Crumbs: Reviews » Dramas » Heroes » Season 1 » How to Stop an Exploding Man
Critical reviews of U.S. TV shows
and analysis of what makes them
good, bad, irritating and enlightening.


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


Episode 23 - How to Stop an Exploding Man

30 March 2012

Synopsis: Parkman, Bennet and Mohinder all agree not to hurt Molly. Hiro takes Ando back to Japan to keep him safe. Sylar paints his final showdown with Peter at Kirby Plaza so he heads there. Peter seeks out Nathan’s help but he and Angela take Claire away. She escapes by jumping out of a window. Peter begins going radioactive and blacks out. He has a vision of Charles Deveaux and Angela discussing the bomb and her true opinion of Peter. Bennet wakes him up and they go to confront Sylar. Niki realises she has the same strength as Jessica and knocks out Candice and rescues Micah. All our heroes meet in Kirby Plaza and help distract Sylar long enough for Hiro to arrive and stab him with his sword. Sylar sends him flying away and he jumps into the past by accident. Peter can’t stop going nuclear but before Claire is forced to kill him Nathan arrives. He flies Peter high into the sky so that he can explode where no one will be hurt.

The Good: Peter’s faith in his brother is touching and consistent. As is Hiro’s sensible decision to keep Ando out of harms way. We finally learn that Mr Bennet’s first name is Noah.

We get an interesting scene with Charles Deveaux where he turns out to be one of Angela’s generation of special people. The fact that the next chapter is called “Generations” confirms that will become important in the next part of our heroes story. The eclipse in 1671 where Hiro looks set to meet Takezo Kensei is interesting as well, reminding us that that has something to do with the appearance of these powers. We also get a clever hint about the next potential bad guy from Molly.

But this episode is centred around the big showdown between all our heroes and Sylar. The action sequences are good to watch as Peter and Sylar beat on each other, Bennet takes a hard knock, Parkman takes a round of bullets and Niki uses her strength. Hiro’s appearance is passable and he does thoroughly stab Sylar. Sylar taking one last swipe at him to send him flying off is a clever plot device to keep him out of the final action. Nathan’s sacrifice is a good one and shows us that the good in him encouraged by Peter has won this battle.

The Bad: Mohinder’s voice over from episode one reminds us of how quickly he gave up on his Indian accent. Almost every episode of Heroes has featured a repeat part of a scene from the previous episode. I have not commented on them so far as I believe they were an effective way of reminding viewers of the moment when we last left them. However this episode has too many repeats to be helpful. Hiro even has a new scene where he just repeats all the same information to his father. It was all pretty unnecessary for the season finale. If fans weren’t caught up by now then it is too late.

Hiro’s appearance in battle is too telegraphed to be dramatic. First because we have spent the last few episodes looking at a drawing of him killing Sylar. And second by the fact that he draws so much attention to himself before running Sylar through. It is almost too much time and a swifter kill would have been more dramatic and plausible.

Sylar escaping is a bit of a copout as well. As interesting of a character as he is it means that almost nothing has been accomplished by this season. The bomb didn’t go off and Sylar wasn’t killed. Peter will survive and even if Nathan dies that is hardly the dramatic ramification we have been built up to expect. I assume Parkman and DL will recover from their wounds as well, so the showdown has pretty much restored the status quo.

The entire second half of this season has been a disappointment. There has been a lack of focus on what the consequences would be for each character. Nathan talking about bringing the world together after the bomb always had a very vague ring to it. How would he bring the world together? After September 11th the world became even more disunited so it doesn’t make logical sense to us. Similarly Sylar goes from fear about being the bomb to seemingly wanting it to happen. Then when he thinks Peter is the bomb he seems happy that it isn’t him. It is confused writing which means we don’t have a clear sense of his goals or motivation.

Niki and DL have been bullied a bit by Linderman throughout the season. But it was always portrayed as a mobster demanding favours. It never felt like he was torturing them deliberately. It was Jessica who was meant to be the reason for their problems. So in these last two episodes where killing Linderman is the climax of their story, it feels like a last minute inclusion. We don’t discover why he wanted them to get together and it would be very strange story if he knew years before that they would conceive Micah, who would help Nathan get elected in order to help heal the world. Again, the confusion and vagueness of their story really hurts the impact of seeing them united as a family in the end.

The Unknown: Who is the bad guy that can see Molly if she thinks about him? Has Peter absorbed Niki’s strength? Has he absorbed Sylar’s super hearing and ability to liquefy metal?

It’s also worth asking why Peter doesn’t fly himself off into the sky rather than letting Nathan take him there. Can he only use one ability at a time?

Best Moment: The final showdown in Kirby Plaza. Sylar defeats everyone and Peter begins going nuclear. Hiro appears and stabs Sylar with his sword. “Yatah” he says quietly.

Epilogue: As I have said many times, the second half of season one of Heroes was a let down. It was not as thoroughly planned as the first half. In the end it felt hollow, with no real consequences for our heroes who are all left to face new problems next season. I suspect that the producers of the show were affected by its early popularity. I suspect that influenced their decision not to kill off any main characters and by and large leave the show unchanged for its second season.

On this episode specifically I think a lot more could have been done with the final showdown with Sylar. It seemed a golden opportunity for a really dramatic fight scene using all the abilities we have seen develop over the season. Instead the end result is tepid and Sylar being allowed to escape is irritating.



Add your comments on this episode below. They may be included in the weekly podcasts.

Post your comment


No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments