Well that was very good in spots, underwhelming in others.
Among the items on the Very Good side of the ledger:
- Pretty much every scene between Claire and HRG/Noah (the name suits him, I suppose, but I really want to keep calling HRG), even when they're talking on the phone. Coleman and Panettiere have developed some great chemistry over the past season in a way you don't often see with a father-daughter combo.
- The moment where Simone's dad says, "I know you're there, Peter."
- Hiro saving Ando from Sylar and their farewell back at their old cubicles -- particularly Ando telling Hiro he looks bad-ass and Hiro immediately reverting back into geek mode to say, "Really?"
- Claire jumps out a skyscraper window to get away from Nathan and Ma Petrelli, both a callback to her fall from the pilot and a great example of how to do a showy demonstration of someone's powers with minimal effects.
- Immediately following that, the Popeye-esque "That's all I can stands, I can't stands no more" look on Nathan's face, signaling his switch back to the good side.
- Nikki finally figuring out that she's super-strong even without Jessica in charge.
- Hiro's resigned "Yatta" after taking out Sylar, a deed he had to do even though it brought him no pleasure.
- Nathan flying in and out to save the day.
- Hiro in feudal freakin' Japan, caught in the middle of a fight between Kensei (who may or may not be played by George Takei, and I leave it to someone else to make and analyze the screen captures)
- The chapter title cards, which have looked great all season but which seemed especially gorgeous last night, from the one on Isaac's old palette to the manhole cover to the grass in Hiro's landing spot.
- The final showdown with Sylar did not live up to the hype at all, I'm afraid. After all the build-up, all the talk of how only Peter could stand up to him, all the time establishing the number of powers each man had to offer, we get a sequence where Sylar only uses his telekinesis (and stealing moves from Darth Vader and Neo), while Peter largely relies on the super-strength he picked up five seconds earlier from Nikki. I was cool with the battle in Mohinder's apartment ending quickly, and the fight in the future taking place off-camera, because I was expecting the final battle to really pull out the stops, with multiple displays of power on power, and it... didn't.
- Similarly, after spending so much time establishing Sylar's mastery of his powers in general and his superhuman reflexes in particular, Hiro just 'ports in, sprints over and runs him through? Basically, this finale felt like the first time where the writers realized how difficult it is to write action sequences when so many powers are involved, and they wimped out and hoped people wouldn't notice. (See also D.L.'s non-answer when Nikki asked him why he didn't just phase through the bullet, since he couldn't say "Because then it would have been much less dramatic when I squeezed Linderman's brain.") I even wondered after: why didn't Peter just fly away on his own? He's been able to fly for most of the season, and the show has never established anything about using multiple powers at once.
- I actually had to put my DVR on pause and get an angioplasty in the middle of the episode, because Richard Roundtree's "your heart has the power to love unconditionally" was one of the cheesiest things I've ever heard -- and it didn't even really have a bearing on the climax, as it was Nathan's heart that saved the day.
- After all of last week's hints that Candice's brunette hottie look is just as much of an illusion as anything else she does, Nikki knocks her out and she reverts back to looking like Missy Peregrym. I hope that wasn't just because they were afraid people wouldn't get that "Jessica" was Candice, since I assumed that from the very start of that sequence. (After all, who else would be guarding Micah, and we've seen Candice become Nikki/Jessica before.)
What did everybody else think?