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Heroes is a drama about individuals across the globe suddenly discovering that they have super powers. NBC 2006-2010


Episode 20 - Five Years Gone

30 March 2012

Synopsis: Future Hiro is delighted to hear that Peter saved Claire. He now instructs Hiro to go back in time and kill Sylar. But the police arrive led by Parkman with the Haitian and capture our Hiro. Future Hiro and Ando seek out Peter who is with Niki in Vegas. The world believes Sylar exploded destroying New York. Since then Nathan has become President and tried to contain those with abilities by restricting their breeding. Mohinder has been unable to find a cure and so Nathan tells him he will kill all those with abilities in order to unite the world. Initially Peter won’t help Hiro, so he and Ando go to see Mr Bennet who is helping those with abilities to avoid detection. But he hands over Hiro to Parkman as part of a deal. Parkman is protecting his son Matthew while Bennet is hiding Claire’s location from the world. Parkman turns on Bennet and hands over Claire to Nathan. Nathan reveals himself as Sylar and takes her power. Mohinder kills the Haitian instead of our Hiro but future Hiro is killed by Parkman. Sylar reveals himself to Peter as Ando convinces Hiro to be a hero and go back in time to change all of this.

The Good: This is an excellent episode. Just like “Six Months Ago” (110), we get a glimpse of the characters in a different time thanks to Hiro’s ability to travel through time. The change in format allows us to see all the characters in different settings and with different states of mind which is fun and fascinating in equal measure. But for me that is not what makes this episode so good. It is the contrast between our Hiro and Ando and all the other characters.

In the future Nathan’s prediction (116) has come true. Once people found out about those with special abilities, they became afraid and so the authorities “outlawed their breeding” and “confined their movement.” Mohinder is out of answers, Bennet and Parkman are estranged from their families and Peter and Niki wallow in misery. The world has become a “dark place” and the change in Hiro’s outlook is striking. He is battle weary and regarded as a terrorist. Our Hiro’s optimism and hope shines through this gloom like a beacon. The innocence of his character has been trying at times, following fluff plot lines while others have struggled with serious issues. But here his character and its purpose come into clear focus. Seeing him squirming under Parkman’s interrogation and saying he would never kill anyone or break up a family is very poignant. Hiro is the only hero who sees his powers as capable of making the world better and it is his hope and friendship with Ando which will help him bring light to the darkness. Linking his loss of hope in the future to Ando’s death is a nice touch and gives their friendship more relevance to the story.

The story itself is full of dramatic reveals and twists. The best is of course Nathan turning out to be Sylar. They explain his motivations for his behaviour really well. As he says to Claire, he has enough power now that he is President (and having taken some other powers like Candice’s) that now he wants to kill all the other special people in order “to eliminate the competition.” It makes sense for him, so obsessed with being special, that he would want to be the only one with powers.

The future reveals interesting things about the characters. Most of our friends still do good even if reluctantly (Peter, Bennet, Mohinder). The exception seems to be Parkman. It is interesting that Sylar has not taken his ability to read minds but left him and the Haitian to handle security. We begin to see that estrangement from his family has made Parkman bitter. But we don’t yet know the Haitian’s story. Perhaps if he takes orders from the Petrelli’s (119) that would explain him working for Nathan.

Future Hiro explains “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World” in a very simple and clear way. Without the ability to regenerate Sylar can be killed. It presumably sets up the season finale nicely with Hiro having to kill Sylar.

Parkman’s son being kept a secret and references to controlling breeding confirms, if it needed to be, that these genetic abilities are passed from parents to children.

For most fans the format will make this episode so enjoyable. The chance to see the characters in a different, dramatic setting and hearing references to the Bennet’s splitting up, the Linderman plan, several characters dying and so on will be enough to keep you glued to the screen.

The Bad: Once more Heroes creative influences must be sighted. Hiro and Peter fight their way through the lobby in a scene all too reminiscent of The Matrix. Other fans will definitely see echoes of The X-Men in a world where “different” individuals are feared by normal people. Hardcore fans may see strong similarities with the X-Men story Days of Future Past. I don’t think there is anything wrong with taking from other art to create your own, but when some fans will see very obvious influences it can affect their enjoyment.

The problem with this episode comes from the nature of time travel stories. Hiro changed the past because future Hiro told him to. Now the future has changed slightly as Claire is still alive. However future Hiro hasn’t felt any changes yet from this act. The implication is that our Hiro hasn’t yet killed Sylar and so the future is still bad. But surely he is going to kill Sylar in the near future and so the distant future should have changed already? Or if he fails to kill Sylar for some reason, future Hiro should remember why. In fact future Hiro should remember them coming to see him.

Confused? Well yes, it is all a bit of a mess. Every action Hiro takes should affect the future in a million different ways but it does not. One problem for example is Peter. In 103 future Hiro said it was weird to see Peter without his scar. That was a reference to a future where Peter never met Claire. In this future he has met Claire and so he shouldn’t have a scar because it would have healed.

Speaking of Claire, boy does she have a trusting fiancée. He was ready to leave town without asking any questions just because she asked.

Why is Niki working in a strip club? Are you telling me Peter couldn’t make a few bucks doing something?

The Unknown: Niki says we lost the war. Is that a reference to a struggle with Nathan and the authorities which she, Peter and others lost? Hana Gitelman is back out of nowhere. I think she must have Peter’s power of invisibility to.

Best Moment: The final showdown. Parkman shoots future Hiro. Peter closes the door but Sylar drags him through it. Mohinder holds the door shut and begs Hiro to go back to the present. Sylar reveals himself to Peter and they begin to fight. Ando tells Hiro he has seen the man he will become and he believes he can do this. They travel back to the present where New York is still ok. “Now the hard part” Hiro says.

Epilogue: Each time that Heroes has broken from its traditional format it has succeeded. This is no exception. They make the most of their multi-faceted story by placing it in the future. They also get the most out of Hiro who finally becomes a hero in our eyes by displaying the qualities worth fighting for in a world which has lost them. Really enjoyable, crowd pleasing storytelling.



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