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DVD Review: Heroes – Season Three

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Divided into two volumes (“Villains” and “Fugitives”), the third season of Heroes is perhaps the most intricate and gripping yet. The show, created by Tim Kring, tells the story of human beings given supernatural abilities and settling into various roles. Nothing is quite as it seems with the television program, which has been one of few bright spots in the NBC primetime line-up.

One of the main reasons Heroes remains so intriguing is the characters. There are no cookie-cutter heroes or villains, as diverse motivations, desires, wills and thought processes go into making people who they are.

The show was originally designed by Kring to have a sort of revolving cast, but that idea was discarded in favour of an ensemble cast of regulars with a few extra individuals tossed in for good measure. The first season began with 12 recurring main characters, while others came and went in subsequent seasons.

The third season of Heroes largely revolves around Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere), her father Noah (Jack Coleman), the teleporter Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka), his friend Ando Masahashi (James Kyson Lee), telepath Matt Parkman (Greg Gunberg), Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy), Tracy Strauss (Ali Larter), and the villainous Sylar (Zachary Quinto). The twisted Petrelli family is also at the core of things, consisting of matriarch Angela (Cristine Rose), Nathan (Adrian Pasdar) and Peter (Milo Ventimiglia).

The characters are put through their paces throughout the 25 episodes of the third season, each one developing and evolving in unexpected ways. The writers do well to ensure that the twists and surprises keep coming and it becomes increasingly hard to peg down the characters and their motivations as the season progresses.

As mentioned, there are two volumes in the third season of Heroes. The first volume, “Villains,” opens with an assassination attempt and a visit by Peter to the future to determine the course of events set in motion at the conclusion of the second season. A crisis at The Company takes place and forces unlikely partnerships, including an entertaining duo of Sylar and Noah as they attempt to stop the villains from escaping.

Other characters are introduced and reintroduced, including Kristen Bell’s electrifying character Elle and speedster Daphne Millbrook (Brea Grant). The plot thickens when it is revealed that a key individual is still alive and working to give all people abilities. The individual, portrayed brilliantly by the one and only Robert Forster, will stop at nothing to see his plan through and amasses an army of villains to do his will.

After solving the problem put forth by Forster’s character and his organization, The Company has collapsed and Nathan continues his path through politics. He becomes conflicted, however, and eventually gathers the support of the government to round up those with abilities in the season’s second volume, “Fugitives.”

“Fugitives” involves a bit of political parallel as Nathan heads and eventually loses control of a secretive government wing designed to contain and handle the “threat” of supernatural humans. Sylar, meanwhile, manages to escape the fray momentarily to pursue his own issues with his father and his past.

There is an awful lot to follow in the third season of Heroes, but the episodes are straightforward enough and there’s plenty of good stuff going on that is sure to entertain.

Quinto’s Sylar remains one of the greatest characters on television today, with his desire to find himself and his obvious “mommy issues” making him an incredibly complex and confused individual. He is simultaneously purely evil and purely relatable as he attempts to deal with the “hunger” his abilities give him and with his unclear past. Quinto masters the role, pouring nuance and delicious sneer into all the right places.

Other relationships are deeply fascinating and often tragic, such as that between Noah and his daughter Claire. As a father he does everything he can to protect Claire, but he fails to realize when he’s crossed the line and seems to deny the fact that his daughter is growing up. While the cheerleader may be indestructible on the outside, she is still subject to wounding internally and Heroes does a good job demonstrating the flaws in her seemingly perfect existence.

In showing the characters as deeply flawed and complicated people, Heroes succeeds where other similar shows might have failed. Whether the show is following Suresh and his longing for discovery or Matt Parkman and his desires for a normal life, Heroes remains endlessly compelling as a human drama and pulls off some absolutely stunning stuff as an action-adventure series.

The DVD release of the third season of Heroes is stacked to the rafters with special features. Each episode has a commentary and most have deleted scenes. There are also quite a few other special features divided throughout the six discs of the release, including a program about the various abilities of the characters and a tour through the prop department. There’s also a funny “commercial” for Pinehurst.

