Heroes Season 4, Episode 9 Reaction Time: "Shadowboxing" - Featured

Honestly, I feel like everyone (real and fictional) sorta dropped the ball in this week's episode.



There were a couple of moments and moves that I really enjoyed, but I'm sad to say that even the elements of this season I love tended to miss the mark this episode.


I was definitely not happy to return to the utterly confusing and seemingly pointless world of Emma and Peter. This side-plot is starting to seem more and more like a way to keep up Milo Ventimiglia's screentime quotient until Peter actually becomes relevant to the story. For a few brief moments, it seemed as if Emma might be at least slightly redeemed. She sutured up that one patient and saved the little girl, and it all led up to the long-awaited reveal of her Oh So Tragic Past. Unfortunately, said Oh So Tragic Past was just plain boring. Truly sad, yes, but also completely irrelevant. I was hoping she would somehow get a little more connected to the overall Heroes 'verse, no matter how ridiculous that would be. But no. As far as I'm concerned, she is still nothing more than filler.


The good news is, it looks like Peter might finally start being relevant again soon. Nathan showed up on his doorstep, very scared and very confused and very ready to get some real answers. More on that next week, presumably.


Nathan's re-entry also means that Parkman and the Syluccination are being taken out of their isolate little corner of Season Four so far. Of every aspect of "Shadowboxing," this was the least disappointing part for me, but it was definitely not perfect. I did love Sylar's line "The world is my hostage." It was brilliant, character-perfect, and every bit as disturbing as it should have been. Another good thing was the temporary return to the Burnt Toast diner of the present, which helped to give "Shadowboxing" at least a tenuous connection to last week's "Once Upon A Time In Texas." The comedy of Matt screwing with Sylar was excellent, and the turning point from that was even better. What ruined that exchange, though, was Matt's statement that Sylar could have his body and his voice but "I will never ever let you control my ability." Matt Parkman is historically the Heroes character with the most fear/loathing of his power, and suddenly he holds on to it as the most precious thing to him? Consistency fail. Definitely redeemed, though, by Matt's last ditch effort to stop Sylar via letting himself get shot. Obviously he's not going to die, but it was still a noble and unexpected move. And Matt'll be back in his body again soon. Which is good. Because having Sylar-as-Parkman and Nathan-slash-Sylar both walking around is confusing as hell.


On the other side of the world, Claire called in the heavy guns - HRG and a happily returned Haitian to try and unravel Samuel Sullivan (and Becky's) plans. This was only slightly less pointless than the rest of Claire's storyline this season, and having Gretchen gone is surely a plus. The problem with this whole scenario is that it doesn't seem to make any sense whatsoever. Samuel wants Claire in his "family," but he's allowing Becky to get her revenge on HRG, who is reverting to his Company Man-era self for absolutely no reason. Some odds and ends in the season-spanning storyline have been connected, but I'm having some difficulty understanding how and why. I was disappointed in the Samuel/Claire scene, mostly because Robert Knepper has to bring down his performance quality a lot so that Hayden Panettiere didn't look completely out of her league. And epic fail of the episode goes unquestionably to Samuel for losing SYLAR at the expense of trying to get CLAIRE.


If previews are anything to judge by, next week looks like one of those super-important connect-the-dots installments where all the disparate plotlines start to be put together. It'll be good to finally get Mohinder back and learn exactly what the heck he got up to after disappearing at the end of Season Three, and the closer we get to a conclusion in this Nathan-Sylar-Matt business, the better. But I'm dubious of how well it will all work out. Time to wait and see.


(This review, with a few extra parenthetical notes, is also posted on my blog at http://meltedbrain.wordpress.com)

Comments

7 comments

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May 12, 2016 3:46PM EDT

I keep hoping and praying, but to me, nothing gets better!I completely agree - Emma is just a filler - and a bad one at that - possibly the worst 'hero' in the series' history.
But about Parkman guarding his ability - I don't see that as a "consistency fail" at all. He came to the point where that was all he had left. He lost his body to Sylar why not protect the only asset he had left - his ability. Sylar being ability-less would be the least deadliest (of course he's still a killer, but this time he has to work at it) so I found it totally within character for Parkman to try and keep him that way. This is by far the best of Parkman I have seen, but I do still wish that he was the one killed off rather than Nathan, but it is what it is now :-(
I won't say I hope the show improves now, I'll just say that I hope that this is the last season and it goes out with some closed (they don't even have to be that good) storylines!

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Nov 11, 2009 9:54PM EST

I couldnt disagree more when it comes to this episode. I thought it was well paced, generally interesting and I understood the points made in this even if anyone else doesnt. Just because someone doesnt understand something doesnt neccessarily make it bad.Emma is absolutly perfect for the theme of this volume; in case people don't remember this volume is called 'Redemption' and Emma is being redeemed and being saved by Peter, that is his role at the moment and he has been playing it very well. It may not be as exciting as previous volumes but it is at least believable. I think it is one of the most touching relationships Heroes has produced so far.Sylar and Matt Parkan have easily been one of the most interesting aspects of this volume so far, Zachary Quinto demonstrated that he is capable of comedic moments. Matt's line; " I will never ever let you control my ability" does not come from a sudden love of his ability but by the realisation that Sylar would be terribly destructive with his ability. Matt is a cop fundamentally and preserving human life is his passion and his motivation.As for Samuel, I think he has been playing a very clever game and has been well developed so far; gradual manipulation in bringing people willingly to his 'family'. By stopping Alice in front of Claire he has positioned himself as a trustworthy (and truthful) individual whislt being able to sew doubt in Claire's mind about HRG. He intends to turn Claire against her father because Noah represents everything she hates and once he has her, Samuel will let Alice take her revenge. It's very clever storytelling in my mind and Samuel is not the typically obvious villain as say Sylar, Arthur or Danko because unlike them, he does generate sympathy.I'm looking forward to seeing how the Nathan/Sylar aspect continues. I think Heroes is on to its best written season since 'Genesis'.

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Nov 13, 2009 1:49AM EST

The only thing i agree with you is the sylar in matt, and nathan in sylar crap is hell annoying and confusing. Everything else i disagree.PS. wasn't mohinder dead in that episode "Once Upon A Time In Texas?"Anyways Claire's the best!! :)

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Nov 13, 2009 6:08AM EST

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Nov 14, 2009 3:24PM EST

you have everything backwards- the peter/emma storyline is the only interesting one. The rest seem hopelessly contrived. I really hope parkman dies- after getting shot 20 times, it would make the show seem silly to have him survive.The redeeming parts of this episode were emma/peter's interaction, (they, out of all the heroes, seem to be conscious of the real world around them) and parkman's death. His character is whiny and boring, but this self sacrifice gives him a dignified end.

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Nov 15, 2009 3:30PM EST

im kinda wondering where emma is gonna go too... when she played the cello a few episodes ago and cracked her wall i thought that was really cool but seriously, she wont be carrying a musical instrument around with her to fight the bad guys... death by flute? i dont think so.and matt CANT die. if he does we lose sylar as the main villain and the show would completely suck. he can die after sylar gets extracted from his brain... but until then he's got to live. also, why is the future not very affected by the fact that hiro saved charlie and didnt let sylar get her ability? was it just that he hardly evr used her super memory?

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Nov 16, 2009 2:39PM EST

I think that Emma was a perfect addition to Heroes. I absolutly love her ability! I think that she really adds something to the show.

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