TV Recap

Apocalypse? Nah!

On the season finale of ''Heroes,'' Peter and Sylar square off in a long-awaited climax that fails to provide either enough action or enough emotion

Heroes, Milo Ventimiglia | NUCLEAR FAMILY Peter went off with Nathan
Image credit: Heroes: Paul Drinkwater
NUCLEAR FAMILY Peter went off with Nathan

The ''Heroes'' season finale: Dropping the bomb

That was an extremely disappointing season finale.

Of course, there was no way that it couldn't have been, unless, as EW music critic Neil Drumming suggested to me this weekend, the bomb actually went off and all our main characters died. That would have been awesome, solely because it would have been the most unexpected thing the show could have done. And Heroes has been anything but unexpected in these three final episodes. In episode 23, ''How to Stop an Exploding Man,'' it was downright boring.

Did anyone think that Hiro wouldn't kill Sylar? Did anyone think that the bomb wouldn't go off? The only mildly shocking thing that happened was that Peter was the bomb, not Sylar — but we've been led to believe that Peter was the bomb for half the season, so, actually, no, that wasn't shocking at all.

So, in the end, this is what we waited half a season for? The big showdown between Sylar and all the heroes consisted of this: He telekinetically choked Peter, then hit him with a parking meter, which Niki seized and used to knock Sylar down. Then Peter, despite having every power in the world, gave Sylar a couple punches before Hiro ran Sylar through with a sword. (So even though we've previously seen Sylar violently throw people across large distances with his mind, he couldn't do anything to stop Hiro.) Then, and only after being run through with a sword, Sylar threw Hiro across the entire plaza. And then his body disappeared.

This is just the latest and most grievous example of what has bothered me throughout the season. Although it is for all intents and purposes a comic-book show, Heroes has unforgivably failed to make its few action scenes dynamic. I don't know if there's anyone in particular to blame, but the show is listlessly staged. I've made this complaint before (for example, in the save-the-cheerleader episode), but if you're going to spend entire episodes setting something up, don't dispose of it in mere seconds, dammit! Would it be too much to reward us loyal viewers with something thrilling?

Apparently so. Instead, we were subjected to a scene in which Peter somehow was able to view a conversation between the now-dead Mr. Deveaux and Peter's mother. Knowing that this doesn't make much sense, the show didn't even try to explain what the hell was going on. Peter: ''Is this a dream? Am I time-traveling? Or are you doing this?'' Deveaux: ''It doesn't really matter what it is, now does it?'' Well, then, I guess it doesn't matter. Thanks for clearing that up. The scene served no purpose other than to give us these precious insights concerning Peter: ''Your heart has the ability to love unconditionally....In the end, all that matters is love.'' Oh. Okay. Thanks for clearing that up, too.

And still, with all this ''All You Need Is Love'' talk, the emotional climax of the episode, of the season, sadly fell flat. It was always a fair bet that Nathan (as was presaged in Peter's fever dream) would be there with his brother at the end. And he was, arriving at the last second to fly nuclear Peter into the atmosphere, sacrificing himself. Yet again, this all felt so rushed. These two brothers, who love each other so much, realizing that they're going to die together, one of them redeeming himself at the last minute — there was so much potential for emotion, for release, for pathos. Yet...nothing. Was it the actors' fault? The writers'? The director's? Probably everybody's. Why not draw that out a little more? Why not show us the moment when Nathan decided not to go through with his mother's plan? (By the way, why couldn't Peter just fly into space by himself? Or, on the flip side, why not just have Claire shoot Peter in the head? It would toughen her up.) So, in summary, this episode botched its chance to have a really kick-ass battle royal, and it also botched its chance to have a very emotional, character-driven scene.

There were some small pleasures. Finally discovering H.R.G.'s first name (Noah, another in the line of Heroes' biblical names), Claire throwing herself out of a window to escape her father and diabolical grandmother, and Ando's final words to his best friend (''Hiro...You look badass''). Not to mention the blatant attempt to set up next season's villain:

Molly (after Parkman asked if she can really find anyone just by thinking about them): ''Almost anyone.''

Parkman: ''Almost?''

Molly: ''There's one that I can't.''

Parkman: ''Who is that? Is it someone bad, like the Boogeyman?''

Molly: ''No. He's a lot worse.''

Parkman: ''Why don't you want to find him?''

Molly: ''Because when I think about him [in whispery Haley Joel Osment voice], he can see me.''

Scary, huh? I feel bad for next season's characters, because if everyone underestimated Sylar on the regular (both Parkman and Ando, for example, stupidly running off with simple weapons to try to take him down despite having seen what he can do), imagine how dumb they'll be around this new villain.

I would like to say that Parkman is dead because he was hit in the torso with four — four — bullets, but this show is frustratingly uneven with whom it chooses to mortally injure yet have survive (D.L., shot in the gut but still alive, for example).

So this is how volume 1 ends, clearly not with a bang and with maybe just a little more than a whimper. On to volume 2, ''Generations,'' which started with an amusing bit where Hiro is transported back to 1671 Kyoto, right in the middle of a samurai battle potentially starring his childhood hero. Cue a solar eclipse, and we close out as we started, with Hiro looking up into the sky.

I've ragged on this season finale a ton here, and it's only because the expectations were high, since all season long each character has been moving toward New York City for this one moment. How could I not have wanted more?

How about you all? Were you as let down as I was? Were any of you actually satisfied? Anyone super-bummed about the Petrellis' death? (Or did one or both of the brothers survive?) And are you coming back for next season? What if it takes place in the past? Let loose, TV Watchers. And enjoy your summers.

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Originally posted May 21, 2007