Season 4 Episode 5

Hysterical Blindness

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Oct 12, 2009 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
482 votes

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Episode Summary

Lydia cautions Samuel against bringing in new members to their clan. Peter tries to connect with Emma, who wants nothing to do with him, and Sylar struggles to find the person he once was.

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  • Slowly Heroes rebuilds, correcting past mistakes.

    They're working on individual focus instead of crammin every last character into every single episode, though now I remember how difficult it is to remember every detail from week to week. They've moved away from the land of unrealistic never fully explained sci-fi blarmy that doesn't really mean anything (I still don't get the carlyst thing from volume 3) and are just making the show without listening to what the fans thinks they want.

    Slowly somewhat unsteadily this volume is restoring Heroes. From volume to volume I've had my opinions about Heroes, usually different from most fans but I've always remained interested. Even in volume 4, which was my least favorite for a lot of reasons, I always remained curious. But I must admit from volume to volume things could be very inconsistent. One year I liked it (S1), the next I was a little bored (S2), then I adored it (Vol 3), then I got frustrated with the show (Vol 4). These are just geneal comments on the volumes overall but I think this may be the year where Heroes finally starts trying to really find it's consistent footing. Rather then focus on correcting mistakes they think they're making, pleasing fans, or writing the show volume by volume they should just make the show. The biggest thing it had originally was originality. They seemed to get distracted by other things as time went on whether the problem was time itself traveling that is and overly powerful characters, fan reactions or stretched out poor plots lines. It felt as though they never seemed to plan out the show in a large scoop like say a Joss Whedon and as a result the show has been way to spontaneous. I get the instinct to try and write as they go but it just doesn't work with a show of this magnitude (I call Lost as my first witness), especially in terms of complication. Back story alone requires immense thought. But I think maybe all of that has really sunk in.

    Which ties into the actual episode. Let's start with Sylar. I won't get into my adoration of both the character and Zach himself but I will say that Sylar has always been and will always be their strongest character. They recognized it early on but faced the same problem all great shows face when they turn a pure antagonist into a actual fleshed out character. Which way do they go? No matter the choice someone will be displeased. They seemed to really make the right choice in not solidly picking either road but trying both as the moved Sylar from a clear cookie cutter villain into a 'grey' (no one will every convince me that isn't why they picked that as his last name though that's a contradiction in more ways then one) complex fully formed character. I don't think that was their original intention, Zach was actually just a guest star in the beginning, and again as a result there were some problems. Season 2 saw Sylar being bad with or without his powers, to badly corrupted to ever be what he was again. Volume 3 saw the exact opposite in a certain way, Sylar making the choice to try and be Gabriel again which ultimately failed but was a great arc that both added to his complexity and really let us get to know the character in terms of who he was as opposed to what he was. It also backed up Sylar's actions in volume 2, which as I said saw him evil without powers. Volume 4 saw a complete reversion to form (which at the time seemed like a cop out & in some ways it was because they never really did enough with some of the moves they made aka Sylar wasn't Peter's brother after all but Peter did experience the hunger and the reality behind that which was never even acknowledged) and the madness within finally leaking out. I was concerned at the end of volume 4 when Sylathan was born that they were trying to wipe the board clean in terms of Sylar because they just didn't know what to do with him. Wiping the board would have been okay, consistent with the story of his character and a good surprised which they are fond of with Sylar but I was still a little unsure that returning him to evil wasn't a cop out. But luckily they seemed to realize or possibly even known all along that there is no clearn slate for Sylar. If he were to somehow try to become good again (again) and actually suceed the damage is done. He can never take back what he has done, he can never really undo Sylar even if he can be Gabriel again someday. I am convinced he can, that some part of Gabriel will always live inside him (that person didn't just get erased when he got his powers). But again it's just not that simple. They've since dropped Sylathan (thank god because that could have been such a waste of Sylar's character and all focused shoved on everyone thinking he was Nathan) but they've kept Sylar blank. He doesn't know who he is but just as when he was Sylathan the clock still ticks, the hunger still lies within and as I've always said Sylar will not be contained not even be himself. This episode showed a fightened person no more a murderer then innocent Claire, confused and alone. He had chances to kill people but didn't. He discovered his powers and did no real damage with them. He followed Samuel blindly into the carnival and experienced things in terms of beauty, something we've seen Sylar do with Elle for example. But is that Sylar or Gabriel? Where is the line? The two are intertwined that there really is no seperating them. As I said only chances for the show to utalize an amaingly character I don't think they even really meant to create, at leasy to the deree they have done (makes me wonder what the hell they are thinking with some of the other chaacters). They have yet to disappoint me when it comes to Sylar (I was angry when they let a lot of his volume 3 stuff slide but who knows if that won't change soon and I was concerned when they made him Nathan but it looks like that's done before it even began so bravo), emotional yes in every way possible but never disappointed. My fondest wish is that they stand by his last name because it's really what the show needs and what all the characters need to see. Within them all exists the dark and the light. But are they ever really seperate, is it really one or the other? Is it Peter or Sylar? Or like with Sylar is it both at the same time. I know on paper he can been seen as a villain even with the complexities they've embodied in him but again can it really be that black and white especially when human rules don't apply? You have a quarter, one side is heads. One is tails. But aren't they both a part of the same coin?

