If there were ever a "Heroes" scene that illustrated both the blessing and the curse that is Sylar, it was the closing one in this week's episode. The guy just … will … not … stay down.
The blessing part, at this point, comes mostly from Zachary Quinto's portrayal. That he's still able to make this character compelling and not just a mustache-twirling cartoon is something to be commended. The issues of identity that the show touched on this week as Sylar had trouble controlling his shape-shifting were more interesting than they probably had a right to be.
The curse, though, can be summed up in the final two episodes of the episode: "That hurt." When you have a character that's all but invincible, it's awfully hard to create drama. Danko plunging a knife into the back of Sylar's skull actually made me go "Whoa" tonight, which is something "Heroes" hasn't done for me in a good while. That lasted all of about 90 seconds, until he stirred, stood up and pulled the knife out.
I also fear that "I Am Sylar" is setting up some sort of redemptive story for Sylar. I can buy him not killing Micah for his technopath power at this moment, given the way his shape-shifting is causing the occasional moments of identity confusion and extra teeth (which, by the way, ick). But I keep getting hung up on Micah's appeal to Sylar's better nature and the "You can save us all" line. If Sylar's gonna be evil, then let him be eeevil — Quinto has made the character interesting enough that people will still be hooked in. If there's a sudden good-guy turn next week, that may be it for me.
On the other hand, Sylar talking to himself-as-his-mother (Ellen Greene, making me miss "Pushing Daisies" all that much more) and talking himself into the idea that, hey, he really could be president was an interesting device. It also gives me hope that Sylar will ultimately do what's best for Sylar, and that even if there's an apparent turn toward the good, it will be a turn made out of abundant self-interest.
As for the rest of our supers tonight, I couldn't help but feel like the episode was mostly about moving them into position for whatever sort of showdown is coming next week. And by "moving into position," I mean "being taken out by Danko's agents" — Nathan and Suresh get pumped full of tranquilizer, and Claire, Angela and Noah are surrounded by agents. So are Parkman and his family, although he's using his power to make the goons think they're gone. That leaves just the powerless Hiro, Ando and the unseen Peter as the only regulars not either in custody or close to it, plus the on-the-run (and presumed dead, thanks to a bit of Sylar unselfishness) Micah.
So, yes, color me a little under-enthused for how things might wrap up next week. "Fugitives" has been a somewhat stronger story than was "Villains" the first half of this season, but it feels like we're headed to the same sort of mushy ending that has plagued the show since the season one finale.
Other thoughts from "I Am Sylar":
- I know Noah Gray-Cabey hasn't been around much this year, but the way he was talking about Sylar you'd think he just got off the bus. It would've been nice to hear some justification for Micah's optimism, other than "My mom sorta had another person inside her too, and she turned out OK."
- Before Hiro loses his power and gets a nosebleed instead — does he have his own internal frozen donkey wheel, or did he just lose his charge from baby Parkman? — we see a new facet of it: If he's touching someone when he stops time, said person doesn't get stopped. This makes Ando very happy.
- And, sorry Ando, I'm with Hiro on this one: The Crimson Arc has a rather unfortunate connotation to my ears.
- Ando also gets the best line of the night, comparing Hiro to a certain other superhero: "You're noble like Superman, you believe in truth and justice like Superman. You're a little fascist like Superman."
What did you think of this season's penultimate "Heroes"? How would you like it to end, and how would you resolve the Sylar problem?