Heroes Season 4, Episode 8 Reaction Time: "Once Upon A Time In Texas" - Featured

I think my brain just exploded from awesome. I know the folks at Heroes and NBC have been promoting the hell of this episode. Despite that - or maybe because of it - I had some serious misgivings going in.

Because the announced plotline of Hiro going back in time to save Charlie, revisiting one of the better episodes of Season One, just screams "desperate measure." What possible value could such an episode actually have to the show? How could it possibly not lead to disappointment at watching the writers beat the hell out of an old piece of solid work? Answer: JUST FREAKING WATCH IT.

Once upon a time Heroes had the capability to be so awesome it would send me into fangirl conniptions. The craziness is back! Just the credits were enough to drive me into hysterics - Robert Knepper is officially part of the regular cast (as opposed to being a guest star), Elisabeth Rohm is on board (because Heroes can always use another square-faced blonde), and Jayma Mays and Santiago Cabrera and Nora Zehetner!!!

And then came the episode itself.

For the first few minutes, the expansion of the world of the Burnt Toast Diner worried me a little. I felt like giving Sylar a face and a name back in the days when his whole identity was fear in a black ball cap would ruin the mood. I guess I was forgetting that we're not in Season One anymore. This is Season Four, and the rules have most definitely changed. The effect of combining the two was basically magic.

The back-and-forth between Hiro and Sylar, Sylar and Charlie, and Charlie and Hiro were at once brilliantly nostalgic and a fascinating kind of new. I don't remember Hiro and Sylar ever having this sort of a face to face confrontation and it seems long overdue, given that their values and characters are so completely at odds. The writers definitely delivered in this part. As did the fx guys doing all the time-stops and whoever designed that Western-style face-off camera shot. And, best of all, after all the wackiness in the "present" of this season, it was SOOO refreshing to have a dose of good ol' evil as anything Sylar. Zachary Quinto is always a badass, but there are few things better than his early-style Sylar.

The whole Hiro and Charlie bit, which was of course the crux of the whole episode, was saccharine like nothing else. If Hiro weren't so cheerily hilarious in his earnestness, and if Jayma Mays wasn't RIDICULOUSLY adorable, it might have been vomit-worth. As it was, other than the necessarily sickening "happily ever after" conversation, that part of the plot was so genuinely sweet even my dark, shriveled heart that screams for blood and gore couldn't help sighing happily.

I could have gone for more Ando time in this episode, since there hasn't been nearly enough of him this season. But I guess the hilarity of deep-voiced Hiro and his assurance that "Actually, the cheerleader's going to be...fine" will suffice for now.

Over on the other side of town, HRG.

I'm not sure why that happened, to be completely honest. My best guess is that the writers are setting up for some upcoming twists and developments - possibly Lauren (Elisabeth Rohm) in the present? Hopefully there is a purpose beyond just expanding the already massively-complicated enigma that is Noah Bennet. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. HRG is and probably always be the most fascinating and favorite character on Heroes for me. I don't like that he went and almost had an affair. I could have done without Claire and her fake ponytail and totally unnecessary screentime. But I would be lying if I said the nerdfangirl didn't die of happiness at Jack Coleman doing Shakespeare. Cheesy? Yes. Made my life? ABSOLUTELY.

The closing portion of the episode was unquestionably the most phenomenal part of a magical, masterful episode. Bringing Charlie into the present might actually work out, and I never in a million years would have expected to say that. But it really might. (And I definitely would be in favor of that because, again, Jayma Mays is the cutest thing in the universe.) Even if that's not how it all pans out, Hiro is in the clutches of Samuel Sullivan now and I am dying of anticipation. Robert Knepper's unravelling of the Samuel Sullivan manipulation puzzle was one of the most delectably evil performance pieces I have ever seen, especially since he also delivered it with some stirrings of a sort of sick remorse that fascinates and nauseates in equal measure. (For the first time, Sylar has some serious competition in the villain department, in terms of evil and in terms of delivery.) All of it led to the most genuine surprise I've had all season. I got so caught up in the episode that I forgot about Sendhil Ramamurthy being in the opening credits but never showing up in the episode. And then there he was BAM! in the floor full of bullets (or maybe they were rocks, I couldn't tell...). My eyes almost fell out I was so suprised and amazed.

