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Tuesday February 6, 2007 5:40 pm

How Did Peter Petrelli Regenerate?

Peter PetrelliAt the risk of spoiling part of last night’s episode of , I felt like talking about it a bit, because this was a pivotal moment in the series that hints at many things to come. Namely, for the first time, Peter was able to use a power acquired from someone else, without being in the vicinity of the person.

So how did it happen? As we saw in the show last night, Mr. Invisible threw Peter off of the roof of The Artist’s building, thinking that it would force Peter to fly. Instead, something more spectacular happened ... Peter crashed into the roof of a taxi. Peter explained his miraculous survival as having thought of The Cheerleader just before he landed, but I think there was more to it.

Claire’s power is involuntary. She can’t control whether or not she heals herself, it just happens. Similarly, once Peter acquired her power, he too gained an ability that was involuntary. So far, just about every other ability we’ve seen, The Politician’s ability to fly, Hiro’s ability to manipulate time, and even The Policeman’s ability to read minds ... each of these has an element of control to it. Until Peter learned how to tap into these abilities, he wouldn’t be able to control them. The manifestation of Claire’s regeneration ability was that catalyst. (Not that this was the first time he’s manifested a latent ability ... he’s been channelling The Artist’s ability to see the future for a while now, something that was originally an involuntary ability only manifesting when he was high.)

However, my theory is that this one event is actually that sets off the chain reaction leading up to the destruction of New York. Peter has already been around most of the Heroes at one point or another, and now knows how he can access those abilities, but lacks the necessary control. What is going to happen when he is reminded of Ted, The Nuclear Man ... the person that caused Peter’s radiation sickness? Boom. Will that be the end of Peter if it happens? Of course not ... as we’ve learned by the lesson of Claire’s Mom, it doesn’t appear that you can be killed by the manifestation of your own ability. This is one of the things I love about this show ... they are establishing the ground rules by which the world operates, and they’re letting you in on those rules piece by piece. Much like how The Sixth Sense stayed true to itself by operating within the bounds of strict rules, so too does Heroes. Sadly, Heroes is also doing a much better job of dishing out information that keeps you interested than Lost did in its last season (I hope tonight turns that trend around).

Something else just occurred to me as I was watching the show last night as well. Every Hero needs a Villian, and I think it’s interesting that as far as we can tell, Peter and Sylar have the same ability but on opposite ends of the spectrum. Could this be another of the rules? Does each hero have a counterpart? Could this be why the show hinted at Jessica becoming a villian in the next episode? (Or did it? It looked like Matt Parkman was involved ...)

Of course, I haven’t ruined all of the surprises in the show, so if you haven’t watched it yet, make sure you do. In particular, be sure to check out the license plate on the car that Hiro’s father gets into. That was a particularly good piece of geek lore.

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