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Heroeswatch: Skyrockets in Flight

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WARNING: Heroes spoilers ahead! Don’t think of the bogeyman!

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NBC Photo: Trea Patton

So the Heroes season 1 — sorry “Volume 1″ — finale: I wasn’t overwhelmed. I wasn’t exactly underwhelmed either. Call me whelmed.

Nathan Petrelli, for better and worse, has been the subject of many of my questions this season. Such as: why, exactly, did Linderman think America is going to turn to a freshman congressman (New York City alone has several) as supreme leader after the Big Nuke? Isn’t that as if we had elected Anthony Weiner president after 9/11? This episode left me puzzled about him in a few ways: for instance, his sudden moral transformation, after Claire confronted him, from moral compromiser to self-sacrificer, in less time than it took me to pick out a shirt this morning.

And, incidentally, why was it necessary at all for him to fly Peter to explode in orbit? As Alan Sepinwall pointed out, flight was the first power Peter absorbed. And while Nathan may not have wanted his daughter to have a murder on her conscience, a gunshot would nonetheless have been pretty efficient. Was this a self-sacrifice, or a suicide? Did Nathan feel, having fallen to temptation, he could not be trusted to run free? A good explanation, and one I’d love to believe if Tim Kring had ever invested him with the depth of character to make it persuasive.

So what did I like about the conclusion? Even if the battle royale had enough holes that you didn’t need to phase-shift to walk through them, it still succeeded on a gut, tearjerking level, to see Nathan embrace his idealistic, betrayed, goodhearted but overwhelmed brother and take him to self-immolate in his arms. That, and there’s just something stirring whenever Adrian Pasdar flies. He must be especially aerodynamic.

Otherwise:

* “Call me Noah.” Aha! What with all the collecting biological specimens to preserve them and whatnot.

* “You saved the cheerleader so we could save the world.” I’m sorry, it still sounds silly when someone actually says it.

* Masi Oka was firing on all cylinders in this one: having established Hiro as comic relief, I’m glad they’ve let him branch out and show regret, nobility and generosity as well as fanboy-geek enthusiasm.

* Appreciated the tips of the hat to the beginning of the season–Richard Roundtree, Isaac’s first painting of Peter, Hiro and Ando back at the office, etc.–and it was good to see Claire, in her crash through the window, using her powers in a way other than passively again.

* After all that setup, turns out to be rather easy to whup Sylar’s ass, doesn’t it?

In sum: whelmed. In any case, as if to remind you that this is Heroes, and We’re the Show that Promises Closure and Excitement, we moved on toot-sweet to volume 2, just in case you were getting bored by the whole 30 seconds or whatever of resolution after the climactic battle. Samurai! A bigger bogeyman! Cockroaches! What do you expect to see next year? And what do you want?

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