Random Thoughts From Andy B: The Trouble With Time Travel In Heroes


Did you watch the third season premier of Heroes last week? If not be forewarned, there’s going to be some spoilers coming up. In fact, the whole episode is going to be spoiled right…now:

Future Peter Petrelli shot his brother Nathan.

Ok, now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’ll get into my thoughts.
I don’t like the time travel angle. And not only for the third season opener of Heroes, but generally as a creative tool. It just seems like too much of an easy out.

Consider this, and we’ll use Heroes as our convenient and current example: a Peter Petrelli comes from the future to the past, to the exact moment when his brother Nathan is about to reveal to the world that he has the ability to fly. In Peter’s future, Nathan’s revelation leads to some terrible repercussions which have yet to be revealed. So future Peter’s solution to is to pump a hail of bullets into his brother in hopes of killing him and saving the world (and the cheerleader too).

Is it me or is that a rather extreme solution, especially for one with the ability to TIME TRAVEL???

Why would Peter travel to that exact moment? Why not travel back to 5 minutes earlier, where he could stop his brother in the hallway, show him his scarred face, and say “dude, don’t do it?” I accept that perhaps that isn’t as dramatic a solution as one would be looking for in a television show, but doesn’t it just make more sense? Don’t you think that would be the logical decision? The character of Peter loves his brother. I’m fairly certain he could come up with another option, especially with his time travelling abilities.

This is the whole problem with utilizing time travel as a creative tool. It leaves you with more questions rather than acting as a reasonable solution. If your character can travel back in time, why are they choosing moment “A” when travelling back to moment “B” may do even greater good? And let’s not even get into the whole “butterfly effect” of time travel (step on a butterfly and suddenly apes rule the world, if you were wondering). On Heroes, why wouldn’t Peter travel even further back in time to prevent the death of his season one love, Simone Deveux? It doesn’t make a lot of sense now, does it?

The executive producer of Heroes is Jeph Loeb, the brilliant writer behind some of the best comic book runs of the past ten years, including The Long Halloween, Dark Victory, Spider-Man:Blue, and many others. He is unquestionably familiar with the tropes of superhero storytelling, which makes me surprised that he would allow the show to utilize such an overused and arguably illogical tool. Maybe there’s a plan; hell, there always is. I suppose I just wish I could travel to the future and find out what it is.

But that, just like travelling back in time, would be cheating.

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