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Fare thee wekll, cast and crew of Heroes. You will be missed -- but we saw this one coming with the slipshod writing and crappy storylines in recent years. Wasted potential will be carved into this show's tombstone.
But I will miss it. Very much so.
Interesting topic, with obviously more than one answer.
My simple response is the writer's strike that prematurely ended S2. It forced a hurried end to a potentially good storyline and altered the direction the show was going to go. However, I fail to understand why the writers/producers/creators chose to go in a different direction. When the strike ended, Heroes could very well have picked up where they wanted it to go: that is the virus being released and, as a parallel storyline, Sylar back on the rampage after getting his powers back.
That was the first place where the show started to lose people.
It was a nice attempt at a save to introduce Arthur, but he was completely underutilized, and I will forever hold a grudge against him for killing off Adam and being the tool they used to rob people of their powers. I would hazard a guess, judging by comments on this forum over the years, that the biggest gripe fans of the show have is they took an intriguing character like Peter and then took away all that made him intriguing. Peter and Sylar were the perfect foils for each other -- this show's version of Superman-Luthor or Batman-Joker -- and when the show lost that, it lost a lot of people. To make matters worse, they flirted with the idea that they were family, and then went ahead and made them allies even though Sylar killed Peter's brother. That is, in my opinion, the biggest blunder this show has made.
I didn't mind the idea of making Nathan the bad guy. I found it rather intriguing, and felt the show was getting back on track. What screwed it up was Sylar waffling between good and bad. The character was at its best as a mysterious bad guy in the shadows, and the show has lacked that element since S1.
Samuel was another wasted opportunity. This last season was humming along nicely -- until they hit the Christmas break. The story got real weak after Christmas, and they essentially ruined the Samuel character by making him a jilted lover. Puh-Leeze.
Here's a thought for S5 that takes the show truly back to its roots.
Back in S1, Primatech was rounding up people with abilities, tagging them, observing them, wiping their memories and then releasing them -- ostensibly keeping tabs on them through the tags each of them got. It is conceivable that this database still exists. We know it exists in hardcopy, as HRG had some files, and Samuel stole them. This would be valuable info, especially in the wrong hands. Samuel didn't use it effectively, but somebody else could.
One of the story threads would be a serial killer -- with all the victims having one thing in common: special abilities. The police would be unable to make this connection, but HRG and/or Angela would. We would have no idea who the killer is -- a silent, unknown stalker using The Company's files against it. Yes, we saw this with Sylar in S1 and even with Adam in S2, but that was good television. remember the mystery and intrigue in S2 when all the fans were posting theories on who was killing off the original members of The Company? A good argument could be made that the Sylar character was at its best before Zachary Quinto was put in the role. Nothing against Quinto as he is a great actor, but the character worked best when he was a man wearing a hat standing in the shaodws.
Another thread would have the characters trying to deal with Claire's public revalation. Some will try to hide their abilities to avoid the scutiny that would certainly follow -- I'm thinking Parkman here. Others, new characters inclined to use their powers for their own gain, figure to take advantage of what they can do and wreak havoc. This forces our main characters — Peter, Hiro, Ando, Claire (trying to atone for her mistakes -- again) and, yes, even Sylar — to work together to try and restore some order to a world suddenly gone insane. This would be a good time to bring back some old favourites like Micah and Molly.
I know parts of this are repetitive -- particularly the serial killer storyline where people with abilities are targets -- but I have come to the conclusion that where the show has fallen short in the last few seasons is the lack of intrigue and mystery. It has to get that back.
And thinking of this gives me a good idea for S5, which I'll post elsewhere ....
The tough part about this thread is that the best villains didn't last long -- or their characters were warped by the writers/producers to completely eliminate their coolness and bad assedness. That, and the more I think about it, the more all the good villains were in S1, with weak attempts to get back to the same level ever since.