I am soooooooooo looking forward to the next couple weeks. And I say "couple" because next week looks like it's going to be a lot less fun because it's a lot more Peter And The Weirdest Thing To Happen To This Show Since Maya. So we'll probably have to wait a bit before all the doors opened in this episode actually lead anywhere.


(This review also posted on my blog at http://meltedbrain.wordpress.com)


Default avatar cat
Nov 3, 2009 4:06AM EST

that episode was amazingi never saw any previews of it so i naturally assumed it was gonna be a claire episodeim so glad it wasn tit was so good to see them go back and re-visit certain situationsim so glad they brought charlie back into it because i felt like she couldve been a big character when she first appeared i was trully gutted when they killed her off.i liked the way you can see how hiro has grown into this character who isnt afraid like he was beforei mean season one who could see him playing that cat and mouse game with sylar
the HRG thing didnt really work for meit just felt like they were in need to add another regular cast member side story into the episodeand to be honest it wasnt really needed but as you say it could develop into something in episodes to come
but my BIGGEST shock of all was seeing mohinderi mean from season premier it had been samuel doing all the opening speechesand i never really figured out whybut i suppose if he killed mohinder then it makes senseim soo looking forward to more episodes now
i hadnt been too keen on this season the storylines seemed poor and the new powers introduced were weak but the writers now have me fully on boardit took them 8 episodes to the get there though

Default avatar cat
Nov 3, 2009 9:18AM EST

I don't think anyone thought going back in time screamed desperate measures. It's kinda Hiro's thing, and a way the show nodded to the die-hard fans of the first season. Charlie was the love of his life and because Hiro's dying, it was only natural for him to want to preserve her.

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Nov 3, 2009 12:35PM EST

The thing with Hiro is he's the pure, innocent soul of 'Heroes'. What I want to see is Hiro being challenged to choose between love and evil - will he have to do ill in order to save love? That HAS to be a plot line that's explored further - for instance - why has Hiro never gone back in time to kill Sylar before he took all the powers? Because Hiro is goodness personified. He needs to be challenged.

Nov 3, 2009 5:40PM EST

i dont think that this episode was a good idea, i loved charlie and wished she didnt have to die - but it seems a bit strange that hiro can change his past so strongly that he may as well save his father from dying too - after all. charlie dying was the thing that made hiro so completely focused on his hiroic mission to avenge charlie and defeat the brain man. without it he would not be the person he was - i see they tried to have hiro convince young hiro he needs to go 6 months in the past but even this seems silly to me, its simply not the same.
i subscribe the to the idea that "what happened happened" - unfortunately in heroes case is that it doesnt work like that anymore. too many alternate timelines and reversed time lines.
if sylar really saw that Hiro could alter the future, stop and manipulate time - Hiro would become the most desirable victim (in my opinion), when sylar then sees young hiro again we would see sylar go crazy to get that ability. but we wont - a major plot hole in my opinion.
on a side note i loved seeing eden, isaac and old sylar again. isaac was once one of my favourite characters (and eden is cute ^_^ ) but i felt it was lacking the Haitian (who i seem to remember was HRGs partner at the time?) -and peter petrelli who should have called ando while he was in texas - as far as i was aware the toast place was not in odessa?

Default avatar cat
Nov 4, 2009 1:00AM EST

You just gave me an idea, if Hiro took future Peter back to the past and he took his past self's power, then he would have his old power back of being able to absorb others powers. Althoguh if he was to touch someone else with a power he'd get only their power, so i guess it might be too complicated. But that would be sweet if he did that. =D
btw i loved this episode. Jayma Mays is hot, she made my day. Hope u get her back Hiro!

