So I’ve consumed every episode of Heroes in the period of about a week, and as is my nature, I felt a blog was needed. Especially because out of the 15 different main characters that appear throughout the four incredible series, only one was ever really important. And it’s not because I have an unhealthy obsession with Zachary Quinto. It’s because, first,
Zachary Quinto’s Face
Ok so maybe it has a LITTLE to do with my unhealthy obsession to Zachary Quinto. But let me explain. Sylar, for the majority of the series, is the villain. And he is also completely insane. So insane, in fact, that playing the part was a feat as impressive as anything I’ve ever seen. Zachary Quinto was the perfect man for the part, because he managed to balance the absurdity and complication of the character perfectly. He can switch between emotions deceptively fast, and even though Sylar is portrayed as a cold-hearted serial killer, Quinto still accomplishes what so few actors have been able to bring across- depth. I honestly believe that ZQ is Sylar, the heart-wrenching murderer who craves companionship but masks his emotional chasm with destruction. And do you know why I believe him? Because of his face. His handsome, expressive face. If I were to rate Heroes on ZQ’s acting alone, I would give it 100/5 stars every single time. Speaking of emotional depth…
Elle and Luke
At first, I was skeptical about Kristen Bell appearing in this series. I’ve only really ever seen her in When in Rome, which by all possible standards was an awful movie. So when she was introduced as Sylar’s “love” interest, I was even more concerned. But she absolutely did her part justice, and their relationship was one of the most heartbreaking yet beautiful revelations about Sylar’s character. At first, I was a little bit upset when [SPOILER] he killed her after it seemed he was finally starting to come into his humanity, but gradually I realized that there wasn’t another way. Sylar kills as a coping mechanism, because as much as he craves companionship, he doesn’t feel like he deserves it, and so he murders everyone who he’s ever allowed to be close to him because of how afraid he is.
Then Luke comes rather abruptly into the scene, and his few episodes he manages to shake everything we’ve come to accept about Sylar out of whack. In a hillarious plot twist, the two end up on a road trip together, and it’s clear from the start that although Luke is a little bit afraid of his new BFF, he’s also not willing to take crap from him. Take this conversation, for example, that had me rolling in glee for hours.
Sylar: I can tell when people are lying because I saw open their skulls and rip their abilities out from their brains.
Luke: Wow, so you’re like a serial killer.
Sylar: I’m not a serial killer.
Luke: Well, you’ve got a pattern, you go after specific victims, you collect momentos…
Sylar: Okay! Technically, I’m a serial killer.
Awwwww. Anyways. At one point, a group of government agents track the two of them down and while Sylar escapes, Luke is captured. Because Sylar has learned the location of his father, the whole reason he was on the road trip in the first place, it doesn’t look like he requires Luke anymore, and for the remainder of the episode you assume he’s just going to leave without him. But at the very end, Sylar destroys the government’s van and carries Luke out of the destruction like a sack of potatoes, and all is well in the world again. Although he eventually kicks him to the curb, the fact remains that A. Sylar rescued Luke when he didn’t directly gain anything from it, and B. Luke is allowed to live. This is a tremendous shift in Sylar’s existing paradigm, and it makes for intriguing character development. And that same glimpse of humanity can be seen in his…
Of course the show’s serial killer became the way he did because of mommy issues. But the way this detail is revealed is as artful as a Van Gogh, so I can’t say too many things against it. In the first season, we’re introduced to Sylar’s mother (although it turns out she’s actually his aunt) when Sylar learns from Issac (before murdering him, as is his style) that he may very well be the cause of the impending explosion in New York, killing millions. It’s the first time we see that although Sylar is a sick, twisted soul, he is not without depth (have I said that enough yet?). He goes to his mother bearing a gift, in the hopes that she’ll talk him out of being the monster he’s become.
Sylar: It’s just… maybe I don’t have to be special. That it’s okay just to be a normal watchmaker. Can’t you just tell me that’s enough?
Mother: Why would I tell you that when I know you could be so much more?
Unfortunately, she does not talk him out of believing he’s special, and he ends up accidentally killing her. Then for a while he believes Angela Petrelli to be his mother and she’s the first person to coax a couple episodes of “good guy” out of him, but then he realizes he’s been played and goes back to, well, the “bad guy.” Eventually it’s revealed that, as a child, he watched his father (who sold him to his brother, who Sylar believed to be his father, for money) murder his mother by slashing her forehead with his powers. Sound familiar?? These twists were made known through such a fascinating collection of events that even Sylar’s enemies can’t find him solely to blame for his actions. Because he’s also a fantastic source of…
Maybe I just find his serial killer antics hysterical because I’m sick in the head, but Sylar is honestly the funniest person in the series. He regards nearly every situation he’s put in with the air of someone who clearly doesn’t take it seriously. Life’s just a game to Sylar, and he detaches himself from it in a way that makes everything the other “players” do hillarious. Take Maya, for example. Sylar sort of seduces her in order to use her to get to Suresh to get his powers back, and along the way ends up killing her brother because he was in the way. Maya discovers this when they make it to New York and Sylar is holding a gun to Suresh’s head while they talk.
Maya (coming up from behind Sylar): You killed my brother!
Sylar (rolls eyes) (turns) (shoots Maya straight in the chest) (turns back to Suresh like nothing’s happened)
I don’t know why I find that scene as hillarious as I do (I even tweeted about it!). Sylar judges himself so much better than everyone else that whenever they try to change the plan he’s set into motion, it’s just amusing to him, and he treats them as such. He’s just so over-the-top, so calm and arrogant, that nearly everything that comes out of his mouth is just hillarious. Sometimes, it’s actually a little hard to take him seriously, because he doesn’t take anything else seriously. But that doesn’t make him any less of….
A Hero in a Brave New World
Unfortunately, NBC didn’t allow for a fifth season to wrap up the couple loose ends left hanging, but that doesn’t change the most incredible change in Sylar’s character during the last couple episodes of season 4. After Matt Parkman traps Sylar inside his own mind, Peter dives in to rescue him because he dreamt Sylar would be the savior of a friend of his. Unfortunately, Sylar murdered Peter’s brother Nathan (who is almost on par with Gaius Baltar in terms of obnoxiousness), and because Peter can’t forgive him completely, they’re both trapped. Although only 12 hours or so transpires in the real world, Peter and Sylar feel as though they’ve been trapped for over five years. Eventually, Peter realizes that all this time alone in a desolate New York City has changed Sylar, and forgives him to his past wrongs. They escape, and Sylar ends up being the hero he always secretly wanted to be.
It’s this final episode, Brave New World, that absolutely convinces me Sylar was the main character of the series. While everyone else remains relatively constant for the four seasons, Sylar struggles with the humanity he tries to deny is within him, eventually coming to terms with who he is and how he could use that to change the world. It’s his acceptance of himself and Peter’s recognition of this that allows for them to save the world once again. That can’t be said for anyone else in the series.
Other things regarding Heroes… Where are Molly and Caitlin? Molly was just sort of shipped off somewhere during the third season and never heard from again, while Caitlin was accidentally stranded in a future that Peter stopped from happening, leaving us to believe that she… ceased to exist? What??