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Review: 'Heroes' - 'Brave New World' (season finale)

by Jason Hughes, posted Feb 9th 2010 2:08AM
'Heroes': 'Brave New World'
(S04E19)
Volume Five came to a climactic end, and as with past volumes, it was both exciting and a little bit of a letdown. But also in keeping with tradition, it left the door open for exciting possibilities in Volume Six, teased at the end of the episode, despite a fifth season not being a certainty at this point.

I suspect, though, that NBC will in fact bring the show back, despite it's lackluster ratings performance. A reboot, of sorts, to the franchise could revitalize it in the same way 'Chuck' has seen ratings improve this season. Properly handled, 'Heroes' is a show that could go several seasons. "Properly handled" is the key to that phrase, and it has been mismanaged for too long.

The biggest flaws have been the transitions between volumes, the seeming lack of overall continuity, and tired and repetitive character arcs that seemed more repetitive than innovative. This season has been the strongest since the WGA Strike (which killed a second season that showed promise and potential).

Robert Knepper was perfectly cast as the villainous Samuel Sullivan, and he played the role with the same intensity and commitment that he gave to T-Bag across four seasons of 'Prison Break.'

As for his climactic confrontation with Peter (of course) in this week's finale, it was pretty exciting. Peter proved himself actually smart, for once, by tackling Samuel right away so as to gain his powers immediately. Going into a battle with a man who can move the earth and with Matt Parkman's abilities on your side doesn't put you in a very good spot.

It was probably inevitable that Samuel would be depowered by the departure of his carnival of specials, but it still felt a little anti-climactic. It also left the question of how Samuel could be seemingly completely powerless with Peter, Sylar, Doyle and Emma still milling about the tents. Shouldn't that be enough to throw up a little dirt here and there?

Sylar as a good guy is still going to take some getting used to; and it's still hard to believe in completely. It's too easy to imagine that face hiding a truly evil secret agenda. But he seemed genuine and sincere when talking to Peter about how good it felt to help Emma, and how he felt no urge to kill Doyle. After eight years of repenting in that mind-world Matt created for him, his reform could be legitimate. He would certainly make an interesting ally to the side of good. Especially with the way Claire set up the sixth volume.

Hiro's meeting with Charlie was bittersweet and beautifully appropriate. Having her live a full and happy life from the point where Samuel had her dropped (1946) helped Hiro learn that it's not always for the best to go back and "try to make things right." In some cases, things happen for a reason. In this case, Charlie found love and created a family. Hopefully, Hiro has learned to be a bit more considerate and responsible with his powers, now that it appears they are back for good.

Matt, on the other hand, has become a character I could easily do without. He does little more than whine and remain close-minded. He cares only about himself and the welfare of his family, which is all fine and good. But that's not a "hero," and so he has no further purpose on the show, unless someone decides they need his ability.

Tracy and Mohinder, on the other hand, were oddly absent through most of the season. I'm not sure why the writers even kept them in the cast, as they only came and went sparingly. Tracy saved the day with Noah and Claire, but after such a focus on her in the beginning of the season, she got dropped like a bad habit. Suresh they didn't seem to want around at all. Maybe they've got big plans for him in the next volume.

As for that scene under the ground. Why would Noah be passing out from lack of oxygen while Claire is able to still run around and scream and dig with full energy and volume. The air would be the same thinness for the two of them, and Claire's ability doesn't make her not have to breathe. Their weakness should have been at least closer to equal.

With Samuel in custody, Claire set up the next volume, which takes its name from this episode, "Brave New World," by showing the news cameras what she could do. She dropped from the ferris wheel and healed right there in front of the world (or it will be later if they weren't going out live). The secret is out, and I think it's a great move by NBC. If they do want to keep 'Heroes' viable as a franchise, it needed a reboot button. A way to keep the stories simple and yet new and exciting at the same time.

Revealing the existence of abilities to the entire world does just that. Suddenly, there's plenty of new material to explore, and even better, it can be done more with the tone of that first season. Instead of "Ordinary people with extraordinary abilities," it's "What if you discovered the world was filled with ordinary people with extraordinary abilities?" They could thin the "special" cast and throw in some non-powered people, perhaps. Bring back some old favorites, like Micah, and perhaps build a new menace -- that's not Sylar. Please, not Sylar.

