Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ramblings About Heroes

So, I was thinking about Heroes in my standard overly-analytical geek way. I came up with some interesting (to me) ideas about the scope of Sylar’s powers as well as some troubling thoughts about Micah’s ability to manipulate machinery. At this point, Sylar might very well be able to take powers with only a touch and sweet little Micah might actually be a domineering overlord of an oppressed people.

Sylar’s own innate power is what Heroes Wiki calls intuitive aptitude, the instinctive understanding of the way things work. He uses this to replicate the powers of other evolved humans by examining their brains. Because he’s a psychopath, he likes to examine these brains after brutally killing the person they belong to (or however you’d phrase that). In season three, the writers wandered away from the simple (reasonable) serial killer story and said that he really has Peter’s original power of empathic mimicry, which is why he was able to use his acquired power of telekinesis after being cured of the Shanti virus. What, writers, you couldn’t make that plot hole an unforeseen effect of the Shanti virus and had to unpsychopathize a serial killer??? Anyway, Sylar took a stroll on the light side of the Force, used his… *sighs* empathy to acquire telekinesis and lightning, and then went right back to serial killing… for some reason not well established beyond the season three shtick of not knowing who’s good and who’s evil. Since then, they’ve made him want to be good in a way still unpsychopathizing but more reasonably well founded given his psychological issues. The end of season four, and thus the series :(, leaves us with a good guy Sylar who resists his urge to kill Doyle even though that would give him the puppet master power.
In truth, Sylar may be able to acquire new powers without killing and without using empathic mimicry, which isn’t his power even if you accept Sylar having empathy. In the latter half of season three, Sylar acquired the power of shapeshifting. He can transform into anyone human after sampling their DNA with a touch. His new forms don’t have to be perfect copies. He shapeshifts in his sleep and ends up spitting up extra teeth, and he is able to shift into a new Sylar form with his Achilles’ heel moved to a different place. So, how about this: Sylar touches Eric Doyle, and then transforms into a perfect replica of the Puppet Master. Sylar then sits down and transforms his lap into an identical brain to that of Eric Doyle. Sylar searches through the brain, learning how it works, gains the ability of puppet mastery, and changes back to his usual body. He’s able to acquire a power in a way that conforms to his intuitive aptitude without actually killing anyone, allowing him to still be a good guy. Feel free to use that in your fanfic, folks.
Another thought I had is that Sylar doesn’t really have to be alone were the end of the world to come because of the applications of his shapeshifting power. Sylar’s worst fear (or at least in timeline #30/#75 if you count those extra involving butt guy) is living forever so that all of humanity dies and he is left in solitude, and Matt telepathically traps him in a nightmare based on that. However, even if Sylar’s nightmare were to take place, he doesn’t have to be alone forever. He could just impregnate himself.
Sylar’s shapeshifting power allows him to take the forms of numerous men and women. He could just shift into a man, collect his sperm, shift into a woman, and then artificially inseminate himself. Of course, he’d have to stay a woman for an extended period of time, even beyond the time of pregnancy. The human female being relatively well designed to handle the raising of newborn babies, it makes sense to remain in that form for the initial stages of the infant life. Feeding the baby would be something of a challenge, no matter how well stocked post-apocalyptic New York may be, so the production of breast milk from the female form makes it worthwhile to stick around in that form. It might be a bit shocking for the baby to get used to Sylar as one form only to face him in a different form one day, but Sylar has the same mannerisms so it would probably be less of a shock than if care of the baby were to be actually transferred between two people. Soon enough, Sylar could give birth to the human race once again!
Plus, if he were to make a baby using the genes of himself (Gabriel) and Elle, he could bring forth the much-loved Noah Gray! Yay! Of course, his environment would be a little less Costa Verde suburbs and a little more I Am Legend, but still.
Far from being a redemptive serial killer, Micah is one of the adorable kids of Heroes along with Molly. He’s smart, lovable, and has the power to manipulate machinery. We first see this when he touches a broken payphone and fixes it, implying his power involves the manipulation of the physical material of electronics. Things take a turn for the weird in season two, though, when he describes his power as being able to communicate with machines and order them around.
Now it’s portraying machines as thinking entities that have the ability to talk. So, they’re like people, and Micah’s just ordering them around, and everybody’s okay with this? What is he, the Master of the Mechanical Stuff? Does he ever encounter a dissenting voice? Does he ever meet up with a stubborn traffic light?
Micah: “Quick, turn green!”
Traffic Light: “No.”
Micah: “No? What do you mean no?”
Traffic Light: “I mean I have a duty to fulfill to enforce the laws of traffic. It is my purpose as a traffic light, you know.”
Micah: “Can’t you make an exception? For me?”
Traffic Light: “No, you do not have priority. What are you? Not even an ambulance.”
Micah: “I’m the Master of the Mechanical Stuff!”
Traffic Light: “Well, I didn’t vote for you.”
Micah: “You don’t vote for masters.”
Traffic Light: “Well, how did you get that, then? By exploiting the workers. By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society.”
Micah: “No, see, my dad was special and so was my mom. He could walk through walls, and she was strong like the Hulk! I’m special like they were. I can talk to you, I tell you want I want, and you do it. That is why I’m your master.”
Traffic Light: “Listen, racial privilege is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical genetic birthright. Oh, the other light turned red, so you can go now.”
Micah: “Fine, whatever.”
See? I’m being tongue-in-cheek here, but it really is kind of unnerving. Micah could be the start of the robot rebellion. He should expect Terminators any day now. I mean, technically, machines are used and manipulated for humans’ own purposes all the time, but Heroes turned them into thinking beings and just didn’t expand on it. You can’t introduce something like that and not go into it! What, was the payphone misbehaving by being out of order and Micah snapped some sense into it? Is it just a little boy’s rationalization of what he can do? What?
So, to conclude, the writers don’t put nearly as much thought into these things as their geeky fans do. Sylar can take powers with his own intuitive aptitude power even if he is good. Granted, turning his lap into a brain would be kind of gross… but that’s the case with any braining he commits. Sylar also doesn’t have to live alone because with his shapeshifting power he can function as both Adam and Eve to breed the next generation of humanity. As for Micah, is he really talking to thinking entities and controlling them? I’d say that either Micah isn’t really communicating with mechanical people and that it’s just his way of describing something really weird, or he’s the natural ruler of electronics (Master of the Mechanical Stuff) and all electronics naturally obey him because that’s the way it works. If that’s the case, it would be interesting to see him deal with a Terminator…

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