A show is born to innocence. A show demonstrated it was good. Why then did it go so horribly wrong? Was it will? Was it destiny? Was it complete fucking incompetence? To fight evil, one must know evil; one must journey back through time and find that fork in the road, where Heroes turned one way and shows of lasting quality turned another.

You made me this way, Heroes. Ever since I watched season two, the most drawn-out, tedious, needlessly-slapstick-and-romance-enhanced torture session of my life, I've hungered for punishing entertainment experiences. I have come to feed on the anger and betrayal. That pain, I'm always so grateful for it now, because it's the only time I know I'm still human. But for all the wretched movies and music I've voluntarily inflicted on myself in the past year, nothing managed to sustain its horribleness for eleven hours. A numbness filled my mind with cotton and ice.

Finally, I've found a way to recreate, and perhaps even surpass, my initial agonies. I stored season three episodes in my DVR, where they undoubtedly tainted other recorded programs with their rotting putrescence, until I could no longer bear the cursed anticipation, then I subjected myself to a fourteen-hour marathon. I endured an evil twin, amnesia (again), more jittery quick cuts than the entire Saw franchise, and more variations on the phrase "How is this possible? You're dead!" than I could have imagined possible. As soon as the ordeal concluded, my eyes retreated behind a glazy film, and I started scribbling the revelations laid bare by this masochistic viewing approach.

A Goonies-related epiphany:

Angela Petrelli is a slight variation on Mama Fratelli's tale. Disappointed with the antics of her two favored sons, a sinister Italian matron unleashes a monster child who's been kept in captivity. Like the Fratelli mutant, Sylar turns out to be a misunderstood nice guy - at least for a few minutes. But remember, Sloth didn't stay tame forever, either. He became pretty goddamn brutal in his spinoff sequel The Hills Have Eyes.

New catch phrase that must end now:
Claire Bennett: "It ends here."
Peter Petrelli: "This ends now."
Noah Bennett: "This ends today."

Let the old catch phrase fucking die, already:
Hiro Nakamura: "Save the cheerleader!"
Nathan Petrelli: "Save ourselves, save the world."

Most accurate occupational depiction:
Freshly appointed Senator Nathan Petrelli, who manages to avoid any congressional votes, duties or appearances throughout the entire season.

Worst introduction of a mystical black man:
Wandering shaman Usutu eventually gets to feed time-travelling imp Hiro hyena dung while spouting wise-elder quotes like "The future can only be the future for so long, then it becomes the present" and "Evil forces gather. The dark sun rises." First, though, he must crack a Britney Spears joke and deliver a product-placement quip ("No service here [in the African desert], you should've gone with Sprint"), as if he were devised as a comic foil for the two already-clownish characters with whom he briefly interacts before being beheaded.

Best unintentional reference to Hayden Panettierre's horrifying singing career:
Electric Elle, discussing Sylar's botched hanging: "Maybe his suicide was a wake up call."

Grace in the face of tragedy:
1) Angela Petrelli's not-at-all suspicious first words to the doctor after learning the husband she'd poisoned had died: "I'd like a cremation as soon as possible."

2) Tracy Strauss, twin sister of split-personality skank Niki Sanders, wears fashionable white and retarded oversized sunglasses to a press conference at which her husband, President Nathan Petrelli, laments the deaths of 200,000 people in a nuclear blast. On a related note, most of the zombie-eyed future sketches are vague, with unspecific locations and broadly rendered faces that, if used as police sketches, would place half the city under suspicion. However, the painting of this disaster considerately includes a "Welcome to Costa Verde" sign in front of the mushroom cloud.

Abstinence-inducing sex scenes (Not coincidentally, these were the only two sex scenes):
1) Wrong-headed scientist Mohinder says he needs to make useless twin Maya angry in order to stop her fatal Hershey's tears from flowing. He starts espousing idiotic theories and touching her inappropriately, but this turns out to be alarmingly unrelated. After injecting himself with super powers, Mohinder enjoys a brief stint as a sweaty shirtless douchebag, during which he rips off Maya's shirt during an unwatchable seduction. It's worth noting that Mohinder later crawls nakedly out of a gelatinous afterbirth cocoon.

2) Nathan saves Tracy from plunging to her death during a sub-Charmed flying sequence. Rewarding him with spectacle, she demonstrates the ability to freeze objects with her touch. Nathan observes "your hands aren't even cold," then kisses her immediately. Ladies, take note: Suicidal depression and frigidity are the ultimate turn-ons!

Files of the Forgotten:

Remember Monica Dawson, the little girl who inspired beleaguered New Orleans viewers to stand up and cheer with her inspiring ability to mimic what she saw on TV? Well, she died, I guess. But fear not, Katrina-ravaged metropolis, for I predict she will soon be available to inspire you and teach you how to live and love again! It seems Monica revived when a funeral-home worker watched an idiotic sci-fi soap opera that featured multiple resurrections.

Remember Caitlin, the uninteresting Irish lass with whom amnesiac Peter had an interminable tryst before leaving her stranded in a disease-infested futuristic dystopia? Apparently Peter doesn't. Neither do the show's writers. Eh, good fucking riddance.

Blue-Collar Comedy Villain:
Flint's power seems pretty lame (see, there's already someone who makes fire with their hands, but his flame burns blue). However, he serves another purpose - recruiting slack-jawed yokels to watch one of their own kick ass on that city-folks show with the Indian fella and his fancy science words. This balding hick drawls plenty of yee-haw punchlines ("you want him crispy or well-done?") Even when he attempts to rape a hostage, he's still providing redneck comic relief ("I hear Stockholm Syndrome is like Spanish Fly!")

Mohinder's Burden:
Mohinder's narration seems to exist outside continuity, as you might expect someone who's rapidly becoming a reptilian deathbringer to have a bit more of a panicked tone to his philosophical ramblings. However, they're actually Future Mohinder's punishment for killing two people, even though his victims were conveniently a wife-beater and a drug-dealer. He's been sentenced to babble incessantly, ignored by all who hear him.

There is good and there is evil. Right and wrong. Heroes and villains. We're a ship without a storm, the cold without the warm, the throw before the toss, the hand that writes and quickly moves away. We wait in silence for these times when sense can be made of this show's ludicrous plots, when meaningless characters come into focus. And if we have the strength to be endure absolutely anything, then what we find there, staring back at us, is our own reflection, bearing witness to the duality of life. And each one of us is capable of both the dark and the light, of good and evil, of either, of all.

– Andrew "Garbage Day" Miller

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