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:: "fuzzy romance and brutal terror" : apparently, I can get behind that ::
I need a hobby. 
13th-Apr-2008 09:56 pm
Sylar about to paint the future
You know what will totally destroy your productivity? Finding out that SpikeTV is running a marathon of the original Star Wars trilogy. Yep - that pretty much sucked away the last 7 hours of my life.

But because fandom totally warps one's mind, while watching the end of Return of the Jedi, I couldn't help thinking about Vader's storyline. He's someone who discovered he has immense powers and winds up turning to evil, using his power selfishly and causing death and destruction wherever he goes. In the end, however, he turns out to have enough decency left in him that he essentially sacrifices himself to save possibly the only person he cares about, and dies right after redeeming himself.

Sounds an awful lot like the final ending that many people on my flist have said they'd like to see for another powerful yet evil character who we all love discussing...

So the question is: are we totally unoriginal? Subliminally influenced by other stories? Or is the idea of the villain who gives into goodness and redeems himself common enough that it's only to be expected we'd apply it to Sylar?

(Also? George Lucas should be banned by law from being allowed to touch copies of his films. Han shot first, dammit. Revisionist bastard.) 

14th-Apr-2008 04:25 am (UTC)
This is exactly why I don't want that to happen to Sylar, that would be lame. I don't really care about him being redeemed or what not, I just want the writers to realize what a useful character he can be, and that there are so many ways that they can show how the 'Heroes' can work with him.
Also, as much as I think Sylar cares about Mohinder in some way, it rubs me the wrong way when I read about fic where he allows himself to be killed for Mohinder, I could never buy that.
14th-Apr-2008 04:37 am (UTC)
As for your questions, I think we have it drilled into us from we have seen in North American television that the bad guy always die, but because we like Sylar we want him to be redeemed a little bit before he does. Also, I don't get why people want Mohinder to kill Sylar, I honestly believe if it came down to it and Mohinder seriously tried to kill Sylar again, Sylar would retaliate, despite whatever connection they have. If he dies, I really want Sylar to die because it's time for his storyline to end, not because his fate should be tied to Mohinder or some crap like that or because Mohinder needs closure.
14th-Apr-2008 04:44 am (UTC)
Oh, I don't want him to sacrifice himself for another character, either. But I do really like the idea of him redeeming himself, right at the end. Though in my mind, it takes the form of him completely admitting his crimes to himself and repenting, even if no one else believes him.

I'm still nervous about the writers. I'd like to THINK they recognize that he's a complex character rather than a one-dimensional baddie, but then again, I'd like to think they wouldn't have undone Hiro's characterization and written Peter as a complete idiot. :0(
14th-Apr-2008 04:49 am (UTC)
I've always wondered what it would take for Sylar to get to that point. I think someone who would be willing to be a friend or confidant to him, maybe someone who went down the road he's going on could help push him in that direction. I don't believe the person to do this could be Mohinder either, there is too much baggage between them and Mohinder doesn't seem like the type of person who seems like he believes in redemption. I really think if they introduced someone into Sylar's life like this who isn't a lame love interest, it could work and he could start to slowly admit to his crimes.
14th-Apr-2008 06:15 am (UTC)
One of the reasons the first Star Wars trilogy was so successful (and one of the reasons the prequels weren't as well received) is because the Eps 4-6 are very allegorical. The stories and themes that drive them are ingrained into our culture. I wouldn't call it unoriginal to relate that to Heroes, since there are many ways of having a redemption story actually play out. So, yeah, in answer to your question, I'd say we are in fact "subliminally influenced by other stories," but not in a way that makes us unoriginal.

(Though, personally, I'd like to see the show explore the idea that redemption doesn't require remorse.)
15th-Apr-2008 02:49 am (UTC)
Though, personally, I'd like to see the show explore the idea that redemption doesn't require remorse

That's an interesting point, actually. I know I've had people misunderstand me when I say I'd like to see Sylar redeemed before the show ends, because they always assume I mean I want to see him turned into a "good" guy, but I think of redemption for him as being something closer to Catholic confession. Even if other characters don't believe him, I'd like to see him admit that even if he was twisted by Chandra's dangling of "specialness", and even if people at the Company knew what he was doing but let it go on, he still has to bear responsibility for what he's done.

