Going Clear: Scientology And The Prison Of Belief
In the popular CBS sitcom, ‘The Big Bang Theory’, Shelton, the main character, makes an observation concerning the abrupt cancellation of one of his favorite series, ‘Alphas’. He is disconcerted that it was pulled from the schedule after a really compelling cliff hanger. He muses, why it couldn’t have been allowed to steadily degrade like ‘Heroes’. The series had to do with regular people in possession of extraordinary abilities but as the character noted many fans of the series, Heroes, felt that it started off exceptionally strong only to have quality diminish over its four season run. Admittedly, I was a fan of the series and concede that such an observation contains more than a modicum of veracity. Potter was due to the first season being so overhyped in the media pushing the tagline, "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World". It was formatted after comic book with each season designated a ‘Volume’, and each episode within it as ‘Chapters’. It was a solid concept with the presentation I deal for fans of comic books and graphic novels. There is even a series of graphic novels that extended the universe of the show. One aspect of the show that tested the loyalty of fans was a trope commonly found in comic books. Characters have to have the level of their powers some manner. Writers either increase the scope or drastically diminished making them more like regular people. The most typical variations of this technique to retain a fresh appeal and maintain popularity was visited upon one of the most popular characters in the series, Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia). Initially he was able to absorb the power of any empowered person he encounters. It wasn’t long until he became so incredibly powerful that it was exceptionally difficult for writers to create any situation that you couldn’t easily extricate himself from. They eventually altered his ability so that he can only use one power at a time. You can absorb a single powerful person and access it until he exchanges it for a different ability. As mentioned was commonly found in comic books but the rate was handled in this series was indicative of the mishandling of the ever widening story specific universe making much of the character arcs and situations come across as contrived.
Volume One: Genesis
This was the season with the above-mentioned overused tagline. The cheerleader in question was Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere) who had the ability of exceptionally fast cellular regeneration making her virtually impossible to harm and the potential to being immortal. Her stepfather, dumped by fans as ‘HRG’, referring to the horn-rimmed glasses he always wore was actually Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman) was employed by a paper manufacturing company, Primatech Paper that was actually a front for a global organization purpose to track down all people with powers. The cheerleader had to be saved from particularly heinous serial killer, Sylar (Zachary Quinto), whose ability was similar to Peter in that is he was able to assume the abilities of others. This is the catch was he had to open the skull of his victim making it possible for them to determine how the power was wired into his brain emulated in his own. This is of course faithful to the donor. It was determined that for some reason he was intending to detonate a nuclear device in New York City. If he was able to obtain the cheerleaders invulnerability, Sylar would become an unstoppable force of sheer evil. Understandably this season was mandated to define the scope and restrictions of the universe created by Tim Kring as a setting for the stories. Although there was a definite soap opera feel to season with many relationship and emotionally driven plot lines. One was that Peter’s mother, Angela (Cristine Rose), was one of the founding members of the organization hunting down the evolved human beings. Peter’s brother, Nathan (Adrian Pasdar), had the ability to fly and was quite successful with his political ambitions. This would open the rate her alternate universes he would raise to the position of president of the United States.
Volume Two: Generations
This season takes place five months after the dramatic conclusion of the previous season and introduces the audience to much of the background of the mysterious Company. The company was founded around 1977 one of its initial concerns was the effects of various strains of the Shanti virus on the super human and regular populations. Things get out of hand in the major threat for the season is a pandemic of the virus sweeping across the globe. One of the favorite themes of the series creator, Tim Kring, is his fascination with how drastic global events deeply affected by individuals located around the world connected by some unseen force or set of circumstances.
Volume Three: Villains
In the secret headquarters of the Corporation there is containment facility refer to rise ‘Level Five’. They’re the most dangerous super humans are in prisons in order to prevent them harming others on potentially large scale. To this point most of the people with powers why the good or somewhat morally ambiguous. Level Five contain such a wide variety of truly evil individuals with spectacularly powerful abilities that much of the season is focused on their goal of creating havoc panic in the streets. The have to come together in some way, putting individual conflicts aside to be more effective in combating this growing menace. Nathan’s political influence and power increases. He is also targeted by Sylar who wants to resume his identity by means of an appearance morphing ability Sylar. Now it is up to HRG to coordinate to recapture. The villains who is complicated by the reappearance of Peter and Nathan’s father, Arthur Petrelli (Robert Forster). He possesses a formula that would give normal people special abilities creating global havoc. In a showdown with Peter manages to take his powers from him.
Volume Four: Fugitives
The third season concludes with the aftermath of the fall of the Company and its covert research facility, Pinehurst. The super humans try their best to live normal lives. There also storylines that span several timelines with the goal is to make a correction in the past that will correct something going wrong in the present. A final showdown with Sylar results in the death of the real Nathan Petrelli with the arch villain still in his form. Many feel that the resolution that they came up with of allowing Sylar to continue believing he’s Petrelli while his real memories are trapped the super human Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg). These started out as being able to read people’s minds but his power to the point that he can now exert more control over others.
Volume Five: Redemption
In this season the main antagonist is a traveling carnival all of the people have powers. Peter, it is also powered state, has become a paramedic who occasionally uses his ability to perform unusual rescues unbeknownst anyone. Claire goes to college where she has to try to blend in and keep from knowing what she is. She has to give up the one thing she truly loves, cheerleading, since that figure had become too well-known. When she has to deny knowing how to do a dangerous stunt to keep a secret she tries it with you no one was around. After someone sees a healing from a badly inflicted injury a secret is out. Fortunately the girl has a crush on Claire and they begin to move to being a couple. The leader of the callable wants to create a safe haven for people with powers. He has the ability to move the ground which becomes increasingly more powerful in proportion to the number of super humans nearby. The danger lies and if he attracts too many followers could potentially create and planet cracking earthquake. He wants to bring enhanced humans out of the shadows making them known to the world. Claire winds up staying at the carnival and believing that those in power should be outed. The series concludes with the doing just that. That is also the point that leads into the current miniseries, ‘Heroes Reborn’. It should be noted that this is basically a repackaging of previously released season sets. It is primarily targeted to those who are just getting into the series or fans who want to move up from a DVD collection to Blu-ray.