A tell-tale sign that a show's writers are sick of the season is when it ends in flames. Think The Hatch in Lost season 2. Or the town of Majestic in Weeds season 3. It means the writers don't even want to imagine that set again. So the Heroes writers must have been even more fed up with their Villains chapter than we were, since they burned down both season 3's Pinehearst and Company headquarters Primatech as well. I wrote last week about Heroes' problems this season: too many characters, too much time jumping, too much bad/good/bad, too little focus. So I'll just stick to the finale this time.
Three main subplots this week: Primatech, Pinehearst, and Matt/Ando/Hiro/Daphne. In the Primatech plot, Sylar became the villain in a slasher film, and suddenly we were watching Saw. Thankfully the gore was kept low (just a severed arm and many slashed necks, nothing out of the ordinary), but Sylar certainly took Saw's little games to get the victims to kill each other. Earlier this season Sylar seemed primed to become Heroes' Benjamin Linus, straddling the line between good and evil. But Heroes' idea of moral ambiguity is having characters rapidly switch between the two, rather than walking a grey line. Despite being left dead in a burning building, the hint about Sylar's parents makes it clear we'll see him again next season. Maybe by then the writers will give him something better to do than make menacing phone calls.
Pinehearst actually housed the season's main conflict, as Peter faced off against Nathan over whether to employ the formula. But it would be easy to forget that given how little happened. Most of it was spent with the busywork of destroying Mohinder's lab. That army Nathan was building, hinting at a giant war? Easily dispatched in about three seconds. Maybe the storyline would have meant more if Peter didn't just look like such a weakling (bring back Future Peter!). And the show once again lost a great opportunity to kill off useless characters by having Mohinder and Tracy magically escape the burning building (like Maya in season 2). As good drama as brother vs. brother should be, it seems all the juice in this story died with Arthur last week.
Finally, the characters left to fill time between these stories. I'm not entirely sure how Hiro escaped to the roof many feet above where he was hanging in the air. Maybe he's stronger than he looks. Ando's supercharger power was kind of cool, but that still doesn't explain how he and Daphne managed to find Hiro's exact point in time on the first try. Also a nice nod to continuity that Hiro's actions caused the split in the formula seen earlier this season. But the storyline just brought out all the more how ill-used these characters were this season.
Then there was the glimpse at next year's fourth season, Fugitives. The tease was better than the brief glimpse given the last two seasons. We actually see the launch of the plot, as Nathan tells the Obama-ish president to round up all the heroes Nathan knows about. As the promo shows everyone back in their normal lives before the capturing begins, it does seem like a promising start. At least it's not just another big threat/band together/argue about right and wrong/save the world plot like the last three. As much of a waste as Villains may have been, I'll still be giving Fugitives a try. Hopefully the fresh start will lead somewhere better.