking abilities up makes just about every other hero redundant, which would change the show a lot. It will be tough to keep coming up with stories if 7Peter can just do every damn thing. For that reason, I think it Peter is likely die in the season finale, or will find himself with reduced powers or no powers at all.

On TV Squad's recently implemented 1-7 scale I say seven.

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Lensman2k

Am i the only person, who noticed the Major Huge Fault in the plot of this episode???

Future Hiro said he stabbed Sylar, and he regenerated, which means he must have already killed Claire to gain her regenerative powers. Yet when he is Nathan/Sylar, Claire is taken to him, and he says he's been waiting for this for a long time.....HUH??, how could he have regenerated if Claire was still alive?, and if he had killed her to gain the power before the election, she would already be dead??...This is a big flaw in the programme makers story line.
I had to watch it twice to make sure, but it's a bit of a cock up if you ask me??!!

May 10 2007 at 8:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bubba

Well...

RE: FuturePeter's scar:

I like the guilt idea, but I have a "better" one:

FuturePeter receives the scar from FutureHiro, when FutureHiro tries to kill FutureSylar (ReallyFuturePeterDisguisedbyFutureSylar using Candice's power of illusion). Naturally, FuturePeter starts healing and is almost done when FutureHatian shows up and disrupts the healing process. FutureNathan gets away, but since the injury wasn't fully healed when FuturePeter's power was disrupted, CoppiedClaire'sHealingPower doesn't realize that the scar needs to be healed, and so it isn't. FuturePeter doesn't try to heal it, as his guilt over what really happened in New York. The reason that no "Future..." person notices is that the area of effect for FutureSylar's use of Candice's power is greater than the FutureHatian's distruption radius.

And that brings us to FuturePeter believing HE's the reason that NY blew up - but considering FutureSylar's newfound talent for deceiving literally *everybody*, well, couldn't he have gotten FuturePeter to buy the whole "I'm the reason NY is toast, ."? Why? Simple - Sylar (at any time) likes to "mess" with people's heads, in any way, but mostly to put them at a disadvantage in any confrontation with him.

And one more thing: why don't any of the "Future..." guys just kill one another? There has to be a reason, but I have to admit I can't get one to stick in my head for long. I keep poking holes in every theory I come up with; can anyone help me with a good reason? I'd really love to know...

Thanks.

Later...

May 02 2007 at 6:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dorv

Jessica: Half this damn board has been discussion about that scar. Did ANYONE actually read the POSTS?

(Ok, that was me being funny)

On a serious note, I like the theory that someone posited that he left it there as a very literal sign of his guilt.

May 02 2007 at 12:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
scott

Sylar didn't get Eden's powers... she shot herself in the head so that he couldn't, and died as a hero.

May 02 2007 at 12:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jessica

Did ANYONE notice that Peter had a HUGE scar on his face? This is a man that can regenerate. How does he have a HUGE scar on his face?

I agree that this was probably the best hour of TV I've seen in a very long time. I also notice all of the similarities with X-Men and other comics and surely do not mind.

So much of the show was unbelievable, but is any of the show really believable?

Also, their plan of genecide is stupid. It won't stop anything. These people are the next species in evolution. Like going from caveman to modern-day-man. Killing the first few thousand won't stop God from doing what He wants.

Any thoughts?

May 02 2007 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ladytv

Wow, I'm sorry about the double post.

May 02 2007 at 11:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Matt

When considering what "Save the cheerleader, save the world" meant... you have to look at things from future Hiro's perspective. He thinks that Sylar was the bomb. The bomb goes off and seems to be the impetus to a completely changed, much darker world. Future Hiro believes that if Sylar gains Claire's regenerative power, past Hiro will not be able to kill Sylar, therefore allowing him to explode.

So one thing is clear... future Hiro was mistaken. His intentions were to be able to kill Sylar for the wrong reason.

So if you really look at things, the phrase "Save the cheerleader, save the world" could hold true in some respect because, if nothing else, Peter's encounter with Claire gave him the ability to stay alive and fight Sylar/be the good guy.

On the other hand, it almost seems more likely to have had the opposite effect, because if Peter was never told that ever-so-famous phrase, it's possible he would have never gained the ability to blow up the city or would have maybe died some other way before he had the chance to blow it up... so Hiro could have set the whole thing into motion inadvertently. That's the "issue" with time travel... you always have that sort of chicken and egg/butterfly effect scenario where you can't be sure what actually created what.

May 02 2007 at 8:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LC

Yeah Bubba, I was just gonna add that It was definitely Nathan because Candice was still alive so Sylar wouldn't have the ability to pose as him.



One thing to mention is that the premise of saving NY was save the Cheerleader save the world, but why? I mean we all think we know why, but this is Hiro saying this. He is human and he could be wrong. If it really was Peter who blew up, saving the cheerleader would have done nothing.

