Heroes: No Continuity, No Direction

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Bring it on, Heroes lovers!

You may not like what we're about to say, but like a loyal patriot that questions his country, we're too dedicated to Heroes to blindly watch it throw away its likely final season.

It's one's duty as a TV show fan to question the direction of one's favorite series when it's on the verge of completely falling off the rails. With that in mind, there are two issues that Heroes writers have dropped the ball on: continuity and direction. Let's start with the first...

From week to week - and certainly volume to volume - Heroes contradicts itself and/or ignores previous storylines. Take this exchange between HRG and Tracy last night, after Jeremy was killed:

Tracy: “Do we have to be invisible? You ever think we could just live, Noah? Out in the open.”
HRG: “After today? No.”

Excuse us? After today?!? The entire arc of last season was focused on a government-led round up of everyone with abilities. HRG himself led the charge!

HRG and Tracy

Then there's Hiro's arc this season. He gave a passionate speech during the premiere about why it's never a good idea to go back and mess with time. What did his storyline quickly become? Going back and messing with time.

Finally, there's the issue of Parkman/Sylar/Nathan. At the conclusion of season three, Parkman used his powers to override Sylar's personality with Nathan's. It made sense, based on what we know about him. But now... Sylar's body has returned because Nathan got shot, and Sylar has somehow infiltrated Parkman's mind?!? How is that remotely consistent with what took place last season?

We're not purposely trying to rile up Heroes supporters. We've included ourselves in that group for years.

But we do wish to stir up some debate and, hopefully, cause the writers to realize how many holes are in their plots on a weekly basis.

Comment on this issue in our Heroes forum - and check out PART TWO OF THIS ANALYSIS AFTER THE JUMP.

As for the direction of season four, let's take a look at the progress made - or not made - for various characters so far...

Peter: Started the season as a paramedic, using his ability to save people. Currently: a paramedic, using his ability to save people.

Samuel: Started the season as the mysterious leader of a carnival, whose mission appeared to be gathering up the Heroes. Currently: the mysterious leader of a carnival, whose mission appears to be gathering up the Heroes.

Claire: Started the season as a freshman at college, trying to fit in and make friends. Currently: a freshman at college, trying to fit in and make friends.

Hiro: Started the season with a terminal illness and dedicated himself to time traveling in order to change lives. Currently: has a terminal illness and has dedicated himself to time traveling in order to change lives.

Have there been slight advances to these storylines? Of course. But you get the point.

The season is over a third of the way complete. Can anyone say there's been significant progress on the main plot so far?

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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I actually pretty much agree with House on this. I love the show and I am rather upset that this could very well be it's last season, but the writers don't really know what they are doing. Didn't Hiro go back in time to save Charlie? Yup, Season One. Didn't he already fail? Yup, he did. How could the writers forget that? Sylar being in Matt's brain: Does it make sense? Not really. Do I like it? Hell yes. Sylar is my favoriet character. Matt is up there for me as well. I enjoy watching Sylar make him squirm. Samuel... Not knowing exactly what his full goals are is nice, at the same time though, it's a little annoying. The BIGGEST problem I have with the series: Peter vs. Sylar. It seems like we will never actually get to see a kick ass fight between the two. The fight at the end of "How to Stop an Exploding Man" sucked. Big. Too many interruptions from the other characters. It's sad that their best fight was in (I believe) ".07%", and Peter wasn't even on-screen for half of it. And now with Peter having a very crappy version of his daddy's power (which was a crappy version of Peter's original power) we may never get to see them fight to their full potential. Ever. Thanks a lot Tim Kring... dick.

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Does this season remind you of xmen in anyway? The sylar parkman thing reminds me of the Prof x/magneto/onslaught storyline, and Samuel reminds me of Magneto gathering the mutants in avalon i think it was... not sure, just my thoughts.

