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Heroes finale, more coherent thoughts



Ok, now that I've stopped crying (Oh, Nathan! I seriously don't even remember crying this much when Buffy died, and that has been my TV crying gold standard until now), I'm going to try to process my reactions to the rest of this episode now.

latxcvi has a great post about how every single character proved themselves capable of making the sacrifices true heroism demands in this episode, and I completely agree with her. What struck me, though, was that this episode doesn't adhere to the common trope in stories of this type in which personal connections are set in tension against the well-being of humanity. In fact, rather than having to choose between saving the ones they love and saving the world, it is actually the strength that comes from human connection that allows the heroes to save the world. Matt's connection with Molly breaks the stalemate between Mohinder and Noah (and yay for the name!) and allows them to locate Sylar. Jessica's connection to Micah (and ultimately to Niki) allows Niki to reintegrate, claim her power, and overcome reality-changing woman (I'm blanking on her name), allowing the heroes to be in the right place in the pivotal battle with Sylar, when Peter needs some assistance. Hiro's determination to save Ando despite his father's warnings that it puts his mission in jeopardy gives him a crucial example of Ando's courage and self-sacrifice in the face of danger, and also the self-confidence he needs to realize his power is not dependent on his sword. (That was perhaps not crucial in the fight with Sylar, but I suspect it will be crucial in book 2).

At first it looks as if Peter does, fatally, place family connections, and faith in his brother, over the mission--but I'm pretty sure that Peter's disillusionment, combined with Claire's passionate speeches, helped tip Nathan over the edge in his decision to save the city. Plus, Peter's initial missteps with regards to Nathan put him in the position to receive the crucial (and very cool) vision, and to work with Noah Bennett at his back (and Noah was motivated in part to pay back Peter for saving Claire--so again, family connections led to a desire to help the greater good). And of course the biggest personal connection is Nathan choosing to sacrifice his life to save his brother from blowing up the city. It was a heroic choice, no question about it--but I also think it was motivated more from the desire to spare Peter the burden of blowing up the city than from an altruistic desire to save New York.

I think I like the fact that our heroes are driven by their human connections in this episode. Obviously that sense of connection is not always a good thing, as Mama Petrelli demonstrates; but again, it's kind of interesting that she "goes wrong" not in the traditionally feminine way of privileging her family over everyone else, but in her more grandiose political plans to reshape the world order. Furthermore, in that flashback/vision Peter has, it is implied that what makes her go wrong is a failure of vision, a failure of faith and love in her son. Like Sylar's mom, she can't see/love her son for who he really is; she has no faith in him.

I also love that in this episode which is all about the role of family in saving the world--the families we are born into and the ones we create--that we see the genesis of some new families, probably: Mohinder and Molly, Molly and Micah. And we're going to be travelling back in time, apparently, to see the origins of the families of the heroes, which I am really excited about.

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( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
sadface
May. 22nd, 2007 07:35 am (UTC)
DDDDDD:

I want to read so much :((((( my download is ready and I'm just waiting for school to start so I can offload the child. I CAN'T WAIT MUCH LONGER. I GOT SPOILED TWICE ON THE WAY OVER HERE. :((
norwich36
May. 22nd, 2007 04:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, no! I hope you were able to download it before you got spoiled more.
amandajane5
May. 22nd, 2007 01:13 pm (UTC)
Nathan is NOT DEAD! I refuse to believe it!! I'm sticking with the fact that Peter and Nathan can both fly, so they separated up in the sky and they're both just fine! Just fine, I tells you!
norwich36
May. 22nd, 2007 04:10 pm (UTC)
I really hope you're right!
(Deleted comment)
norwich36
May. 22nd, 2007 04:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I love, love, love that icon. And now I'm dying to know the significance of that symbol, which is obviously connected to 17th century Japan, and the significance of the eclipse.
(Deleted comment)
duskwillow
May. 22nd, 2007 08:49 pm (UTC)
This finale was so awesome!
I loved every last part of it.
And dammit, my brain is still so very numb and not working after watching it.
And I can't get over that last Nathan and Peter scene. And I though that Charles's message about how love is the key was uber cheesy, but oh dear lord did they pull it off and made a fantastic ending.
norwich36
May. 23rd, 2007 02:22 am (UTC)
Well, I excuse a LOT of cheese from this show because (a) the continuity is awesome and (b) it is basically a live-action comic book.

