After the continuous pummeling to my balls that was Heroes Season 2, I went back for more punishment with Season 3 after the folks behind Heroes 'fessed up and admitted that maybe Season 2 was a big steaming pile. They promised Season 3 would be better... they lied.
There were so many sudden shifts in direction during Season 3 that viewers were in danger of whiplash. The tone and narrative thrust didn't shift over the course of a story arc but, instead, each episode felt like a failed attempt at a "reboot" -- the kind you have to do after your computer bombs out.
Let's look back at some of the FAILS of the season:
- Prison Camps - The season began with our faithful protagonists being easily captured, detained, and sent up in an airplane to a prison camp courtesy of Nathan Patrelli, resident dick. This may have been a good idea save for that the plane never arrived at its destination. No, it didn't break up over a remote disappearing island. Instead, it crash landed and all of the familiar characters escaped (unharmed). Was this the first transport to the camp? Does this camp still exist? Was the purpose of this plane ride just to get all of these superpowered people in one place at one time, a kind of X-Men/Con Air scenario? I can't figure out why Hiro was flown from Japan to join this plane ride -- why couldn't he have been flown straight there? And why is Hiro the only "Hero" from outside of the United States?
- Fugitives - They've escaped! They're on the run! Not so fast! Rather than living up to the "Fugitive" chapter title of this season, the Heroes were on the lam for a few episodes before they would only occasionally be troubled by the ubiquitous forces of this season's baddie, Danko ("The Hunter"). For being fugitives, the Heroes seem pretty relaxed and move around with ease, running into the black-clad agents only when a sudden burst of danger is needed (or we take one of those aforementioned left turns). Going back to what I said about Hiro being the only non-U.S. Hero. If Danko is working under the impetus of some U.S. directed decree... maybe head up to Canada or go over to Europe?
- Plot Holes Galore - You're chasing a kid whose power is to breathe underwater. You end your search at a pool... without looking in the water! WTF? This is one of the gazillion plot holes this season.
- Danko - Of all the great villains... he's not one of them.
- Sylar - He's good! He's bad! He's seeking redemption! He's looking for his Daddy! He's got a protege! He's missing for a few episodes! He can shape shift! He's a traitor to the Heroes! He's changing into his own mother! His clothes can shapeshift too! He wants to kill the President! The writers don't know what to do with him! Yup. Between he and Danko, it's fairly obvious that there are no good villains in this world of Heroes.
- Matt Parkman - Matt's one of the most troublesome characters as he's the easiest to relate to. Normal guy finds out he's got powers, ruins his marriage, falls for some hot piece of tail after he goes on a spirit journey and suddenly can start seeing the future.... huh? We were with you at the beginning, Matt, trying to do your job with your new powers but once you left the force, found your Dad, and went to Africa, we lost you. Matt only did the Isaac Mendez thing a few times during Season 3 but they were a few times too many. His relationship with Daphne, the Speedster, was a rocky and doomed one. Apparently Matt thought that a wound to Daphne's shoulder was fatal as he didn't realize she was still alive until a few episodes after she got shot and then mysteriously died (apparently she wanted off this equally-doomed show). Matt has forgotten all of the tricks that his Daddy taught him (locking people in "mental prisons"), has a boner to screw up Danko's life, and now has a kid -- with super-powers of course. His jagged path exemplifies everything wrong with the show.
- Save the Wig, Save the World! - What is up with Hayden Panettiere's awful wig this season? If she's wearing a different hairstyle for another project, use it. Perhaps she might alter her appearance if she's in "hiding"?
- Save the President, Save the World! - All the politics of Season 3, especially making the President a target of Sylar's takes Heroes out of the fantasy world and into an alternate reality that just doesn't fly (pun intended).
- Isaac Mendez's Eternal Loft - Who's paying rent on this sweet Manhattan space? After Mendez died it became Mohinder's not-so-secret lair and is still the clubhouse for various Heroes to meet. It's even got a new apocalyptic floor-painting of the Capital being destroyed. Not to worry, it only took about a half hour for this subplot to be introduced and diffused. Just as Mendez's loft keeps getting used, so do the "we must prevent this future!" plots -- even without Hiro having time-travel powers. This is more annoying (but not by much) than Ali Larter showing up as different characters.
- Rebel - It's the kid, Micah. I was hoping we'd never see him again. Rebel only showed up to move the plot along when it was getting tedious (and that is often) before disappearing for episodes at a time.
- Remembrance of Season One - How dare you give us an episode that takes us back into the past via Angela Petrelli that explains a few things from Season One! That was such a good season! Why must you throw that in our faces?
That's just the tip of the ice berg. Charting out the various plots and subplots -- and which managed to undo another -- would look like a schizophrenic's EEG. Like Freddy Kruger, Heroes feels like it's the son of a hundred mad men that all raped the good idea that was the first season of the show. Each episode is its own twisted spawn. Related by blood but independent of thought.