Matt-richenthal

Good question, F.D. The kind of progression I look forward to/hope for is a plot that gives the show direction.
Remember season one? Save the Cheerleader, Save the World became the biggest catchphrase on television. There was one mission and it all came together at the end in NYC.
Then there was the virus, then Arthur Petrelli and then the attempt to round the Heroes up. I criticized plot points then, too, but it was at least very clear all along where the season was going and it gave characters a purpose.
This season started with a great set-up of the carnival - and nothing has happened with it since. We're more than a third of the way done b/c this season only has 18 episodes, not the usual 22 or 23. Each episode seems to focused on a new, random event (Jeremy in jail; Hiro going to see Charlie; Peter helping Emma) and Samuel just pops in every now and then.
If someone were to ask you to sum up the season's plot in a couple sentence, could you do it?

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I like how they say HRG led the charge during Fugitives even though we all know he was a part of the operations for 3 reasons 1. To protect Claire
2. He thought he'd be running it his way only to find out Danko was, then decided to stick it out because him and Angela had a plan
3. He needed to be involved in the operation so he could make sure his friends weren't hurt

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We don't know (yet) what are all of Samuel's motives, and don't know (yet) how the hell Sylar got into Matt's head. Does that mean the story hasn't changed at all? I don't think so. It means that for now, all we need to know is that Sylar is in Matt's head, and Samuel is a creepy mofo who won't hesitate to kill people persecuting specials. I trust the rest will come in due time, and enjoy the character focus so far. M.L., what kind of progression did you look forward to? For example, do you believe the show would be in a better state if we already knew by now what were Samuel's real motives and Noah was already forming a Company getting busy countering whatever his plans are? Do you think they should've made something else than the Matt/Sylar storyline? I personally find it amazing when you get around the fact that we still have to figure how he got there. Just take a moment to note all the daggers Sylar throws at Matt, saying how he's a big loser and all. Matt didn't get this distressed since season one. I think this season is more about emotions than anything else. If you cannot feel Matt's and Noah's distress, Sylar's frutration and "Nathan"'s confusion, then you're missing on the most important aspect of the show right now. It seems to me that their writing process for this season is double-edged. Some viewers like me absolutely like it: I'd kill to get my hand on next week's episode right now! Others seem to miss vol.3 when there was so much action and basically no character focus.

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"Excuse us? After today?!? The entire arc of last season was focused on a government-led round up of everyone with abilities. HRG himself led the charge!" You guys seriously over-anaylise everything way too much. HRG was obviously talking in regard to the current situation. They'd just got their life back, and now they have this big problem hanging over their head just from trying to help this kid. How the hell does that ignore continuity? We're only a third of the way through the season. Some character's motives or direction in season one hadn't even been defined this soon in, and the last bunch of episodes have *clearly* been connecting the dots slowly but surely. And I'm sorry, but how can you *not* get the Sylar / Nathan story? This is not a case of inconsistency on the show's part - this is simply you not getting it. Matt pulled Sylar's mind out of his head, and replaced them with Nathan's memories. Sylar's mind had to go somewhere... and it obviously lodged itself inside of Matt's head. Sylar's body is essentially an empty shell. It is Sylar's body, it has Sylar's muscle memory, but nathan's memories. This is why he keeps focusing on Nathan's memories instead of his own... because the real Sylar's mind is sitting around in Matt's head, driving him crazy. How is that *not* consistant?! Your definitions of the characters... just... completely missed the point entirely. *shakes head*
What, pray tell, is hard to understand about this?

