Heroes: Sylar as good guy?

So far in this third series of Heroes, [[Sylar]] has been recruited to the
good guys, and he’s discovered that he is fully-fledged member of the Petrelli
clan.

There’s a nice counter-point here. As Sylar makes his first tentative steps
towards becoming a ‘goodie’, his squeaky clean brother Peter inherits Sylar’s
craving for power. Symbolically, the two have swapped places – the irredeemably
evil Sylar showing signs of humanity, a sudden bond with Angela Petrelli and a
seemingly genuine desire to do the right thing.

At the same time, Peter Petrelli is losing the plot pretty fast, almost
giving Nathan a special power-sapping lobotomy. Which is kind of strange,
because Sylar killed in order to take people’s powers, but Peter already has the
ability to gain powers just by being close to another superhero. So whatever
gift has been passed to Peter, it includes a compulsion to murder, which puts
him in league with the bad guys he so reviles.

There are ample instances where Sylar could have reverted to type and gone on
a killing spree. One is when Noah Bennet tried to coerce one of the ‘villains’ to send Sylar into a black hole. Sylar doesn’t even bat an eyelid, or try to exact his revenge.

Having lobotomized Claire at one point, Sylar later saves her from getting sucked into a black hole. Moreover, in an attempt to distance himself from his past, he reverts to his real name – Gabriel Gray and refuses to accept being called Sylar.

What’s the attraction in this storyline? That tentative truce that Sylar seems to have engaged in driven by his new devotion to Angela Petrelli. Insults, eletrcical attacks and physical punches no longer provoke a reaction. Sylar has become almost holier than thou – especially that brief glimpse of him as a family man in the future.

Of course, this is in keeping with the whole theme of the new series – who are the heroes and who are the villains? With the gormless scientist Mohinder turning into a human insect, and collecting the bodies of hero-kind, our perception of who is good and who is evil in the series is being challenged.

The fun thing is waiting for Sylar to crack and go back to his old ways. And I can totally accept the turnaround in his character – in many superhero stories, there’s a point where the heroes and villains form an uneasy alliance. It’s what happens next that will be exciting – is it inevitable that Sylar will reprise his role as primo bad guy in the series?

What do you think?

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