Season 4 Episode 5

Hysterical Blindness

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

Episode Fan Reviews (27)

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  • 'Hysterical Blindness' is something of a double-edged sword.

    'Hysterical Blindness' is something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it provides further evidence that the Heroes writing staff are regaining control of their vehicles, getting a better grip on the motivations, strengths and weaknesses of their characters and using these to organically construct the show's storylines. Sylar's resurrection is the perfect example of this. Where in season three, this would've been an excuse to have the character murder a few dozen police officers and embark on some sort of outlandish revenge-driven conspiracy, here, Pokaski takes the road less travelled, flipping the coin (so to speak) and having him suffer from a form of amnesia (or is it? Does he think he's Nathan?) The resultant effects are highly engaging: Quinto works wonders with his new-found innocence and really makes you feel for the character. His English interrogator is good too, although the jury's out on Ray Park's stereotypical depiction of the cop (overworked, frustrated by psychologists, determined not to give his prisoner any leeway etc.) Still, the whole thing has a much welcome undercurrent of despair and suspense to it, accentuated by the dramatic irony that the viewer is made privy to, and certainly helped by SJ Clarkson's superlative direction; the blues, grays and blacks of the prison really convey the coldness and emptiness of the whole scenario.

    It's unfortunate that the Carnival storyline melds with this one, since it becomes obvious from about a third of the way through that Gabriel is the one that will join the family, but at least it means this narrative is actually going somewhere. Peter and Emma's story is also rather well handled. The moment in which he acquires her power is a nice nod to continuity and is all the more refreshing for its subtelty. One does wonder how many times we'll have to see the pair staring, googly-eyed, at the 'colours' around them though.

    The other edge of the sword, regrettably, relates to The Life and Times of the Hopeless College Girl. This week, we get a shockingly cheesy scene in which Claire starts babbling to Gretchen about 'possibility' or some such psuedo-characterial rubbish. While it is good to see the plot acquire some relevance to the main story in an unexpected way, - thank God Gretchen isn't the killer! - the whole thing is still going far too slowly for anyone's liking. We've seen all of this a million times before, in far superior shows like Buffy and, um, *cough* Dawson's Creek *cough* In fact, the Buffy comparisons have become all the more relevant now that Gretchen has the hots for Claire. We even get a lovely same sex kiss to make the fourteen year old boys shift uncomfortably in their seats. It's a perfectly sensible develpment, sure, but it's also just so damn obvious; consequently, our response is blase rather than excited. If Heroes just shaved off Claire's narrative, would it really make any difference? Really? We'd have more time to fit in the fantastic Greg Grunberg at any rate.

    Again, a decent effort but as seems to be the unavoidable truth with Heroes these days, the bad begins to encroach on the good.