To begin, I will admit I didn’t care for the show when it was on the air. I wouldn't have ever watched it if I wasn’t bored and digging through Netflix one random day either. By the time I finished the first season, heck by sometime around episode 9, I was hooked. This shows premise of a sudo-superhero world is told very well for the time it was created and the obvious budget issues it had during it’s run. It’s been around 5 years since it was canceled and it left a bad taste in my mouth as I’m sure it did for you. Not even in a bad way, just in the sense of “Why did you do it like that?” But without dwelling on it’s absence, lets praise it’s presence today.
The premiere of the continuation, Heroes Reborn, has gotten me all kinds of hyped.
I, like most, am a little upset about the few characters we won’t get to see who made the first run so prominent. Though they won’t be around, I’m still certain they will do great things with this concept because it has endless potential. However they write it, I feel like they almost need to one up themselves from its first run, especially now without their monumental characters.
I will also admit that I am aware of the few times they messed up, lacked in character potential, or did something that didn’t make sense. These questionable moments include events such as Hiro going back in time for half of season 2, the time they tried to convince Sylar he was a member of the Petrelli family, and how they didn’t take advantage of Monica Dawson’s mimic ability. Let’s not forget the fact that Sylar should’ve just stayed dead after season 1 so they can build an arc around a new villain but that’s just my opinion.
However, there were plenty of time that Heroes lived up to the true epic series that it was and, in no particular order, here are a few times Heroes was the greatest superhero show ever.
WARNING: if you have never seen any of Heroes or plan on it, this will contain many spoilers from across all 4 seasons. You have been warned.
When Peter Saves the cheerleader.
One of the bigger story arcs of the first season which got most of us so hooked was that one line: Save the cheerleader, save the world. Delivered by Hiro from the future to Peter Petrelli on a subway train. So much anticipation behind this one line that caused every character to go up in arms to figure out what it means, who the cheerleader was, and why it was so important to save her.
After endless digging and help from Isaac Mendez The Painter, they finally figure out what needs to be done and Peter needs to do it. Leading up to episode 9 ‘Homecoming’ the second most anticipated encounter in Heroes history takes place. The moment where it’s up to Peter to save the cheerleader so he could save the world.
I’m certain hardcore Heroes fans like myself will agree that within this moment was the epidemi of what this show was meant to become. But like I said, this is only the second most anticipated moment but I’ll get to the first later.
Before that, I wanna discuss another great story arc Heroes had throughout it’s run.
Whenever they involved future or past versions of themselves.
There were countless times the future played a major role in the direction taken by the characters. If it wasn’t for future Hiro coming back, Peter would never know he needed to save the cheerleader, meet Isaac, or connect with the Hiro of the present. Then there was that time future Peter, with the scar on his face and all, came back and shot his brother Nathan to stop the inevitable genocide of the evo’s(Heroes term for people with the gifted genes to give super powers, incase you didn’t know) after he went public with their secret.
Let’s also not forget the connection Hiro has with Takezo Kensei, the fairytale warrior he idolizes. Granted, I mentioned that I hated this part of season 2 but as far as storyline is concerned, it was important for it to happen. If Hiro doesn’t go back to help Kensei, he doesn’t become a legend. He doesn’t become a legend, Hiro doesn’t idolize him as a hero and strive to become a hero himself.
There were numerous connections between past and present that whether we wanted them there or not, the story wouldn’t make much sense without them. It also presented great character development when seeing what Hiro was for the majority of the show in comparison to his future self which is a lot darker, as if he is destroyed by what time has done to him. That by itself creates a great number of questions. What happens that causes Hiro to change so drastically? Why did Claire start working for the wrong side? And how did Peter ever get that scar?
Talking about character development and the future events their actions led them to, let’s not forget Emile Danko.
A prime story arc for season 3 had a lot of key factors. Pinehearst trying to create a way to give all humans abilities, Nathan betraying his kind and forcing the gov’t to begin hunting the evo’s, and let’s not forget a lot of Arthur Petrelli.
Season three made up for a lot of where season two lacked while also giving us a glimpse into what the world would be like if there really were people with abilities. It also, to my recollection, is the first time in its run that shows a true team up between the good guys and the bad guys. We were given a lot with season 3 but one I loved was when they captured anyone with a power.
Take Tracy Strauss; they kept her in a chamber like room fit to keep her abilities limited, chained to a floor and the room temperature kept way too hot for her to be able to use her freezing powers.
The hunting of the heroes was a great twist to season 3 and if you add how they kept most of the evo’s under a medical sleep state gave you this uneasy sense that though the idea of people with superpowers may scare you, our reaction is far from human.
