TV - Heroes: Season 3 Omnibus


Heroes' Season 3 tagline proclaimed that Good Will Battle Evil. Originally published as a two-part article a few years ago, Kraig Taylor-Bryant looks at what worked (the Good) and what didn't (the Evil) in the show's penultimate Season. (Contains spoilers)...

THE EVIL

So the question you may be asking is why I am writing a review on Heroes season 3 as opposed to doing a season 1 review or a review of every season in general. Well, as some of you may or may not know, season 3 is sort of the time that the show started to supposedly “go down hill.” This is why out of my own curiosity, I started watching season 3 after buying the complete box set recently (I had watched the previous two seasons as I have had those seasons on DVD for a while). To my surprise, the show did not seem too bad to me, at least to begin with. So I am going to (attempt to) narrow down the pros and cons of the TV series Heroes at the time of season 3 to the ones that I believe are the most important to discuss. To do so, I will need to write this in two separate parts simply because I have too many points for both the good and bad aspects of the season.

In case you are unfamiliar with the show, here is a synopsis of the series itself from imdb:

“People all over the U.S start to realize they have special abilities, like telekinesis, healing abilities, flying powers, time travel, invisibility, and the ability to absorb other's abilities. One man, known as Sylar, wants to gain all the power of these "heroes" so he can be the most powerful and evolved human of all, and stops at nothing to gruesomely kill these people. In order to protect themselves from him, these people must help one another before Sylar can destroy them all, while they each deal with problems of their own.”

I will also try to summarise Season 3 without going into the plot of all of the seasons as I do not want to bore people. So the plot of this season begins to follow a number of events affecting different characters... in short, the people writing this series didn’t really have a clear idea of what they were doing but there were still a few moments in the season that made me smile. The opening of the plot follows Mohinder Soresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy), an Indian geneticist intrigued by the paranormal, becoming affected by a virus injected in himself and winds up working for Peter and Nathan Petrelli’s recently resurrected father, Arthur who winds up getting killed fairly early himself, leading eventually to Nathan (Adrian Pasdar,) a New York City lawyer-turned-senator with the power of self-propelled flight, taking over his father's plan of controlling those with abilities. This then leads to Sylar (Zachary Quinto) to eventually continue his killing spree again, which, not to spoil the next part of the article, I quite enjoyed.

So let's take a look at some of the issues that I have with this season in (sort of) chronological order. To start with, the biggest problem I had with the season at the start was the death of Adam Monroe (the main bad guy in Season 2, played by David Anders), I honestly felt that if he were to have been brought back, it should have been done so with a better purpose than to just find an excuse to bring back a dead character, this brings me to my next point. Nathan and Peter’s father returning as the villain seemed absolutely ridiculous to me as not only did he seem like overkill, but it makes us instantly realise that Nathan and Peter’s father is nothing like we are made to believe he is from their mothers description in season 1. He is portrayed as a depressed old man who killed himself which makes it seem like he was an average man who simply couldn’t cope anymore with something or another, which could have been his opening into the story if they wanted to go this way in showing the audience what he looked like, through flashbacks. The fact that we also find out that this is not even what happened to Peter and Nathans father, makes us realise that Angela Patrelli (the mother) is constantly lying and it almost makes us lack trust in her completely, she seems a lot like Noah Bennet, a parent that keeps lying when it would be so much simpler to just tell their children the truth.


This brings me to my points on Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman,) an agent tasked with rooting out those with super powers, who, after reviewing my points, I have come to the conclusion that to me, it would have been so much simpler and less anticlimactic if in season 2 of Heroes, Noah Bennet just died then. I say this because we don’t really get much else from his character in season 3 that we didn’t already see in season 2. We saw an over protective father with a desire to kill Sylar but I also feel like those who wrote this season attempted to dig deeper into his character and his working for the company, but simply just ended up contradicting themselves. This is due to the fact that we see Noah Bennet in almost all of his previous flashbacks without any glasses on and when we see the flashback in which Clare is helping him choose his glasses, we are led to believe that this is him picking his first pair of glasses, of course this isn’t a big deal but it’s a point that will continue to bug me if I don’t mention it. Speaking of contradicting backstories, let's talk about Chandra Suresh, Mohinder's father.

So, in the flashbacks before this season, we are shown through both flashbacks and his book, that Chandra Suresh (played by Erick Avari) was light skinned (not meaning this in a racist way) and balding when he died, however, in the flashback we are shown in season 3, Chandra (now played by Ravi Kapoor) looks completely different! It's as if the creators completely forgot the flashbacks they did on Mohinder’s father in the first season! So, that’s out in the open, (yes that’s the only criticism I really have for Chandra) we turn to his son Mohinder. 

