Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 4/21/09

So let me get this straight: HEROES’ big bad, Sylar, can do just about anything (or steal the ability to do it)…and now he’s immortal? Sylar ironically stated, “Dead is dead,” shortly before he proved just the opposite. Which is funny, because the same thing happened on LOST, when Ben referred to Locke. It didn’t take then, either.

Apparently Sylar really did absorb immortality from Claire in the episode “The Second Coming” last fall. What’s interesting about a villain with no weaknesses at all? The “sweet spot” in the back of the head was the classic Achilles’ heel; the kryptonite of the specials. For all Sylar’s abilities, he had to guard the back of his head. I always had the hope that HRG might get the chance to squeeze off a lucky shot and cap the killer from behind. Now that’s no longer a possibility. Perhaps HRG could cut off Sylar’s head, or remove his brain — could he regenerate from that? Perhaps Sylar could live on as a decapitated head, but how much could he accomplish in that state? Sure, the powerful baddie makes things look grim for the good guys, but where is the hope? Are we supposed to be entertained by watching the heroes nobly step up, one after the other to face Sylar and be destroyed (and thus contribute their powers to his ever-growing arsenal)? That would be boring.

The show tried to depict Sylar struggling not only to control his powers but to come to terms with who he is. The classic mother/son push/pull could have been entertaining, but it was reduced to farce by having Sylar physically morph back and forth between personifying himself and Virginia Grey (again played by Ellen Greene, late of PUSHING DAISIES). Even Psycho’s Norman Bates didn’t have mommy issues like this! Sylar apparently needed his mother to forgive him for murdering her, but since he was roleplaying her, did “she” really bestow absolution? And if that detail doesn’t matter, then what was the point of the episode? There was an interesting (though possibly unintentional) parallel with Ando and Hiro. As Ando grows more comfortable in his heroic role as the “Crimson Arc” (presumably that moniker sounds cooler in Japanese!), Hiro grows more jealous. Personally, I liked Ando much better as a “mere” human. He kept his buddy Hiro grounded by reminding him what it meant to be a real person. But Ando also showed bravery by following Hiro on adventures without powers. I’ve always maintained that HRG is my favorite character, but the old Ando was right up there, too. Now, he’s much less interesting as a special with a chip on his shoulder. Perhaps he will remember the man he used to be. Which brings us back to the erstwhile Gabriel Gray. I suppose HEROES is building to Sylar eventually defeating himself by going mad or simply overloading his own brain, but if that doesn’t happen, where does a show with an omnipotent villain go? Will Sylar simply battle Claire and Peter ceaselessly until the sun goes nova? Enemies who cannot vanquish each other, no matter how hard they try, just as in the pointless The Matrix Revolutions?

Oh, yeah? Sez you!

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