Heroes 3.4: "I Am Become Death"

"Heroes" staves off the public impression of stringing the audience along with a regular stream of revelation, plenty of action, and a wealth of plot threads. In fact, the writers of "Heroes" are trying so hard to avoid being labeled as another "Lost" that they overlook the best qualities of their supposed rival.


First, however, I should focus on the positive. No matter how many times they return to the "unexpected future" well, it's a lot of fun. I thought this version of the future was a little less interesting than they could have made it, with a bigger budget, but the general premise came across. In particular, I liked the argument between Future Peter and Present Peter. Present Peter is still full of hope and optimism about the human race; Future Peter is far more pragmatic.


The introduction of freely available metahuman abilities would not begin a golden age. It would amplify the basic positives and negatives within society as a whole. The virtuous would use the abilities in a controlled manner, but the criminal element would flourish with the chance to overcome traditional law enforcement. Such a future would all too easily lead to what was seen in the alternate future explored in the first season.


Unlike the first season, however, abilities are not treated as a genetic quirk, but the combined result of genetics and biochemical manipulation. Apparently several characters are going to be revealed as "altered", given abilities by their parents or minions of the Twelve and the Company. Just as Sylar's victory over Claire undercuts the first season arc, I think this idea undercuts the strength of the second season arc. Previously, the story was starkly generational; now, I'm not sure it works as well.


But it does begin to explain some of the divisions that threaten to emerge. Hiro's impulsive decision to open his father's sage, thus allowing someone to reconstruct the formula for creating metahumans, has given someone an opportunity. Mohinder's subplot demonstrates how it can all go wrong, if the formula is not correct. Some will want abilities to proliferate; others will not. Which side is the villainous side may be hard to figure out, but that should be part of the fun.


On the other hand, wouldn't it be a nice change of pace for the writers to develop a straightforward conflict between good and evil without the need for the "alternate future" plot device? As fun as it is to see Domesticated Sylar and Evil Hottie Claire, it does become a cliche. Do the writers think that revealing the future is the only way to make the in-between more interesting? Or, once again, are they afraid to give their fans the impression of lack of direction (despite clearly making things up as they go along)?


Two problems persist. First, there is the annoying need to make Sylar sympathetic. This actually began back in the first season when they introduced his (now adoptive) mother and tried to blame his actions on his upbringing. But ever since Sylar escaped his natural moment of death (so the writers could continue to avoid the promised Peter/Sylar clash) in the first season finale, the character has been floundering.


Now, instead of letting him remain the worst of the worst, Peter's polar opposite, the writers have saddled Sylar with this ridiculous excuse for his villainy. Instead of simply being a dark and amoral madman, bent on accumulation of power, Sylar is suffering from a "hunger". This makes him kill out of insatiable need, not because of a psychological disorder. And frankly, that's just not as interesting or compelling.


Contrast Sylar with someone like Ben Linus from "Lost". Ben is incredibly popular, not because he has been softened over time, but because his constant machinations and psychological prowess remain unmatched. He's not an anti-hero; he's a man consistent with his vision, which often makes him villainous in the eyes of others. In other words, he's a fully fleshed out char

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Oct 7, 2008 9:11PM EDT

Plot Hole:
Okay, so Zimmerman said there were triplets whose DNA he altered; Niki, Tracey, and Barbara, why did Niki have a twin sister (Jessica) growing up?

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May 11, 2016 2:43PM EDT

***SPOILERS MENTIONED*******
Triplets? One lived in a mirror and moved around when Niki wasn't even there! That's no triplet!On the subject of this post though, 'I am Become Death' should have been 'I am Become Confused'.When bad Claire (don't you just want to tell her to go to her room? She looks like a petulant 15 year old!) is hunting Peter(s) why didn't they become invisible? I think everyone's forgotten that particular power - one of his first, if I remember correctly? Then he wouldn't have to run away (as in the first episode) and she wouldn't have seen him etc etc.Unlike you, I quite like that they're trying to expand Sylar a bit, though, as a doting dad he was quite creepy.What they SHOULD have done with Sylar though, either from the first, or they had a second chance when he lost his powers, is made him only able to contain a certain number of powers - and that when he reaches, say 10, he loses one if he takes another - and he has no control over which is lost.THAT would have made him a more interesting character, instead of this lopping heads off thing.Peter is still a great character - partly 'cos he's gittin' naked a whole lot more - never a bad thing - and partly because he's like me - dazed and confused much of the time.I have no real idea where this is going. Niki wasn't so great that they had to keep her character, as well as introducing new ones. I'm not liking the speedster. I'm finding the formula thing a bit of a grind and maybe even a little cliche, and Hiro / Ando are once again stuck trying to save the world. I'm slightly interested they've brought back, whatsisname, the guy from China, and Mohinder finally gets some action, and, by the look of it, five hours in make up every morning. Bummer!

