Season 4 Episode 14

Let It Bleed

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Jan 04, 2010 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
309 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

A restored Sylar seeks out the carnival to obtain a new batch of powers, but discovers a new weakness. Meanwhile, Claire and Peter try to resolve their emotions at Nathan's wake, and Noah and Lauren capture Edgar and try to determine what he knows.

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  • While 'Let it Bleed' maintains the methodical pace established by 'Upon This Rock', the episode somehow feels less satisfactory.

    While 'Let it Bleed' maintains the methodical pace established by 'Upon This Rock', the episode somehow feels less satisfactory. There is something lacking here, a missing component needed to really elevate it beyond the realms of the bog-standard. It isn't a bad hour of television by any stretch of the imagination; there just doesn't seem to be enough to sustain a suitable level of forward momentum. What we are given doesn't exactly come kicking and screaming off the page, demanding that you spend at least an hour of your following day talking about it behind the bin sheds where you go to smoke at school or work. HRG's sluggish crawl towards doing something, anything, about the Carnival picks up a little and then loses all of its gusto through the abduction, rehabilitation and subsequent frankly ludicrous loss of crazy British knife-wielder Brett Riverboat, sorry, Edgar um, whatever his name is. The execution of this is actually quite neat to begin with, allowing Jack Coleman a chance to come into his own in a few tame, but suitably impressive, torture/interrogation scenes. It's good to see the composed fella losing it a little bit and being reminded by his new found lover that he needs to maintain a level head. The dialogue between the two is once again replete with references to events that we weren't privy to during their time at the Company, which continue to add a much welcome element of verisimilitude to proceedings. If it weren't for the ridiculously telegraphed escape of the 'prisoner' (conveniently enough, along with all the information he'd written down for them about locating the Carnival! Would you believe it?), this might actually have come out smelling of roses.

    It's the same story with poor old Zachary Quinto who, despite still being the best damn thing about the show, is lumbered with a frankly eye-rolling pay-off to his very brief time at the Carnival. It all begins spectacularly enough, with a delightful special effects sequence in which Samuel smites him, and then moves to pastures refreshing and interesting with the integration of Lydia and the idea that the poor boy just needs someone to love him (a decent piece of psychoanalysis, to be fair). Sadly, all of this is shot to s**t by the events at hour's end, in which we find out that Sylar's big destiny is... to bother himself with the cheerleader! Well strike me down with a ten tonne hammer, that's something we've never seen before! Sylar and Claire?! Their lives intertwined?! What will they think of next, eh? And regardless of whether or not this means that he's going to try to slice open her head again, or we're going to be treated to some more pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo about their similarities, it just feels like a massive cheat, an opportunity sorely wasted. We could have seen Quinto thrown together with characters he's had little exposure to, given a plot that wasn't just a complete rip off of pretty much everything he was doing for like, two seasons straight. We really don't hold out much hope for this one.

    And then, of course, we have Peter and Claire's mysterious mission to the besieged office block, a highly subtle comment on young Petrelli's precarious mental condition in the wake of his brother's death. Hah. This one couldn't be more obvious if it strapped a great big banner to its head reading 'I'm Screwed Up.' To be fair to the writing staff, this is, at the very least, an interesting place to take the character, to make him reckless enough with his life that he doesn't care enough to even acquire Claire's power when he's attempting to save the lives of the gunman's hostages. And of course, this lends itself to some nicely written and surprisingly insightful interplay between the two characters, particularly in the pay-off as Peter is about to be wheeled into the ambulance. It's just a shame that the set up is so contrived, feeling far too sudden and forced. Mind, that's a nice nod to the show's continuity in the references to West and Peter's appropriation of the boy's power is completely logical and well-handled. And then, ladies and gentlemen, that's it... the episode offers no more narrative strands, choosing instead to linger longingly on each of these rather threadbare ideas. Throw in Hiro again, give us some Mohinder... where the hell is Matt Parkman, for God's sake? There are so many things in the air, so many stories being juggled that we are just dying to find out about, that it's a bit of a shame when they choose to focus squarely on the ones that just aren't all that engaging.

    'Let It Bleed' does try its hardest to be a good episode, giving us a great big wad of much welcome character development for some of the regulars, a lorry load of insightful and well written dialogue and some genuinely excellent individual sequences. It's just a shame that it seems to drop the ball to a greater or lesser extent with every plot strand on offer. By no means the worst Heroes has ever served us up, but it's hardly a three course meal, is it?moreless
  • It wasn't too bad!

    The first hour of Heroes was okay. Nothing really brilliant happened. Seeing Hiro walking around like this crazy person due to his tumor was tiresome. I wish the writers would make up their mind as to what direction they want to go in with Hiro and if this tumor can be removed, or perhaps it will add to his powers.

