Saturday, December 6, 2008

Oy vey.

Oh, "Heroes". What am I going to do with you?

SPOILER ALERT, obviously.

1. So the ultimate outcome of the Big World-Changing Eclipse is... Elle dies? Mind you, she was getting ridiculously wishy-washy and I approve of hitting the reset button for Sylar, if only because it's marginally better than continuing the cockamamie redemption story... but on a show with so many problems, it's odd they prioritized getting rid of a genuinely talented actress whose character debut was one of the few highlights of season 2.

1a. And seriously, that's it? Mass power loss, everyone's vulnerable, everyone's expendable, and then the eclipse ends and we're exactly where we left off? This has driven home - with painful finality - a fairly horrible realization I've had about this show: it's not about the characters anymore, it's about the powers. It's not about taking risks, because the list of characters who could have died during the eclipse is huge, and most of those characters still have some S1 goodwill attached to them that their deaths would have meant something: Peter, Nathan, Claire, even Sylar. This was the best point to change something, and they didn't. Missed opportunity.

2. As I said, I'm happy about the Sylar reboot, despite feeling rather queasy at the whole Tilt-a-Whirl routine his character's gone through this season - seriously, in 12 episodes he got his powers back, was captured by the Company, became the Third Petrelli Brother (or is he?), teamed up with Bennet, sold out Bennet to kill Jesse, saved Angela, betrayed Angela, betrayed Peter, saved Peter, switched to Pinehearst, retroactively got a "hunger" added to his character makeup to make his redemption easier (in theory) to follow, retroactively got a love interest in Elle, became an empath, lost his powers and now he's gone back to his roots as the boogeyman serial killer (yeah, I vaguely remember a time when Sylar was genuinely scary). And I know I've been driving this comparison home ad nauseum, but it's really the foremost parallel that comes to mind: Spike, hanging around Sunnydale long after he doesn't have a purpose anymore, so he's evil and then he gets a chip and becomes Xander's pet and then he falls in love with Buffy and then he gets a soul, all these "grafts" that don't feel organic in the least because they're dictated not by the logical extension of the character arc but because the plot requires some kind of justification for keeping these popular characters around.

3. I like Breckin Meyer. I like Seth Green. Ever since it was announced that they'd be doing a stint on "Heroes", I was looking forward to it. My reaction to their role?

If I had any faith left in Tim Kring at this point, I might be charitable enough to attribute the total waste of brilliant guest-stars as some kind of quasi-meta commentary on how celebrities draw attention regardless of how substantial (or insubstantial) their actual screen time may be, much like Nichelle Nichols last season. Then again, Nana Dawson really didn't do anything and the sole point of Sam and Frack is to give Hiro the Uncle Ben speech, and so who are we kidding here?

4. It's a point of concern that there's been a substantial death tally so far (Adam, Maury, Elle, Niki [in that her death was made "official" this season], Bob, Usutu, etc.) and yet I honestly can't think of a single death that moved me like Eden's or Isaac's or even Simone's for all the eye-rolling that followed. All the S3 casualties were pretty much written off quickly, almost as an afterthought, and you know, it might have actually meant something if Claire had died during the eclipse, because Bennet would have been devastated to have missed the last minutes of his daughter's life while he was busy avenging her, and... okay, it wouldn't have been a heroic death, at least not in the sense that she accomplished much besides sacrificing herself for her father, but it would mean something to other characters. Similarly, Peter - a character I really enjoyed in earlier years who I now find insufferable - could have gone out in a blaze of glory in Haiti, finally being a hero without having any powers at all. It's not like Peter's the focalizer for the audience anymore, those days are long behind us.

CONCLUSION: If I was ambivalent about it before, I'm not anymore. I'll stick around to the end of the season for closure's sake, but... yeah, the shark's definitely been jumped here, folks. Time to cut and run.