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Oct 8, 2008 7:17AM EDT

How do we know Jessica even looks like nikki??
Maybe the jessica we see in the mirror is the parts in her dead twin that she liked.... :S
Nikki might have been put into a normal family just like Claire was. And Jessica was just a so called "twin sister"

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Oct 8, 2008 9:26AM EDT

alex296 stop f*cking with my head.
this show is confusing enough with timetravel 2 future and past, identical triplets all having separate stories, not being to tell if its real or being dreamt. present selves meeting future selves. goodies turning bad and baddies turning good. my poor head

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Oct 8, 2008 10:16AM EDT

about the jessica nikky barbara thingy: i think that jessica was an older sister of nikky (about 2/3 years older) and when their parents died jessica and nikky were given to their father (you saw him somewhere in seas 2). and jessica died because of too much abuse of her new father, and because nikky's body wasnt getting used to forming her new ability she developed split personalities which first result into jessica, a thougher version of herself, and later into Gina (the episode in seas 2 where D.L. dies... while we dont know what happened to barbara, tracy was adopted by a normal person and followed a political career.

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Oct 8, 2008 2:43PM EDT

the triplets are niki barbra and tracy, jessica is the other daughter of niki's adoptive family, whether she is adopted as well or blood related to them (niki's adoptive parents) we don't know.
Niki formed the jessica part of her persona after jessica had been killed by her father (adoptive) and when she was coming to terms with her ability as she associated jessica with being the stronger of them, this is all made clear in the first season with it being explained fully in the second

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Oct 11, 2008 10:53AM EDT

the whole triplets thing is easy ... or so i think!!at first there were 3 babies ... each given to a diffrent family, jessica just got the wrong familly: stacy's got ice, barbara i don't know yet and jessica super strength..... yes!!! jessica had allways had super strength but when she was young she got abused and felt to weak to manifest them, and when she evolved she developed a split personality because se felt she was to weak to put up a fight ( she never had a sister named nikki that died) as she developed schyzophrenia she imagined she had a stronger sister/ alter ego and as in most cases she imagines a whole history of her sister and how she died (which in real life never happened.....
the brain is tricky and brain told her subconcious: "let her have super strength only when she is "strong" as nikky....
simply put: she allways was strong but her brain told her that only when being nikky she had acces to her superpower
u can compare the jessica/nikky situation to the edward norton/brad pitt persona in fight club ( when edward norton - he was average knowing only his work and being part of society / when brad pitt - he had knowledge of chemistry making home made bombs and the idea of anarchy)

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Oct 11, 2008 11:14AM EDT

i kina' like the new twists and turns: this season is named villains and i get why.... because we all have some part villain and some part good in us ... and guess what so do they..... and thats the beauty of it ..... while some things appear to be evil they can infact be with good intent!!as Hiro saw ando try to kill him in the future, and now saying that Ando is the bad guy ... in fact it could be the other way arround, if for example ando was trying to stop hiro from doing something stupid or hasty or even something bad (like opening the vault) which may cause troublesame thing with sylar he may have done some ugly things in the past but we still don't know him at all and with the fact that he is "only human" we can't judge him yet with being a villain
( bad comparison: but when a parent kills another human being in order to protect his child, it's a bad thing but that doesn't make him a villain ) ...... i know i know ... don't hit me :)i love this season beacuse: season 1 was about the connections between these special people, the second one was (as i remember) about developing the backgrounds and the story .... and now season 3 is about developing the facets of each individual wichever it may be good, bad or even bothlike in the clint eastwood classic this season could be called " the good, the bad and the powerfull" or something :))hope i make some sence to somebody ... if not than sorry for the bull***t :)

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