Heroes: Landslide

Next to last episode of the season, and this one comes with a bit of the good and a bit of the bad. Let’s start with the bad.

Once again, Mr. Kring demonstrates a bad case of clumsy screen-writing. He’s driving at a goal, that being the impression that the future simply cannot be changed. Everything that Hiro and Ando saw in the future is coming to pass. People are dying, and the dominoes are lining up to create exactly the bleak future that we witnessed just a couple of episodes. We knew this was coming, though. The season finale _has_ to end on this climax. What is going to matter is those final five minutes before the blast.

But Kring is taking shortcuts in the writing, cutting corners on plot points because, quite simply, he’s running out of time to tell his story. We need Hiro to be more warrior and less comic book geek. So, we have him spend a couple of hours – at most – sparring with his father, learning in that time fighting techniques that take a lifetime to master. This is all forgetting, of course, that those techniques are virtually worthless against the likes of Sylar. With a flick of his fingers, he can freeze Hiro right in place and take the top off his head. Hiro’s only true advantage over Sylar is in maintaining his focus on concentration at holding time in place while he makes the heart-thrust necessary to end the villain. But of course, even this cannot happen – Kring tells us that Sylar’s evil will continue.

Ando is a bit of a puzzle. At one moment he is Hiro’s faithful puppy-dog, encouraging him with his absolute devotion and trust, and the next he’s taking matters into his own hands because he’s so sure that Hiro is going to bail out on his duty to save the world. This, too, is Kring trying to drive the plot toward its fateful conclusion, but this element also reeks of clumsiness.

Niki/Jessica is _still_ an almost pointless character. Who is she right now, aside from a driven and protective mother with super-strength? We saw in this episode the beginnings of what I believe is finally the merger of these two split personalities into a cohesive whole. But we’ve still hardly seen what this woman can really do. She’s ruthless, we know, and she is adept at the art of killing. But there is much more potential here than a pseudo-evil Wonder Woman – which makes me wonder if Kring will ever really tap into this potential. We caught a glimpse of what Niki can be in this episode. I want to see it taken further.

Those two gripes aside, the rest of what I’ve seen has been good. Really good.

The heroes are all grouping together now, using their abilities together to accomplish common goals. This is almost as thrilling now as those first three or four episodes where the characters were just beginning to realize they are special. We’re starting to see just what they can do, both individually and as teams. Some of it’s a little cheesy, even yet – like D.L.’s method of getting himself and Jessica through security in Linderman’s building – but it’s a start and most of it’s actually pretty good.

And the one thing element that I think has, for the most part, been strong all the way through the season is the character development. Each one has their own inner turmoils and dilemmas, their conflicts that continually put them between a rock and a hard place and force them to make conscious decisions. All of them, it seems, want to do what is right – none of them are sure what the right thing is to do. And so we see our heroes continually working together and then seemingly again at odds. It is a complex array of storytelling that weaves together for one larger, broader narrative, one that the city of New York may not survive.

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