The title aptly describes the show’s creators in their efforts to approach the quality of the first season.

Title: Powerless

Cast

David Anders as Adam
Sendhil Ramamurthy as Mohinder Suresh
Zachary Quinto as Sylar
Masi Oka as Hiro Nakamura
Noah Gray-Cabey as Micah Sanders
Dania Ramirez as Maya
Hayden Panettiere as Claire Bennett
Ali Larter as Niki Sanders
Stephen Tobolowsky as Bob
Jack Coleman as Noah Bennett
Dana Davis as Monica Dawson
Kristen Bell as Elle
Greg Grunburg as Matt Parkman
Adair Tishler as Molly
Milo Ventimiglio as Peter Petrelli
Adrian Pasdar as Nathan Petrelli
James Kyson Lee as Ando Masahashi
Nicholas D’Agosto as West

Premise

Adam, Hiro, Peter, and others face each other in Texas. Elle gets taken off the job, but decides to intervene in Brooklyn, where Sylar holds several characters hostage. Micah and Niki encounter trouble rescuing Monica in a potentially interesting plot that remains stubbornly separate from the rest of the season. Startling announcements almost get made, characters may or may not die, and Sylar regains his powers.

High Points

The show still has potential and a generally strong cast. If they can come up with a new direction, I could be tempted to watch the next season.

Low Points

Unlike many viewers, I’ve been in Maya’s corner, arguing that the character has potential and they might have an impressive payoff for her. Apparently, I was wrong. In this final episode, we see abrupt shifts of allegiance that would make Mohinder’s head spin, followed by another temporary death. The gave her a complicated backstory and then reduced her to a plot device. Sylar returns as the key menace. He’s a good actor and a great villain, but the show needs a new direction.

The Scores

Originality: 2/6. The episode showed a stunning lack of imagination, as anything that might shake up the status quo was neatly sidestepped.1 The only surprising move was Hiro’s needlessly cruel method of dealing with Adam. That seems to have more to do with having Adam available to return (does he, however, not need to eat?) then a major development to Hiro’s optimistic personality, which it should be. At least, that’s how I’m placing my bets. Does anyone ever definitively die on this show? C’mon, Hiro. Cut off Adam’s head. Travel back to the Cretaceous and shove Adam down a tyrannosaurus gullet. Drop him in the ocean over the sharks the show is currently jumping. Don’t rip off The Vanishing, with thoughts of bringing Adam back.

Effects: 5/6.

Story: 3/6 I realize the writers’ strike has had an impact, but this finale made for a disjointed mess, with much of the plot developing from bad decisions. Characters can, of course, make bad decisions, but they should be bad decisions those characters would conceivably make. Peter trusts a relative stranger and makes no attempt to read his mind. Mohinder, supposed genius, makes incredibly stupid choices.

The episode also leaves a good many loose ends.

Acting: 4/6. In addition to the usual actors who receive credit for strong performances, Dana Davis (Monica) and Adair Tishler (Molly) show significant potential—- but get very little to do.

West needs to fly away.

Emotional Response: 3/6 I recognize the convention that allows shows to cross-cut among storylines that may not occur at the same time, but it was disconcerting to see the Electric Elle make it from California to Brooklyn while elsewhere, short-lived conflicts unfolded. If I’m thinking of these things, the story has lost my full attention

Production: 5/6

Overall: 3/6

In total, “Powerless” receives 25/42.

1. Granted, two major characters died. One we’ve not seen much lately, and the impact of both deaths has been rendered meaningless by the show’s frequent use of the Revolving Door of Death, one convention that should’ve been left with mainstream comics.