Sylar a.k.a. Cuddly Sylar
It’s clever, what they’re doing there. At first glance, Sylar seems to have fully reformed, saving Emma while avoiding every expected pitfall such as killing Doyle (really, who doesn’t want to kill Doyle?) and snacking on all that super-powered carnie goodness. I’m not sure we needed Sylar pointing out every instance–“I could’ve killed Doyle, but I didn’t!”–but I guess the idea is to emphasize the appearance of closure in case this is the end.
Yet there’s something off about Zachary Quinto’s performance. It’s as if Sylar cared more about his exciting new persona than the heroic acts themselves. Having established three weeks prior that the character switches identities like Victorian hotties switch dance partners (floozies!), the writers have given themselves a well foreshadowed out, should the series get renewed. Of course, one could also call the whole thing a cop-out, but then I wrote it was clever, not interesting, so there.
Peter a.k.a. Harry Potter and the Lousy Special Effects
Sylar’s vast arsenal at his disposal, Peter dashes to the carnival and leaps on Samuel, copying his ability in the process. I presume that’s an accident. Otherwise, he’s a moron. Anyway, that’s pretty much when the awkward staging kicks in. You know that scene in every Harry Potter movie when two wizards stand on opposite sides of a room and wave their arms about while special effects litter the screen? Take out the nifty light show to get an idea of Peter and Samuel’s “epic” duel.
Having mentioned that, I appreciate the writers resisting the urge to give Peter’s story a dramatic or even romantic finish. Does he give Emma a big smoocheroo in the end? No, as the folks over at Heroes Wiki put it, “the two share a hug, Emma having forgiven Peter for breaking her cello as she now knows the truth of why.” Brilliant. Anywho, Peter is a born hero. I like the idea that this is just another adventure for him, and his buddy-cop banter with Noah at the end is a great way to cement the notion.
Mohinder a.k.a. Harry’s Invisibility Cloak
Mohinder is nowhere to be seen. It’s hard to fathom why the Heroes Powers That Be even bothered bringing him back this season. At any rate, nobody misses him.
Samuel a.k.a. The Bohemian Magneto
Ironically, Samuel’s scenes are by far the weakest. The first problem is the womp-womp-womp factor. Womp-womp-womp is the sound you hear in your mind when you’re thoroughly underwhelmed. For example, when I saw Samuel’s year-long scheme crumble because of Claire’s inane speech to the sheep-for-brains carnies, there went the trumpets in the back of my head: womp-womp-womp.
Then there’s the small matter of internal logic. If Samuel could level an entire town with his community at a reasonable distance, why gather all the carnies at the zero point? If he could tear down a police station with no “specials” around besides a dead teenager, why can’t he pack more than a girly punch with Peter, Sylar, Doyle, and Emma still in proximity? If a train leaves Saskatoon at a speed of 100 mph, why is Samuel, once complex and charming, behaving like a pathetic douchebag? Womp-womp-womp.
On the other hand, the lingering shot of the villain wobbling on his knees is gorgeous and the perfect way to end the volume.
Claire a.k.a. Hannah Montana with a Healing Factor
Hayden Panettiere is very effective in the buried trailer scene but unbearable in the carnival sequences. Why do young actresses so often confuse confidence with snotty indignation? Anyway, I’m sure she’ll grow out of it.
In the meantime, her character, Claire, gets to start the new volume, or possibly wrap up the whole series, by revealing her powers to the press in typical “Claire is young and therefore reckless” fashion. I quite like the concept, especially the callback to the very first episode, but the staging is preposterous. Why don’t the heroes try to stop her? Hiro is particularly well suited. Why are the reporters so eager to watch a teenage girl commit suicide? And why doesn’t Claire climb up the Ferris wheel before drawing attention to herself, thus avoiding all these inconsistencies?
As I mentioned at the beginning of the review: grand ideas, problematic execution.
Bits and Pieces
- The expression “push a thought” is used a couple times in reference to Matt’s ability to influence people. It reminded me of the 2009 film Push, starring Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning. I heartily recommend it to all the fans of this show. Push is like an episode of Heroes done right.
- Peter and Sylar only stayed five psychic years in the nightmare world, not a decade as I stated in my previous review. Perhaps I’m being pedantic, but “half a day” should mean twelve hours (or twelve psychic years), not four or five. I’ll accept 0.0096 dog years.
- The title of volume six was the same as that of the chapter. They’ve never done that before, which makes me think the writers really were wrapping up the series.
Samuel: “Tonight, once and for all, we pull back the curtain and reveal ourselves for who we truly are.”
Eli: “Are you trying to push a thought? All of us are pretty thoughtless.”
That’s some nice punnage right there.
Sylar: “Matt, I’ve been inside of your head, so I have a pretty good idea what it takes to be a good person.”
I like that moment. It’s about time Matt’s golden heart got some kudos.
Sylar: “I’m a hero!”
Noah: “I’ve got to say. I never liked carnivals.”
Riggs, I’m too old for this sheep.
Lauren: “What is she doing?”
Noah: “Breaking my heart.”
In all seriousness, this is my favorite exchange in the entire series. Noah’s three-word reply expresses everything that’s beautiful and tragically dysfunctional about his relationship with Claire, and it does so without spoon-feeding the audience.
Claire: “My name is Claire Bennett. This is attempt number… I guess I’ve kind of lost count.”
Whether a season or a series finale, this one’s better in theory than in practice. Still, it keeps the dream more or less intact, and that counts for an awful lot. I mean, if you don’t care about the dream, what are you watching genre television for?