Heroes Tackles … ‘Intelligent Design’?

Martin Klimas’s Amaryllis IV (2007)

No matter how much Heroes has flailed over the last season and a half — and oh, how it has flailed — Zachary Quinto as the evil Sylar always gives things a lift. There’s a rawness to Quinto, and his healthy dollop of sex appeal was finally put to good use last week when he bedded Kristen Bell. (An hour later, he was sawing her head open, but, you know, them’s the breaks.) The show better get its licks with him while they can. As others have observed, after Quinto hits the big screen as Spock in J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek next year, it’s hard to believe he’ll hang around much longer.

Fortunately, as we wrap up the “Villains” story line, he’s at the center of everything. He burns Bell’s corpse, murders another woman, massacres an office full of people, and slays the heretofore indestructible Arthur Petrelli, all in about ten minutes of air time. Not too shabby.

But the non-Sylar portions of the show are as nonsensical and overwrought as ever. How non-self-aware is Heroes? It turns out that Arthur Petrelli was putting together an army of superheroes (a task it appears his son will take over) with powers given to them via the “catalyst.” The name for their plan? “We call it ‘Intelligent Design.’” You might think this is the start to a metaphor about creationism and evolution. You’d be wrong. The writers hardly seem aware that the term “intelligent design” has ever been used before. Maybe they should add Ben Stein to the cast.

Other than an oddly touching scene between Hiro and his dead mother — which is cheerfully forgotten, as Hiro is “lost in time” — the show was noteworthy only for the death of Arthur Petrelli. As good an actor as Robert Forster is, he never quite figured out the right way to sell the pabulum, either straight or as kitsch. It’s difficult to blame him. No one else seems to know either.

Heroes Tackles … ‘Intelligent Design’?