March 11, 2007

TV Finale Review: Las Vegas - "Heroes"

Las Vegas has been something of a guilty pleasure ever since it premiered four years ago. It's a series that is easy to get into, doesn't require a lot of brain power, and offers comedy, action, and drama, all in one slickly produced package. This season, more than in seasons past has had something a long burn leading up to the season finale. The season is already over, with the most recent episode, "Heroes," marking the end of season four, making way for the return of the Penn Jillette hosted series, Identity. I am saddened that the season is already over, especially with all of the story threads that were coming to a head as this one closed. I guess that is a good thing, you know, get everyone excited and leave them wanting more.

There was a lot going on in this season-ender, leaving many questions open, and being completely aggravating in the lack of any resolution. When the episode ended a big Darth Vader like "NOOOOOO!" went off in my head. I want more! OK, it may not be as engrossing and compelling as Heroes, 24, Veronica Mars, or Battlestar Galactica, but it is so entertaining that I want to see more. It is fun to sit back and enjoy something like this, where everything unfolds in front of you at a good pace, simultaneously not requiring too much thought and not playing the audience for fools.

As the episode starts, many of the characters are reaching crisis mode. Sam (Vanessa Marcil) has been drugged and put in a trunk by one of her whales (Richard Burgi), a whale that had proposed marriage. That is on top of Sam's estranged husband, Casey (Dean Cain, not appearing this season), dying in a bizarre accident and leaving the hospital and millions of dollars of debt to the casino hostess. Meanwhile, Mary (Nikki Cox) went out and bought a gun following the release of her abusive father from jail, what she plans to do with the gun is obvious, now whether or not the serially nice girl can do it is another question. Then Delinda (Molly Sims) is having trouble finding the right time/moment to tell Danny (Josh Duhamel) that she is pregnant, while she fears he has continued feelings for his old flame, Mary. Ed (James Caan) is considering becoming a part owner of the casino while his wife urges him to retire and leave the business. Danny has a war buddy appear at the casino, all while Mike (James Lesure) bounces around the periphery of all the stories, not having a primary focus of his own. Yes indeed, lots going on.

Each of the threads weave together into the tapestry of the episode, all interconnecting while never taking the strength away from the others. This show always has a core of familial friendship. All of these characters mean something to each other, and it shows through, even when they are apart.

Sam's story takes us into her personal hell. She is a woman who is in control of every aspect of her life, and seeing her entrapped and helpless is a new position for her to be in. For those who watched, and I am assuming that you did, how uncomfortable was it to see her break out of the trunk, struggle to get the tape off her mouth and scream bloody murder? Can you imagine being in her position? The tension as she struggled to find a way out with Vince, the whale, is on his way back to the room is enough to get you on the edge of your seat. Her story ends with Vince flying her away in his jet, while Mike is just a little too late to catch up. I have to mention, Richard Burgi is seriously creepy as Vince Petersen.

Mary's story involves everyone else at some point. Everyone is concerned what may happen with her and the gun, and when she does leave the casino, Danny and Ed follow (although not together). She goes to her father's favorite bar, with the seeming intentionof shooting him. As she approaches him in the parking lot, Danny and Ed watch on, with their guns drawn. Then shots ring out, and you get reaction shots of all three regulars, what you don't see is who pulled the trigger. That is interrupted as an explosion rings out and fire bursts from high up the Montecito's wall. As the three look back in horror, Danny says "Delinda!" which leads us to another piece of the story. This is a new look for Mary, who has always been the nice girl. This season has sought to bring her into a new state of mind, which hshe has had trouble dealing with.

Earlier, a war buddy to whom Danny owes his life arrives, begging Danny for help to go UA (Unauthorized absence). The man is clearly not in his right mind to go back to a warzone, having already served three tours. Danny sets out to try and get him to stay home, and by going to the lengths he does, he may be jeopardizing his own continued safety as well as his relationship with Delinda and the unborn child he knows nothing about, to this point. Unfortunately, before he can give his pal the good word, he is off to protect Mary. Delinda goes to break the word, and finds the guy making a bomb in his hotel suite. Now, if you remember what happened in the prior paragraph, things should be starting to come together. The burgeoning relationship between Danny and Delinda has built nicely through the season in both comedic and dramatic arcs, from their lists, to designing the apartment, to Ed always trying to have some sort of control.

To top everything off, with all of the principal's out of the building, the casino is hit. An active robbery is occurring in the Montecito vault. We get some security cam video of the robbery, and there is plenty of gunfire and automatic weapons, whatever is at the root of this, it's big.

There was a lot going on in the 43 minute show. The makers have done a nice buildup throughb the season, with the personality changes in Mary, to the personality conflict between Ed and Dannyw ith Delinda in the middle, the desire for Ed to retire, and all sorts of other stuff. "Heroes" did a good job of tying everything together in an explosive head.

Now we have to wait who knows how long for season five to roll around and clue us in to what happens. This is a show that consistently entertains, and I have to recommend that you all give it a shot. It is pure popcorn TV. On a side note, how come they can only use the Elvis track on TV? It doesn't appear on the DVD nor on the online broadcasts.


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