Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Case of the.... Heroes - Episode 4-10

Before getting to this week’s episode, let’s revisit what should be known as “The Great Sylar Debate.” The big question we can’t seem to find a satisfying answer for: Did Sylar lose his powers at the conclusion of season one/beginning of season two, when he contracted the Shanti virus?

Most of the people who have said “yes,” seem to believe so out of assumption (after all, he seemingly rarely uses any of those abilities other than telekinesis and his original power). In my opinion, that’s a weak argument. That’s like saying, “he doesn’t use any of those powers, except for the ones he uses.” I mean, when he clearly uses more than one of his season one abilities, I have trouble accepting such a blanket, unsubstantiated statement. Also consider that the Haitian (or, ugh, Rene) suffered from the Shanti virus, but his abilities were right back to normal after he received the vaccine. I know their powers aren’t exactly the same, but there’s really no basis for the belief that the virus would set him back to square one.

Anyway, here’s what some of the readers had to offer:

The future Gabriel also had the ability to “paint the future” which he hadn’t been using since the first season. In that season, Sylar learns how to take powers without killing, basically Peter’s ability. It is quite possible that meeting with Peter allowed the powers he lost to be used once again (and it’s possible that those powers had been aquired from Future Peter)

I don’t recall the mini-explosion hands … I know he’s used lightning quite frequently.

There are a number of abilities that Sylar has collected and rarely ever uses, which is part of the problem. Season 2 he spent most of the season without any powers. The start of this season he’s basically Peter at the start of Season 2 … he is only manifesting some of his powers because of memory loss. Still, there were a number of first season powers, like freezing, he never used since getting his abilities back.

In my quick skimming of the recaps for both parts of Season 3 (chapters 3 and 4) I don’t recall him using any old power. He doesn’t even use some of the powers he aquires (Bob’s alchemy, Jesse’s scream) very often, but lightning is up there with telekenesis on “most used”. And healing of course.

Upon second thought, I may have been mistaken about Sylar-as-Nathan using Ted’s radioactive ability. Now that I think about it, it may very well have been Elle’s lightning. But, again, the fact remains that Future Sylar did use at least two of the abilities he acquired when talking to Peter – Isaac’s paint the future, and Ted’s radiation. But, as noted, he may have acquired those abilities from Peter. I find that to be a bit of a stretch, though. I mean, it’s almost a chicken-or-the-egg situation. Sylar’s absorbing Peter’s abilities while Peter is taking Sylar’s. Forget the butterfly crap – THAT’S gotta mess up the timespace continuum.

However, Kristina seems to shed some light on this issue:

In week 1 of Behind the Eclipse, in which writers/producers Joe Pokaski and Aron Coliete answer fan questions, this very issue was discussed:

Q: “In ‘The Second Coming,’ Sylar says to Claire, ‘You see, I lost everything that made me special.’ Does Sylar mean that he permanently lost all of his acquired powers except for telekinesis? Has his slate of powers been ‘wiped clean’ and does he have to start all over again?

A: Nope that’s right. Sylar’s starting over. Getting a whole new slate of powers as he goes.

Then in week 7 when the devastating impact of Gabriel’s first kill is revealed, the writers explain why his telekenisis, acquired by Brian Davis, is the only acquired power he retained: “Brian was Sylar’s first kill and his power is connected to emotional empathy.”

Sylar’s telekenetic power has become a part of him almost as much as his original power, much more so than any other power he’s attained. That is why when he recovered from the Shanti virus he retained only this acquired power. All the others were lost because they weren’t as much a part of him.

Even though this comes from an undeniably reliable source, I still have issue accepting something that’s not officially canon (as in, explicitly stated on the show). That’s not me being stubborn – that’s just been my experience. I’ve seen instances in which a scene has been filmed but cut for some reason, and ultimately that story gets completely rewritten later on (and is totally contradictory to that original, unseen scene). Unfortunately, I can’t think of a specific example.

To me, the “Brian was Sylar’s first kill and his power is connected to emotional empathy” is extremely weak. It almost sounds like they realized this would make a good reason after the fact. And for that matter, I have a hard time believing that Brian was his most empathetic kill. How about Isaac, who he spent weeks stalking and preying upon before murdering in cold blood? And that kill was motivated by exceptionally devious and ambitious thoughts.

Anyway, I’m not completely closed minded. I am willing to accept that he lost all of his abilities (except for the ones he didn’t lose), but to me it really boils down to just lazy and inconsistent writing. When it’s convenient that he has a certain ability (like super hearing to eavesdrop on HRG’s plot with Slider-man), he suddenly has it. I suppose it’s a bit of a moot point, as he basically only uses telekinesis anyway.

Moving onto this week’s episode, then.


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