    Oh and some other characters appeared! I was pleased to see Peter interact and connect with another person and as I've mentioned Emma is the perfect person for him at this time in his life. Whether they become romantic or not is irrelevant because honestly there's a lot they can both learn from each other. Emma discovered that that her power has something more to it then just pretty colors but I would have placed money on that. Though I still don't totally get it. At first I thought she was developing some sort of sonar but I'm thinking not seeing as she cracked her wall with whatever it is she can do. Claire had a moment with Gretchen but honestly at this point I don't know what to make of it so I'm just going to leave that one alone till I see more. And (to mention Sylar again) Sylar ended up of all places at the carnival. Yea, let's smother a forrest fire with napom. That'll just have fantastic results. They always give Sylar the best stuff in every sense. But Samuel has no idea what he's in for. The carnival itself is no safe haven band of outcasts looking for their own kind and safety from the cruel world that doesn't understand or accept them...okay they are all of those things but they are also murderers and decievers. They take full advantage of the fact that society (as all the characters have learned) casts them out and fears them. But they are not a band of friendly carnival folk where the characters we know and love can find solice. You want to point a finger and find a real villain point at the people in that carnival. Some of them may be there for good reason, some of them may not even be bad in the strictest sense but I guarantee you that Samuel isn't playing with a full deck. He's a bad, bad boy and bad boys all get what's coming to them on this show. Always.moreless
  • Heroes on their way back to greatness.

    Many fans have left Heroes since Volume 2 I presume, but I continued watching it, I remained loyal to the show. I'm glad I did because as of late, Heroes is getting better and better. This whole episode was interesting and they continue to do a great job with Sylar and his character in whole. They have wiped his memory and he believes he is good now. I still think that he'll be troubling Matt Parkman's mind in the mean time. He joins Samuel and the carnival folks at the end of the episode and what a great way to end the episode, they don't know what they have done, if Sylar decides to return to his evil ways they are in for a ride of their lives. Rebecca a sorority leader who recruits Claire is working for Samuel as well. She was the one who pushed Claire's old roommate out of the window and she wants to reveal Claire's secret to everyone as well and she's the reason that we find out that Gretchen has been obsessing over Claire and that she has a huge crush on her too. I saw this coming but I couldn't wait for it, Gretchen ends up kissing Claire. They've made Claire's character exciting now, I hope she likes it haha. Peter gets Emma's powers after having to touch her by saving her from a bus seconds away from hitting her. Emma has the ability to see the form of music and sound through colours in the air. Peter and Emma are introduced to each other through this ability and it seems like a romance will be blossoming with them and I find that really interesting and at the end of the episode, Hiro teleports to Peter as he is nearing his death.

    I think the writers of Heroes have finally learnt that they don't need to squash in every single character in one episode. They are doing a great job now and I love where Heroes is going. I can't wait to see what unfolds with Sylar, Samuel and his family and I can't wait to see what happens with Gretchen and Claire, it looked like she might have enjoyed that kiss. The blossoming relationship between Peter and Emma intrigues me. I believe they can learn a lot from each other. Angela and Peter also don't even know that Nathan is completely gone now, though I believe he may appear again in some sort of form or another. I actually hope Hiro dies but his future self comes into play and I love how Ando and Hiro's sister are engaged.