How would you build Volume Six from the ashes of the first five?

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brandon

i rekon that instride, this season has done all it can to retcon the fucking ugly-ness of it's previous seasons; however the deaths of formerly important characters and the introduction of these annoying ass-fucks -- arthur, knox, tracy, maya and so many others -- ruined both the show and its ratings. it was like, in the begining, you were given the beautiful piece of pastry, that had everything you wanted and you ate the shit out of it, then after a while you wanted more, so then the baker added all these ugly carcinogenic ingrediates that left you fat and unfuckable to every girl in site. the same thing happend to lost, they fucked you over. you were so full of false hope, and tv previews that had the content of all the grate things that they took out of the show! you ended up hateing the show for what they had made it. please for give the obscurity of what i've written, but that's the best way to describe the downfall of the show.
season 1: brilliant and unspoilt.
season 2: rocky but ultimately gave you what you wanted from the characters you cared about. which were, strangely enough, the only few that kept there consistanies.
season 3: brutally raped you and fed you a steady diet of decaying mass (phecies)
season 4: a reformed dugaddict, you can see what went wrong, and he/she may make a mistake along the way, but was ultimately satasfactionary, becasue of;
-the well written new characters
-the seady paceing and long volume length
-the idea of slowly retconing most the bad shit from last time around

April 02 2010 at 8:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Laz

In my opinion, the reason why they (whether writers or the director) had Claire jump off on top of the big wheel is probably because they wanted to make a connection to what they showed us earlier. Since I saw the dark and gloomy future where Peter had a big scar on his face, Claire was always angry, Hiro looked very serious and so on, and they all were hiding under ground, I have always wondered what would happen to the world and to them with abilities. Claire's coming out to the public could explain what might happen in the future world. I hope they make a great and successfull come back with more exciting stories in the next season.

March 26 2010 at 10:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Laz

In my opinion, the reason why they (whether writers or the director) had Claire jump off on top of the big wheel is probably because make a connection to what they showed us earlier. Since I saw the dark and gloomy future where Peter had a big scar on his face, Claire was always angry, Hiro looked very serious and so on, and they all were hiding under ground, I have always wondered what would happen to the world and to them with abilities. Claire's coming out to the public could explain what might happen in the future world. I hope they make a great and successfull come back with more exciting stories in the next season.

March 26 2010 at 10:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Phil

I love Heroes, but this finale was the worst I've ever seen. What the heck was that between Sullivan and Peter...it was like a joke..is that all they could do, moving a piece or earth to and fro. I was so disappointed.

How can a big show with so many characters like this have a 40 minutes finale. How much can one do in 40 mins. I Think the writers need to learn from better shows that places so much emphasis on character development and not having to rush the show. I'm a grown up but so impressed with Japanese Kishimoto's Naruto...That's where Heroes can learn from.
Man, this was terrible.
I was hoping for something like this...
The people at the carnival seeing specials exist and someone like Pacman trying to trying to erase 1000's of memories who'd seen it...sacrificing himself for that because of the strain...And let him die doing that...while one single journalist escapes with the video...just an example. Some of the Heroes need to DIE.

February 20 2010 at 7:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Phil's comment
Matt

i love the show.. but id think hey!!! season 1 finale... ( what the characters shoulda said ) Peter say's " Man this sylar guys a real douche, i got an idea.. incase other douches come out of the wood work.. lets exchange phone numbers now " Noah , Claire , Matt , Hiro , and everyone elses say's " OMG THATS FLIPPIN BRILLIANT!!!! " ok , ok , ok , ok , ok ... Brought to you by Sprint mobile!!!

March 03 2010 at 8:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chuck

Unless the puppet master can play the cello, how could he make the deaf girl play any good music? He can'e see what she sees, so he doesn't know how it "looks". So how could he make her play it in any meaningful fashion at all?

