Heroes season 4 episode 5 review

Finally! Heroes seems to be consistently going in a positive direction, as we're now up to two strong episodes on the bounce...

This week’s episode of Heroes felt almost like vindication for those of us who have stuck with the series for so long. A second decent episode in as many weeks? Surely, it can’t be true? But yes, it is! In fact, it might even have been better than last week. To find the last time Heroes was this good we have to go right back into Season 2. Things definitely feel as though they’re on the upswing.

This episode saw Peter trying to teach Emma about her newly discovered powers, Claire and her roommate settling into their new life at college (that’s ‘university’ to those of us on the right side of the pond) and a newly-awakened, brain-wiped Sylar trying to learn who he is. And, of course, the token appearance by Edgar and the Carnival of the Damned.

Although Emma’s synaesthesic powers have been used to create some haunting images, this episode finally gave us the twist we were waiting for, and an answer to the question: what kind of power is synaesthesia anyway? The answer: an awesome one. Her plot with Peter is rapidly becoming the most captivating in the series, probably because it goes back to the core concept of Heroes – what would it be like to be an ordinary person discovering you have a super-power.

It also helps that this time Peter gets to play the experienced, guiding hand to someone, having gone through the discovery of his powers himself. A rapport has already developed between the characters – it’s just a pity that there’s no-one around to tell Emma that Peter’s last love interest was left stranded in an potential future which was then prevented. There’s Being Dumped, and then there’s Being Peter Petrelli Dumped.

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Sylar’s amnesia plot represents a watershed moment for all genre television, too. After years of being forced to endure rather tedious memory loss filler episodes, Heroes has actually come up with a way to use amnesia so that it’s interesting.

Having endured amnesia/memory loss plots for two of Heroes‘ main cast already, the prospect of sitting through it a third time might seem excruciating, but by focusing on the ‘nature vs. nurture’ of Sylar, the writers of Heroes have made things oddly compelling.

Finally, we might see an answer as to how much of Sylar is ingrained, instinctual predatory behaviour, and how much is due to his sociopathic upbringing. At the same time, Zachary Quinto gets to demonstrate a bit of range, befitting an actor of his recently acquired Star Trek-induced status.

This episode also sees the plots finally meshing together. Although the revelation that Claire has been under close surveillance by a member of Edgar’s ‘family’ was a bit left field, the eventual receipt of Sylar starts to tie the disparate threads to one another in a way that hasn’t been done well since the first series. We still don’t know what the stakes are for the Carnies, but with their family apparently complete, hopefully we’ll find out soon.

The only place the episode really failed was in Claire’s plot thread. If the audience is supposed to accept Gretchen as being a credible romantic interest, it’d help if the two actresses had even a little chemistry on screen. Similarly, the plot logic was marred by coincidence and confusion, and a patronising flashback montage explaining how Edgar’s operative was involved only served to make things feel even less satisfying.

Still, one out of four ain’t bad. If Heroes can keep up this level of quality for the rest of the series, it’ll make cancellation seem like far less of a foregone conclusion than it did even a few episodes ago. It took a while, but things might actually be starting to look up.

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Check out our review of episode 4 here.