Heroes 1.23: How to Stop an Exploding Man review

Original US Airdate: 21/5/07

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Written by: Tim Kring

Directed by: Allan Arkush


The One Where: The heroes finally face off against Sylar and Peter has to confront his explosive destiny in Kirby Plaza...

Verdict: So you’re the hottest new show on the block. You’ve spent 22 weeks spinning a dizzing cat’s-cradle of plot strands, entangling umpteen brilliant characters. You’ve given us catchphrases and geek icons and more watercooler moments than we truly deserve. You’d be forgiven for feeling the pressure of delivering a season finale that satisfies on all fronts. Even without that stellar level of expectation, it’s surprising just how quietly disappointing this feels, as if we’ve seen so many premonitions of the ending that when it actually comes it all feels just a little perfunctory. Sure, Nathan’s descent from the sky is pure punch-the-air television, but elsewhere there’s a newfound hippyish sensibility – “All that matters is love” – that detracts from the show’s trademark edge.

Highlight: No, not the climactic showdown in Kirby Plaza. And not Nathan’s moment of valiant self-sacrifice, either. Instead let’s go for the simple moment where Ando tells Hiro “You look badass” and Hiro, touched and surprised, says “Really?” It’s a tiny character stroke that reminds you why this show is so special.

Trivia: So Bennet finally gets a first name. And it’s... Noah. Jack Coleman, of course, wanted it to be Tony...

Did You Spot?: The episode riffs on a specific line of dialogue in 1.11, Fallout. Hiro asked Isaac “How do you stop an exploding man?” Here’s the answer, folks.

Character: There’s something absolutely chilling about the way Angela refers to her son as “Congressman”...

WTF?: It’s the mother of all WTF? moments: what’s going on in that final scene? Hiro’s obviously tumbled through time to the age of feudal Japan – and just in time for a title card referencing solar eclipse – but how and why? He’s never demonstrated that level of power before...

The Creator Speaks: So why exactly did Peter need Nathan to help him fly away? Surely he possessed that power himself? “You know,” says series creator Tim Kring, “theoretically you’re not supposed to be thinking about that. The real explanation is that we wanted Nathan to show up and save the day! Yes, I will admit that there’s a very tiny window of logic there, but what can I say? It requires the proverbial suspension of disbelief.”

Best Line: “Your whole life you talked about your favourite stories. Star Wars, Star Trek, Superman, Kensei. All the heroes you wanted to be. One day people will tell the story of Hiro Nakamura.” (Ando)

Nick Setchfield

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