Nathan Petrelli Controls Worlds

10 Dec

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.


Posted by on December 10, 2007 in Entertainment


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12 responses to “Nathan Petrelli Controls Worlds

  1. Dan

    December 10, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    Unfortunately, the revelation that pretty much anybody can be brought back from the dead using blood from either Adam or Claire does somewhat remove the sense of jeopardy. I’m not too worried about Nathan, I guess, but we’ll see (or not, if the strike continues). I like your theory though…

    But taking Nathan over Noah? I mean, c’mon: Noah is in my mind one of the best characters the show has to offer. A truly conflicted man who rides that line between black and white, trying to keep his family safe even if it means doing things that aren’t exactly squeaky clean. I was far more broken up about his “death” than Nathan’s. But hey, maybe that’s just me. 😉

  2. halfawake

    December 10, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    You make a good point about Noah. I actually like his character too. I was just annoyed with the *way* they brought him back (i.e. – his coming back didn’t really seem to affect the plot, other than pointlessly taunting his family in the final minutes of the finale). I would have preferred to see him come back (or at least, reappear to his family) next season.

  3. Dan

    December 10, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    Agreed. It was kind of cheapened by the speed, though I might blame that on the story being condensed by the writers’ strike so they tried to close everything up by the end of “Volume 2.”

  4. Jason

    December 10, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    I think that the whole “change destinies” angle is probably a little too “thinky” for network TV, but I also think that you may be on to something about Nathan being able to do more than just fly.

    Also, I agree that being able to raise the dead on a whim does trivialize actual death in this show, but I have a strong sense that this is going to be applied ridiculously unevenly. Why didn’t Peter just telekinetically cut himself open and feed Nathan his blood in the finale? He regenerates too. Maybe he will when volume 3 restarts, but my guess is that it has more to do with lazy writers.

    When people asked Tim Kring why Peter didn’t just fly off himself at the end of season one, Kring said something about how you’re not supposed to be thinking that (because it’s just so darn dramatic and emotional). Episodes later, they inserted some line about how it took all of Peter’s concentration not to explode, so he couldn’t use his other powers. I suspect that if Nathan does stay dead, then episodes later we’ll hear some post-hoc explanation about how Peter’s blood doesn’t work as well as Adam’s/Claire’s, or how Peter didn’t think of this in time and there’s a narrow window in which bringing back from the dead must occur, or something similar.

  5. halfawake

    December 10, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    I think it was implied that Noah Bennet was revived some time after he had died, since he woke up in a totally different location (presumably New York City). However, I think they could reasonably explain that Peter’s regeneration is not transferrable, since he is “mimicing” the abilities of others. Of course, they could reasonably do whatever they want I suppose :-D.

  6. Kristen

    December 11, 2007 at 8:15 am

    I think Peter doesn’t know at this point that the blood can bring you back to life. He’s only seen it heal Nathan, not actually raise someone from the dead. The only people who have been zombiefied by the blood are Noah and Maya. (Right?) So like, the raise from the dead knowledge is with Mohinder… and Sylar, since Mohinder can’t remember the f-ing password protect his super secret files.

  7. halfawake

    December 11, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    It occurred to me that they could retcon a hacking ability into Sylar’s powers, since he can intuitively see how things work. But yeah Suresh is a tool.

  8. halfawake

    December 22, 2007 at 1:52 am

    And now it has retroactively occured to me that Sylar didn’t have his powers (because of the virus) when he ‘hacked’ into Suresh’s computer, so my explanation doesn’t cut it. And Suresh is still a tool.

  9. Heroesfan

    March 26, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Does anyone remeber that it was adam’s blood that was given to Nathan, this should- as Suresh says- ‘Fortify his antibodies to cure anyone’, suresh says this after he injects himself with claire’s blood. If suresh can then pass on his own blood to save people, then being given the blood of a regenerator isnt a one-off thing that cures you, it allows you to have the power of regeneration. So at the end of season 2 Nathan would not have died, he couldnt have if he has the regenerative power also. If you agree with me or want to disagree write a message in reply, i really want to hear peoples thoughts on this theory 😀 thx 😀

  10. halfawake

    March 26, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    If Nathan can not only regenerate, but also heal others now, then the whole regeneration, as well as death itself, has been greatly cheapened for the series. I’m sort of hoping that doesn’t happen. On a more personal level, I don’t want Sylar to have the regeneration powers either, and since he received a dose of Claire’s blood, I take it he would by your theory.

  11. Heroesfan

    March 30, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    good point, i see what you mean, if the writers have indeed thought about this then it defeats any kind of ‘fight’ between good an evil seeing as how there are quite few few ‘invincible’ people running round. I think most of this hasnt been thought through due to the wirters strike, id like to hear some answers from the writers or some answers inclued in the plot to season 3.

  12. Lula777blue

    April 8, 2008 at 10:21 am

    I really need to know if Nathan dies. I have heard all your theories and have none myself. The anticipation is killing me. I love Nathan and if he dies I don’t think I will be interested in watching further series of Heroes. The situation is really affecting me. I need HELP.


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