But yeah--I really loved it!!!
bop_radar
May. 23rd, 2007 12:15 am (UTC)
Excellent piece of meta, Nora! I know I probably seriously pissed you off by not enjoying the finale, but you know I love you, right?! And I found your post insightful as always.

rather than having to choose between saving the ones they love and saving the world, it is actually the strength that comes from human connection that allows the heroes to save the world
That's a great way of putting it--I agree that was the message the show was sending. It fits with Peter's flashback about love being the answer. For me, the problem was the execution--the three relationships that you mentioned (Molly & Parkman, Hiro & Ando, Niki & Jessica) are all weak spots in the show for me, so it was hard for me to be convinced by the way their love sudddenly saved the day.

I also think it was motivated more from the desire to spare Peter the burden of blowing up the city than from an altruistic desire to save New York.
I suspect so too.

what makes her go wrong is a failure of vision, a failure of faith and love in her son. Like Sylar's mom, she can't see/love her son for who he really is; she has no faith in him.
Good insight! Thanks for drawing out the family stuff for me.

I am glad you got so much out of it. I apologise for being a whiny bitch about the show. Anything I can do to make it up to you!? *offers virtual flowers*
norwich36
May. 23rd, 2007 02:33 am (UTC)
I will be pissed at you if you give up Smallville. Giving up Heroes? Just makes me sad I won't be able to talk to you about it next year--but it's not like I have any dearth of conversation partners for this show, so no worries. (You notice I don't rail at you for not liking Blood Ties or Veronica Mars or some of my other TV obsessions--so no worries).

I actually think the family ties thing runs through every single relationship that was portrayed in the finale (e.g. Claire and Nathan, Claire and Peter, Claire and Noah, etc.)--it's just that the ones I mentioned had something transformative happen that we've been waiting for for a long time.

p.s. I'm not going to be able to watch your new vid til tomorrow since imeem is being annoying about loading for me--worse than youtube, so it's going to have to wait until I'm at work.
bop_radar
May. 23rd, 2007 02:38 am (UTC)
I WILL NEVER GIVE UP SMALLVILLE! Fear not!

I actually totally mean to catch up on Blood Ties, among the other shows I've got a backlog on over hiatus. You know how it is--too little time and we each prioritise our interests. I imagine I'll still keep an eye on Heroes but it will slide down my priority list.

No worries on my vid--it will still be there! ;-) Darn imeem for being glitchy!
norwich36
May. 23rd, 2007 07:51 pm (UTC)
Hey, svilleficrecs has an essay on the finale that is really good that I would recommend. It's sort of on the same theme as mine--the love/connection are what makes them Heroes--but it's much better argued and Petrelli-centric, so I think you would like it. It's here: http://svilleficrecs.livejournal.com/523380.html
bop_radar
May. 24th, 2007 06:46 am (UTC)
Yeah, great post! Thanks for reccing it to me. It doesn't address all my concerns, but it does put a very valid argument about why the finale felt disappointing (which I'm glad she acknowledged). I'm too exhausted to engage with the big meta on this (especially since my passion for Heroes is on the wane). But I did acknowledge in my journal today what I said to you last night--that my reaction was coloured by my cranky mood. ;-) And that I'm probably still more invested than I realised--especially with the Petrellis. I will keep watching, but I do find that I don't engage strongly with many of the characters on Heroes (I dislike a lot of them!). And its cast of millions makes that a real problem for serious meta on my part.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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