    Heroes is doing great once more, it's not the best yet like it was in Season 1 but it's going to eventually get there if they continue being consistent.moreless
  • Lydia cautions Samuel against bringing in new members to their clan. Peter tries to connect with Emma, who wants nothing to do with him, and Sylar struggles to find the person he once was.moreless

    Heroes is back!!!!! Great episode questions were answered the story line was goo, there was action and use of special effects my favorite part of the show. Peter and Emma connected I think that part was really cute never saw peter flirting like that. Claire is getting better and better, Gretchen I feel bad for her now, I missed NOAH BENNET aka H.R.G. Sylar was great and not to mention the whole Clan with Samuel was great and Invisible girl she was great at first I dint liked her but when she appear in the Clan she totally got me there I wasn't expecting that one. Hero manage to find Peter that great I feel like I was watching season one for a second... the way the character are connecting with each other is great I love that about the show is way better than S3. Looks like Nathan is gone for good huh? I must say that I like Tracy but I dint miss her at all. Where is Matt? I haven't seen him since the third episode …

    Well I am really excited about how the show is heading I can't wait till next money!!!moreless
  • Woo!

    After a pretty rubbish week last week, in fact after a few rubbish seasons... Heroes finally is back on track. Properly. I started this episode thinking this was my last one, then I started to think hmm... this isn't bad and now I've ended with I can't actually wait for next week. It's that good.

    There was alot to like about this episode. I have before now called the Claire college story horrific but this week changed it all. It was intriguing with the invisible girl being behind pretty much everything that's gone wrong and they are handleing the lesbian storyline really well. I thought it was sweet. Bravo.

    Peter and Emma stands out for me. Those scenes with the music were superb and lovely... two people really connecting over a beautiful thing. Also I liked the twist at the end... it seems she can do some damage with them waves. And Hiro has gone to Peter!!! If anyone can help him it's Peter. Peter for his part remains my favourite charactor.

    Sylar! I enjoyed it. I kind of saw it coming but still... a Sylar with no memory is very good. So is Nathen really gone for good? And in the midst of all this... Samuel. His storyline gets more interesting every week. Just what exactly is going on? Still the answers are slowley being revealed and are all the better for it. It makes you want more.

    Which I do. I was blown away by this episode... it reached heights I haven't seen Heroes reach for a while. Like I said, about part way through I was thinking this is good but not unmissible but after the ending especially I think it would be a crime to miss next week. Welcome back Heroes!!! We have missed you!moreless
  • Weeks without Mohinder: 4. Sonic booms + Lesbian kisses + a Ghostbuster = Pure Excellence.

    Season 4 has already started off swimmingly, and I'm glad despite last week's hiccup, the show instantly jumps back on track. Hysterical Blindness might be the best episode so far.

    This episode is totally engaging from beginning to end. The 3 main plots this week involve Peter, Claire, and a newly resurrected Sylar. I'll start with Pete, who now is attempting to reconnect with people, starting with Mum. Angela, however is distracted about the absence of Nathan, and it's clear a mother's intuition can tell something is terribly wrong. I liked the way this scene was juxtaposed against Emma and the senior nurse, who we now learn is her mother. She is concerned that what Emma is experiencing may not be synesthesia, but hysterical blindness. Emma still confused wanders in front of a speeding bus, and Peter The Flash saves the day. What was amusing here was the following sequence, where Pete tries to take off again, but his power has now be substituted! I liked the humor played here. Pete later tries to explain to Emma that she has an ability, but of course, it's too crazy to believe. They share a moment at a piano, and later Emma finds a cello in her apt (how'd that get here?). While playing, we discover a new element to her ability- with force, she can cause damage with the colors. Pardon the gamer in me, but I couldn't help thinking of a 'Hado-ken' or 'Sonic boom' from the Street Fighter video games!

