Did “Heroes” make the earth move under our feet in the season finale? Not especially, although there were a few nice moments sprinkled in here and there to remind us why we still watch the show at all. Did the climatic carnival battle disappoint? It was not a Kirby Plaza-esque disaster, but hardly a war worthy of a volume-ending episode. As for the hints of the next volume? Well, we’ll get to that at the end.

[Full recap of Monday's (Feb. 8) "Heroes" after the break...]

For now, let’s find out how everyone got to Central Square, and meet them all near the big top.

Peter/Sylar
Freed from Parkman’s mind prison, the pair find a home full of Elis awaiting them. Upstairs, another half-dozen version of them taunt Matt, whose mind-tricks don’t work on copies. Matt insists that Eli doesn’t want to be doing this, and Eli sort of agrees….which frankly surprised the hell out of me, and the rest of America that’s been paying attention this season. Maybe the DVD set will contain a few scenes in which Eli expresses anguish over being Samuel’s multiple man muscle, but it sure didn’t actually appear on-air this season.

Sylar and Peter take down the real Eli, which affords the chance for the duo to try and explain the time difference in dream world that allowed Sylar to truly change into someone that wants to do good. Parkman isn’t buying the change, and refuses to help. This forces Peter to go into Eli’s head and get the location of the carnival himself. Eventually, Parkman sees that Sylar’s mind is pure, but can’t speak to the state of his heart. I’m all for “Evil Parkman,” but all we got in the season finale was “Jackass Parkman.” Sigh.

 

Claire/Noah
Trapped underground thanks to Samuel’s miniquake, Noah and Claire fight for survival. Realizing that their supply of air is low, Noah tries to make peace with his daughter in their final moments. And you know what? I was right there with ‘em for a few minutes there. This was “Company Man” level stuff between HRG and his Claire Bear with both tearfully saying goodbye to each other. And then, as his overtly expressed dying wish, he tells Claire that when she makes it out alive (thanks to her ever-regenerating lungs), she should live her life by hiding her true nature.

Um, what?

I was so mad at “Heroes” giving that line to a dying father I saw red for a few minutes. In essence, the show had a father tell his daughter to not reach her true potential, to hold back, to cower in fear rather stand proud as who she is. Fun! HRG must be a blast on “Take Your Daughter To Work Day So You Can Show Her All The Jobs For Which She’s Unqualified.” I was so busy shaking my head at this that I almost missed the deus ex aquatica herself, Tracy Strauss, show up to liberate the duo from Samuel’s makeshift grave. Did I root for Tracy to leave Noah behind? Only a little. OK, maybe more than a little.

 

Hiro/Ando
When Tim Krieg mentioned that the Hiro/Charlie storyline would be handled maturely in the finale, I was skeptical. When I saw an aged Charlie appear onscreen, I was downright mad at his literalism. But by the time Hiro blew her a kiss goodbye, I was pleasantly surprised by the tone struck by these scenes. What could have been creepy ended up serving as a nice coda to a season-long storyline in which Hiro finally started to learn the limits of his ability.

In short: Samuel’s time-traveller took Charlie back to 1944 Milwaukee, where she turned into a regular Rosie the Riveter and helped the war effort from there. (In a nice touch, elderly Rosie listed off the precise number of bolts needed per specific piece of machinery, information delivering in both tone and cadence eerily similar to the way Jayma Mays once did.) Hiro wants to “save” Charlie by going back to 1944 and transplanting her back into the timeline from whence she left. Hiro grinned, Ando sighed, and I feared the worst.

But lo, in comes Charlie’s granddaughter, one of seven from her four children. Looks like Charlie had quite the life for herself, and if this was pretty much the plot from “Titanic”…well, I was so happy to see Hiro actually take a turn towards maturity by the end that I was willing to forgive it this once. While I would have preferred this character note achieved in time for Hiro to be more active in saving the day at the carnival, I’m happy that the show played Hiro’s growth in an organic and largely logical manner throughout the season.

 

The Carnival
Call me crazy, but I think you need a permit to simply erect a carnival in the middle of Central Park. I know it’s silly to point these things out in a show filled with super-powered people, but it still bugs me. In any case, Samuel promises everyone that tonight will be their best performance ever. They will kill the crowd! Simply slay ‘em! Did Samuel actually say things like “kill” and “slay”? Not quite, but he didn’t have to: the lens flares due to the sunset behind him said it all.

As predicted by not just me but pretty much everyone: the source of Emma’s unwilling playing to draw in the masses? Doyle, happy to try on his “blonde obsession” pants on one more time. With her cello booming through the speakers, New Yorkers of all shapes and sizes soon stood ready for the show to begin. Into the crowd mingled our heroes. Finally, everyone’s together! They can join up and fight as one! They can…instantly split up and fight people on their own??? What the…? I wish my super ability was to get drunk instantly when plot points this dumb happen. Good God. I’m not asking for the Justice League here, just a little teamwork!

Doyle almost instantly overpowers Sylar upon his arrival to fulfill Angela’s prophecy. However, by giving Sylar his primary focus, he allows Emma enough freedom to use one of her energy notes to concuss him. (I can’t think of a better phrase than “energy notes,” though I’m game for your moniker.) It’s unclear if Sylar will subdue or kill Doyle at first, but by episode’s end, we realize he’s simply tied Doyle up. So Sylar’s good. Kinda. For now. Sorta.

Edgar gets the drop on Noah, but reveals that they are on the same side. The two of them plus the magically reformed Eli confront Samuel after Claire declaims his true plans to the members of the carnival. I’d say this is Claire’s biggest “I’m the center of the world” moment of the show, but we haven’t gotten to the ending yet, kids. Claire’s words, coupled by Edgar and Eli’s corroboration, leads everyone to leave, which leads Samuel to lose his freakin’ mind. He finally hits the stage, and the world starts to rumble.

In flies Peter (having ostensibly either absorbed the power of flight or extreme long jumping) to whisk Samuel off the stage. Having touched the would-be man-god, the two square off, earth power vs. earth power. They essentially engage in geological Pong, with the seismic activity pushed back and forth between them. There’s also a little dialogue about how they are both similar (younger brothers of titanic figures), which would have been an interesting angle to play at any point before 10 minutes before the end of the season.

In the middle of this sedimentary stalemate, Hiro arrives with Ando and beholds the mayhem. Using Ando’s augmentation ability, he manages to teleport the carnies away en masse, leaving Samuel completely powerless. Vanessa’s ex-boyfriend, Joseph’s ex-brother, and this season’s ex-Big Bad crawls on the ground, reaches up to the sky, and…

…a new volume begins, titled “Brave New World.” Hey, that’s the title of tonight’s episode, too! What a small universe in which we live. Noah, apparently unrepentant about his dying wish, reiterates his desire to Claire that she hide her true nature. Ugh. But with the camera crews called by Samuel still on the grounds, Claire climbs to the top of the Ferris wheel as the nearby heroes watch in a mixture of awe and horror. She plummets to the ground, stands up, and gives a recapitulation of the speech that introduced her to us through her friend Zach’s camera so many years ago.

So the world knows there are heroes among them. But will we live in a world that has “Heroes” on our televisions? Only time will tell.

What do you think? Up for another volume, or should NBC pull the plug? Leave your thoughts below, and thanks for reading these recaps all season!