Paul O'Brian writes about Watchmen, trivia, albums, interactive fiction, and more.


Heroes season 1 finale

I enjoyed the finale of Heroes very much, but there were a couple of bits in the final scene that didn’t sit quite right with me. (Well, the climactic scene, I mean. Not the actual final one.) They were almost right, but I’m amending them in my head to be better.

With a story this complex, interlocking characters and interacting powers, I found that I wanted the scenes in this finale to click satisfyingly into place, like puzzle solutions that are hard to predict but make perfect sense once you see them. There were definitely some moments like this in the finale. One of my favorites is when DL, Niki, Suresh, Molly, and Micah are escaping Linderman’s building. They’re in a high-rise, which makes perfect sense as a location for Linderman’s office. The elevators have been disabled, which makes perfect sense when the building is under security lockdown. But the kid they’re rescuing happens to have the perfect power to reactivate the elevators. Micah’s power of mechanical persuasion is well-established, and it’s the exact right power to get his family out of the situation they’re in. Click.

The final scene was a bit squirmier, though. A lot was great — Parkman’s fate was very fitting, Hiro did just what he should have, and I loved Niki stepping into the fight, then going back to her family. But, like Sargent, I was annoyed by the fact that Peter just didn’t fly on his own and explode. Why didn’t he do this? What did he need Nathan for? I wanted the show to give me a reason. Like one of these:

1) Several people have suggested that maybe Peter can only use one power at a time. Fair enough, says I, but if so, that should have been definitively established earlier in the season. No points for creating a new rule just for the sake of making your climax work, especially when that rule isn’t even spoken, but left to us to infer.

2) Maybe, because he’s inexperienced with the power, he can’t fly high enough out of the atmosphere. If so, a bit of dialogue like this would have served:

NATHAN: Fly, Peter! Get out of the city!
PETER: You think I haven’t thought of that? I’m not as good at it as you are! I could get high enough to clear the buildings, but the radiation would still poison everyone!
NATHAN: [Realizing how he can at last live up to his idea of himself] Sounds like you could use some leadership. [Extending his hand] Come on.

Then back to the bit about “You saved the cheerleader so that we could save the world.”

3) Maybe his powers are out of control. If so, something like this:

NATHAN: Fly, Peter! Get out of the city!
PETER: I’m trying! I can’t. Nathan, I can’t do it! I can’t use my powers!

Nathan steps in, music swells, etc.

4) Maybe Peter loses consciousness when he explodes, and the fall would overcome even his regenerative abilities. If so, establish this in dialogue, then have Nathan fly to save him.

The problem with this last scenario is that clearly, something needs to be done about Nathan. He fixed an election. The show really can’t let this stand, especially given the way our country’s last couple of presidential elections have gone. I really hope that season 2 clearly demonstrates that the office goes to the person who would actually have won it without Micah’s tampering.

Also, it crossed my mind that maybe Peter should use his self-healing power to stop from exploding. It might have been nice if somebody (Claire? Nathan?) had shouted out that suggestion, only to have Suresh (or Noah) explain that this wouldn’t work because Peter’s body wasn’t hurt — it was doing exactly what it wanted to. This bit isn’t as crucial, but it would have made the ending that much more satisfying. It’s great when a story anticipates your predictions and addresses them. I would have liked a bit more of that in the final scene.


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Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 6


  1. Anonymous

    The Peter/Nathan bit disappointed me too. There’s way too much “why didn’t he just…” left up in the air (ha ha) for me to be satisfied with what happened.

    I’m also kind of confused about Hiro’s attack. Normally when Sylar is attacked, he’s totally on the ball, able to control things and defend himself skillfully without much struggle at all, and this time, Hiro appears, shouts out a warning, Sylar sees him, Hiro charges forward twenty feet and Sylar does nothing to stop him? What’s up with that?

    And then Hiro committed a Class Hero Blunder of not thoroughly chopping up the villain, which is just annoying. At least Sylar won’t have all his powers at the beginning of next season.

  2. Hiro appears, shouts out a warning, Sylar sees him, Hiro charges forward twenty feet and Sylar does nothing to stop him? What’s up with that?

    I explained that to myself with the idea that Sylar truly believed Hiro would never do it. Sylar had already invited Hiro to kill him, and when Hiro hesitated, Sylar called him a coward. (I think Sylar was actually a bit disappointed in this moment — having just killed his mom, he may have been hoping for a bit of “suicide by cop.”) Anyway, Sylar didn’t think he needed to stop Hiro — he called Hiro’s bluff, and lost.

  3. Yes, yes, and again yes.

    Things I have not yet mentioned about the finale:

    * Oh, good, just what we needed, a mystical black man.
    * Some day, Claire will have agency instead of existing to be dragged around by family.
    * I would have expected Hiro to have seen Highlander, not once, but several times.

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