    Peter burying his brother. That was very touching. Having to say goodbye to someone you love is never easy. Now his mother only has him. There is much resentment towards her. I feel that as time passed Peter has (emotionally speaking) grown stronger and had gotten to the point where he cannot be controlled by his mother.

    Seeing Peter and Clair together was nice. She was there for him to help him. There is only one person in this world she can fully trust and that is Peter. She does not want him to become like the others lying and deceiving her. There is a special bond between these two. I hope we see more of them together.

    The second show was better. Once again Sylar has been led to Clair, but for what purpose? Sullivan stated it is not Clair he wants. If not Clair, who? Sylar obviously plays a HUGE role in his master plan. Noah also is important other wise he would be dead. Hopefully the show will pick up. All-in-all it was not a bad two hours. I enjoyed the show.moreless
  • Another misstep

    (Note: This review covers the second half of the two-episode event that aired on 04 January, 2010. A previous review covered the first half of the event.)

    The previous episode focused on Samuel, Claire, and Hiro, and managed to give two out of the three subplots a reasonably compelling treatment. This episode focuses on Noah, Claire and Peter, and Sylar and Samuel, and only one of those subplots manages to be interesting. And frankly, even that is debatable.

    Sylar is finally back together in one piece, but as usual, the writers have figured out a way to keep him reined in, so the rest of the characters can be moved into position in the meantime. The writers seem to have looked back on three and a half seasons of inconsistent characterization of Sylar's psychology and ability and cherry-picked the aspects they wanted or needed. So while it is once again acknowledged that Sylar doesn't need to kill to acquire new abilities, his rationale for killing is framed in a more convenient manner.

    The third season made a very big deal out of the notion that Sylar's ability itself was the driver behind his homicidal ways. He had an insatiable hunger for power, overriding his sense of morality. This was directly tied to his ability, and not his psychological state, when Peter acquired Sylar's ability and struggled with that hunger himself. In fact, when Sylar was trying to be "good", it was all about overcoming his "addiction".

    This season, and particularly this episode, it has been all about Sylar's choice to kill for power. It's much closer to his original depiction in the first season, thankfully, but it reminds the devoted viewer that Sylar's characterization has been a mess. And that being the case, it's hard to accept or anticipate what kind of internal shift is causing Sylar to once again come up short in the bloodthirsty department.

    The implication seems to be that Sylar cannot simply erase or ignore the imposition of Nathan and Matt's memories on his psyche. However much he wants to believe that he is the same as he was, there are subconscious limitations built into his software, holding him back. In effect, Sylar's murderous drive is mitigated by Nathan and Matt's moral codes. The nice thing is that this new status quo for Sylar has a well-established cause. The bad thing is that it seems awfully convenient.

    If Sylar is eventually meant to revert to his old form, then this is just another delaying tactic, a crutch that the writers have been abusing with Sylar, Peter, and Hiro since the second season. It might allow the story to build for a little while more, which may be necessary to give the climax the necessary gravitas, but it's transparent by now.

    The alternative is that the writers intend for this to be Sylar's means of redemption. Unable to kill anymore, Sylar could find himself forced to integrate with the rest of the metahumans. Either that, or he may be forced to side with the "heroes" against Samuel. Regardless of the intention for such a "redeemed" Sylar, it would display a complete lack of understanding of the meaning of redemption. People are redeemed by internal choices and subsequent actions. If Sylar is forced by subconscious remnants of Nathan and Matt within his psyche to change his ways, then he is limited in spite of himself, not out of a conscious desire to change his ways.

    The solution may be some sort of middle ground. Samuel alluded to something like that when he said he was a villain, but that's not all he has to be. It's the very thing that keeps Samuel interesting and worthwhile, but it's hard to argue that such an approach would work for Sylar anymore. It was already attempted in the third season, and it felt contrived. Sylar is much better when he is simply evil. So the problem is this decision to hobble Sylar in a way that can only be, in the end, unsatisfying and frustrating.

    As much as I acknowledge and appreciate the fact that Nathan's death leads Claire to help Peter overcome his reckless ways, I was annoyed by the lack of a solid next step in the process. It seemed rather obvious that Claire was going to turn to Peter to help take down Samuel, but that moment never came. Instead, Claire just helped Peter see the light. Given her previously established lack of wisdom, that felt contrived, but it also seemed to be a missed opportunity.

    It could be that Sylar's arrival at Claire's dorm room is meant to be a surprising twist: that Claire's ally against Samuel will be Sylar instead of Peter. I could almost see the logic in this, if this were meant to be the end of the series. Sylar has a vested interest in being with the carnival "family". Samuel made a reasonable case for it in this episode. Sylar could gather all the abilities he wants, and without the ability to kill, he could be a surprisingly good (if ruthless) leader, since he would have a reason to protect his "investment".