But I don't know if he could ever realistically do that: he's got so many layers of justification, and his need to be special, and his belief that he's above the rest of humanity. And that's an interesting question: would he have to admit guilt and repent everything, in order to redeem himself? That's one of the things I've liked about some of levitatethis's recent writings. I feel like she's writing a future Sylar who has changed for the better - he at least isn't murdering indiscriminately anymore - but who doesn't feel at all bad for the things he's done, because they were necessary steps to make him into what he is today.
15th-Apr-2008 04:29 am (UTC)
I think we're talking about kind of opposite things. If I'm correct, what you're saying is that you'd like to see Sylar realize that he's done things that are wrong, regardless as to what the other characters think of him. I, personally, would rather see Sylar take the attitude that he's done what he's done, and if anybody has a problem with that, it's their own problem. This would probably require that Sylar not be a constant or immediate threat, I suppose... What I really want, I guess, is for the other characters to change the way they feel about him if he's not a major threat.

As for taking responsibility for his actions, I think he already does that, but not in the way that you mean. To him, his murders are conquests with large rewards. Placing the blame on somebody else would be akin to letting someone else take the glory. Now, obviously, he doesn't boast as such, probably because it's too likely to get him caught. Also, I'd say that his little speech about Chandra in Parasite was more goading Mohinder. I don't particularly think of Chandra as completely innocent, mind, but I don't think that of any of the (adult) characters, anyway...

This was somewhat rambly. I apologize if it confuses you. ^_^
14th-Apr-2008 12:34 pm (UTC)
God, it's been such a ridiculously long time since I've seen the original trilogy--since college, I think. And I still have never seen Episode 3, so I don't even know why Darth Vader turned evil in the first place. ::turns in geek card::

Or is the idea of the villain who gives into goodness and redeems himself common enough that it's only to be expected we'd apply it to Sylar?

That last one, I think. I'm exceptionally slow-witted at the moment, but it seems like baddies generally turn good because of a) LUV, and/or b) an even greater evil that's too evil for them.
15th-Apr-2008 02:57 am (UTC)
I actually haven't seen the trilogy in at least four years. It was nice to see it again. And I have to admit, I haven't seen Episodes 2 & 3. After enduring Jar Jar Binks in Episode 1, I wanted to put my foot through my friends' TV. Um...I think he turned evil because Luke & Leia's mother's life was threatened and he thought turning to the Dark Side would somehow give him the ability to save her? But I am not 100% sure on that.

I think you're generally correct about the reasons for baddies turning good. I can deal with (b) better than with (a), but I'm still not crazy about it. I like the thought of Sylar coming up against someone even worse than him because it might be a prompt to force him to work with others, if only because he can't stand the thought of someone dethroning him. But if he ever does regret what he's done, I'd rather see it be more of an internally-caused change than an externally-pressured one.
14th-Apr-2008 05:56 pm (UTC)
Disclaimer #1: I just woke up. So, coherency? Not quite my strong suit at the moment.

Disclaimer #2: My Star Wars knowledge is rather slim. I mean slim like, I did not watch the first three until right before The Phantom Menace came out. And I did not watch them then because "Oh man! Star Wars!" but because I worked in a toy store, and I figured I better learn who was who before I dealt with a barrage of Star Wars geeks fans coming in the store asking me about stuff outside of the most basic elements. Chewbacca? Yes. Uncle Owen? Huh? I don't even remember how Vader died, just that he was a badass and thus, by default, my second favorite Star Wars character. ::runs to Wikipedia:: Oh holy crap, that was... lame. ::Shakes head:: I liked it better when I did not remember.

Then again, I can see it making more sense in Vader's case, because we knew all along that Luke was his son and later found out that that tied in to why it was he went to the Dark Side in the first place. This does not make it any less lame, but at least it was something that you could look at and go "Okay, I get it." He thought his son was dead (didn't he?) and then he shows up all not-dead. I can buy that.

