The general consensus is that the previous episode was a good example of a bad transitional episode. Despite all the movement of pieces on the board, there wasnât much to enjoy. The same transitional approach is in play in this episode, yet it seems to have just a little more heft to it. Even so, the problems with âHeroesâ still persist.
Mostly, it is the Sylar problem. The writers canât have an uber-powerful villain running around while all the heroic metahumans are dealing with their latest psychological and emotional crises. So Sylar must be hamstrung in some way, shape, or form. Returning him to a âtabula rasaâ state, at least for a little while, continues the delaying tactic that began with his reprogramming in the first place. That itâs a retread of the method used to keep uber-powerful hero Peter in check during the second season only adds to the frustration.
The only saving grace is how it might inform Samuelâs agenda. Heâs definitely playing a riff on the Magneto archetype: he believes that the metahumans are better off together, able to protect and foster each other, than they are in the mundane world. And thereâs no denying that Samuel is deftly portrayed. His little performance for Sylar at the end was very well done.
The trick will be minimizing this âblank slateâ Sylar period and getting on with it. Unlike Peter in the second season, Sylar may be more willing to accept whatever identity Samuel manages to reinforce. The question is whether or not his troupe has a metahuman with an ability like Matt Parkman, or if there is some other method that he will use to reinforce trust. Whatever the case, my prediction is that Samuel will only allow Sylar to recover so much of his former memories, and will fill in the blanks in a way that convinces Sylar that he was with the carnival all along.
Far more effective was the treatment of Samuelâs interference with Claireâs new life. Not only did it place events in a far more sinister light, but it also managed to be consistent in the process. Unfortunately, they chose to use the common trope of the psychotic stalker lesbian as the red herring in this case. It also doesnât help that this entire subplot was the result of an offhand suggestion. Making Claire bi-curious seems like it comes out of left field, not like it is a natural evolution of the character. (Other potential homosexual relationships felt a lot more organic in comparison.)
Speaking (however indirectly) of chemistry, as much as I like what Peter and Emma were doing in this episode, and how well the producers are treating Emmaâs âDazzlerâ ability, I hope they donât end up in a romantic relationship. Itâs a bit of a clichÃ©, and Peterâs track record is fairly horrible. Besides, once he discovers Nathanâs true fate, I imagine heâll have other concerns on his mind. That, and Hiroâs situation, which rather coincidentally dropped into his lap.
Hopefully, Peter will be the one to figure out that Hiro should be readily healed by an infusion of Claireâs blood. Otherwise, they need to let the character die heroically, knowing that his time is short. Iâd hate to see it happen, after the writers have done so much to undermine the character over the past few seasons, but if heâs meant to go, at least it should be on a high note.