In season 3 of Heroes, we first see Mohinder wanting to take a drug that will supposedly give him abilities, as he suddenly has some overwhelming urge to kill Sylar and he is at the point of wanting to take matters into his own hands after not doing so for two previous seasons. When he takes this drug, he starts to become some kind of psychopath himself! He starts fighting people and creating some kind of nest, this almost makes you wonder if he is in fact going to be the villain of this season. We then later in the season see him as his usual self, simply trying to find a cure in his own sane mind which seems a bit odd in itself, leading him to then find a cure of sorts anyway from some random chemical that fell on the floor. Not only does this fix his problem, but he keeps his abilities he also inherited (enhanced strength etc)! It almost seems like his side of the plot was irrelevant to the bigger plot of the series, being dealing with Nathan and then Sylar. 

There are also a few other things in the series that do not seem to make any sense, including Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) a typical LAPD uniformed beat cop, suddenly picking up the ability to draw the future through a turtle given to him by a guy that could draw the future, similarly to Isaac Mendez’s ability. Not to mention Nathan's sudden change in ideas of imprisoning everyone with abilities because of some rapist in a far off jungle that happens to have an ability. Of course I'm not saying that saving someone from an experience such as this does not justify further action, such as finding people that do such things and stopping them, but this does not mean imprisoning everyone with abilities is the best course of action. 


One of the other things I have to mention is the fact that for some reason, they gave the character known as “Niki” (Ali Larter) a sufferer of Dissociative Identity Disorder who displays superhuman strength, being able to literally rip others in half , two sisters (also played by Larter) to have an excuse to keep the actress in the series. Don’t get me wrong, I love her acting, I loved her portrayal of Tracy (She has the ability to freeze anything that she touches), and Niki, I just feel like instead of having her become another person entirely, they could have either had her return for a few flashbacks or possibly have Niki survive the explosion because, to be honest, I never really believed she was dead at the end of season 2.

My final rant of the Evils is the fact that Nathan was killed in the final action scene of the season. Of course I’m not whining over some dead character (although I kind of am), I also believe, though, it seemed like another cheap excuse to keep an actor/actress in the season by having them play another character, as in the next season we will have someone who seems like Nathan but he will, in fact be Sylar, who, as of this time, thinks he is Nathan. I mean this is one of the cheapest things they could have possibly done to keep Nathan in the story, it would have been so much simpler to have Clare’s blood save him if they really wanted to go in that direction of events. Of course you may wonder why I would not want Clare’s adopted father to survive and want her bio- father to. Well this is simply because I feel as if there is enough of Nathan's personality to keep the audience interested. 

Due to the large number of negatives in the above article, I feel it is only fair to now discuss the positives. I suppose this in itself is enough to make you realise how much this series gives you to think about!

THE GOOD

So one of the things of that I enjoyed most about this season of Heroes was the concept of the character referring to himself as “Rebel”. The best part about him was that I never suspected who he actually was until he revealed himself (despite how obvious it seemed afterwards). I suppose that’s what every TV show needs, it needs something to keep its audience guessing at some point in the show. And *spoiler* the reveal was that “Rebel” was Micah, which of course, made sense as he was always interested in helping others and he did have the ability to talk to machines, which would obviously allow him to communicate with others over a long range and to help people no matter their distance from him. The best part about this concept was the fact that, through Micah, we got to see that there is kindness to Tracy Sanders when she (supposedly) sacrifices herself to save him. 

I think that Sylar was one of the most interesting characters of the season though, due to the fact that we finally get to find out who Sylar’s real father is and it is actually someone who fits the person that Sylar eventually becomes. I suppose some would say that it doesn’t make much sense as it was something else that made Sylar become the monster that he is today but, if you think about it, it’s the upbringing of a person that defines them. However if there was a part of him that suspected that he had different parents, he would want to feel special, and to believe that his parents were, thereby leading him to find out that he is special by taking abilities from others in order to hold onto that hope. And the idea that, when Sylar finds his father, he is dying anyway, it is extremely clever as it instantly gives us a reason as to why Sylar does not kill him as soon as his father responds to Sylar telling him that he is going to kill him. Of course his reason for not killing his father straight away is that he would want his father to know why he is going to die and find out what he did (which was killing Sylar’s mother and abandoning him which is yet another concept that I loved). And then there was the fact that Sylar tries to take his fathers abilities which obviously confirms that he is the same person that killed his wife and abandoned his child.


