On Heroes, the best powers are reserved for a select three to four people who move the plot, such as it is, forward. For every lead who can instantly heal or fly, there are about a dozen who can learn things fairly quickly or who have super duper hearing. Today, we examine the losers of the Heroes world and discuss why having their powers is more embarrassing than just saying you didn't have the power and showing people your stamp collection instead.
He has a precognitive painting ability and the ability to turn pupils white, thus disguising one's self kind of as an albino if necessary. Imagine someone chasing you and you had to blend in with a number of albinos provided you could only see their eyes. It gets complicated, right?
Why It Sucks:
The ability to paint the future, as long it narrowly concerns a limited set of people with whom you've never met, sounds like the power equivalent of being handed the scripts to the entire next season of As the World Turns. Assuming you don't watch As the World Turns (and we assume you, not being a 40-year-old woman, don't), this power would be all but worthless.
You never saw Isaac painting something useful such as next week's stock ticker or the result of horse races or lottery numbers. Instead, he'd just paint pictures of a nuclear explosion which never happened. And, the power's not even that accurate. Why didn't he paint a picture of Nathan Petrelli flying Peter to safety, seeing as how that's what actually happened?
With this power, you would get up each day, turn your eyes a milky white color, and paint something like your next door neighbor buying a new Dodge Stratus six months from now. Add to this power the cost of canvasses, oil paint and brushes, and you have what amounts to one expensive and fairly useless hobby.
He can hear other people's thoughts.
Why It Sucks:
Kind of Counselor Troi-esque in its scope, this ability allows one to perceive the thoughts of anyone around them. This doesn't make sense on several levels, primarily because thoughts, if you think about it (ha!), are extremely disjointed and nonsensical, kind of like a slightly less disturbing David Lynch film with fewer fish babies and more fantasies of yourself as a sports hero.
However, assuming you could hear thoughts beyond the typically random commercial jingles and incoherent half-thoughts evaluating the need to go to the bathroom now or if they can hold it, you'd find out what people would really think of you. You'd walk into a room sporting a new moustache and nine out of 10 people would be thinking "child molester." On the upside of things, you'd pretty much always know when your zipper was down or if you had a whistling booger. So there's that.
Of course, in the second season Parkman developed the ability to alter people's thoughts, but that's pretty much an entirely different power. Presumably the writers decided to give themselves a mulligan after realizing that his original power basically enabled him to listen to people's internal evaluation of how comfortable their underpants are and disjointed "director's cuts" of their sentences.