This post contains spoilers from the second season finale of Heroes.
I have a secret theory about Nathan Petrelli on Heroes. I think his ability extends beyond the power of flight.
Let’s see what Nathan has going for him:
- He can fly, and seems to have better control over his abilities than anyone else in the series (with the possible exception of Micah Sanders).
- He’s the son of two Company founders.
- He’s brother to Peter Petrelli, ostensibly the most powerful evolved human in the series.
- He has at least one child with abilities (Claire).
- In one version of the future, he actually did become president of the United States (although Sylar secretly took his place at some point).
- In both Season One and Season Two, at the climactic moment of the finale, in the instant where the fate of humanity hung in the balance, he took action that saved the world.
- Both times that Nathan was the lynch pin in saving the world, he played that role when other characters had been to the future, and seen that we were doomed. He changed the course of a future that had already been independently verified.
- The Company chose him to save the world after the impending destruction of New York City (as the strong leader who could unite the country).
The final two points are perhaps the most important. There’s something special about Nathan. The Company could have chosen anyone to be their front-man in the Oval Office, but they chose him. They went as far as telling him that it was his destiny. Sure, he had a bit of legacy with his parents being company founders, but he didn’t receive any special training, and his self-propelled flight certainly doesn’t help him lead any better.
So why did they choose Nathan? And why was Nathan a necessary ingredient to save the world in both seasons? I think there’s an unspoken subtext to his character, which is that he has the ability to change destinies. It sounds a bit campy, but if you think about the influence he has had, and the way the Company planned to use his influence, it makes sense. And the power to alter destiny is similar to the ability to overcome gravity, if our destiny is in fact to be bound to the Earth. It’s certainly not any more far-fetched than Maya’s “poison emission” ability, and this wouldn’t be the first time that a hero who can fly is shown to have the power to change the future.
Kristen tells me that this theory is “too thinky for prime-time drama”, and the fact that Nathan was shot multiple times in the finale does not bode well for an expansion on his abilities, but I think my interpretation fleshes things out nicely because it allows the timelines of the series to be internally consistent. I’m hoping he’ll make a miraculous comeback (hey – I’d definitely prefer to see him come back rather than Noah Bennet) and I’m looking forward to the next chapter.