Heroes Season 4, Episode 8: "Once Upon a Time in Texas" - Recap

In this episode of Heroes, Hiro travels three years into the past for his long-awaited reunion with lost love Charlie. Not only must Hiro once again prevent Sylar from splitting Charlie's skull, but he must also heal the blood clot in her head. While in the past, Hiro receives guidance from carnival leader Samuel about how to tie up all possible loose ends without drastically altering the future. But, of course, Samuel's intentions are not exactly what they seem. Elsewhere in the past, we meet Lauren, one of HRG's old partners who is as interested in bedding Noah as she is in bagging and tagging baddies. So do Hiro and Charlie get their happy ending? Let's find out.

Don't Haitian me, bro!

Before we get to the Hiro-Charlie love story that dominated the episode, let's discuss what we learned about HRG in this episode. He's a drama geek, who's particularly partial to Shakespeare, and he once had a partner named Lauren Gilmore. They meet for breakfast two days a week way out of town at the Burnt Toast Diner, but Lauren wants more than pancakes from HRG. She books a room at a local motel and slips him the key. Before HRG can answer, however, he is called away to deal with stopping Sylar (who was sitting in the diner with him!) from cracking open the head of HRG's Claire Bear.

Hey, look, Eden! And Isaac Mendez! (Someone with a better memory, was this an exact scene from Season 1?) HRG shows how vulnerable his little girl makes him, something Lauren capitalizes on. She tells HRG that she will help him nail Sylar and save Claire, and before you know it, they kiss. She apologizes for losing control, and says she will get the Haitian to remove the smooch from his memory. HRG, however, says he doesn't want to forget that moment.

When HRG talks to Claire later, she asks him if "selling paper" really makes him happy. After quoting A Midsummer Night's Dream, he tells Claire he is indeed happy with his life, even if he's not teaching high school English. Despite the cracks already forming in HRG and Sandra's marriage, he shows up at the motel only to tell Lauren that he can't pursue a relationship with her. She insists this isn't a typical sex-in-the-storage-closet office romance and that in their line of work, they deserve a little happiness. HRG is steadfast, however, that he needs to keep the possibility of one day coming clean to his family alive. (Oh, how much we know now about how it won't really matter at all.) In the end, Lauren has the Haitian wipe her memory so she can move on. My understanding is that Lauren will return as a CIA agent in future episodes, so it will be interesting to see what happens between them with the one-sided knowledge a now-divorced HRG has.

Brain Man vs. Butterfly Man

After Hiro exposits the history between he and Charlie (boy meets girl, boy falls in love, girl dies, boy travels back in time, etc.), he sets his sights on stopping "brain man" Sylar from getting his index finger on Charlie's skull. But before he can do that, "butterfly man" Samuel pops up to warn Hiro that this mission is much different than stopping a falling Slushee. Samuel tells Hiro the diner is a minefield of possible time-space continuum-wrecking disasters, and that one misstep will make the future go kablooey. He's there to guide Hiro, to make sure he dots every "I" and crosses every "T."

First things first, Hiro stops Sylar by freezing time and putting him in the luggage compartment of a Greyhound bus. But Hiro realizes that if Charlie never died at Sylar's hand in the first place, he never would have gone back in time and fell in love. So, future-Hiro tells diner-Hiro to go back six months in time, and once the picture from Charlie's birthday is restored, he unfreezes time. Charlie is thrilled to see Hiro, but soon she turns into one of those people from the Bing commercials, as her overpacked brain begins spitting out random facts with no rhyme or reason. Her aneurysm is rupturing, which leaves Hiro with one option... finding Sylar?

Because Sylar knows how to fix things when they are broken, Hiro - after a nifty game of time-traveler keep-away - convinces Sylar to help him by promising to tell him everything he knows about Sylar's future. Sylar plays ball, and saves Charlie, and the two begin planning their trip around the world together. But when Hiro tells Sylar the brutal truth about his future - that he will kill and kill, but despite how powerful he becomes, he will die alone with no one mourning his death - Charlie gets spooked that Hiro would be so selfish to save her in exchange for the other innocent people who Sylar will kill. "I was OK with dying. This feels like cheating," Charlie says.

Hiro's speech works on Sylar, as his smirk proves he will continue on his killing path, perhaps for no other reason than to prove Hiro wrong. As Hiro and HRG - who both quoted works about love and the moon earlier in the episode - commiserate about their lady problems. "The course of true love never did run smooth," HRG says. But Charlie shows back up and apologizes to Hiro, who says he may be selfish, but he knows the world is a better place with Charlie in it. She tells Hiro she loves him, and they finally get their kiss. "Happily. Ever. After," Hiro says.

Life isn't a fairy tale

Not so fast. Hiro walks out the door to join Charlie for their new life of bliss only to find Samuel, who tells Hiro that he took Charlie to his carnival in the future. Hiro's anger takes hold, which sends them back to the present day. Samuel applauds Hiro reclaiming control of his power, and admits that his mission has always been about Hiro. Samuel's friend and fellow time traveler Arnold is dead, and Samuel needs Hiro to squash some butterflies in the carnival leader's past.

The bad news is, Arnold is dead because Samuel asked him to trap Charlie in time. Now that Samuel has leverage over Hiro - similar to how Hiro played Sylar - Samuel asks Hiro to right some of his past wrongs so that all the good he's done with the carnival won't be unraveled. Hiro grudgingly obliges. First up: Hiro must go back in time to eight weeks ago when Samuel has apparently just murdered... Mohinder?! (I've wanted him dead for seasons... just leave him that way!)

What did you think of the episode?

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Nov 3, 2009 7:04PM EST

I actually didn't love this weeks episode. I've been enjoying this season so far (it's shaping up to be a good one), but at this stage the whole changing the past, creating new timelines, squashing butterfly thing is reeeaally getting ridiculous. With the amount thats been changed it's really hard to believe that the main storyline for the whole show would have remained the same.Charlie did not need to be re-introduced. I liked her character, but they'd dealt with her already. Digging her up again seems outlandish, even for Heroes, and, as Charlie herself said, selfish. Although I must concede that I am loving the direction it has taken the plot, what with the Hiro getting pissed and the Samuel blackmailing him! I wasn't pleased with the means, but i have a feeling I'm gonna enjoy the ends!The HGR subplot seemed to be entirely unnecesary, although I suppose they had to find some other storyline from three years ago to run alongside Hiro and Charlie. Maybe they'll develop that plot a little further, but it doesn't strike me as particularly interesting.Not to say there weren't good moments this week. It was good to see retro Sylar again, and I thought the scene where he removed Charlies blood clot was very well done. And Samuel's part (especially his last minute reveal) was, as usual, performed to perfection! And who knows what'll happen to Mohinder, but if he's reintroduced hopefully he'll be back on form! I used to love his character, but I have to admit that he had been getting a little annoying before he disappeared to continue his father's research.

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Nov 4, 2009 10:57AM EST

Part of me hopes they'll save Mohinder...only so they can kill he off again...and again...and again...and again...

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