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


Episode 21 - The Hard Part

30 March 2012

Synopsis: Having painted the future Sylar is worried that he is the bomb. He goes to visit his mother but his power disturbs her and he ends up killing her by accident. Hiro tries to kill him then but fails. Micah is being held by Candice at the Company’s New York office. Mohinder goes to work there and discovers a cure in his own blood for a disease which is killing Molly Walker. DL and Jessica go to Linderman’s and find files on their whole lives. Angela Petrelli tells Nathan that she has known about his powers all along and is involved in the plans for the future. Bennet, Sprague and Parkman arrive in New York and meet Claire and Peter. Peter absorbs Sprague’s power and struggles to control it.

The Good: Sylar’s story is a good faith attempt to give him a more rounded character. Having painted the future of destroying New York, he feels guilty and afraid. As he says, he has nothing to gain from killing so many innocent people. It’s good to hear that he has some measure of normal morality. He then goes to see his mother which is an important scene in order to humanise him. It’s a nice touch that he dresses up as she would remember him. His mother does communicate the pressure she put him under to be more than he was and her lack of pride in what he is. It does give us some idea of the origin of his misplaced sense of worth and ego. You do feel a tiny bit of sympathy for him when his own mother sees him as demonic.

There is a lot of sensible plot developments which set up the season finale. Molly Walker returns (102) and Mohinder is sweet enough to her. The fact that she is their new tracking system is an interesting development. Like Claire’s regeneration being the key to saving the world, the writers stick to the powers of our heroes being the reason for major developments.

Meanwhile Peter asks Claire to kill him if he goes nuclear which is a sensible idea and ample excuse to keep her around.

Jessica and DL see Linderman’s vast collection of information on them and conclude that they are his science experiment. It’s a really nice little story because these two are the only heroes left who don’t know about all the other people with special abilities.

Hiro and Ando finally get on with their mission as they track Sylar. It is good dramatic stuff as Hiro’s power offers the only way to avoid Sylar.  Hiro’s morality is once more very nice to see, especially contrasted with Nathan agreeing to kill millions for the sake of the greater good. Hiro has serious doubts about killing Sylar because he is asking for forgiveness from his mother. It’s that type of moral consideration that makes Hiro such an endearing character.

Finally Angela Petrelli’s revelations are intriguing for the future of the show. She reveals what we had suspected, that she, Linderman and others have been working behind the company for a long time now and it is their plan to allow the destruction of New York. We can see the struggle which will occur between the comprised morality of her generation versus the more naïve optimism of this new group of heroes.

The Bad: There a number of unconvincing parts to Sylar’s plot which really undercut its effectiveness. There is just not enough time given to the scenes with his mother which might have fleshed out their relationship more. As it is they rush into their problems immediately. She won’t listen to him and he becomes angry instantly. The idea that she sees no value in him being who he is is a clever idea to explain his behaviour but it doesn’t have the emotional resonance it could. Her behaviour comes across as emotionally unstable. But not enough to make it clear if she is meant to be actually psychotic or just unreasonable toward him. Plus his sudden desire for her approval for his old life doesn’t fit with the glee with which he has gobbled up power across the season. He implies that perhaps with her approval he could stop killing and stop needing power to make him feel worthy. It just isn’t clear whether he is insane or genuinely insecure and miserable.

The snow globe incident and then her accidental death stamp all over their emotional interplay. The snow globe going wrong is a strange idea and it is not clear why he loses control of his creation. The manic grin on his face implies that he is drunk with power and can’t see her plight anymore. But his remorse afterwards confuses the issue. Then he kills her by accident. Killing your own mother should mean a lot more than this does. It seems to send him into a more delusional state, but as his behaviour was erratic before this it is not clear if her death has pushed him over the edge or just confirmed his own madness. If the producers wanted sympathy for Sylar than he needed his own episode to flesh out this story. As it is we are left confused and speculating as to whether the writers even know if he is meant to be a delusional sinner or evil and insane.

Mohinder found the cure for Molly very fast. Several plot points have moved all too quickly recently as the writers seem to have lost the grip on plot points which they once control so well (see 110 for example).

The Unknown: What was the virus killing Molly?

Best Moment: Sylar tries to calm his mother down. She grabs scissors and in the struggle they impale her. Hiro freezes time at that moment. He creeps in raises his sword and with serious misgivings prepares to kill Sylar. At that moment time unfreezes and Sylar grabs the sword. “Why are you following me?” he asks “I must stop you” Hiro says. “Do it, kill me!” Sylar screams as Hiro quivers with fear. Sylar freezes the blade and Ando rushes in so that he and Hiro can teleport away.

Epilogue: Although a lot of necessary stories take place here, the episode will be remembered for the attempt to explore Sylar’s character. Ultimately it is a failure as it is not clear what we are meant to think of him. Rather than a matter of debate, it is a consequence of poor writing. Heroes has been pretty strong so far at exploring its characters in depth but this lacks in both quality and quantity.



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