And Emile Danko, the man pretty much running the show, didn’t care what he did to these people.
Now I’m bouncing around the series a lot but for my next few points we’ll stick within this same season.
When Ando gets powers.
I know some may disagree with this but I loved it when they were able to not only synthesise a formula to give normal people abilities but it was destroyed just after giving powers to 2 primary characters who deserved it. Mohinder goes through a lengthy battle with his new found ability, which resembles a lot of the movie The Fly but I won’t get into that, but something about Ando getting his powers gives it so much more meaning.
Ando has been following Hiro, helping everyone the best he can, but he’s just human. Then, in the face of losing his dear friend, he injects himself with the formula and gains the supercharge ability. It’s kind of like controlling electricity or manipulating it yourself but with a way cooler twist; he can supercharge other powers. Adding this tiny factor to the Heroes team and introducing another awesome ability to the growing list of powers in the Heroverse(just made that up) made for a great additive to the story in my eyes.
The Villains Episode
Now there were a lot of episodes where the cards seemed stacked against the good guys but this was a completely different story. For those who know, each season was also considered a volume in the Heroes database.
Season 1 is titled Volume One: Genesis which creates the foundation of the entire series. Season 2 was titled Volume Two: Generations which made sense to it’s story premise but again lacked a lot to be desired. Season 3 was split into 2 different volumes. The first was titled Villains and is of course self explanatory. It was the portion where the real evil ones came into the light and were brought together by Arthur Petrelli. I’m talking about guys like Doyle and Knox.
But to me, an edge of my seat, gut wrenching, uneasy yet great feeling was the actually episode titled “Villains”.
You spent more than 2 seasons knowing this was the Heroes show and that opening you loved came on and left you waiting to see what will happen. Season 3 Episode 8 was the exception to this rule, turning the opening scene into a full fledge Villains logo that rocked your world.
Not only was it fitting for the storyline at the time in the season, but it left you guessing and questioning. “Wait. Why did they do that? Why is it different? What are they going to do?”
UGH! I watched this show 3 years too late.
When Sylar kills Elle
This was the second part of a 2 part episode saga called The Eclipse, which changed all the evo’s back to normal people. This small time within the story caused a lot of the Heroes to hope that just being as ambitious as they are can get the job done. But it didn’t work out all the time.
Within as well as before this small portion of season 3, another character by the name of Elle Bishop enters as a love interest for the evil and hated….Sylar?
Yup. Sylar finds love with Elle as they both share the same evil mind set. She also wields the power to manipulate electricity and works for Pinehearst. She has her own dark back story but in the end she is simply just a puppet in a book of lies lead by her father Bob Bishop and another organization called simply The Company. This web of lies she is part of becomes known to Sylar after a long string is webbed around him as well. Unfortunately, Sylar is the last person you want on your bad side.
Another story arc they attempted was turning Sylar into an agent to work for them and reform him to be a better person. But deep down, Sylar is essential evil. Maybe that’s why they kept him around for so long. Maybe he is the definition of true evil in terms of the show. There have been many sinister evo’s throughout the series but the one true consistent villain to all the heroes was always Sylar. And this moment epitomized that fact. Even after love and all the work to change, Sylar’s true colors will always shine brighter. Or darker. Whichever cliche you prefer.
The hotel room fight
A good argument can be presented against this scene from the ending of season 3 but in my opinion, this was the peak of anticipation for the entire series. We can talk about the ending of season 1 (which I will get to later) but this one fight scene was a landmark in the series. A grudge match between the Petrelli’s and their arch nemesis, Sylar. How could no one feel all giddy at just the thought of this after 3 seasons? Right?
Well, this scene also demonstrated the lack of funds the show truly had at their disposal. What should have been a thunderdome celebrity death match of 3 men enter and hopefully only the 2 we want leave, turned into a slim eye hole shot of Claire watching the battle for her own selfish eyes.
Not the whole thing but what I could find. Share Woman!
But, in all honesty, I think that gave it more of an edge than it took away. Think about it like you really wanted something so bad that every little bit of it you’re given is a tease. Sure it gets irritating and eventually you want the damn climax you’ve been itching for(no pun intended) but that feeling you get with every little bit you're given fills you with the unexpected. When will it happen? What will they do? How will they do it? You want it so so so so bad that part of you almost hates it when it’s over.
I will say not seeing the actual fight did leave me with a bit of a resentfulness for the show as a whole but simply having the wonder in my head of what it could’ve been keeps me as a true fan.
The show had a lot of loss but nothing compared to this one.
As a front running character from the very beginning and quintessentially the Superman of the series(minus the lazer eyes and super strength) the decision to end this characters run was a devilish plot created by the writing team. As I mentioned the fight just before, this is also where Nathan dies. It’s so abrupt and unexpected that I nearly died of a heart attack the first time I watched it. I had to rewind it about 5 times before I accepted the fact that it was real. Let’s not forget the fact that we spent about 3 or 4 episodes before this watching him struggle to make things right after all he’s done. He spent time regretting his decisions and he knew he needed to make up for them.
To be honest, it is the best way to go out. If we learned anything from shows like Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, the unexpected deaths are what get us everytime without fail and it makes us feel for the character more.
I have to say, the twist of keeping him around for the first half of season 4 but it’s secretly Sylar was ridiculous. Sure the writing for it was good but the entire concept destroyed the meaning of the character, at least to me. I will admit that at least one good thing came out of it.
His final scene.
That scene on the roof with Peter, after struggling for so long to keep Sylar at bay, Nathan just couldn’t handle it. He wants to let go and just die but Peter can’t let him and...well, I’ll let the scene speak for itself.
(Not the best quality but the only one I can find. PS, that song was added)
I’ve only cried at 4 things in movies or TV; the monitor scene in Armageddon, the part in Air Bud when he leaves him on a fucking island, when Amber died on House M.D., and this scene. There was no better way to say good bye then this and I’ll take the crappy story-line written for this scene to be in existence. I mean just letting go of his hand has so much significance and it truly hurt to watch.
I will also mention that this scene is part of a premonition in the first season. Around the end, they go into the future and have to fight to get back. During one of the last episodes(I think 20) there is a small hallway fight between Peter and who he thinks is Nathan but soon reveals himself to be Sylar. So Sylar continued on as Nathan and rose in power politically but the events of the actual show beg to differ. This is a crucial demonstration on how the knowledge of the future effects everything they do in the present situation and drives them to change it for the better.
But let’s get back to a good note and talk about the beginning again.
The final encounter
The first season had a lot of confusing and a lot of plot twists that easily twisted over and over again from time to time. I will always say the first season was the greatest in the series. Every few episodes, they would have them all connect in one way or another without them realizing how important they all are as a unit. The final encounter at the end of the season sits with me as the most anticipated moment in the entire series.
The actual one on one fight between Sylar and the Heroes lacked, of course, in many areas but just all of them finally coming together is what everyone wanted. We wanted them to fight side by side, we wanted them to acknowledge each other, and all those feelings peaked during the final minutes of the first season.
The fists to cuff between Peter and Sylar, Nikki swinging on him with the meter, Matt firing on him though unsuccessful still put him into the scene, and the instant Hiro plunged his sword into him to finish it off. Let’s also make sure to mention Nathan coming in at the very end to save the day. Peter not being able to control the nuclear power he took from Ted tells Claire he needs to kill him but Nathan swoops in like Superman(see what I did there) and finally demonstrates an acceptance of this entire ordeal.
Dammit, even now after watching that after so long sent chills through me. I felt that ending is exactly what the show needed and if it never continued I would’ve been ok with it. But it did and it led to the moment where I hope this new season picks up.
When Claire jumps off the Ferris wheel
The ending of the show was a very depressing time for me, being I binged on it for about 3 weeks and hated that it was over to begin with. I felt like this concept had so much potential and could have gone on for a long time but they just missed so many opportunities. Especially after this ending, when Claire is finally fed up with hiding and she decides to reveal herself and her abilities to the world.
You watched it happen and you go “Wait. it’s over? Like no more show? Are you kidding me?”
Everyone wanted more and wanted to see where they would go with it from this point but it wasn’t meant to be. Thankfully it seems that the new show picks up a few years after this moment and which is the main story arc for it’s revival. To me, that should be the way it’s brought back and I’m confident in its revival.
Before I finish, I want to mention one other thing I loved about it.
No one had a superhero name, an alter ego, or a funny costume. There was just these ways they spoke about each other. Nathan was the Flying Man, Claire was The Cheerleader, Isaac was The Painter, and even Sylar wasn’t his real name just the name he gave himself that everyone called him. This small little quirk they had throughout the show gave it a different feel. Like the The Haitian whose real name was Rene but everyone knew him as The Haitian. It’s like saying Iron Man or Wolverine without actually saying it. That’s my opinion at least.
I will always recognize this show as being a great experience that everyone should enjoy and if you haven’t yet than I think you should.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the rights to any of the images or videos in this post.