Heroes How NOT to Character Motivate

The writers for the Heroes television series have had long enough to straighten up their act after the union strike. Last season was lack luster, and if the premiere I watched this week tells us anything, season four is going to be comical.

Never mind the opening with the casket where my first thought was, “This guy is totally going to be an earth mover and he's going to cover the casket with his power.” (Actually, he's probably an empath or whatever the Sith lord called Peter, because after all, he's playing the role of father Patrelli in this rehash of every other season so far.)

My biggest problem with Heroes has always been character motivation. There is none. People just do things for the sake of moving the ill conceived plot along. This premiere was proof enough of that.

Claire moves into college and a dorm room with a power hungry, straight A student (save for that B+ in Poly Sci or whatever it was) who knows just where she's going in life, has it mapped out, and happens to be gorgeous as well (because aren't they all, did you see the hotties at the other lunch table?). And like all roommates do upon first meeting someone new, she berates Claire about her life plan and teddy bears no more than two minutes into their stay together. In fact, those few moments that they spent together were more than enough for her to then fill in Claire's father about how good of a student Claire could be if she just applied herself. People do that sort of stuff all the time in real life. Don't they?

If Annie, the roommate isn't unbelievable enough, Claire's fatal flaw, tell the truth even if it kills you and the ones you love, is almost as unbelievable as Noah's fatal flaw of lie about everything even if it costs you your family, but even more unbelievable than both of those is the reset button hit during every season with these two. It always goes back to “Oh I love my father with puppy dog eyes, I heart him, I really really do” after every season in which Noah turns out to be a scum bag and Claire proves how much of an idiot she can be.

And what's the most inconspicuous thing a super powered idiot can do? Apparently jump out of their own dorm room window, because no one would notice on a college campus. Everyone knows that college students go to bed early, save for the stalker/murderer/super powered Gretchen. (Yes, I'm calling Gretchen out as the invisible woman, “So I heard that you didn't see a suicide note.” Uh huh, riiiiight. In another show that would be a slight of hand, in Heroes it's the writers thinking they're witty.)

Then we jump to Hiro and Ando who have decided to go public and advertise their services as heroes. Really? Richest guy in all of Japan, he's saved the world more than once, watched his mother and father die, and he's still pretending to be a twelve year old trapped in a man's body? Really? Oh, but it's because he's dying. I gotcha. I mean what better time to act like a child than in your last days.

Oh, and let us not forget Peter. If you don't remember, Peter's fatal flaw is that he is fatally optimistic. Why be subtle about saving people's lives after you've been hunted to near extinction for an entire season? Just jump around New York like Spiderman, (or PETER Parker) and rip the doors off of wrecked cars in front of onlookers. I'm sure no one will notice. And if they do, hey, they'll appreciate that you're helping someone and applaud like they should. Besides, if saving lives is your new form of crack, who really gives a damn.

Even when a Heroes character starts to make sense, like with Tracy Strouse and her quest for vengeance, the writers do their damndest to frack it all to hell and back. Sure, sure, Tracy has always been cold and calculating, so much so that she became the ice queen, but why not turn her into the ray of sunshine in Noah's life because she saw a dirtbag that absolutely no one cared for, die. That's perfectly believable to me. I'm always meeting people who are willing to drown to death four men in a row and then suddenly turn into Rainbow Fracking Brite.

To sum up the rest of my feelings, I hope Sylar kills that pantywaist Parkman (no relation to Peter PARKer) and takes over his body. And then I hope he finds Suresh before he can make an appearance in this season and kills him too. Then he needs to make his way to Nathan and kill him before he has another bizarre coming to Jesus moment that totally changes the fate of the world. After all of those messes are cleaned up, we wait and watch Hiro die so we don't have anymore time slippage idiocy.

Unfortunately, where Heroes lacks in developing characters who portray believable motivations, they excel at killing off those characters who do have believable motivation. Case in point: Speedster girl who thought Parkman was an idiot for falling in love with her based on a dream. That's believable, and of course, that's why she had to die.

Images: NBC/ Chris Haston


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