Edited to fix links, because TWoP reorganized during the cataclysmic site renovation.
Heroes episode 1.20, which Sara‘s TiVo thinks is called “String Theory” (even though it’s actually called “Five Years Goneâ€) and which you can watch here, was more obviously an awesome episode than an emotional one, but it moved me more than any episode since “Company Man” (watch it). We learned that Hiroâ€”the bubbly, excitable otaku who marvels at everything (â€œall full of hope and optimism,” says Future Peter)â€”became Future Hiroâ€”hard, unsmiling, cold, consumed by a single goalâ€”when Ando died. Read it carefully: Ando’s death took all the joy out of Hiro’s life. Even more, Future Hiro’s overriding reason for traveling back in time and telling Peter to save the cheerleader wasn’t to avert the deaths of millions of New Yorkers when Peter exploded; it was to keep Ando from dying.
And now it’s time for the breakdown.
Future Hiro’s visit to Peter in the subway was the beginning of the primary story arc for season 1. Remember all the promos? “Save the cheerleader, save the world.” It turns out to have been misguidedâ€”Future Hiro’s idea that if Peter could keep Sylar from eating Claire’s brain and acquiring her power of regeneration (is it any wonder I love this show?) then Hiro would be able to kill Sylar before he could nuke half of NYC was based on the false premise that Sylar was the bomb, not Peterâ€”but it was the engine that basically ran the show this season. And it was fueled by luuuuuve: Hiro’s love for Ando. Maybe I’m not connecting the dots with a thick enough pen, or maybe you’re following along just fine, but it seems apparent to me that season 1 of Heroes was kick-started by one man’s deep, devoted, lasting (remember, “Five Years Gone” wasâ€¦five years later) love for another man. I don’t know of any other mainstream show that’s willing to portray any kind of same-sex love that positively, that nobly. It was breathtaking for me, when I got to Ando and Future Peter’s scene in the strip club. (Dirty!)
And as far as teh gay on the show, it seems worth mentioning the whole ruckus over Claire’s friend Zach, who was intended (and pretty clearly communicated) as a gay character. Somebodyâ€”either Thomas Dekker or his peopleâ€”got cold feet, and the show lost its only gay character. Hiro’s motivation here strikes me as a marvelous way to restore an element to the show that we know was supposed to be present.