The DVD set of the third season of Heroes is very impressive. The 25 episodes make for addictive viewing, with cliffhanger conclusions and one hell of a plot twist towards the end. It’s a hard one to put down, that’s for sure.

The fourth season of Heroes fires up with a two-hour premiere on September 21, 2009 on NBC.

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About Jordan Richardson

  • Friend Mouse

    Ugh – S3 was awful. There was time wasted on boring storylines that went nowhere (Mohinder, Hiro). There was horrible acting (Forster, Larter). Characters flip-flopped motivations almost weekly (Nathan wants to come out as a Hero! Nathan wants to incarcerate all the Heroes! Nathan wants to free all the Heroes! Sylar is eeevil … no, Elle makes him good … nope, he’s killed her and is eeevil again … nope, wait …) or made huge decisions for no reason at all (Parkman loves Daphne after knowing her for 30 minutes!). This show squandered its S1 potential and the writers just seemed to be chasing their tails. I heard viewership plummeted last season and they have a LOT of work to do – we’ll see how it turns out.

  • Baronius

    Friend Mouse, I found Nathan and Sylar to be believable. Nathan is a guy with terrible judgement. He’s convinced he’s always right, and that only he can save the day. He never admits to a mistake until he comes up with a completely different (equally wrong) plan, and becomes positive that the new plan is perfect and he’ll save the day. He’s like a drunk driver, always lurching the car in a different direction, but never quite the right direction.

    Sylar’s believable in the sense that he’s the craziest person ever, and you wouldn’t expect him to be consistent. I think the character has run its course though. The producers may not want to give up Quinto, but there’s nothing left for Sylar to do. (If you watched Buffy/Angel, you remember that Spike went through the same thing.)

  • Jordan Richardson

    People “flip-flop” emotions, so why is it so surprising that characters would change actions, emotions and motivations upon learning new things and gathering new information? I found all of the changes ultimately believable and acceptable in the context of what they were trying to do.

    Bar is dead-on in regards to Nathan, for example. Nathan thought he was doing the “right” thing.

    In terms of Sylar and Elle, that’s actually how relationships tend to work and, given the past of the two characters as they relate to one another, I’d say that’s about how any relationship of the sort (based on lies and psychopathic behaviour) would go.

    Sylar was never “good,” I’d argue. They tell us countless times that he is easily influenced and that he has “mommy issues,” so it stands to reason that he would alter his worldview when something alters the lens through which he views it. He accepts Angela’s vision for things, for instance, because she gives him what he wants. When that changes and Sylar is given the capacity to tell when someone’s lying, his worldview rightly changes accordingly. The core of Sylar, the “hunger” and the search for belonging, never really changes though.

    In terms of Parkman and Daphne, not only does that story wind up tragically but it also develops strangely, as it should. I wouldn’t say Matt “loved” Daphne based on what he saw; I’d argue instead that Matt almost felt a sense of duty towards her based on what he saw in Africa. Regardless, that someone should “love” someone else after just 30 minutes is relatively common in most Hollywood films anyway. Usually they’re having sex by then.

  • I was watching first two seasons breathlessly. I haven’t seen something so interesting for a while. I couldn’t wait for a next episode. But when the third season started I was so disappointing. I couldn’t believe that they can make such a big turn to worse. Pity.

  • I think everyone can agree that the first season of Heroes was brilliant, but the second season was quite disappointing.

    As for season 3, opinions diverge depending on the pov. While it was definitely not as good as season 1, it definitely was a lot better than season 2. I think the biggest mistake was to step away from the original idea in order to keep the same characters from coming back – this might have contributed to making the plotline sometimes feel very halting and awkward.

    I’m looking forward to Season 4 – based on the increasing quality of Season 3 and where it left off, it has the potential to become just as good and perhaps – dare I say – even better than season 1.