Ever since I saw a preview for the show when I watched Lady in the Water, I was intrigued by Heroes, and because TV stations have wised up and put recent episodes online, I watched the premiere even though I missed it. (Now, if LOST had just done this, my run of bad luck with taping shows wouldn't have mattered, and I would've been able to watch it from the beginning. Ah, well, no worries; this is another of those instances when I sort of feel like fate was forcing me to wait until the proper time... Ha. Dumb thing to say about a TV show, I suppose, but my mind tends to work the way Locke's does...) Anyway, I've been watching Heroes all along, but it's very dark, and I think I probably wouldn't keep watching if it weren't for the idealistic Hiro, the most lovable character on the show. It's rather annoying that almost all his dialogue is in Japanese, since I almost always miss some of his subtitles.
But I love his scenes, and this week, he was faced with a moral crisis when he had the opportunity to kill Sylar - who makes even Anthony Cooper look mild by comparison - and hesitated. "I cannot kill a man who is asking for forgiveness," he told Ando. I have no idea if Sylar's remorse and hesitation were genuine or not. I certainly don't trust him, but perhaps he really was having second thoughts, and he went to his mom thinking she could help. Who better to go to, after all? I did feel a little sorry for him. And he looked almost Clark Kent-ish when he put on those dorky glasses. But the question is... Should Hiro have killed him? At what point does killing someone become the proper course of action? Would Hiro be the greater hero for killing Sylar or for sparing him?
It seems, of course, that killing him is what he must do in order to prevent many more deaths, and even Hiro eventually decided that was the inevitable course, though he didn't act quickly enough to save Sylar's mom... or to kill Sylar. Hiro doesn't like his future self, doesn't want to become him. "He has killed so often," he said, "he does not remember that it is supposed to be hard." I like Hiro the way he is now. But is the solemn future version the one the world needs? Is mercy a valuable quality in every situation, or are there times when it must be cast aside?
In Smallville, there are countless times when Clark could refrain from saving Lex, thereby sparing the world a lot of trouble. At first, he has no concept of the evils that Lex is capable of, but he begins to get an idea. Is saving Lex truly noble when Lex will eventually put so many other lives in danger? Is there any way to truly turn a villain's heart?
I tut-tut over all the deaths on LOST and say, "Well, that really wasn't necessary." Ethan is one of the trickiest. In the short term, of course, keeping Ethan alive was in the castaways' best interests because they might have found out something about what he was up to. Or maybe not. He probably would have held up well under pressure, probably would have lied through his teeth. Ethan was not a nice guy; he looked fair and felt foul. But in any case, what would they have done with him after the interrogation? This was before the hatch, so there would have been no secure way of keeping him captive, and I don't see how they could have released a man who had already killed one of their number and threatened everyone else. If Charlie hadn't killed him, wouldn't someone else have before too long? Could it have ended any other way?
I want Clark and Hiro to be right. But sometimes I worry there is such a thing as being too idealistic...