I swear to God, the first line of this episode was, "Claire, help me get these rocks off." I can think of no better way to describe the ensuing 59 minutes and 50 seconds than that: Resolution via multiple deuxes ex machinas so random, it's almost as if they had no plan at all to begin with; stakes so low, it's almost like Heroes has made it its M.O. to never kill a major character (nor will they, at the very least, maim one); ideas so ill-conceived and poorly executed, you'd think the show was written by committee and the writers had given up—really been phonin' it in there for quite some time.
In case you missed it, I chatted with Tim Kring a few days ago—Friday to be exact, then quickly turned the interview around so it could run on The A.V. Club in time for Monday's finale. And it turns out all of that is true. Episodes are written by committee. They only plan out a few episodes in advance. They feel pressure to have the characters change "just cuz-sies." No major character will ever die. Ouch, my sense of self-worth. Did the world used to be sunnier? Just, in general? I remember it being brighter.
Yet here we are anyways at the season, possibly series finale, with an episode so bad, it somehow made me feel retroactively like I wasted more time watching everything that preceded it. Because yes, those rocks get off—so to speak—but just for Heroes. And it was all weird. It was just… dust.
So despite absolutely no mentions of Samuel's abilities being limited to the number of specials that are around, that became a thing a few episodes ago, as did his decision to gather them all in Central Park and do whatever. Something. I feel like I've written that exact same sentence in previous reviews, and I'm going to write it now, again, after seeing the episode. Oh, there's no more Samuel story to tell, and I still don't know. Something big. Something bad. Something that's gonna "change everything." The vagueness certainly didn't strike any fear into my heart ("…and it turns out, at a campfire just like this one, on a night just like this one, something really bad happened! It was soooo bad! The scenario in which it occurred was so similar to this one! Yes! The consequences of these actions were dire! Diiiiiire!!! Well, goodnight, kids"), but okay. Samuel was capable of some insane power, and every single hero on this show was rushing to the carnival. Surely there was going to be some major power-ejaculating. The show fooled us all once in season one, where Peter and Sylar, with every power in the universe, punched each other and exchanged hair product. Those guys are a team now, there's no way this conflict would be resolved with simple non-"special" violence. NO WAY Claire's just going to walk in and simply talk to all the other people and convince them to leave the carnival, thus sucking Samuel of all his powers. There's no way.
Oh, Bennet was there too, by the way, as was now-a-good-guy Knifey (Bennet must have given him a hell of a miso soup). But wait, Bennet was in that trailer underground with Claire, right? Well, he got saved because Tracy (Alex Mack) flushed herself in there, flooded the thing, and Noah escaped.
I'm not lying, I just spent about 30 minutes trying to come up with a joke that was funny to tell in front of that, or some really clever way to phrase what happened. I have absolutely no shame in telling you that I failed, and that perhaps it's better for you to just see it as it was.
Here's some more honesty: Tim Kring pretty much told me that he and his writing staff have run out of ways to keep Hiro from the action, because he recognizes that Hiro can just swoop in there and kick Samuel's pregnant mother down a flight of stairs. This season, they implemented a combination of a) saving butt-copier from killing himself 47 times, b) Charlie, c) brain tumor, d) talking in only pop culture reference, e) oh right, the brain tumor. And they decided to waste what little time he still had left to make any difference—about 45 minutes of the hour program—having him talk to Charlie as an old woman, which came about because Samuel dropped her in the year 1944 apparently (in an America that hated the Japanese, no less!). Now she's married and has grandkids, and Hiro sat there and chatted with this woman for a really long time while Ando watched, bangs and all. These scenes were a complete waste because they did not result in a) Hiro taking one of Charlie's granddaughters as his wife, like in Hook, b) anything else.
Then all of a sudden, with a few minutes left, Sylar shows up to rescue Emma—playing so hard for those 15 minutes that there is blood on the strings OH MY GOD I GET IT—and meets the puppet master guy. Things happen, and he is victorious. Meanwhile, Peter is able to overpower Samuel because his brother "build me up" (uh, the word is "built"), and their little sandbox-fight goes nowhere. Hiro pops in with Ando, everyone holds hands, sings "We Are The World," and Ando, doing something at all, also holds Hiro's hand and energizes him to teleport every person out of the carnival. Bennet looks on as Samuel runs to the emptiness, says, "I've always hated carnivals," puts on his sunglasses, and Samuel throws his hands in the air as Lost music plays. End of Volume Five, I fuckin' hate this show.
Volume Six starts with Claire Bennet jumping off a ferris wheel, healing, and the whole world watching on TV cameras. It was a callback to season one. I guess the heroes have had their cover blown. Oh God, also, why didn't they shave Hiro's head when they OPERATED ON HIS BRAIN? I just threw my notebook across the room.
Look, Heroes, we've had a good run. But unless you, as you say, "change everything"—and I do mean everything—I think I'm done for good. Get your own rocks off.
- I can't get over how bad Emma's cello playing is. She honestly doesn't know any other songs? Hava Nagila?
- "It's a brave new world." YOU ARE GOOD, SYLAR! YOU REALLY ARE GOOD!