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Heroes: "The Wall"

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Heroes

"The Wall"

Season 4, Episode 18

When I watch an episode of Heroes at this point, I can't help but see it as a series of missed opportunities. (It's not a very fair way to watch, but I don't think anyone reads these recaps to hear someone be "fair.") After showing up to Parkman's house to "have a nosh," Sylar is trapped in his own mind, and Peter jumps in to rescue him; the ensuing years—time moves differently in there, in case you didn't pick that up the 365 times it was mentioned—involve Peter and Sylar quibbling over what books are available and how it's just ever so creepy that Sylar is channelling Nathan's memories. They're trapped in Sylar's nightmare, mind you. Remember Nightmare Man, who'd place people in creepy The Cell-esque manifestations of their deepest fears? I do: It was a really cool episode where people's pasts played out in a series of unsettling images, spiraling screams, and slamming doors. Sylar's version is just him being alone for a long time—and wait, maybe he thinks he deserves it all, or thinks it's real, or thinks it's a dream.

I give up. Sylar should have been gone after season one—or, if they really wanted to keep him around, he needed to be a very different version from what he once was. Over the last few seasons, we've watched Sylar oscillate between the old Sylar and a new, softer yet still stubborn Sylar, with zero explanation as to what triggers one or the other. And it seems like once seasons draw to a close, the writers turn Sylar into whatever they want at that moment, with no care for what's happened before. So now he and Peter are teaming up? He's sorry for everything he did? Since when is he the type of person to show remorse for anything he's ever done, let alone enough to get people on his side? The show has successfully neutered one of the only characters who ever had any balls.

Speaking of! Noah Bennet. Okay, first of all, whenever television shows reveal information about the past life of its characters, if the writing is good, it's a big "aha!" moment for viewers. Of course he'd do this thing or that thing—it makes total sense. But given how much screen time Bennet has gotten over the years, we know so little about him. Or, rather, we know the same things (like how he'd do anything to protect his family, and thereabouts), just repackaged to sound like it's a new factoid. But you know what, I always liked that he was a mystery. In a show that made its characters' motivations very clear in season one, it was nice to have a guy you couldn't immediately read. Now he's just obnoxious, and you know what's not helping? Learning that he used to sell cars, but was nice about it and sent people to other dealers to get a better deal. That he used to write plays. That he had old man glasses more than twenty years ago. At this point, only something big would make much of a difference.

And we almost got it. Thanks to Plot Delivery Device Beta, Claire watches her dad's memories unfold in the house of mirrors, in all their bad acting and poor lighting. (Now she knows how we feel.) She sees as his first wife and baby were killed by a "special"—this episode's Renée—in a convenient pole-through-the-stomach type deal. She sees as he hunts another one down and kills him out of anger. Then she sees him get recruited by the company, get reprimanded for a surprisingly high number of "accidents", then get told to marry her mother because it'd be good for his work. Geez, that's some intense stuff. But what's missing is how Bennet felt about all this. I never got the sense that he was falling into this rabbit hole-type situation, where he could barely control himself and was subject to whatever the company told him to do. In season one he was the soulless Company Man, and in these flashbacks he was warm and caring. Can't we see a little more of how he got from point A to point B? And I'm super curious about what happened to Sandra: Did they Haitian her into loving Bennet? That's the creepy crap I loved about this show, and apparently it's just not going to happen anymore. Another missed opportunity.

Another one: It bothers me to no end that Emma speaks all the time. How cool would it have been if Heroes had introduced a character who was completely speechless? I guess that'd take some balls. And we all know Heroes ain't got any.

Stray observations:

  • Peter hitting the metal bar on the ground: Reference to season one finale?
  • How is Claire not failing out of school at this point?