But Sylar in general was an interesting character for the most part of this season, from witty-psychopathic dialogue (Clare: “I will keep trying to kill you for the rest of my life”. Sylar: “Everybody needs a hobby”) to him fulfilling aspects of the predicted future as seen by Hiro Nakamura, when he travels to the future and witnesses a future in which Peter did blow up New York in season 1 and Sylar becomes president through posing as Nathan Patrelli, which we see when Sylar at least think he is Nathan at the end of season 3. Of course I did rant about the ridiculousness of this concept above, however, it does fit the predicted future that Hiro saw which in itself is clever, whilst also fulfilling Angela Patrelli’s dream (she dreams the future) of Matt saving Nathan by making Sylar become Nathan, thereby ‘bringing Nathan back to life’ in a sense.

Whilst on the topic of discussing Angela Patrelli’s dreams, the idea in which Angela stops dreaming the future is intriguing as it makes the story unpredictable and, therefore, more intense for the viewers. Her dreams are fairly vague anyway but it prevents us from being told too much regarding future events. I think that’s why it was a clever idea to kill off Isaac Mendez after the 1st season as having someone who could paint the future throughout the entire series would get dull to the viewers, knowing in the long run, what is going to happen anyway. This is what led me to hate the idea of Matt Parkman getting the ability to paint the future (as well as the ridiculousness of him gaining this ability FROM A TURTLE). So the fact that she could see a faint picture of the future doesn’t really bother me, in fact it's more likely to keep the audience guessing, whereas Isaac Mendez could paint a clear image of what is happening, events that Angela predicted, may not go exactly as interpreted by the dream.

Now let’s discuss Hiro Nakamura and how he was significant in this series. I believe that his character was brilliant in this season because of his lack of abilities because of course, we have seen that he pretty much relies on his abilities throughout the entirety of the first two seasons to complete any of his “quests” that destiny has in store for him. But when he loses these abilities we as an audience as well as Hiro, learn that you do not need abilities to be a Hiro, which kind of sets a moral for anyone in real life, that anyone can be a hero really. Whilst on the subject of Hiro, I noticed a few sudden changes in his voice when he spoke in English which made him sound like the future version of him that went to see Peter Patrelli on the train in season 1 (has an American accent), this is quite clever as this gradually builds up parts of different futures that Hiro has seen before and therefore, makes us believe that these futures could have happened as some of these events are still happening.


There was also one episode in particular that I really enjoyed which was the episode titled “Dual”, in which Sylar has trapped Clare, her bio-mother, Clare’s adopted father Noah and her grandmother, Angela Patrelli, at the “Primatech” building, which had an entirely different vibe in comparison to other episodes in this season. It’s the kind of season that really introduces Sylar as the dark, insane, psychopathic killer that he is. Except the difference is, behind his insanity, is an actual goal, to turn Clare against members of her family. This may have failed for Sylar, but this definitely succeeded in convincing the audience that Sylar really is a monster. I just wish this was how Sylar first introduced himself to Clare and her family. 

There were also sides of personalities that we did not see in previous seasons, such as the supposed dark side of Matt Parkman which we see when Matt thinks that his girlfriend Daphne is dead and he now wants to take his anger out on the company that is hunting them through mentally torturing Noah Bennet, who at this point agreed to work with these people in exchange for his daughter’s protection. We even get to see a kind side to Sylar when he chooses to help Micah escape from the company hunting him by shape-shifting into the kid and tripping into the water before flying out after they believe he is dead. 

Interestingly enough we also notice that, through this shape-shifting ability that Sylar has stolen, he has begun to forget who he really is, as having to pose as someone else to avoid being hunted has made him have to appear to be someone else which is messing with his mind. It could be assumed that this could have foreshadowed the event in the season finale in which he ends up thinking he is Nathan Patrelli, although some may just consider this ironic. 

So that is my overall summary of the good aspects of this season, despite the fact that there are fewer points to support this view than the downside, these are strong points and this should not discourage anyone from giving the series a go or trying this season in particular if they never thought to give it go before, like myself. I'm not sure yet whether I think yet that the series should have been cancelled altogether, though, as I will have to see what events occur in season four after I have watched it. However, I will say that I think the series had potential to carry on, if it didn’t meddle with too many ideas at once. Despite some of them being quite clever, the fact that there are so many plots in this series (more than usual), makes this season in particular a lot harder to keep track of, if say the viewer only has time for one episode a week. 

 As for Heroes Reborn, the rebooted season, I can’t really see the potential in the series without more of our beloved characters returning, which I can’t really see happening. Who knows, maybe I’m wrong and I just haven’t seen enough of it. When I’m done with season 4 of Heroes, we will have to see if I have something more to say about Heroes Reborn.

Follow Kraig on Twitter @Kraigandhismac

Images - IMDb