    It's rush time, and sorority life seems like the perfect (if not obvious) next step for Claire's character. I have no shame in admitting I'm loving the hell out of Claire's college life right now. Could Gretchen be a psycho? Her clingy-ness, and jealousy were played up nicely, at the mixers, with a great Single White Female vibe. The computer in particular was freaky, and the book falling made no sense (more on that later!) I figured it was Heroes up to its stupid random stuff again- Thank God it was explained in a surprisingly effective reveal! Turns out, Gretchen just really has the hots for Claire. And so came the much talked about (and very over-hyped) girl-on-girl kiss. I don't know why people make a big deal about this stuff, and even more baffling is why the show producers didn't decide to keep this a surprise. Imagine the buzz-worthy, water-cooler talk they would have gotten from this the next morning! Sylar A.D. is picked up by the great Ernie Hudson, playing a cop, no less (The Crow)! In comes this GORGEOUS police psychologist, who tries to dig into who this mysterious man covered in blood and mud is. I really loved her sympathetic work here, and holds her own against fine performances from both Zack Quinto and Hudson himself. Here's hoping both characters hang around for a bit. After fingerprints prove Sylar is mom-killer Gabriel Grey, push comes to shove, and Slyar's instincts kick in. Force-pushing E-Hud through the interrogation window was awesome and caught me by surprise! Kidnapping the shrink, and the shootout were all to be expected, but what I didn't see coming was Samuel Sullivan waiting, with open arms! Sam has been speculative about who the newest addition to the 'family' would be (nice breakfast scene, and thank you for answering a question I had last week almost immediately), and it has been interesting seeing them attempt to recruit Peter and Hiro. (How he could get close to Claire is that brilliant reveal I'm getting to.) But the image of him welcoming Sylar with a sinister smile, carnival blazing behind him was absolutely HAUNTING. The fact that it vanished when the police arrived was equally chilling. "Time to pick up the stakes."

    On top of all this, was something the show hasn't done in about 3 seasons: a good payoff. Remember that random book that fell? Remember how Samuel revealed they'd been trying to get their hands on Claire? Well it one of the most genuinely satisfying reveals in Heroes ever, it turns out the carnies have a mole in one of the sorority sisters- and she has invisibility! She knocked over the book to get Claire's attention. She tried impale a another girl with the flag pole, and yes- she even killed Claire's old roommate, AND placed the suicide note; something I never thought would be addressed again. Applause. I'm trying really hard not to get too excited about Heroes again, but I may be bursting at the seams. I can't help it- I'm lovin' it right now!moreless
Christine Adams

Christine Adams

Dr. Madeline Gibson

Guest Star

Tessa Thompson

Tessa Thompson

Rebecca Taylor

Guest Star

Rachel Melvin

Rachel Melvin


Guest Star

Madeline Zima

Madeline Zima

Gretchen Berg

Recurring Role

Ray Park

Ray Park


Recurring Role

Dawn Olivieri

Dawn Olivieri


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Powers update:

      Emma Coolidge: Emma discovers that she can produce a damaging shockwave with her synesthetic "siren's song," as evidenced when she accents the final note while playing the cello and in doing so creates a huge split in the wall in front of her.

    • In the scene where Peter and Emma are playing piano the music (colors) come from the keyboard. The keys of a piano are connected to hammers that hit the snares in the back of the piano. The music therefore should not be coming from the keyboard but out of the top of the piano.

    • Trivia: We learn Peter does not consciously control his powers as he accidentally takes Emma's power when he touches her sleeve.

    • In the scene where Peter and Angela are talking you can see the symbol made of pins on the door frame.

    • The song the children's choir was singing in the hospital is titled "Believe it or Not" and was the theme from The Greatest American Hero.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Samuel: This is my favorite part of the day. It's full of possibility. Before the inevitable monkey wrenches come looking for us. But more than anything... it's about being with all of you. I know grace is a supper thing, but every morning I thank Heaven and Earth for our family.

    • (referring to Sylar)
      Madeline: Would you do me a favor and unlock these cuffs?
      Lubbock: No. I don't make a habit of locking myself in with unrestrained lunatics.
      Madeline: Then can you leave me your keys on the way out?

  • NOTES (2)

    • International Airdates:
      Australia: November 18, 2009 on 7TWO
      UK: January 30, 2010 on BBC2
      Latin America: February 9, 2010 on Universal Channel
      Germany: September 22, 2010 on RTL II
      Czech Republic: December 24, 2010 on Prima COOL
      Finland: February 16, 2011 on Sub

    • Greg Grunberg does the "Previously on Heroes" voiceover but doesn't appear or is credited.