Recap: 'Heroes' - 'I Am Sylar'
It’s like the show wants me to hate it sometimes, I swear. It feels like the only explanation as I watch a show completely either retcon, retrofit, or dismember some previously established fact about the “Heroes” universe multiple times per episode all because the common sense of continuity would bring everything to a crashing halt. But hey, least there’s only one more episode in this volume, right?
Read on for schizophrenic spoilers…
Let’s break things down on a character level, as we usually do. And since Monday's (April 20) episode was titled “I Am Sylar” let’s start with him.
The Antihero with a Thousand Faces
Previously, on “Heroes”…they show us a scene that never actually aired, so near as I can remember. Not a strong start to the hour. In any case, it shows us the Agent Nobody that Danko wants Sylar to take over so he can move to and fro killing as he pleases. Problem is, Sylar’s having all sorts of issues with his shapeshifting power, growing extra teeth, changing eye color without contacts, and in one horrific instance, growing a ginormous badonkadonk. Shocking, I know.
He starts to lose his tether on reality, prompting him to write “I am Sylar” in blood whenever possible as a way to remind himself of his true identity. Sometimes it’s on his arm, other times it’s on Clint Howard’s wall. (Props for casting Opie’s brother as a middle-aged, lamer version of Gambit. That was swell.) An expert on dealing with multiple lives and personalities, Danko suggests that Sylar find an anchor by which to hang on to true self.
As such, Sylar goes to what he thinks is the sort of his inner schism: the killing of Virginia Gray, the woman who raised Sylar along with a few hundred snowglobes. In a blunt ode to Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” Sylar starts seamlessly shifting between himself as Virginia, essentially acting out a chamber drama in which Sylar seeks forgiveness for killing her in cold blood back in Season 1. Sadly, the use of The Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” a few weeks back was infinitely more effective than this schizophrenic banter.
All this leads to a raid on Micah, working out of an abandoned complex on the waterfront. Before he can steal Rebel’s power, the ceaselessly hopeful Micah suggests Sylar need not be the end of those with powers; rather, Micah insists that Sylar could in fact be their ultimate SAVIOR. Well, that’s a unique interpretation of the last few years, Rebel. But somehow, this notion appeals to Sylar for the five minutes in the episode the show wants Micah to live, so Sylar-as-Micah takes a bullet, swan dives into the river, and then Bournes himself down shore undetected.
Later that night, Sylar lets Micah stay with him, and in a related story, I start drinking heavily to aid my suspension of disbelief. Micah-as-Dr. Phil insists Sylar can be anyone he wants, even someone great like Nathan Petrelli. (Again, it’s as if Micah’s been watching a Bizarro version of “Heroes” over the years.) Sylar tries on Nathan for size, giving the press conference seen at the end of last week, but just before offing the real deal Nathan, Danko darts Petrelli and knifes Sylar in the one spot on the body that the show’s driven home again and again is the only way to kill him, so naturally Sylar rises up moments later and pulls the knife out of his head. Unreal.
So, to sum up: Sylar’s Daddy issues are again Mommy issues, even though technically they are Auntie issues. He wants to be the only superpowered person left, except when the thought of leading the remaining ones to victory sounds good. And his Achilles heel is no longer one at all. Not a bad undoing of a character for only 42 minutes of television. Pretty impressive.
Crimson and Glaze Over
For a few moments in tonight’s Hiro/Ando arc, I had the slightest of hopes that we were building towards the aborted future in which Ando (aka, The Crimson Arc) did battle with his one-time friend, now enemy Hiro. Unfortunately, that would imply the show had some cajones left, and if Sylar is now immortal, I can’t see their beloved Hiro biting the bullet. We’ll just have to settle for nosebleeds at this point.
The two want to take down Building 26, but don’t have much in the way of a plan. Hiro’s solution? Use Ando as bait to get inside the facility; once there, Hiro can break in and save the day. And no, it didn’t make any more sense when Hiro said it, either. Ando’s sick of sidekick duty, and goes so far as to call his friend “fascist” at one point. (“Fascist” might seem a bit strong, but then again, Hiro did call Ando’s new moniker “dangerous yet ladylike.”) The “fascist” cry came during their first shared moment of time stoppage, and it seemed that two was company for Hiro during this interlude. (Why didn’t Ando freeze this time? Awesome question. Unfortunately, the show didn’t think you needed an answer just yet. Or maybe ever.)
So when he essentially betrayed Ando by pointing every frozen tranquilizer dart at The Crimson Arc’s chest and unstopping time, I was thinking that frenemies were about to turn into straight up enemies. But no, because it was near the end of the hour, Hiro decided to do an about face and embrace his friend as an equal. This decision almost directly led to the aforementioned nosebleed, potentially caused by an overdose of power from Ando’s fingers into Hiro’s body.
So, I guess once again we’re back to “Hiro is powerless,” having just gone through this storyline in the last volume. So long as Hiro doesn’t awake as a ten year old, I guess it’s an improvement, but color me unimpressed in general.
Rounding Up the Rest
The notCompany watched Sylar’s speech on television. Remembering nothing about his past mistakes, and ignoring every reminder of those mistakes by those around him, Nathan returns to Washington with Peter in hot pursuit. HRG, Claire, and Angela drive straight into a road block and get captured. Braniacs abound.
Matt Parkman took his child back to Janice’s house, essentially walking into a trap in order to spit on the memory of Daphne and proclaim his desire to work things out with that wet blanket with legs, Janice. Parkman pulls the “these are not the droids you’re looking for” trick on the agents, keeping Janice and Matt Parkman Jr. safe for now.
Mohinder showed up at the end, still looking at film in Coyote Sands by hand as opposed to taking them to someplace 1) with a projector and 2) not in a site undoubtedly scouted by Danko’s people, and got captured. Unfortunately, he rattled off another soul-crushing voiceover before the government could sedate him.
So, yea, that’s your big set up for the season finale next week. The show’s guaranteed to come back next year, since it’s one of NBC’s highest rated shows, so let me know below: what type of storyline could save Volume 5 in your eyes? Leave your thoughts below!
Ryan also writes about television and pop culture at Boob Tube Dude.