This volume of "Heroes" has been proven divisive among the fans. Many have been dissatisfied with the direction taken by the series, both in terms of plot and character, while others have stridently defended each and every move. It's safe to say that the season has been relatively controversial, with some critics declaring the beginning of the end, especially after Tim Kring's recent tirade against the fans.
Sometimes the true value of a story cannot be measured until it is complete. Sometimes the writers only seem to stray from the path. And sometimes the conclusion is just as disappointing as the rest of the journey. Unfortunately, nothing in this finale is likely to change anyone's stance on the volume as a whole. Those who were disappointed so far will continue to be so, and those still faithful will continue to be pleased.
The finale has roughly the same qualities and drawbacks as the rest of the season. Taken on its own, it works very well and tells a satisfying story. The problems all emerge once one takes into account the rest of the season (and the rest of the series, for that matter). There are plot conveniences galore, particularly in the evolution/combination of abilities, and the writers seem convinced that the thematic underpinning of this volume was well-served. I'm not so sure.
After killing Arthur (who shouldn't have stayed dead, based on how the regenerative powers work), Sylar doesn't try to exploit the ready and waiting ability feeding frenzy at Pinehearst. Instead, he runs off to go play mind games with Angela, Noah, Claire, and Meredith. I can understand his desire to pay Angela back for messing with his mind, and one could argue that tossing Noah into the mix fits with their past history.
I can appreciate what was attempted. The notion that Sylar believed that he could push the more innocent Claire into cold-blooded murder demonstrated his warped sense of morality. Just by pushing Claire into a Hobson's choice, where no outcome is favorable, Sylar absolves her of any responsibility for what she must do to survive. After all, she can't sacrifice herself to avoid making the choice; she and Sylar both know that she'll just regenerate and the choice will still be forced upon her. When there are no alternatives, the responsibility falls to the one who set that stage.
Which, in effect, undercuts the general premise of the season: to expose the true hero or villain underneath the everyday mask each individual wears. This wasn't some situation that presented a natural outlet of villainous behavior; it was a constructed crucible that would have forced villainous behavior. Those are two very different things, and unless the writers were trying to expose the true mental stability of Sylar in the process, the writers dropped their own ball.
They were a bit better with Nathan, though I still believe that his conversion into villainy was unnecessarily muddled. Whatever happened to his religious experience and that set of motivations? That could have easily transformed into a desire to proliferate abilities for the "greater good", which then could have evolved into a desire to reboot the Company under the control of the government after this most recent failure. This is par for the course this season, however: unnecessarily convoluted character motivations.
The battle at Pinehearst also dropped in a number of plot conveniences. So Mohinder is cured of his affliction by accidental swallowing of the formula? Will he now develop an ability on top of that? And Peter injects himself, and just happens to get the ability to fly? (Or was it his old ability all over again?) The worst offense, however, had to be Ando's ability.
Ando's ability, in concert with Daphne's ability, made absolutely no sense. Nothing in Einstein's theory of relativity derives a theory of superluminal time travel. In fact, Einstein explicitly states that nothing can travel faster than the speed of ligh