My personal opinion is Primatech is the best bad guy to ever appear on Heroes. It was a faceless enemy many of the characters didn't even realize they had, and its personification — in the form of HRG< Thomson and their minions, were excellent. I still think of S1 HRG as one of the best bad guys -- mysterious, cunning and ruthless. It was a great combo. Add Thomson to the mix, remember how Eve used people to meet the needs of the company, how the Haitian's power was used. It was an excellent "bad" organization the likes of which we haven't seen since S1. They tried again with Arthur Petrelli, but failed miserably. He was ruthless, but he and his group lacked the cunning and the mystery.
S1 Sylar used the same formula of mystery-cunning-ruthless very effectively. Allowing the character to survive Kirby Plaza was the first great mistake of the show.
Samuel could have been great, and was well on his way when he destroyed that poiice station. But he and his carnival were ruined by crappy storytelling. A shame, that.
Baron Samedi was good, and that he was connected to The Haitian was a great plot point. But a great villain needs to be around for more than three episodes to have a true impact. Just another example of not knowing what they have.
Adam could have been an all-time great, but again was wrecked by the combination of the writer's strike and crappy writing. He had the motivation, the powers, the plan -- all to be turned to dust with the simple touch of a hand. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
The more I think about the finale, and the the latter half of the season, the more disappointed I become. Tracey was an utter waste. We saw Samuel wooing her, we saw her drinking the Kool-Aid, taking the compass, looking intrigued -- and then she goes all Caitlin on us and vanishes from the storyline. Only to reappear at the end, and then vanish again. WTF? Didn't she do that at the middle and end of last season?
Words can't express how pissed I am for the way they treated Samuel. He was well on his way to reaching S1 Sylar-status. When he caused a sinkhole under that mansion, and then levelled the police station, he was well on his way to going on a megalomaniacal rampage. And it amounted to nothing. His fight with Peter could have, and should have, been so much better. And then to have him carted off by police is BS.
One of the biggest problems with this show is it has abandoned promising storylines to feed us drek. Remember in S3 when the Petrellis were in that diner after their experiences at Coyote Sands, very reminiscent of the earlier generation doing the same thing? What ever happened to that? WHy didn't they explore that plot line more? It had good potential. The show went to great lengths showing us Hiro preparing to be a real hero, getting training from his father, living in feudal Japan. And what did he do with all that? Open a safe he wasn't supposed to and stopped some guy from umping off a roof -- 50-something times. A golden opportunity to develop a character and make him meaningful, and it was for naught.
I do love this show, but at this point I think it's more out of habit than anything else. The wasted potential is getting frustrating.
So there it is, either the inglorious end of the series, or a segue into a Season 5 where the world at large knows people with special abilities walk among them.
To be honest, I'm not sure which way I'm leaning at the moment. This season started with such promise, and then faded fast. The Christmas break was to this season what the writer's strike was to the entire series. Obviously, I would love Heroes to come back, but only if it rights the ship. I noticed last night that Tim Kring was the writer of this finale, and I had high hopes. But the problem is the show has dragged on for so many weeks that this episode felt compressed. Samuel should have been given a reign of terror; his emotional and psychological machinations of people went on too long. EWdgar should have played a bigger role in his downfall. The tension and build up to Kirby Plaza we got in S1 was noticeably absent in this season, even though it was headed down that path during the first few months. Then we got the Christmas break, and the nonesense about Vanessa and yet more scenes of Claire being mad at HRG and Hiro doing nothing important, with nifty little plot devices created to help him solve his most pressing problems. Meh.
There was so much unrealized potential here, and I can't help but feel disappointed. If indeed the show comes back, it will be interesting to see the direction it takes. so the world knows about Claire. Does she rat out the others she knows about? Do they follow her lead? Do they go underground. How does the world respond knowing there is a young lady in its midst who can't die? The possibilities are endless, but so are the possibilities of doing this wrong.
