It's the end of the season and the end of volume four of Heroes. Just about everyone who's bothered to watch the volume has regarded it as a definite return (almost) to the quality of season one, so naturally we've all been excited to see if the show was going to go out with a bang or a whimper.
Given the budget cutting on recent episodes, we've all been expecting a big finale. All roads have been leading to a big fight, but with Tim Kring – who also wrote the disappointing season one finale – on writing duty, were we more likely to be annoyed than satisfied?
The answer has been revealed. After the jump.
As usual with a Tim Kring piece, it was a bit leaden. Since he can't write fights to save his life and since apparently the producers weren't so much saving the budget as not having a budget, Kring staged the fight we've all been wanting between Nathan, Peter and Sylar behind closed doors.
Despite this obvious disappointment, the finale did satisfy in a number of ways. All the characters got something to do, without any embarrassing character flip-flops; the various plot threads that the show has been juggling mostly had resolutions and those that didn't are clearly going to be continued in the next volume rather than simply dropped; we got some actual deaths for a change – one or possibly even two, depending on what happens next volume (cryptic, no?); and there were some relatively cunning tricks pulled, although if you squinted hard, you probably could have seen most of them coming.
It wasn't all rosy and glowing, mind. Sylar's attempted romancing of Claire was more than a bit creepy; I'm pretty sure (although I'd have to rewatch to check) that we had a King of the Rocket Men rewriting of last week's ending to allow various people to escape; and the cunning plan concocted by Angela and co is likely to last ten minutes (or six weeks apparently) before Nathan works out there's something up.
It's also a bit of a shame that Michael Dorn was so under-used – presumably he's going to figure more heavily in volume five – and that more of a clean break wasn't intended for the next volume. The recreation of the company, albeit under government auspices, gives me the slight worry that we're going to be getting a "been there, done that" feeling next season, despite our being promised a return to character-based stories set in the normal world.
All the same, far less of a disappointment than other volumes' finales. Overall, volume four has been a return to form, at least in the writing department, even if the sense of joy and wonder hasn't yet come back to the show – although with a volume called 'Fugitives', that's not totally surprising. Frankly, the show needs that and a return to the cool cliffhangers of season one if it's ever truly to recover its audience. But there's been some good stuff in this volume, with decent characterisation and some tense plotting.
Ah, but here comes a brief view of volume five and who's that back again? Tracy – thank God, I can stop sulking – apparently with new powers of water control and nakedness, something which I can only approve of. Whether she's going to be the new big bad, given her murder spree, or whether she's going to be the Magneto-esque leader of the resistance against the new company, is something that should make volume five worth watching for me at least.
In case you missed it, here's the peek at volume five; say goodbye to producer Greg Beeman, who's been given his marching orders by NBC's finance department – you can enjoy the wrath of the Nathan fans while you're there; and let's end this episode-by-episode collection of reviews as we started with some gratuitous pictures of Ali Larter. Thank God she's back.
- July 9, 2009: Random Acts of Ali Larter: Answering The Phone
Today Ali Larter is answering the phone on the set of Heroes, season four