'Heroes': Sylar kills on 'An Invisible Thread'
This is the kind of stuff we want from "Heroes": an on-the-edge-of-your-seat anticipation because you know what is going to happen, enough misdirection and twists to throw those preconceptions out of the window, and an end to the saga or volume that makes you want to come back for more.
So, the finale airs and for those who've continued to watch, it's like admonishing a kid who achieves something great for not applying themselves all the time. Not saying that this was the best thing "Heroes" has ever done, but it might be the best ending so far. I'd venture to say it's better than the Hiro- is-suddenly-in-feudal-Japan, Sylar-turns-into-a-roach-and-crawls-down-a-manhole-cover ending from Season 1. I won't even mention Season 2.
Sylar (Zachary Quinto) continues being Sylar, joining Dexter as the thinking man's serial killer. He sets up Danko (Zeljko Ivanek) and assumes Nathan's (Adrian Pasdar) identity. His menace and smugness surface after he kidnaps Claire (Hayden Panettiere) and lets her dad know that he has her -- sniffing her hair, he utters, "Oh, God. This is fun." Yes, it was for us too. Sylar is still the engine, or at least the strongest piston, that drives this show.
While Sylar is doing what's in his nature, his polar opposite -- Hiro (Masi Oka), not Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) -- was doing his duty too. Using his time-stopping power to rescue Mohinder (Sendhil Ramamurthy) and the other captives and take down Building 26 and save HRG (Jack Coleman) from Danko were big feats. Doing it while knowing that he was physically harming himself made Hiro jump from funny side story to an actual big-time player again. Hiro and Ando (James Kyson Lee) had been comedy relief, which is fine at times, but took away from his (their) effectiveness. Adding the element of life-threatening heroism to his overly developed sense of justice makes them more compelling characters. Yatta, indeed.
The Petrellis also got back into the hero business. No more fighting each other -- just taking down the bad guy with big ambitions. Sylar wasn't just trying to get powers, he wanted real power by taking out the president. A lot to fight for, and though we, like Claire, had to watch most of it through a slot in the door, they at least staged it as a great battle. But, there wasn't much of a chance ... for them. After Claire and Peter run out of the room to join the fight (look out of the window!), it happens. A hero falls after Sylar slits Nathan's throat telekinetically. Angela Petrelli's (Cristine Rose) reaction was great, and brought the moment home.
The epilogue to Nathan's death is what I was excited about. First, the switcheroo. Sylar deftly made his way to the president's car, posing as his chief of staff. He'd done it. It was over. One handshake and ... Peter. He'd taken one ability from Sylar: shapeshifting. Perfect, and the needle going right into Sylar while he sat there a bit dazed was great.
Enter Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg). Reluctantly, he was tasked with wiping Sylar's mind, and making Sylar think that he was Nathan, even causing him to use his shapeshifting ability to become Nathan. HRG and Angela say it's for the best to keep Nathan around and keep their secret, but it's definitely lighting a fuse to a huge pile of dynamite. Sylar's power, which was not taken away but suppressed, is to figure things out. The ticking clocks, people -- not just taking powers. So this will gnaw at Nathan/Sylar until, by his nature, he figures it out. Then, boom.
The other explosive point was Tracy Strauss' (Ali Larter) murderously naked return. This might be debated, or no one cares, but her controlling the temperature and being able to transform into water seem like totally different abilities. I suppose it could've always been water-based -- maybe Mohinder will explain it later. I doubt it.
The show is not exactly on the bubble, having been promised another season, though it hasn't been officially announced yet. Volume 5's Redemption arc? Who knows, but having Sylar lurking at all times, suppressed or not, should be fun to watch. It's evident by now that the writers know (or should) what their core audience wants. As much as some of us like the show and will continue to watch, with all of the critics and backlash and even the network's backing possibly hanging in the balance, redemption may not just be the story arc, but the overall goal for "Heroes."
What's your assessment of the episode, and the show's possible direction next season? If you've stopped watching ('cause many of you still seem to check in), what needs to be done to bring you back?
-- Jevon Phillips
Photos, from top: Sylar (Zachary Quinto). Mohinder (Sendhil Ramamurthy), Hiro (Masi Oka), and Ando (James Kyson Lee). Angela Petrelli (Cristine Rose) and Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar). Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere) and Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia). Credit: NBC