Archive for October 15, 2009

404 – Hysterical Blindness

A comparatively busy episode by this season’s standards, one that flips between being smack-your-head-on-a-table middle of the road and genuinely interesting, though still lacking in the pizzazz we’ve come to expect from Heroes.

The most boring part of the episode is Claire’s ongoing romantic saga with Gretchen. As the two bond while living together, Claire is tempted into the world of irritatingly smiley sorority sisters, dragging Gretchen’s weirdly long face with her. As the story unfolds, Claire begins to doubt Gretchen and starts to believe that her new roommate murdered her old one, but all that gets blown away when Gretchen finally does what we all knew was coming from day one and kisses her.

Elsewhere, Peter Petrelli accidentally absorbs the ability of Emma, the deaf mute who sees sounds as colours and the two begin to get to know each other. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple and before you can say ‘murky past’, hints about Emma accidentally killing someone named Christopher six years ago are thrown up. It also turns out that, when Emma plays music angrily, the colours turn dangerous and lash out at bits of dry wall.

Linking the episode together is Samuel’s circus and his promise that, by the episode’s end, they will have a new member in their family. It’s just tantalising enough to keep you guessing – who is it, Sylar, Peter or Claire?

The best parts of the episode are completely owned by Sylar. No longer bound by the ridiculous conceit that he believes he’s Nathan, everyone’s favourite superpowered murderer is finally free… except he’s got no memory because his mind is busy dicking about with Matt Parkman. Zachary Quinto steals the show here with a phenomenal demonstration of a broken man, aided by some great editing and fairly decent side characters. While the idea that a psycho-analyst would be willing to help an escaped murderer is laughable, it’s all forgiven by the fact that the ball finally starts rolling on whatever Samuel is planning.

Yes, it is light on people being extraordinary or even getting that plot arc moving, but there is a genuine sense that now the pieces are in place and the answers are about to start coming. If it wasn’t for Zachary Quinto, this would be disastrous. As it stands, it’s a marked improvement. If only it would hurry the hell up and get to where it’s going, already.

3 stars.