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So maybe I tread the line between a rationalist and an apologist, but let me try to address a few points you brought up. Peter did start the season as and remains a paramedic, but he also started the season very alone and over-worked, almost because he saw himself as a team of one trying to save people. He tried to reach out to his family and seems to have made a connection to Emma. Growth? Samuel hasn't developed as a character, but our understanding of him has. He destroyed his childhood home. Possibly an act of a very emotional man. But he also willfully recruited a serial killer, was willing to trade Ernie Hudson's life to rekindle said killer's killer instinct, and he just leveled a police station out of vengeance. We now know he doesn't much care for non-Heroes and doesn't blink at killing them. Claire and Hiro: we'll see. I thought it was cool to see Claire last episode react almost nonchalantly to danger. I guess after being trapped in Primatech by Sylar in "Dual," an invisible carnie can't really rattle her. Hiro seems like he will have his big moment coming up next week. The whole "After today? No" remark from Noah got a lot of scratched heads, but I think an earlier poster hit the nail on the head. This isn't about the government or some shadow corporation keeping tabs on Heroes, or even a country/world having to cope with thousands of evolved humans all around them and all around the world. One town reacting to one person from that town. So many fewer big questions to handle about just one person. And the people reacted with fear and executed a kid. And yes, despite all Noah had seen, seeing dead teenager in the middle of road probably would extinguish any last glimmer of hope for coexistence in his head (and Tracy's.) As far as Parkman/Sylar/Nathan are concerned, the mechanism Parkman used was to wipe Sylar's head, and then use one of Sylar's powers to give him all of Nathan's memories. So there were two steps there, not a hard disk like over-write. Two steps, two results: the body with Sylar's powers but none of his consciousness, and whatever is in Matt's head. A shadow, all of Sylar's mind. Not clear, but not unbelievable considering that Matt attempted something he'd never done before and something that might have been impossible. And at the beginning of the season, the body looked like Nathan, talked like Nathan, but on some level knew he wasn't Nathan. Once he was killed, for some reason he kind of went back to his default body (not really explained, but it is so hard to buy, especially with last season's "I Am Sylar" showing shape shifting to happen involuntarily sometimes.) And he still has all of Nathan's memories, but is in the same position where he doesn't quite believe who he is. Even when confronted with his true identity, it still isn't fitting, further evidence he is no way the Sylar currently residing in Parkman. As far as Sylar taking over Parkman, Sylar is clever, body or not. Parkman in a lot of ways is the opposite of Sylar. He doesn't want his power, he's very timid with it, and seemingly still pretty uncomfortable with it. The discovery of what a schmuck his father became using the same telepathy, though is what drives Parkman's fear of his own power, if that wasn't clear. But in the end, I just like the show. So I will give the writers credit that maybe this does make sense and try to figure it out. I think if you don't like the show, why would you put up with that? It's cyclical too. Heroes made some missteps, people stop liking the show, therefore said people become less forgiving of missteps, and like the show less. But I still like the show. And I say that after hating basically every second of Villains. "Hey, Sylar's your brother. No he's not." Come on. Fugitives was good though.

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Because of Hiro's time travelling and changing the past the first 3 seasons up to this one did not occur as we saw (butterfly effect) so maybe Nathan et al didn't hunt people (crappy I know but hey that's the logic they use these days). Only way I can see all this stuff making sense, dunno why I'm defending the writers, I hate that they cocked up the logic of the show by using the butterfly effect as it's such a stupid concept and totally contradicts itself constantly.
I loved how before the season started Masi was quoted in the Heroes magazine as saying Hiro would NEVER time travel again and then the new season started and that's pretty much all he's been doing *lol*, totally moronic. It was if the writers were just trying to make him look stupid (not cool).

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I just think you guys like saying the negative stuff so that you CAN get out a debate with all of us...This aint a tease guys...LOL Kick Back..Relax...Grab a Beer...Enjoy the Show!!!
(pray Mohinder comes back)

Matt-richenthal

But if the entire point of super powers is to "accomplish the impossible," then anything goes? That actually does seem to be the tact taken by the writers.
It's extremely lazy writing to just chalk up ANY development to the idea that these are Heroes with powers and, therefore, storylines don't need to make sense.

Heroes Quotes

Cake?

Sylar
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Sometimes I look in the mirror and I'm not sure it's me looking back.

Niki Sanders

Heroes Music

  Song Artist
Song Road to Joy Bright Eyes
Song Mustang Sally Wilson Pickett
Song I Want It That Way Backstreet Boys
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