Thiel-A-Vision: The Season Finale
This week saw the season finales of two of my favorite shows, Lost and Heroes. I’ve been hard on Lost this season, but I have to admit that they’d been on a roll these past few episodes. On the other hand, Heroes (aka “just like Lost, except that shit actually happens”) wound up sputtering on its way to the finish line.
Mind you, the last few episodes of Heroes weren’t bad by any means, but seemed a bit sloppy in plotting and execution. Hiro’s dad (as played by George Takei) made a seemingly-unmotivated turnaround to the side of good, and it became very difficult to recall just who was actively involved in the plot to destroy New York City. D.L., who up until his confrontation with Linderman had been able to phase himself and Niki through solid objects, confusingly chose to take a bullet aimed at his wife instead of allowing it to pass through the two of them.
I also found it disappointing to see the “true” form of illusion-casting Candice. It was strongly suggested that she was not a hot girl after all, and was quiet possibly an obese person who used her powers to eat all she wanted without seeming to gain weight. However when she was knocked unconscious, her illusions were broken and it was revealed…that she really was a hot girl after all.
Finally, and most importantly, the big showdown in Kirby Plaza simply didn’t sustain the buildup it had received all season. I know that the budget of a weekly TV series doesn’t allow for the massive superhero battles of Spider-Man 3, but when you’ve got characters like Peter and Sylar, each of whom can manifest ten or so different powers, we ought to see more than a couple of them. Perhaps I was spoiled by the great season finale scuffles of Buffy. And Sylar, who moments before was stopping bullets Magneto-style, allows an overweight Japanese guy to run up and stab him with a samurai sword? (I think that was a fault of the staging; if Hiro had simply appeared right next to Sylar, stopped time, then run him through, it would’ve made much more sense.)
Still, there were some very cool things in that finale, and I especially loved the way in which it immediately moved on to “Volume Two” with its Evil Dead 2-style coda which sees Hiro accidentally timewarped to feudal Japan. I’m very much looking forward to next year. Heroes has become our new Buffy: it’s the fantasy show that Vic and I can watch together and that Vic grooves to as much as I do.
That said, I think that Lost provided the more satisfying season finale. First off, we got something I’d wanted since the start of the season: lots of “Others” being blown up. When Sawyer shot Tom (aka “Mr. Friendly”) in cold blood, the other characters objected to the execution of someone who had just surrendered. “Surrendered,” my eye. If there’s anything we’ve learned about the Others this year, it’s that they’re lying assholes who will say or do anything to buy themselves an advantage.
That’s what made Ben’s attempts to stop Jack from using the satellite phone to contact the alleged rescue boat that much more ironic: if only Ben had ever shown himself to be the least bit trustworthy, he might have had an easier time selling Jack on the idea that the rescue party simply wants the island for its own purposes.
Charlie’s sacrifice, which had been signposted for much of the latter half of the season, was paid off nicely. I really thought that the producers might cop out and let him live. And I’ll admit that I kinda wanted them to; I’ve found Charlie hateful at times, but he really grew on me these last few episodes. Plus, I don’t much like the idea of predestination. (Was it my imagination, or did Mikhail deliberately blow himself up with the grenade? I’m starting to wonder if he isn’t a cartoon character, what with his apparent ability to “die” over and over and just get back up again.)
I loved that Hurley got to be a hero. Not only that, but the writers paid off the VW minibus that they introduced earlier this year. I did a happy clap when Hurley drove to the rescue.
Finally, there was the so-called “game changing” element. While it wasn’t quite as radical as what I’d feared–something along the lines of “they’re all in a snowglobe”–I’ll give them that it was completely unexpected and really does change the game. Vic and I were moaning about being subjected to yet another “Jack’s a jerk flashback,” only to learn that (DUM DUM DUM!!!!) it’s a flash-forward. Neat! Jack and Kate are off the island, but things have not gone well…and Jack desperately wants to get back. I hope that this marks the end of the flashback device, as I feel that the past histories of the characters have been thoroughly mined at this point. Now, flash-forwards, on the other hand…that’s interesting. Good going, Lost, I’m back on board.