Heroes season 4 episode 16 review

This week's Heroes episode was, for a change, better than expected, but only slightly…

Hiro’s dream-land trial was a rather bizarre way to apparently back out of his inevitable death. Bringing back a variety of dead characters to accuse him of acting against the Hero’s code was a weak idea, and the execution itself was weak, with confused arguments, poor characterisation and the kind of resolution that doesn’t make a lot of sense anyway.

Admittedly, it was good to see David Anders back as Adam Munroe, though largely as a reminder of happier times for the series, when they had a villain with clear motivation and purpose. Although, he did get the first genuinely funny line for a while: “Objection, your honour, he’s quoting the intro to Quantum Leap.”

Sylar’s intersection with Claire’s plot was, once again, the victim of Heroes‘ penchant for using loosely prophetic images to get characters where it wants them. Sylar knows Claire can help him with his murder-impotence problem, so he kidnaps her – but there’s no motivation beyond a tattoo, so he’s left sort of unsure what to do and just sort of talks at her until he gets a pencil in the eye. So far, so tedious, but the twist of Gretchen turning out to be a shape-shifted Sylar was actually a good one that, admittedly, I didn’t see coming – a long-overdue reminder that the Heroes writers can actually execute a twist if they think about it properly.

Regrettably, this confluence leads to two new plots emerging that are both a bit rubbish: Sylar deciding that he wants to lose his powers, which involves him turning up at, er, the Parkman household for what one imagines will be tedious scenes of Matt Parkman shouting at him. Meanwhile, Claire realises that she’s been a bit of a cold-hearted bitch and decides to… well, it’s not really clear. Possibly embark on that hinted-at lesbian relationship with Gretchen which hasn’t been mentioned or referred to for 10 episodes.

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Of course, if that’s what they’re doing, then it might’ve made sense to have had the two characters actually indulge in some behaviour that demonstrates their sexuality. For example, kissing one another. Or doing anything else that two purely platonic friends might draw the line at, for example.

The idea that two heterosexual characters on Heroes might signify the start of their relationship by walking off holding hands is, frankly, ludicrous, so if that’s all Claire and Gretchen are allowed to do as bisexual or homosexual characters (depending on what week it is), then it’s nothing less than shameful and embarrassing on the part of everyone involved.

As far as plots go, though, it’s Samuel who gets the worst rap. After 17 episodes of him being presented as a sinister evil-doer, someone, somewhere, realised that no-one could really understand why all the main characters were so worried about his plan to create a homeland for people with abilities to live, worry-free. So now, after being dumped by his old girlfriend, he’s become incredibly angry and destroyed a town, thus proving that he’s a threat. Fair enough. At least he is actually dangerous now.

Once again, then, an error-riddled and confusingly-plotted episode of Heroes where everyone acted out of character, which, by this point, can be considered entirely consistent with their previous appearances. Next week: more of the same, I suppose.

Check out our review of episode 15 here.