Season 4 Episode 5

Hysterical Blindness

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Oct 12, 2009 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (27)

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  • Moving in a better direction

    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 wasn't 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 "Heroes" still persist.

    Mostly, it is the Sylar problem. The writers can't 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 "tabula rasa" state, at least for a little while, continues the delaying tactic that began with his reprogramming in the first place. That it's 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 Samuel's agenda. He's 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 there's 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 "blank slate" 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 Samuel's interference with Claire's 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 doesn't 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 Emma's "Dazzler" ability, I hope they don't end up in a romantic relationship. It's a bit of a cliché, and Peter's track record is fairly horrible. Besides, once he discovers Nathan's true fate, I imagine he'll have other concerns on his mind. That, and Hiro's 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 Claire's blood. Otherwise, they need to let the character die heroically, knowing that his time is short. I'd hate to see it happen, after the writers have done so much to undermine the character over the past few seasons, but if he's meant to go, at least it should be on a high note.