Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I Believe You All Owe Lost an Apology

I don't want to spoil the Heroes finale for you, but here's what it all boiled down to:

Nothing you saw this whole year ever mattered!


The series had already gotten so made-up-as-it-goes-along that even the characters themselves had to have each other's powers re-explained to them. In some cases, they had to have their own powers re-explained to them.

And one of these days someone is going to remember that D.L. is, after all, an escaped convict and really should be kinda laying low. Or perhaps that is D.L.'s greatest power: to make everyone keep forgetting his backstory.

Then came Hiro's choice: save his friend or save the world. Which, it turned out, was not a choice at all. Because someone at the show finally remembered he can stop time. Duh!

And then came the great moment in last night's show where Peter asked Richard Roundtree if whatever was happening was a dream or time travel or what... and you could feel the writers shrugging when Roundtree kinda said who cares.

And since there were still a few cliches left in the barrel's bottom, Roundtree said all you need is love, and that Peter had the power all along, and to click his heels three times, and there's no place like home.

But don't worry, because it turns out that entire sequence was just a gigantic waste of time that had nothing to do with anything. That if Peter had not had that experience the ending would have been the same. In fact, if Peter had taken a nice nap for most of the season the ending would have been the same.

In that sense, the ending had all the impact of a joy buzzer.

In fact, the only real suspense left for next season is whether Mohinder and Meredith Grey will compete in a "Mumbo-Jumbo-Off"... First one whose narration makes any sense loses.


Paul Levinson said...

I liked the Heroes finale ... Heroes Volume One Finale ... but you're right that Lost now has a chance to regain the upper hand...

norm said...

I think I missed something.
I saw Richard Roundtree say "You've got the power, it was inside you all along...all you needed was to believe...etc."

But I missed the part at the very end where he must have said, "...or not..."

Then again...who knows what really happened up there in the sky.

Maybe it was something that made sense.

Michael Markowitz said...

Well, Roundtree was right in a sense: Peter didn't need Nathan to fly. He can fly without him. He just...er... chose not to?

There was a great SCTV bit where Joe Flaherty was Hugh Betcha, hosting a dramatization of a previously undiscovered O. Henry story. The story took place in, like, a railroad car, and was a polite lunch between an infatuated couple or something like that, and at the end a lion charged in and ate them.

Cut to a stunned and outraged Hugh: "A lion??!!!" Then Flaherty grumbled about how clearly O. Henry had run out of twists by that point in his career. Then he just kept shaking his head in disgust. "A lion! Hmmf!"

That was me watching Heroes.

norm said...

Well...I read someone's blog where they said both the blown up guys are signed on for the second season, so I guess, something happened up there to explain why so many things didn't make sense.
And the writers have until next season to figure out what that was.

So, Mike.
Can I ask you, a writer, if there's any kind of an unwritten rule that when you have a moment that makes no (aparent) logical sense (until you explain it later), you should at least find a way to aknowledge that it makes no sense?
What's the difference between a clever mystery and something that looks like bad writing?

Michael Markowitz said...

Well... While I personally think the last several episodes of Heroes would have earned the writers a date with Annie Wilkes' hammer, I don't presume to call myself a better writer.

Perhaps I just didn't understand the vision of the show. It looked to me like the first half of the season was mixing up a Rubik's cube and the second half was realizing it was not solvable and just coloring in all the squares. But what do I know?

As for your second question, the rule is as written or unwritten as each writer's conscience and skill level. When you have a moment that makes no sense now but you know it will all become clear later on, that's where your "contract with the audience" comes into play.

When Lost introduces a French woman who's been broadcasting a distress call for 16 years, I know it seems outlandish. But they didn't let me down: they introduced her, they elaborated, they explained it, they showed why it was important, and it spun out into other stories that were compelling. So now, when something like Jacob comes along, I trust them not to let me down.

The Sopranos, on the other hand, introduces a wounded Russian guy in the woods, and then keeps angrily yelling "What the fuck difference does it make?" at anyone who asks what happened to him. That's one reason I stopped watching. I didn't trust them any more. They apparently didn't feel any responsibility to make the mosaic make sense, so why should I watch?

Make sense?