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RERUN REVIEW: Heroes “Season 4: Redemption”

Written by Alex Reale

After two fairly dull seasons, I was so glad that Heroes picked up the ball in its final run. To me, Season 4 was almost as good as the second half of the first season. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a hell of a lot more entertaining than the other stuff I had to endure. The last season of Heroes had a compelling storyline, fun new characters, an enjoyable antagonist, and much more. However, there were still some problems I had with these final episodes.

As usual, there is a lot going on this season, and it’s difficult to summarize the plot in such a limited space. We’ve moved on from the “bagging and tagging super-powered people” plot from the previous seasons. Now, it seems like everyone is trying to live their lives as normally as possible, but when you’ve got super powers, that’s not easy to do.

Besides Sylar, our protagonists face off against a new type of villain: a traveling circus (a freak show, to be precise). The leader of this show, Samuel Sullivan, is a charming Irish man who seems to be a nice, caring guy on the outside, but on the inside, he’s a bitter old man who’s been wronged by his own family, friends, and past loves. He believes in creating a new world where people with abilities are treated fairly and equally – instead of as freaks. Who does this remind you of? I’ll give you a hint: he has a weird helmet and can control metal thanks to his magnetic abilities.

Samuel Sullivan was a cool villain, but he was definitely a carbon-copy of Marvel’s Magneto. There’s nothing wrong with borrowing ideas and concepts from other successful characters, especially when it’s as interesting a villain as Magneto. I feel like a lot of people would get mad at this seemingly obvious Magneto clone, but I didn’t mind. If anything, I had a bigger problem with Samuel’s powers. He’s shown as being able to control earth, from telepathically throwing rocks, to forming massive sinkholes capable of destroying entire cities. He can also control tattoo ink. This really confused me; what was it that allowed him to control the ink? Was it made out of dirt or something? I feel like I might’ve missed a major point about this. Oh, and his powers get stronger depending on how many people with special abilities are around him. He almost feeds off of the presence of other specials. Such a weird combination of abilities, but hey, how else can you create a villain on par with Sylar?

In my review of last season, I mentioned how much I hated the resolution to the Sylar/Nathan dilemma. I did not approve of putting Nathan’s memories into Sylar’s body and turning the latter into a sort-of “surrogate” Nathan. Thankfully, this is addressed in this season, and I was relieved to hear that I wasn’t the only person who had a problem with it. We’re treated to plenty of Sylar throughout this season as he struggles to overcome his brainwashing and regain his own body. At the same time, the memory of Sylar manifests itself in Matt Parkman’s mind, and the two spend a good chunk of the season mentally duking it out. I thought it was really clever how Sylar and Parkman used their mental abilities to catch each other off guard and fight over full mastery oft the body.

Here’s my problem with the Parkman scenario: Sylar eventually comes into full control of Parkman’s body. Sylar becomes Parkman, while the real Parkman is trapped within his own mind. In order to defeat the man possessing his body, mind-Parkman gets Sylar arrested at the airport and placed on a no-fly list for trying to conceal a weapon. Mind-Parkman also finds a way to get Sylar shot to death by the police. Thanks to good old Peter Petrelli, Parkman comes back to life and tries to live happily ever after with his wife. Wait a minute – isn’t he a wanted man? Sylar was arrested and shot to death by a bunch of cops, but he did it while he was in Parkman’s body. Won’t it be a little weird when people see Parkman walking around? Plus, he’s still on the no-fly list with a heavy arrest record. How the hell is he supposed to live his life normally?

And I am not happy with Parkman going back to his cheating ex-wife. Sure, she has his child and claims she’s changed, but I don’t approve of it. Bring back Daphne. Parkman belonged with her.

There’s a very minor point that I wanted to bring up about the first and last season. Throughout the entire show, we only knew Jimmy Jean-Louis‘s character as “The Haitian”. In this season, we finally discover that the Haitian’s real name is Rene. Back in Season 1, the show bounced around saying Noah Bennet’s first name as well. Why exactly were these names kept hidden? What was the point? It’s a very small detail but it bothers the hell out of me as to why they chose this unnecessary route.

Oh, and what was the point of Tracy Strauss looking like Niki Sanders? I know she’s supposed to be part of the Sanders triplets, but there was literally no reason as to why the show did this unless the crew really wanted to keep Ali Larter. Nothing against Larter, but why did they go through all this trouble? They could’ve made Tracy any other actress and the season would’ve played out almost the same way. The only thing that really related to her looking like Niki is when Micah briefly helped her out because she reminded him of his mom. Other than that, it was pointless. I kept expecting a big reveal of how she was Niki reincarnated or something.

Despite all these complaints, I still had a lot of fun with this season. I really liked the concept of the freak show members having powers and abilities. I only wish we could’ve seen more. Maybe the bearded lady could voluntarily control her hair growth? Maybe the strongman was actually super, super strong? Nonetheless, it was a great way to introduce a new group of villains who stood a chance against our protagonists.

As usual, everyone gave a fantastic performance. Zachary QuintoGreg GrunbergHayden Panettiere, and Jack Coleman rocked it this season, and Robert Knepper made for a great villain. I’ve looked at the cast list for Heroes Reborn and I’m happy to see so many veterans making a return (even if just for guest spots). While I love having my favorite actors and actresses come back, I hope the show doesn’t rely TOO much on its former cast, and that it can succeed on its own.

Heroes Reborn is days away, and I’m thrilled that I had the opportunity to catch up. Let’s hope that the new show is just as entertaining as the original. I’m confident that the crew wouldn’t have revisited the world of Heroes unless they had a good reason to. Don’t let us down, Tim Kring!

 

Final Grade: A –

+ The idea of the freak show crew having powers was awesome.

+ Samuel Sullivan was a great villain (even if he was a bit derivative).

+ Almost everyone gave a terrific performance.

– I’m not too thrilled with the lack of closure in Matt Parkman’s story.

– I hate when there’s a perfect opportunity for someone to attack someone else, but they don’t do it (at one point, Edgar [blessed with super speed] had a chance to stab Noah, but he instead runs RIGHT PAST HIM and out the door).

– I don’t get why they had to make Tracy Strauss related to the Sanders twins.

Extra Thoughts:

– What happened to Becky? Last I remember, Samuel was ushering her away from Noah, never to be seen again.

– The finale features Sylar turning to the good side and helping out our main characters in defeating Sullivan and co. So is Sylar definitely staying good, or will he revert to his evil ways?

What did you think of the conclusion of Heroes? Did you enjoy it or was it a dud? Tell us what you think in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!