Thursday, October 16, 2008

From the inbox: Heroes plot holes

One of my long-time PrimeTimePulse readers, Dan, sent me the following:

I'm glad you pointed out the two plot holes concerning Peter, but there are more. I'm not even enjoying this season anymore. Here's what's bothering me:

  • Claire supposedly changed because Sylar attacked her, but she was already changed before Peter went back in time and allowed Sylar to find her
  • All Noah has to do to kill Sylar is have the Haitian around and shoot him. That's how Future Peter died.
  • Do people's powers work in Level 5? Peter's do and Sylar healed his neck, but then why can't he use his powers to break out?
  • Sylar has telekinesis. He could have moved himself, Claire, and Noah away from the vortex.
  • Sylar has super hearing. He would have heard that Noah was trying to get the vortex guy to kill him.
Since I have been singing the praises of this season, I do feel a certain obligation to at least attempt to explain some of these abnormalities. I should first note, however, that I am far more lenient with a show like Heroes when it comes to apparent plot holes. Much like Lost, in Heroes we are provided with information, but won't receive the explanation until long after. As a result, I tend to give them the benefit of doubt, taking more of a "wait and see" approach.

Also, regarding the two plot holes concerning Peter, I assume Dan is referring to my latest Heroes column, in which I wondered why Peter has Sylar's hunger, since he already (a) naturally absorbs people's abilities (so it can't be about "power") and (b) can read people's thoughts (so it can't be about "knowledge").

Okay, lets take this point-by-point...

I have to credit Dan for catching the apparent Sylar/Claire/Peter inconsistencies, which I'm almost ashamed to admit I completely missed. In the opening episode of the season, we learned that four years in the future, Claire had "changed" and is evidently a "villain." This prompts Peter to go back in time, which indirectly leads to Claire staying home one afternoon, allowing Sylar to violate her and take her ability. I WOULD defend this particular point by saying that in that particular future, Claire had changed because she and those like her had become guinea pigs due to Nathan "outing" everybody. But her "I'm different, I'm special" comment most certainly alluded to the exact line Sylar uttered after attacking Claire. So, clearly, the Sylar attack is what prompted her change. Therefore, the only real explanation I can offer is that the exchange between Sylar and Claire inevitably would have happened, but Peter's actions forced it to happen sooner rather than later.

This does lead me to another problem that I had not previously recognized, however. Angela Petrelli repeatedly chastised Future Peter for what he had done, insinuating that he had severely altered the future. Yet, when Future and Present Peter(s) go into the future, Future Peter seems awfully comfortable and knowledgeable. It seems pretty clear that this was more or less the same future that he had left.

I too took note of the fact that HRG really only needs the Haitian to be in the area in order for him to kill Sylar (hell, HRG explained his intent to kill Sylar to the Haitain....when they were only feet away from Sylar). My best guess is that HRG wants to make it look like an accident. Perhaps his plan is to kill Sylar, run away with his family, and be done with this Company business once and for all. But he knows that if he kills Sylar execution style, he'll always have the Company (and perhaps more specifically, Angela Petrelli) on his (and his family's) tail.

Regarding Level 5, I think it's clear that people's abilities do work there, but I'm sorta under the impression that their abilities are restricted within their cell. We've seen numerous characters use their abilities within their cell, and outside the cell, yet they never escape (and the powers that be stare down at them from the window with an awful lot of confidence). In instances with Peter and Sylar, we've also learned that they have to be injected with some sort of IV in order to prohibit their abilities. I would assume that the electromagnetic barrier that Elle short circuited in the premiere creates a force field of some sort.

While it would have been nice to at least have a character bring up the fact that Sylar should try to use his abilities to save them from the vortex, I'm actually quite willing to forgive them for this. Sylar was busy trying not to get sucked into the vortex himself, so I think it's natural that he wouldn't have the wherewithal to use his telekinesis. Actually, I'm not quite sure what telekinesis would have done in that scenario: It's not as if it gives him the ability of physical teleportion. I suppose he would have been able to protect HRG and Claire, to an extent, but how about himself? Telekinesis doesn't give him the ability of flight. And from what we've seen of Sylar's ability, he must physically use his hands to guide whatever he's trying to move. That would have been exceptionally difficult when he was trying to save himself from getting sucked into a powerful vortex.

The show has been extremely vague, at best, when explaining whether or not Sylar retained all of his original abilities after he took the vaccine in last season's finale. Thus far, we've really only seen him use telekinesis and the abilities that he's acquired since then. That being said, I'm not entirely convinced that Sylar DIDN'T use his super hearing when HRG was talking to the vortex guy. No, we didn't physically see him hearing it, but he was clearly reacting to the exchange. And then later in the car, he was VERY knowledgeable about the discussion that took place. And for some reason I don't see either HRG or Claire offering up the information that HRG had tried to kill him. I suspect that the writers simply decided not to include the "overhearing" effect in order to make the scene more suspenseful.

Admittedly, some of these explanations may be flawed. And in some cases, the writers really should have taken the time and care to explain certain apparent inconsistencies. But, again, overall I tend to wait and give them a few episodes to see if they offer an explanation. Do any visitors have issues or suggestions for these alleged plot holes?

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