Last night, the legions of Heroes fans from across the country crowded around their TVs anticipating an epic ending to what had been a brilliant season of TV.  Everyone awaited two men with innumerable powers battling it out at Kirby Plaza, a classic epic struggle between supervillain and hero, fighting for the fate of the entire city.  What aired was a sad, rushed, cop-out of a great ending.

As I watched the episode I kept noting the time.  40 minutes in and still no conflict, I became worried.  Keeping the most epic battle of the year until the last act means there won’t be much time for action, and I was right to worry.  They filled the first 3/4 of the episode with pure schmaltz.  Over and over again, they shoved down our throats that love and family are the most pure things in the world.  They loaded the first 3/4 with so much filler that you could have turned the show on at 9:45 and missed almost nothing.  Then, as they all met in front of the orange staircase fountain (which is an absolutely beautiful backdrop), the real problems started.

Heroes is a show that you can, and should, geek out to.  It is a superhero show, and it sets its own standards of how tightly it follows its own rules.  Heroes has always stuck to their guns, making sure that characters use all available powers and follow rules of common sense.  If you think my rants here are nitpicky, then you are viewing the show on a different level then me.  I watch it as a geek, expecting it to follow its own rules and logic.  Tonight, during the final battle, it betrayed itself and the result was one big anticlimax.  Here are some problems with the final scenes:

  • Sylar has a huge array of powers, so why didn’t he use any of them but his telekinesis?  Peter also has an incredible repetoire, so why did he resort to just punching?
  • Sylar has super hearing.  Niki is certainly not quiet or fast, so how was she able to sneak up on Sylar, like no one else could all year, and just rip something out of his hands and beat him with it?  By all logic, he should have been able to hear her, turn, and use one of his many attacks to toss her aside.
  • Peter doesn’t know Niki yet, the first time there is evidence of it is in the 5-years-ahead episode.  So why did they seem like old pals here?  That was a slip-up in continuity.
  • Hiro is great and it was good that he got to stab Sylar, but it doesn’t make any sense either.  How do people with no type of special quickness or agility keep sneak-attacking someone with a vast quantity of powers?  Hiro, by no means, should have been able to just stick a sword through Sylar.  It completely goes against everything we’ve learned about Sylar all year.  It’s like the writers said “Well, we need to kill him now, so… Hiro just stabs him.  Forget about his powers, let’s just make it end here.”
  • So now that Sylar is injured, we know Peter is the exploding man.  We, along with Claire, also know that he can regenerate and that a bullet certainly will not hurt him.  So why was Claire so upset about just shooting him?  She knows he will be fine! She knows that he will suffer no long-term injury form the gun wound, so how come she had so much trouble quelling his glowing hands with a temporary bullet?
  • Did anything ever say that Peter can’t use two powers at once?  No, I can assure you that was never an issue.  So why, suddenly, does he need his brother to fly him above the city to explode?  Peter has the ability to fly.  It’s like the lazy writers completely overlooked that because they wanted to cheese the ending up a little.
  • Matt Parkman getting some bullets to the chest was the only thing that made sense here.  It showed his character’s usual act-before-thinking attitude and Sylar’s ability to deal with people who don’t have anywhere near the ability that he does.  It showed characters following the normal flow of their reality, and it was great up until it was marred with the corniest line of the season, where Molly said “Don’t die, you’re my hero!”  They really use here to fill a lot of clichés (the whole “boogeyman” in a quiet voice thing) but this one was just too much.
  • Nuclear bombs are more than just a big bang.  They spread a residue of poison that infects the place it hits and kills for generations.  Everyone in NYC will get radiation poisoning from the nuclear waste that will surely come down soon, and the infected rain that will plague the city.  Hopefully they deal with this in the next season because you can’t just have a nuke go off in the sky and act like it ends there.

I’m a big Heroes fan and I’ve loved the show all year.  I’m complaining tonight not just as a critic but also as a let down fan.  What made it so bad is that a show that has always had excellent action and quality pacing and, more than anything else, a greatly engaging storyline, completely abandoned itself on its biggest night.  It replaced the action with a rushed, sorry excuse for a final fight where nothing logical happened, and was over before it started.  It replaced the normally smooth pace with a clunky half hour plus of filler, and then a race to the finish.  Worst of all, it replaced what should have been a great ending with a cop out, where they tried to fit an entire seasons worth of out-of-place family values and life lessons into a space meant for a solidly written ending.  Not by fluke, this was the first time that my family didn’t end an episode of Heroes saying “Wow, that was awesome!” or even commenting on the quality of the show.  Everyone just got up and left the room without comment, because for that first night, it was hard to swallow the trite we’d just been fed.  But after spending all night stewing about it, I finally came to terms with it, and was at peace with myself admitting that a program I love had upset me with its shoddy ending.  For a show to raise the bar so high and then crawl underneath it like this is really a travesty, and hopefully they’ll learn from all the backlash this episode is already generating in the press and fix some things for next season. Because another finale like this and I might be done.