February 10 2010 at 9:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Chuck's comment
MikLamb

My take on this is that Doyle doesn't have to know how the bones and tendons in your leg interact to make you walk, he just says or thinks: "Walk." Likewise, he just told Emma to "Play the Cello" and since she knew how to do that, she did. If Doyle had told me to play the Cello, it wouldn't have been pretty.

February 15 2010 at 12:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nick

Q 1) Why does peter have the ability to fly? Also, how did peter and sylar get from California to NY so quick, they must have flown.
A 1) Some say that sylar has the ability to fly because after the scene that sylar killed nathan he floated down. But nathan was killed by having his throat slit, and sylar didn't take his power. Peter's been randomly showing that he can fly, it's annoying.

Other opinions about the season...Way to much backstory on Emma. For the small part she played in the finale we really didn't need so much screen time dedicated to building up her character.

The same goes for Claire, during most of her scenes through out the season I felt like the writers were just keeping her story line alive to appeal to the younger viewers. But I just can't stand her. To me, she is the main thing killing this show. She gets way to much screen time and her story lines are always the same. She complains about wanting to be normal, then when her life gets normal, she complains about wanting to be different and go public and change the world.

Also, the final scene between Doyle and Sylar was crap. Mainly because we've already seen Doyle cry that Sylar is just to powerful for him. And the fact that they added the stand off between the two just so they could have Emma blast Doyle with her power was lame. And I thought the speedster guy couldn't find the carnival.

February 09 2010 at 10:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Nick's comment
Phil

great comment but I think that we all know how Sylar learned to take someone's gift without having to kill them anymore. We saw that in the episode with the girl who had a crush on Sylar...the electric/lightning user. And Sylar also confirmed to Lydia that he didn't have to kill her to take her powers... remember?

February 20 2010 at 8:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Long

Did anyone notice something wrong? How did Peter turn Eli around and read his mind doesn't that make him carry both telekinesis and telepathy.

February 09 2010 at 10:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Long's comment
Tri

Hi didn't. Sylar turned him.

February 10 2010 at 3:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pas

Well, thank you for writing a recap who is not just about bashing the show. It's a nice change from those writing about it without even watching it or even trying to understand it.

Like the 2 previous ones, I felt it mostly flipfloped with stupidity and brillance, which is why I felt the season was too long. I think they could have told the same story in ~13ish episodes, thus sparing us the few less-than-stellar storylines (that somehow took a lot of screen time) that dragged the season down.

As for the finale itself, I thought it was solid. Not bad, but unfortunately not great. It gave a end to the season, and raised potential for an hypothetic next season.
However, I doubt, if it's renewed, that Heroes will ever get back on its feet. It's been bashed too much, both rightfully and unrightfully to ever recover. As for this season, the plot moving slowly at times allowed a lot of character development (I'll even say that 90% of the season WAS character development) and while I love that aspect on TV shows, most people don't.

RIP for now Heroes, and let's hope if you come back from the deads, you'll make things right.

February 09 2010 at 7:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael

I've stuck with Heroes from its premiere & hope that they do get renewed for next season. The quality has been all over the map throughout the show's run,but I find the premise intriguing & still filled with potential. What happened to Lauren at the conclusion of the show,I'd figure she'd have been in the thick of things after helping rescue Noah & Claire? If the series does return I'd sure like to see the writers not get rid of so many pretty women as they seem to have a propensity for doing with this series. Daphne:deceased,Lydia:deceased,Simone:deceased,Elle:deceased,Eden:deceased,Maya:left,Candice:left,geez,this is depressing.

February 09 2010 at 4:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hartbroknagn

at the risk of sounding bloggy here are my thoughts. Sylar was a bad guy we figured that out in the first three episodes of season 1. Then he was good then he was bad then he was good then he was bad then he was good then he was bad then he was good then he was bad, leave him a bad guy it adds character. Imo one of the best bad guy was Q from STSNG. Even on Missions of Mercy when they helped each other you almost always knew it was either his fault or he was involved.

Secondly, the whole series was about people not knowing about abilities. In season 1 theres episodes dedicated for showing what happens. So now, Clare announced on the news after Natihion/Sylar were stopped.

Does that erase everything else?

February 09 2010 at 4:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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