Heroes: Season 1 Finale

Heroes Season 1, NBC, 2006-2007.

I’ve written about Heroes before, late last year when I was fed up with Lost and ready to abandon it in favor of Heroes. Lost turned itself around when it returned to the air this spring, so it’s back in my good graces, but Heroes never fell – the show continued to improve, delivering on all of its promises, and ended the season with a slam dunk that resolved every active storyline… in addition to setting up a few new ones for next season.

Normally, I write my reviews assuming that the person in question either has already seen (or read) the work in question, or is reading the review with an eye towards watching (or reading) it regardless. In other words, I don’t concern myself with warning about spoilers.

However, in this case, I know for certain that at least some of my friends and readers (Don Norton and Frank Anderson, to name two specifically) have not seen any episodes of Heroes, but plan on watching the entire season on DVD when it comes out on August 28th. Therefore, I’m taking care to make sure that this review doesn’t give away anything important about the plot. So guys, read away, I will not spoil it for you.

This show is everything that a serial drama should be. Interesting and entertaining characters, a high-concept plot, a fast moving story. Whereas Lost is overly cerebral and sometimes drags almost completely to a halt, Heroes is bright and shiny and moves like a young racehorse. It’s good guys versus bad guys, just like a good comic book, only sometimes you’re not completely sure who is good and who is bad – also like a good comic book. Some characters get on your nerves, some you like right away. Some live and some die. Some grow on you as the story develops. Some that you wished would die at the beginning, you find yourself rooting for at the end. And vice versa.

Throughout the season, the story has been evolving and changing as we’ve been introduced to all the characters. For the first half of the season, we watched as it built up to Chapter Eleven, where we discovered what it would actually take to Save the Cheerleader. But what about Saving the World? Well, that’s what the rest of the season was about. And in doing so, we found out lots more about everyone involved, and the story wound tighter and tighter, as all the players were finally brought together for the conclusion.

Really, the last three episodes taken together comprise the end of the story, with the final episode providing the climatic moment that we’ve been preparing for since the very first episode. If you’re going to watch the season on DVD, I would highly recommend watching the final three episodes in one sitting. Think of it as a two-hour movie split up into three 42-minute parts. From all appearances, it seems to have been shot that way, and each episode in the final three continues immediately into the next.

This season closer was the only one I’ve seen that actually brought a tear to my eye. I felt the next-to-final scene – and the final sacrifice – was touching, well done, and fit perfectly with the tone of the series. Yes, we could argue about the practicality of it – surely all of those gathered could have figured some other, less drastic solution – but it worked. It fit the characters, it fit the story… damn it, it worked.

Both Frank and I were moved and pleased. We found out exactly why saving the cheerleader allowed them to save the world. The bad guys got what was coming to them (well, mostly) and the good guys saved the day (well… mostly).

And to cap it off, the episode ends with a credit: “End of Volume One”, and fades to black. And then? It fades up again, says “Volume Two”, and we’re given a teaser: the first two minutes of next season. I, for one, cannot wait.

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