As far as Sylar, they'd have to do a lot of work to put in something that would make me buy that he would do something like that. Short of a long-lost son, or his mom magically being not-dead (quick! to the Magical Healing Blood!) I can't see it happening. (Of course, knowing how things usually happen, they would go with the tried-and-true "villain falls in love" or "villain teams up with good guys to fight even more villainous villain". Each of which comes with its own set of problems -- mainly that the first is super corny and the second involves everyone he has hurt just going "No problem. Water under the bridge and all that.") And if it does happen, and I am still watching, I will call "Lame!" just like I did with Vader. I know people like to have the feel-good ending (even when it makes no sense), but it's not always necessary, you know?

Needless to say, I am not a fan of the bad-guy-turns-good-then-dies story. Never. It feels like it kind of cheapens the character in an effort to get people to go 'Oh, so he was not bad after all. And now I am sad." Whatever. If you're gonna write/be a bad guy, write/be a bad guy until the end. This could be because I always like the bad guy, but to me it would be the same as turning Peter evil and then killing him. That makes no sense, and all of his fans would just be like "Wait. What just happened there?" (Kind of like I am feeling about this comment. I lost it somewhere around the middle and could not get back on track. Maybe I should have waited until my braaain was fully functional.)

14th-Apr-2008 06:13 pm (UTC)
Disclaimer #1: I just woke up. So, coherency? Not quite my strong suit at the moment.

Heh. Well, I spent most of the day yesterday drugged out on cold meds, and so I don't think I was overly coherent in my post, as I seem to have come across as saying that I advocate Sylar having a "die to save someone else's life" storyline. I really just meant the spirit of what happened to Vader, where he admits he's done wrong and renounces it, not to win brownie points or to try to save his own miserable skin, but because he realizes it's the right thing to do.

I mean, I know that with everything he's done, Sylar doesn't deserve pity. But I feel like the main thing that pushed him down this path was his desperation, and that he had one last glimmer of hope that was snatched away from him, and it pushed him over the edge. So I wind up having empathy for him. So I don't want him to turn "good", but I feel like if he has to die, if he could be forced to accept the fact that he can't just pawn the blame for his actions off onto others, at least there would be something positive in it. Whereas if he'd died at the end of S1, unrepentant, knowing he'd lost, still thinking of nothing but how to screw up other people to keep them from looking better than him...that would have been depressing.

(You know, I think the reason I never went 'Lame!' with Vader's death is because the 'Lame!' was completely reserved for the Ewoks in my household. While not nearly as bad as the travesty that is Jar Jar Binks, still...I have to grit my teeth the whole time they're on screen.)
14th-Apr-2008 06:00 pm (UTC)
I'm not 100% sure what you mean by "Han shot first": would you please explain? I am kind of intrigued and embarassed not to get the reference, since I am kind of a big geek about the original series.

I don't think that we're wholly unoriginal. It all goes back to those seven basic story types, or whatever. And the rules that make classical music work. People expect things because they traditionally work. When a villain starts getting painted as someone we should feel sorry for, we usually want him redeemed while still paying for his sins. Although... I still thought Sylar should have died unexpiated at the end of season 1; however, now that he didn't and we've had more of his storyline, I've changed my mind. I personally don't want Sylar to sacrifice hismelf for Mohinder, but I do want him to save Mohinder and later die at Mohinder's hand after having finally admitted that he did bad things.

