So far this season, the writers seem to be struggling. Theyâve made a few very good choices that should have helped to eliminate many of the missteps of the third season: they introduced a compelling new group of characters, and they reduced the number of plot threads captured in a single episode. On the other hand, they still insist on focusing on the same old cast of characters, and as a result, there is a feeling that the story has been there and don that already.
Samuel and the carnies continue to be among the best elements of the season thus far. Samuelâs motivations may be mysterious, but he has emerged as a very distinct personality, right down to his variable pseudo-Irish accent. I said in previous reviews that he reminded me somewhat of Magneto, and thatâs still very much the case.
Itâs clear that Samuel is willing to do whatever it takes to keep his âfamilyâ safe, and that he expects the same level of dedication and service of his people. Itâs interesting to note that Lydia (who is captivating in this episode) is willing to sleep with Sylar to make him feel more at home. If she is disgusted by serving in such a capacity, she doesnât show it. Clearly Edgar takes much more exception to Samuelâs expectations.
Trying to restore Sylar seems like a remarkably stupid thing to do. Samuel might be thinking ahead to a time when Edgar might challenge him for control of the âfamilyâ, and Edgar has already expressed a desire to stop playing hitman. Sylar is rather good at killing when heâs on top of his game, but Samuel might want to consider that a psychopath with an addiction to adding abilities to his arsenal through murder may not be the best addition to his metahuman commune.
Of course, the side of Sylar that is malicious and evil may be stuck in Matt Parkmanâs head. Sylarâs body may remember what it means to be a killer and how to use his abilities, but Sylar himself is still operating with the wrong software. The combination of Nathan, residual Sylar, and whatever Samuel tries to fill into those psychological gaps may not be dangerous until Matt is subsumed by Sylarâs personality and goes on a hunt for his true hardware. That direction for the plot seems almost inevitable at this point.
Hiroâs subplot with Emma did much to bring her character into a better understanding of her gift, which should reap rewards in the future, but it didnât seem to do much for Hiro. Hiro was pretty much the same as he ever is, and still dedicated to his mission to change the past for the better (despite all the evidence in earlier seasons that itâs not possible to do that). Either they are stringing out his fate as long as possible, or they are doing what they have always done: using some excuse to keep the most powerful metahumans in check until the conflict comes to a head.
Noah and Peter end up on a bit of a side mission to find Peter some healing powers (which ought to come in handy until he can find Hiro), and this supposedly gives Noah a better sense of purpose. That would be nice, because his search for personal direction has been getting old. It also doesnât help that putting a limitation on the use of Claireâs blood (and one that doesnât quite make sense) means introducing a character that is ripped right out of âThe 4400â.
The biggest problem is that the show currently has very little in the way of momentum. The cast is still way too big, and the story is still too spread out. The writers would be much better served to gut the cast, streamline the story, and find a way to give the overall series a rousing climax. Instead, the pace is slower than itâs been in a very long time. I still like a lot of things about this show, but it continues to be one of the most frustrating.