Heroes 4.12: "The Fifth Stage" Review - Featured

This episode was a long time coming, especially given that the producers sent out a press release, detailing the final demise of one of the original characters. That the character in question was already technically dead was a bit of a cheat, and I'm still wondering why the producers would think that this episode should be framed as something extraordinary.



That's not to say that the episode was bad. In many respects, it was a solid entry for the fourth season, continuing the slow and steady pace of the story. While a lot of people saw nothing worth following in the season premiere, I still think this season has been better than anyone could have expected. It's not incredible, but I am enjoying many of the new elements and the format that has emerged.


After a couple of episodes that seemed to take Samuel in the wrong direction, the writers brought him back on track. I think it's entirely possible to cast Samuel as something of a Magneto analogue, especially given his ability, while still giving him a self-interested basis for his actions. Whether or not he's invoking sincerity about leading his fellow metahumans to some sort of "promised land" for personal gain can be irrelevant, if the writers approach it correctly.


I keep thinking back to how Samuel was portrayed in the earlier episodes of the season: dedicated to his family, but willing to step over the moral line to achieve his goals. It's possible for Samuel to demonstrate a balance, and it all has to do with his endgame. If he is willing to do all of this to gain enormous power, what comes next?


If it's just a matter of gaining the power to have the power, then building a sense of community and family as a safe haven for metahumans is a reasonable means to an end. He could look at his current actions as the cost for everyone to get what they really want and need. As much as it seems like he's borrowing from his brother's playbook when it comes to using the carnival as a sanctuary for their own kind, Samuel could believe it what he's doing.


At the same time, he could have much darker intentions. If he wants to create a place where metahumans can be themselves without a need to condescend to mundane human demands, that could be a prelude to forcing a state of independence. Samuel's own words suggest that he might use his enhanced ability to make demands. That could be his endgame, and having soldiers like Eli and Claire would only help his cause. In that light, creating a"family" develops loyalty.


I still think that Sylar is likely to derail Samuel's plans, especially now that Nathan is no longer a factor. It's just a matter of how quickly Sylar can arrive at the carnival. Peter's decision to let Nathan go may have made a certain amount of emotional sense, but Peter had to be aware that he was essentially letting Sylar run free. While I have some hope that a likely conclusion to the series at the end of the season will push the writers to deliver a solid battle between Sylar and the"heroes", I'm not sure why Peter wouldn't have used Nathan's last few moments to absorb Nathan's flying ability, carry Nathan/Sylar as far over the ocean as possible, and then let him drop.


That wasn't the only illogical moment in the episode. Noah's character arc this season has been less than interesting, even taking into account his potential relationship with Lauren, and this hasn't changed. But why would Noah and Lauren be shocked when Eli just leaves with the files and doesn't stick around to kill them? Eli plainly states that he is there for something and would prefer to take it without resistance. Maybe Noah and Lauren were still too distracted by their personal drama!


This is the last appearance in the series by Adrian Pasdar, which is probably a bit overdue. That took a little bit away from the overall impact of the final moments between Peter and Nathan, along with a surprisingly subdued approach to the scene. I must, however, give Pasdar credit for his final performance. His ability to switch between Nathan's weariness and Sylar's menace was a highlight of the episode, especially in counterpoint to Samuel's careful manipulations.

Comments

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Dec 3, 2009 6:59AM EST

TPTB actually thought this was some great episode? Really? If this is the standard they've set for themselves, then it's no wonder this season isn't any good. With so many boring, going-nowhere-very-slowly storylines such as Noah's, Hiro's, that wrinkly-faced deaf woman's... all they have are the semi-interesting Nathan/Sylar story and Samual's extremely slow, inconsistent story that seemingly has to do with the original "heroes" but actually has nothing to do with anything.

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Dec 4, 2009 3:06AM EST

JamesG maybe you should write or create a scenario for us and we see how much better a writer you are.They did mess up in the previous season and they are trying to fix it but it cannot be a quick one because they have to make everything connect and make a sense. I think this season has been good so far and the last episode i enjoyed it.

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Dec 4, 2009 5:10AM EST

They aren't trying to fix anything. They are trying to write a better show instead of correcting their faults. This basically means, even if they could write a better show, we'll still be seeing their faults.
It's useless, they need to realize where they tend to go wrong, so they won't make those mistakes anymore. It doesn't matter how great of a story they, or I, can think up, because they will still manage to screw it up. As they did with Peter, Matt, and Mohinder. Three of the best ideas they ever came up with.

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Dec 4, 2009 6:41PM EST

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Dec 12, 2009 10:50AM EST

I would like to clarify that Peter could not have absorbed Nathan's Ability to fly and dropped Nathan/Sylar in the Ocean, because if he did Sylar would get his powers back, because Peter would lose the Haitian's powers. Thanks =]

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Dec 12, 2009 11:39PM EST

if i spelled anything wrong, it's probably because it's almost 6am, and i haven't had any sleep yet, heh
i actually liked this season, so far, while not as good as the first, it's still watchable, though, i'd like if they bring the company back to the picture, or something similar, would be cool if they turn the family to the bad guys, or at least samuel, i think the show could use a new villain, and he's already on his way there, sorta
and good to see things worked out relatively good for claire and gretchen, though, it will be interesting to see how it will get when she gets back to school, unless the writers decide to get her killed, like with many other characters in the show
had to catch up with 3 seasons, what a pain, had only watched season 1 until i decided to check it out again... anyone knows if, or when the new episodes of the season will air? as noone seem to have aired for a while now, last was in november, something
wonder what happened to adam monroe, aka , i really hope hiro will get to the past to save him from turning evil, so they can ally in the future, but yeah, as he seems to be against changing the past now... that doesn't seem very likely, i guess

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Jan 1, 2010 6:26PM EST

@ fefeiake: just a quick throw-in. if you are saying that peter actually blocked sylar's powers with the haitian's ability, doesn't that mean, sylar should have died and stayed dead when his shared body fell down that building? i don't see (just because at that moment nathan was the acting one) why sylar should have survived.you know, it's actually little things like this that don't and never ever can make this show work. and honestly, they've been messing around with way too many timelines that the one they are in could never exist.i say, finish it up, you gave away what was once a fantastic story idea and made it something below average. time to let go and move on ...

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