    After all, if the tedious Noah/Edgar subplot proved anything, it's that Noah's penchant for forcing a solution to the metahuman problem on the metahumans, however well-intended, is not going to work. The Company didn't work for a reason. For every metahuman willing to integrate, there will be those who resent the implication that they must hide who they are. Yet, even so, there must be those willing to police those metahumans who refuse to integrate or separate themselves from the mundane population.

    But even if Sylar was to become the solution to the Samuel problem, I don't think he could become the leader of the "family" for very long. The "family" would see him as just another Samuel, and the "heroes" could never trust him. So I think this is where Peter's long-established role as Sylar's opposite number comes into play. If there is a strong argument for Samuel's dream of a "promised land" for the metahumans, but a new leader of the "family" would be needed, then Peter feels like a fairly logical choice.

    This kind of endpoint could even bring the arc for the Company to a logical and fitting resolution. If the Company failed because it tried to police the metahumans within the constraints of mundane society, then perhaps it would succeed as the basis for security of a metahuman community. It would resolve Noah's mind-numbing season-long search for a purpose, and it could even give Matt a way to bring his life back into order. (And, should the series somehow reach a fifth season, it would force the writers out of their comfort zone.)

    All of this is, of course, pure speculation, built around the weaknesses of the episode itself. These ideas are potential ways to make what takes place in this episode more palatable. The main problem is this apparent decision to hobble Sylar once again. His earlier appearances were much more entertaining because he was, in many ways, finally unleashed.moreless
  • Important episode...(SPOILER!!)

    What...Sylar's impotent! I thought he can heal.

    This episode is important because it clarifies most of our doubts. (1)How can Sylar transport himself from Danko's car to the rooftop in Season 3? How can Sylar actually fly since he's not Nathan and didn't devour his brain? Answer: He uses his power of empathy, taught by Peter's father, to absorb them so that he does not have to resort to kill. (2)The Haitian's (Rene's) power is on most the time. Only by turning it off, mentally, others will be able to use their powers. This explains why Matt could not acquire any thoughts from Rene even though he is not seen by him in Season 1.

    (3)(Previous episode) Emma's power seems more practical now. To bond feelings with music to create good happenings. But the world has yet to see the darker side of the power.

    (4)"West and I have become Facebook Friends." This answers West whereabouts.

    (5)Lydia has her own agenda? Of course, if not, why should she stay? "I have a daughter" doesn't sound convincing.

    The thing is since most of the mysteries are unveiled, the show could no longer offer astounding secrets or surprises. The dialogue is long and monotonous sometimes. If they can just talk less and put more of the Heroes into actions, making them use their powers in an interesting way like combining powers, the show may have a higher rating. Last but not least, the villain's love relationship in Heroes has never meant to work. Remember Danko's lover? Now, here comes Vanessa. Introduction of this superfluous characters seems like an old trick to keep the story going. However, the incoming Sylar-Claire relationship could not have been less interesting, especially when Sylar looks as if he is staring at a juicy, pink rabbit. Looking forward for more.moreless
  • Very good way of dealing with Nathan's death.

    Peter truly is a Petrelli – helping fake Nathan's plane crash. I'm a little disappointed in him for that.

    Sylar's powers are on the fritz – that makes sense, his soul only just got back into his body, might take some time to adjust. I've always liked the Peter/Sylar twisted relationship and I like that the memories Lydia taps into are all the family-related ones of Peter. Sylar's after Claire again, the question is why?

    The writers are so erratic – Claire hasn't spoken to Nathan this season and now they try to fix it in one episode. I like the Petrelli bonding so I enjoyed the Claire/Peter bonding. Loved that photo of Nathan and Peter, it's one that's never been used before and it's gorgeous. Losing Nathan's pushing Peter back into his 'must rescue everyone' mentality. He's letting revenge drive him so he doesn't think about Nathan – I'm not sure Peter can live without Nathan. They've been each other's world all their lives, now one half of the equation is gone.

    It was so sweet that Peter took West's powers so he could fly again. It will let him feel close to Nathan. I'm going to really miss Nathan.

    Milo and Adrian are very close in real life, it's obvious how miserable Milo is – he doesn't even need to act! I'm not sure Heroes will even be bearable without Nathan and the dynamite Nathan/Peter combo.moreless
Dawn-Lyen Gardner

Dawn-Lyen Gardner


Guest Star

Cary Mizobe

Cary Mizobe

Mr. Nozawa

Guest Star

Sean Carrigan

Sean Carrigan

Police Officer

Guest Star

Dawn Olivieri

Dawn Olivieri


Recurring Role

David H. Lawrence XVII

David H. Lawrence XVII

Eric Doyle

Recurring Role

Justin Evans

Justin Evans

Simon Petrelli

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions