On ''Heroes,'' we learn that Sylar's problems were caused by his pushy mom, while Nathan and Micah confront their own mother issues

By Gilbert Cruz
Updated May 08, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Chris Haston

Heroes (TV series)

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”Heroes”: Sylar feels guilty

I mean, Hiro had the sword to Sylar’s throat — his throat! — and he just couldn’t do it. I know we all love the guy for being, well, lovable, and for being enthusiastic about his powers and genuinely wanting to make a difference. All that aside, though, he’s going to need to step up if he wants to be anything more than a hero wannabe. (”Don’t-a worry New York. We’re going to save you!” Indeed!) Seriously, what’s the point of having a sword, of going through all those hijinks to get said sword from the lair of a master criminal, if you’re not going to use it?

Yet he wasn’t the only one who had major hesitations in chapter 21. Hiro couldn’t off Sylar, Sylar didn’t want to off half of New York City (and neither did Nathan), Claire didn’t think she could shoot Peter if worse came to worse and he started to go nuclear, and, though it hasn’t happened yet, I don’t think Parkman will allow his mates to kill Molly Walker once he realizes that she was the little girl he saved early on in the season. Between that and all the mother issues at play in this episode — Micah realizing that his mother might not actually be his mother or her assassin alter ego, a heartbreaking Sylar trying to get approval from his mum, and Mrs. Petrelli going super Angela Lansbury yet again on Nathan — it was a heavy one. The episodes are getting increasingly grim the closer we get to the end. The more I think about it, the less I’d be surprised if the bomb actually did go off. What direction would they take the show in if it didn’t?

(A brief aside. Unless there’s another John Badham, it seems that the man who directed this episode, as well as ”Fallout” earlier in the season, is the dude who directed WarGames, Short Circuit and Saturday Night Fever.)

I was surprised to feel myself gaining sympathy for Sylar, and I actually wish it could have lasted for more than one episode. After he came to the realization that he may be the one who blows up New York, a heretofore unknown good part of Sylar came to light as he experienced second thoughts. He called Mohinder and said, ”I think I’m going to do something bad….I think I’m going to kill a lot more people. A lot more. I understood it before, the killing. I had a reason, to take what others didn’t deserve. It was natural selection.” When Mohinder asked him what he was talking about, Sylar replied, ”An apocalypse, a massacre, half the city gone within an instant. They mean nothing. They’re innocent. There’s no gain, so why would I do it? What possible reason would I have for killing so many?” Um, maybe because you’re a serial killer?

Fair enough, though. I thought that maybe Sylar was going to repent and, in what would have been a very unforeseen development, try to stop the explosion from taking place. But then Mommy Gray (you’ll recall that Sylar’s real name is Gabriel Gray) came into the picture. A jittery, lonely-looking lady who collects snow globes, she apparently was one of the primary reasons that Sylar lost his mind and decided to try to collect special powers. When Sylar said, ”Maybe I don’t have to be special. That’s okay to just be a normal watchmaker. Can’t you just tell me that’s enough?” she responded, ”Why would I tell you that when I know you could be so much more? If you wanted, you could be president.” (And oh, at least in a possible future, he will be.) So there you have it, folks: evil as the result of an overbearing mother. As Hiro said, ”He’s so sad,” not even able to please his mother when he used his powers to basically create for her a giant snow globe in her living room. It was genuinely a beautiful moment, which made what followed — when Sylar accidentally killed her — that much more tragic. I felt bad for the guy.

So did Hiro, apparently, who punked out when confronted with Sylar’s open throat (punked out so much that he couldn’t even focus enough to keep time stopped, which is the only explanation I can imagine for how Sylar was able to freeze his sword). I have very little to say here other than that Hiro needs to get off this passive kick. For the entire hour, he literally just stood around and watched the man he was supposed to kill in order to prevent a great catastrophe! I think Ando should take over.

Because somebody needs to kill the ”boogeyman,” which is how Molly Walker refers to the man who killed her family. As she put it, ”He sees into your soul, and then he eats your brain.” (Does she know something we don’t? I always assumed Sylar munched on gray matter, but it’s never been confirmed.) And what a power she has, modest as she is. ”It’s not so amazing. They ask me where people are and I find them….I just think about them, and I know where they are.” H.R.G.’s reference to the Walker method early on in the episode leads me to believe that this is how the company is now tracking people. According to H.R.G., the new method doesn’t rely on isotopes (as it did in Claude’s day). Instead, they can just find you. Little does he know that it relies on a little girl just like the one he rescued many years ago.

And is anyone else getting more and more freaked out and infuriated by Nathan and Peter’s mother? The woman’s as bad as Linderman (and Hiro’s father, who no doubt is also involved in the plot) but not as charming. Certainly as manipulative, however, as she seductively persuaded her son to go ahead with the bomb plot. ”Your destiny, Nathan, is to set the course of history after this unspeakable act has occurred. And people will look back on what you do as the freshman congressman from New York, and they will thank you. For your strength, for your conviction, for your faith. In my day we called it being presidential….Can you be the one we need?” That last line, an echo of Future Hiro’s exhortation to Peter when they first met in the frozen-time subway car, is particularly eerie, repurposed for a totally opposite reason.

(Another brief aside. If you haven’t yet, check out Heroes producer Greg Beeman’s blog, where he not only talks about reading that X-Men ”Days of Future Past” comic I referred to last week but also discusses how budget issues often affect what gets cut out of the show. My favorite line is the one where he — the show’s producer — scoffs at a particularly nonsensical moment in a past episode. ”The only one that continues to perturb me is how Sylar is taken out. The world’s most fearsome villain, immediately after taking care of Peter, who has about 14 powers, gets knocked out by a chalkboard?!? Oh well.”

So what did y’all think? Doesn’t Candice just get more annoying in every episode? I mean, how could she scare little Micah like that? Is Ando going to survive, and is Claire going to have to execute Peter, who looked like he was about to blow there at the end?

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