However, for my money, this is all useless conjecture. With the ratings in the crapper, and the impression that Kring et al have essentially given up even trying tio provide us with gripping action or drama or character development, I can't see Heroes returning. Maybe we'll get a movie franchise in a few years and the show will live on in cult status al la Star Trek, but I can't see anything more than that at this point. How utterly disappointing.
I would have enjoyed this episode a lot more did it not follow last week's piece of crap. But as it was, Claire drove me absolutely crazy in this episode. Her character has made the metamorphosis complete -- she is a complete and total moron. Instead of sticking around to actually talk to her father she decides to go to the carnival to warn them? Is she, or anybody else for that matter, seriously surprised that it didn't work out for the better? I miss the Claire that actually wanted to make a difference and wanted to fight evil, not warn it that the good guys are coming.
The Samuel we saw in this episode is the Samuel we grew to love as a villain in the first part of the season -- conniving and manipulative. But I couldn't get it out of my head that he was doing it because he was slighted by Vanessa when his character should be so much more than that. This plan of his, whatever it may be, was in motion well before we knew Vanessa ever existed. By this point in the season, I was hoping we'd have a better idea of what he was going to use Claire for, etc. Nice touch to have Lydia killed. I liked her character, but a death of a semi-regular character is always good to keep you guessing.
I was intrigued by the Sylar storyline. I don't buy him wanting to be normal, but I was certainly interested in what he wanted Parkman to do. I suggested during last season that maybe Arthur Petrelli didn't so much as take people's powers away as he used his telepathy to put a mental block on them accessing those powers. While most of us here have been beating a dead horse as far as Peter getting his powers back, I would be ecstatic to see if this sequence gets Peter back to being a true empath. And on that, I guess we got confirmation that Joseph did indeed have a power and that he was an empath.
Did Peter wandering those empty city streets remind anybody else about his dream sequence in S1? Yet another parallel from this season to that.
I love what Parkman did to Sylar mentally, but I have to agree with the critics on this site that putting him a wall in his basement probably isn't the best plan. Hiro set the bar right with what he did to Adam Monroe at the end of S2. That would have been an excellent treatment for Sylar as well. However, I don't buy Peter wanting to get Sylar's help. How quickly forget that two weeks ago Peter wanted Sylar dead for killing Nathan. This part of the show has the potential to weak very fast, and that concerns me.
I tend to agree with Maj on this one. Before the Vanessa storyline came to light, we already saw an angry, evil, manipulative Samuel. All his encounter with Vanessa did was a) provide motivation for something he already had motive to do (and thus is redundant and poor writing) and b) weaken what was shaping up to be a great villain. You pointed out the shortcoming in the storytelling smartster1983, and this why was Samuel collecting people with abilities if all he wanted to do was impress vanessa with a cottage in the valley? As you said, he went to "ridiculous lengths" to do this. If that is explained in the last three episodes of the season, I'll be ecstatic. But right now it just comes across as a lazy plot device.
I said earlier and will say again, as a flashback, this episode would have been great. Think Company Man from S1. But to insert it as part of the current timeline at this juncture of the season is the kind of thing I would have expected in S2 with a writer's strike looming and pressure to get something down. It's just out of place where it is, and has done a disservice to what was a pretty solid season.
Bang on Ravenhill. I think you succinctly summed what bothers me most about the show -- characters engaging in events that would help them develop, and then doing nothing with it. Your Parkman example is perfect. And we must ask ourselves now why did HRG spend that time teaching Claire to fight only to have her not use it EVER? Why did Kaito train hiro in the art of swordplay, only to have him act like a child, nevermind all Hiro should have learned from Kensei in medieval Japan. This would be akin to Luke Skywalker finding out he had all these latent abilites, but decide to just stay home and continue to target womp rats in his T-16.
Four seasons in, we should have a band of well-trained and active heroes doing their part to make the world a better place. Instead, we get drek like Samuel and Vanessa. Ugh.