TNT’s ‘The Hero’ gives us Charles — a hero in every sense of the word

Rock Charles

What is the definition of a hero? If you’ve ever wondered that then you should have been watching Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s new show on TNT for the past couple of months. It’s great entertainment that covers every aspect of the word. Mentally, physically and spiritually “The Hero” challenges contestants to look deep within themselves for the answer.

Early on I put my chips in with the hero Charles. Here’s what I said after the first episode:

Currently, my early favorite is Charles, a policeman and SWAT officer. Unlike some of the other contestants, who seem to be filled with pride, Charles appears to be a rather humble guy. He’s not showy. He’s not flashy. He’s just a man who seems to be seeking the inner peace that confronting one’s fears can provide.

As the show nears its conclusion, I’m more confident than ever that Charles embodies my definition of a hero. And in the show’s final episode with a “hero’s challenge,” he didn’t just knock one out of the park — he owned the park.

Here’s what Charles faced with 35 minutes to complete the task at hand. Victory meant $80,000 for the American Red Cross or his family. Failure meant going home.

  • 8 flares within a giant soccer stadium marked the location of tablets that needed to be reached.
  • Each tablet came with a question that had to be answered correctly.
  • Wrong answers penalized him 30 seconds.
  • After correctly answering each question he had to unlock a bag filled with $10,000 from the seat it was secured to and run back to the 50 yard line.

Sounds easy, right? Wrong.

Charles soccer field

The pressure was on. Mentally, there was almost zero margin for error. Physically, a contestant had to be at the top of his game. Spiritually, he had to have an unwavering belief that he could will himself to victory. Charles delivered on all three counts, which are the kind of results the average American takes for granted when it comes to first responders, fire fighters, law enforcement and military personnel. TNT viewers should be thankful to whomever decided that ‘The Hero’ was worthwhile programming to take a chance on — because it is. If there is justice, there will be a second season of “The Hero.”

With that said, the question moves from “Did he do it?” to “How did he do it?”. The answer can be found by reading this simple exchange between The Rock and Charles:

The Rock: As a very proud police officer you sacrifice you life every day. You put it out on the line. When does the search for yourself not trump the needs of your family?

Charles: I can’t answer that right now. I think that’s part of this journey.

Rock: What are you searching for?

Charles: My search is this: When your family, your brother, your daughter, your kids need a hero — do you want me there? Because I struggle with that. I strive for that every day. When I’m filled with fear, I want to be fearless. When I feel spite in my heart, I want to find compassion. To answer your question: When I care for my family more than anything I want to be able put your family — the public’s family — first. I hate to say that to my family because my family means more than anything to me. That’s what I’m searching for.

In some sense the answer to “What is the meaning of life?” is a simple one. The meaning of life is to realize at the core of your being that you are worthy of it. How that is determined can only be answered by you. Hero Charles says more in one interaction with The Rock than many people I’ve met say in a year. The reason for that is because he gets it.

Every human being wants to be loved, but they also want to feel worthy of that love. Every human being is his own distinct and separate spiritual being, but he also possesses a connection with the rest of humanity (and the universe for that matter). Every human being is paradoxically filled with fear and filled with courage; they are filled with anger and filled with compassion. They have the power to be completely selfish or completely selfless. They are a bottomless receptacle for love but also a giver of love from a well that never runs dry. Charles “struggles” with all of this because, quite honestly, it is a lot to wrap his mind around. The good news is, he’s made it quite clear to the viewing audience that the struggle is worth the fight.

From afar I tip my hat to Charles. He is a good man, and one worthy of the title “hero.” If I ever meet him in in real life it would be an honor to shake his hand. In a television landscape littered with junk, The Rock’s “The Hero” is a diamond in the rough.

Charles The Hero