We take a leap five years into the future to find out what the world would be like if the heroes are unable to prevent the impending New York City explosion. It shouldn’t surprise regular readers to learn that I found the episode incredible, but I was awfully surprised to read other reviews criticizing the show, with many of them saying that the story seems lifted from a previous X-Men story arc.
My question is this: Why should this matter? It reminds me of a common Family Guy criticism, that the jokes have nothing to do with the plot of the episode. Are people actually watching Family Guy because of the intricacy and complexity of its plot? I would think that the reason is to make you laugh, and if you’re laughing, should it really matter whether it’s because of a throwaway gag or something linear with the rest of the story?
Anyway, back to HeroesI’m not completely familiar with many of the X-Men story arcs (other than what was shown on the old Fox Kids cartoon), but I thought that the episode was highly enjoyable, excellently written, and provided some very interesting character development.
Perhaps the best way to attack this episode would be to look at each character, and where their lives are at in five years.
Those with special abilities are considered terrorists and are feared by the general public, in large part due to the actions of Sylar (or so they believe) and his role in the explosion. Because of this, those with abilities are forced to live on the run. This story arc is not isolated to X-Men, by the way. I seem to recall the entire Marvel universe having a similar “registration” story arc (isn’t that how Captain America died?), as did DC (I believe) and, most recently, the USA series The 4400.
Hiro, the seemingly leader of the an/protagonists, has turned into a much darker version of his former self, due to Ando’s death, as we would soon learn, and that he has taken the lives of several people. He seems to still be in contact with Peter, and to a lesser extent Nikki, and knows about Bennet. Through his renewed relationship with present-day Ando, part of his jolly self returns.
Peter, on the other hand, is now shacked up with Nikki, who has seemingly rid herself of Jessica. It also seems that Mikha and D.L. have died. Presumably Mikha was killed in the explosion, although it is later revealed (or implied) that Sylar killed D.L. Peter no longer seems like the eternal optimist, needing some convincing before he assists Hiro in rescuing, well, Hiro. He’s also got a bad ass scar, which for some reason can’t be healed.
Arguably the most developed character is Parkman, who is now the head of National Security during Nathan’s presidency. Ironically, he’s tracking down those with abilities, the very thing he once opposed Bennet for doing. He also works alongside the Haitian, and we finally got confirmation that he can, indeed, prevent others from using their abilities. Despite his current passive, kind demeanor, he eventually becomes somebody who would kill Bennet and Hiro.
Another great shift in character came with Bennet, who now turns in people who have harmful abilities, while protecting those that have harmless ones, a far leap from his blind tagging process. He still has an unconditional love for his daughter, vowing to protect her even while she’s in hiding. Unfortunately, it seems his wife has left him, and he takes a bullet to the head courtesy of Parkman.
Nathan is president, and it seems that he’s willing to rid the world of all of those with abilities. It is later revealed that it is actually Sylar, and not Nathan, that wants to do this. It seems that Sylar killed Candice, allowing him to shift appearances, allowing him to take Nathan’s identity after killing him. Personally, I found this revelation surprising, only because the idea of Nathan’s behavior wasn’t completely out of character.
Finally, with Claire, we finally discovered what “Save the cheerleader, save the world” means. It seems that Sylar was able to take her abilities the night of the Homecoming, and due to this cannot be killed. The belief is that if Peter is able to prevent this from happening, that Hiro can eventually kill Sylar. By the way, Claire with brown hair = very hot.
Perhaps most interesting are the alliances that were developed through the five years. Nathan, Mohinder, Parkman, and the Haitian are aligned. Hiro, Peter, and Nikki are another loose (no pun intended) alliance, while Bennet seems to play middle man between the two teams.
Another very interesting development is the fact that, essentially, all these attempts to prevent the bomb are all for naught. Everybody in the future is under the impression that Sylar causes the explosion, when it is actually Peter. Therefore, preventing Sylar from taking Claire’s abilities, and even possibly having Hiro kill Sylar, won’t actually prevent the explosion.
There are only a few episodes left, and I’m very intrigued to see what direction the show will be going in.