May 02 2007 at 5:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bubba

Well...

Let me correct something in my last comment: I just rewatched ".07%" and I guess I forgot about seeing Sylar killing Issac and painting at the end of the episode.
Darn, such a good theory, done in by the facts... curse you facts! So much for my "Nathan wouldn't be so cold, it must be Sylar" idea... guess he can be Peter's brother and a cold-hearted sumbyach at the same time. Oh, well, his lust for power will be the death of him, won't it? Talk about just desserts - unless Peter can save him...

from himself! Literally! [hee, hee, I love this show!]

Later...

May 02 2007 at 2:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bubba

Well,

Where to begin?

First off, I have to give my first reaction to this episode:

"Sonofa...!!!!"

Ok, "Doug" (post #6), let me reply to you first, as you hit on most of the points that others do as well, and well, I gotta start somewhere.

1) I think it's very telling that the graphic novel (go read them if you haven't; some of the stuff in them is essential - especially if you wondered who that woman is with HRG at Primatech) lead up for this episode was named "String Theory". As far as why, well, if the Many Worlds Theory (go "Wiki" it - hey, a new catchphrase! Hee,hee...) holds true, navigation backwards toward a fixed point in the past would be an order of magnitude (or BETTER!) more difficult than navigation from a fixed point in the past to a "future" that may not even be your own -think jumping into a specific spot in a river from the bank as opposed to jumping from the river to a specific spot on the bank . Also, navigation issues aside, stressing the fabric of space-time at the same point can't be good, especially if the point is already a "nexus" of reality, a point that, by its very existance, is already unstable. As far as not giving him pointers, well, wasn't he trying to do just that when he (future Hiro) got shot?


2. If Peter was in the Hatian's presence, wouldn't the Hatian's power cancel out Peter's ability to absorb the Hatian's power? For that matter, why can't we have a limit to Peter's power of absorption - the inability to absorb the ability to negate the powers he possesses. Maybe the Hatian's power is a lack of power rather than the presence of one? Think "black hole": the most powerful object in the known universe - and we can't even prove it actually exists except by watching what it does to what we know actually exists.

3. With all the powers he has at his command, he needs no one else; after all, as NathanSylar says to Claire: he has enough power, he's just trying to get rid of the competition. Parkman, as an independent agent, is more valuable to Sylar than telepathy - for that matter, why would he need to read the minds of "lesser mortals" when he can see the future and rewrite reality as he sees fit? His only interest in Parkman is what Parkman can bring him: namely Hiro and Peter. Plus to get Parkman's power, he has to expose himself to Matt's power - after all, we've never seen him take the power of someone who's totally incapcitated (i.e. unconscious or dead) - and as we know from when Matt tried to read Peter's mind when they met, a feedback loop would be created giving Sylar the one thing that Sylar must know subconciously he couldn't survive: self-awareness. After all, WE know he's nuts, but he thinks he's perfectly sane... at least consciously...

As far as the future Matt Parkman's behavior, well, we know Sylar has been running Matt's life for the "last" few years, who's to say what he's been doing to Matt using Candice's illusion power - for that matter, we don't know if that power extends to the mental landscape as well. If it does, then Parkman's power really is irrelevent to NathanSylar, after all.

Now, on to Mel (post #7), well, the rumor is that the writers are so eager to continue working with this cast that all bets are off as far as the "origional" plan to start Season 2 with all new Heroes. Now, we know that Sylar gets the ability to "see" the future, and therefore, to a certain extent, change it - go read "Dune" for more on the perils of trying to walk a "Golden Path" - so, depending on when Sylar gets Candice's power, Sylar might just have made it look to Issac that Sylar is the one who gets stabbed, when it was really Peter. After all, if Future Hiro did stab Sylar, but he didn't have Claire's power, how did he survive? If, however, it was PeterSylar (i.e. really Peter made to look like Sylar by Sylar - after all, wouldn't that neatly explain why everyone thinks Sylar was the one who blew up NY, when we really know that it was Peter? ) then that would explain how "Sylar" could have regenerated (from Future Hiro's POV) even if he hadn't gotten the ability to regenerate from Claire.

[ Allow me to digress for just a moment: Anyone else notice how the writers of the series just love to have the charaters react to a situation, with the best of intentions but with totally the wrong execution, based on their own inaccurate perceptions: Hiro's first try at getting his "Sword of Destiny", Issac's paintings of InvisiPeter, HRG's handling of Claire's whole life, just about anything the Hatian's ever done, excetra, excetra? I mean, as it stands now, I can just about see a way for what everyone of the characters believes as the &quo

May 02 2007 at 1:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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