Brief spoilers for tonight's "Heroes" coming up just as soon as I buy my own lair...
At the risk of being the boy who cried wolf, I think "A Clear and Present Danger" is the end of the line for "Heroes" and me.
It's not that the episode itself was bad. If anything, it corrects all sorts of problems that we've been complaining about going all the way back to the end of season one: The characters are thrown together almost immediately. Peter develops a spine and isn't so all-powerful that there shouldn't be any dramatic tension to his scenes (I think; more on that in a minute). There was a lot of action involving multiple powers (albeit most of them used by Peter). There's a concrete conflict, and the villain's motivation is both clear and somewhat logical. Etc.
I just don't care because of the stupidity that came before. I can't buy Peter as the go-getter who stands up to Nathan because I've seen him get suckered so badly in the past. Nathan has flip-flopped his allegiance and motivation so often that I don't care about his latest agenda, even though it makes a lot more sense than previous directions for the character. They finally seem to be giving Parkman some purpose in the show (even if they have to graft on Isaac's powers to do so), but all I can think about is how they wasted Greg Grunberg for two-plus years. I have no idea why Angela Petrelli and HRG have made the latest alliance they've made, nor am I interested in finding out.
There's just been too much damage done to the show's foundation for them to build anything on it that I want to spend time in anymore.
But before I go (and I swear I'm going to have the willpower to delete the season pass for real this time), a few other observations and questions:
• As Nathan asks, what exactly are Peter's powers these days? Why does he apparently need to touch people to copy their powers now? Can he (as Rick Porter from Zap2It suggested when we were discussing this episode earlier today) only hold one borrowed power at a time? That's the only reasonable explanation for why he would be so freaked out about falling out of the plane when we know (or thought we knew) that he can still fly, but that's a rather huge development that needed to be adequately set up before the fight scene on the plane. I'd forgive the writers' decision to change his powers, both because it was dramatically necessary and because the end of "Villains" sort of gave them license to do so, but if you don't tell us in advance that you're changing the rules, then scenes that depend on the new rules don't work. Peter's cab ride with Mohinder would have been an awfully easy place to do it quickly, but they didn't bother, so I spent most of the climax yelling at the TV, "You can fly, moron!!!!!"
• What's the US government doing traveling to Japan to illegally detain a foreign national? And why would they bother to fly Hiro all the way from Tokyo to New York, just so they could then fly him to the new and improved version of The Company's old Level 5?
• There was a brief moment, as Hiro was showing off the firehouse lair to Ando, where I was reminded of when and why I liked this show, but that feeling faded within a few scenes, probably around the time Sylar showed up. If Peter's powers have been neutered, why couldn't they bother to do the same to Sylar? The more we see of him, the less scary he becomes.
• Has Peter ever met Tracy before? Does he know Nikki's dead? I assume his confusion at the end was because he expected to get super-strength from her because he thought it was Nikki. I think. Again, not a lot of that fight scene made sense.
Anyway, that's it for me. For those of you who are continuing, I hope you enjoy it -- or, at least, that you enjoy hating on it. I've realized that nothing "Heroes" can do at this point will satisfy me, and it's not fair to me or to "Heroes" to keep going.
What did everybody else think?