I know what you mean above about wanting to think that Sylar's a complex character but being afraid he'll become one-dimesional. He's really teetering right now. The first couple of episodes of the new season will make or break it. What happened to Peter is one of the worst character travesties I've ever seen on television. The only thing I can think of that came close is the difference between season 1 Jimmy on Lois & Clark and the later seasons. It was much more than simply changing the actor.
14th-Apr-2008 06:13 pm (UTC)
Do you mind if I ask why you want Mohinder to be the one to kill Sylar? I've just seen this comment so many times and I am curious why. I'm personally hoping that Mohinder drops the 'you killed my father' bit because it's getting old. He should never forget it but I think he has other priorities in his life other than killing Sylar right now. And Mohinder killing anyone unless he is defending himself creeps me out. I've read several stories where Mohinder gets Sylar in a vulnerable state and then kills him, and it leaves a bad tastes in my mouth where Mohinder is concerned. I'm not sure I want to see him go there because it would really change him for the worse.
If he kills Sylar in self defense sure, but to plan his death and go through with it, unless the writers can't see a way to make their dynamic last on the show, does't make sense to me.
14th-Apr-2008 06:27 pm (UTC)
Do you mean me? Ok. I see what you're saying, and in a lot of ways I agree. My personal vision is that Sylar realizes he is dying or has to die... or something... and asks Mohinder to please just shoot him in the head rather than let him die slowly, painfully, and horribly. And there's a beautiful moment where Mohinder gets a little sad and kind of doesn't want to, but does it anyway. And Sylar understands that Mohinder is really upset by it, but knows it's the kind thing to do. It's their way of making peace at the end.

However, the "Mohinder should kill Sylar" thing, at least for me, is actually slightly less about Mohinder, and more about the fact that I would feel insulted to have Sylar die as a result of another lame Peter showdown. When Sylar dies, I want it to be about the last shred of his humanity (represented by Mohinder), not about splashy power shows with an idiot who doesn't even understand what kind of foe he's dealing with. I also don't want someone like Bennet to do it, because I'm just sick of Bennet shooting people; it's kind of lost any resonance for me. Also, there's a kind of poetic justice about the guy who's whole deal is being more special than anyone being killed in the end by the powerless nerd who understands him. If it isnt Mohinder, I think the only acceptable replacement I can think of might be Nathan, who is another intelligent character not defined by his ability.

I also really agree that I want Mohinder to drop the father thing. There's a hell of a lot more going on at this point. How about, "You asshole. You taunted poor Peter to try to make him explode and kill all of us." I know it's personal, but seriously.
14th-Apr-2008 06:47 pm (UTC)
Oh, god. This became a book. But I typed it all out, so I'll post it. Sorry...

I'm not 100% sure what you mean by "Han shot first"

In the original release of Episode IV, in the first scene with Han Solo, he starts to leave the cantina to get his ship ready but that bounty hunter shows up, and he sits back down and has that conversation that ends with Han saying they'll only take his ship over his dead body and the bounty hunter replying that he's been looking forward to that. Originally, that ended with Han just shooting the guy under the table. When the DVDs first came out, George Lucas tweaked a whole bunch of stuff. Some of it was stuff that he'd initially wanted to include, but he couldn't because he didn't have the technology to do it well when the movie first came out. For instance, when Han leaves the cantina and finds Jabba and his henchmen waiting outside the Millenium Falcon: Lucas wanted that in the original but couldn't make Jabba move believably so he left the scene out; 20 years later, digital technology allowed him to add in an animated Jabba.

But Lucas can't leave well enough alone, and so he modified that shooting scene in the cantina to make it look like the bounty hunter fired his gun just before Han fired his. And that really bothers me, because I'd always felt that scene helps define Han: he's not evil or cruel, but he recognizes that things are rough and aren't easily divided into black and white, and that there are situations when you have to do unto others BEFORE they do unto you if you want to survive. (If you have access to a VCR, you can compare the videotapes to the DVDs and catch quite a few differences. I noticed that he's also changed the music in several scenes of Return of the Jedi.)

The first couple of episodes of the new season will make or break it.
I think this is why I'm so grumpy about the show and fandom right now - I'm having the same feeling. I felt like they turned their back on character development for Sylar in S2, which means that at this point, Mohinder is the sole thing keeping me emotionally invested in the show. I'm very afraid that if the next 3 to 4 episodes don't improve drastically, I'm going to lose all interest. I mean, the first few episodes of S1 had to do just as much (or more) plot set-up as the first few eps of S2. But if I try to re-watch S2, I feel like I'm wasting my time, whereas I re-watch the beginning of S1 and I don't even want to pause the DVD to run to the bathroom because I'm so into it. They may not be able to get back to that level of excitement, but they've got to at least make Sylar engaging enough that I stop thinking about how I ought to be doing dishes instead.
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