Default avatar cat
Nov 4, 2009 3:19AM EST

I loved this episode as well :) the HRG bits were pretty boring for me but I absolutely LOVE Jayma Mays. Poor Hiro :( him and Charlie are so cute together.I wasn't so sure about bringing back Mohinder, but they definitely did it in an interesting way and I'm excited to see what's going to happen next!
Also, Fluxeon that's a pretty good idea hahaha :P

Nov 4, 2009 9:56PM EST

I completely disagree with this review.This episode took great memories from the best Heroes season and ruined it.
I am so over Samuel that just seeing him at this point upsets me. Letting go great characters (yes, Nathan!) for these Carnie folk is outrageous!
morderwarg is so right - if Charlie never dies than past-Hiro will not be inclined to be a hero. But I'm sure the writers will just gloss over this and mess up the continuity (even more than they already have!) of the show. And yes a meeting between Sylar and Hiro at this point should have impacted the past - but again, the writers will probably ignore that in favour of more Samual et al stories!
And why bother with that Noah storyline? Seems more like a lackluster filler - I would have preferred to see Nathan scenes (remember when Hiro first saw "flying man"), but...well you know...This episode really should have included the Patrellis.
The only highlight was indeed just seeing Charlie, Eden and Isaac (why didn't Hiro bother to save him? Because it'll change the future - as opposed to all the changes he has done so far right?!?!) and Mohindar - who I'm guesing is not too far from meeting Adrian Pasdar's fate.
I guess this is the writers way of saying goodbye, because with nonsense writing like this I don't see even a glimmer of hope for another season...just as well, sad to say but Heroes need to go :-(

Default avatar cat
Nov 5, 2009 2:06AM EST

I didn't hate the Hiro and Charlie revival, I love the actress who plays Charlie, especially her character in GLEE, but if one of your strongest episodes of the season is a rehash of the first season, than it really is a bright red flag that the writers are giving up.. Its just Season 4, its too soon for a show to lose fresh new ideas...(hiring brand new actors don't nescarily = new ideas)
HRG & Claire, if I get ANOTHER FREAKING hallmark moment... I didn't even understand why if it was Hiro going back in time why they were there chatting about HRG's lost dreams.. Why are they writing so many personal conversations with these two?? What is this Days of our Lives??? An Oprah episode??? As a television writing major maybe im too critical, but Heroes was once at the top of its game, so I just don't understand how it lost its way so fast.. I keep trying to hold on, cause there so much potential, and other shows that have lost their way (Grey's Anatomy's last couple episodes have been amazing) are finding their way back, is it too much to ask Heroes to do the same??
I know what the big issue is, there no big plot that's driving the story/season.. theres no purpose, their trying to build something with this carnival thing, but slow build for Heroes equals no build, they're no Alias.. ..

Nov 9, 2009 10:15AM EST

For the person who mentioned something about Hiro going back and saving his father, his father already denied him that option. He tried to save his father and Charlie and failed at both. The reason he's trying to save Charlie again and not his father is because the last time he tried to save Charlie he was basically being punished for being selfish. He gambled the fate of NYC for the chance at saving a girl and the "powers above" took away his power and sent him back to Japan before he could save her. He's proven himself since then and was given the opportunity to save her and took it only to be challenged by Samuel. I love the transformation Hiro's character has taken. He was selfish and greedy and got punished for it. Now that he's saved the world on different occasions, he's finally allowed to fix things that have gone wrong in his life. He was always afraid to mess with the "space/time continuum" but now has the confidence in himself to change the things that he wants to change without drastically changing the future.

Nov 10, 2009 4:09AM EST

This is my favorite episode next to "seven minutes to midnight" and "six months ago"! I love Jayma Mays and I find her gorgeous... I was waiting for Hiro to save Charlie since i had finished watching episode 10 of the first season and now it finally happened! :)And Robert Knepper finally became a series regular starting this episode. It was so awesome to hear him speak in Japanese. And he had a very good accent!Well, it was really sad that Charlie was trapped by Samuel. I sure hope Hiro can save her just in time for them to have their finally ever after...

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