Season 4 Episode 8

Once Upon a Time in Texas

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Nov 02, 2009 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
451 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

A trip into the past may give Hiro another chance to save the love of his life.

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  • The episode left me with mixed feelings and opinions, but that's a Hell of a lot better than the complete indifference I had to the show at the start of the season.moreless

    I've not been on board with Hiro's quest to right all the wrongs in his past as back in season 1 he realised that he doesn't have the right to change the past. The fact that the main reason for this revelation was that he couldn't save Charlie made the set up for this episode feel like a slap in the face. However it kind of worked.

    The main danger this episode had was that it ran the risk of destroying the entire show's continuity. Because of that part of me was thinking why even bother doing this episode, but there was some good stuff to come out of the idea of going back to that season 1 episode. Before Hiro can do anything Robert Knepper's Samuel (the best addition to the cast pretty much ever) pointed out how if he wasn't very careful he could mess up everything. This worked nicely to ease the worries of the audience that the last three seasons could be undone and allowed us to be able to enjoy the episode.

    There was some fun had with Hiro's power here, which has been done before but is always quite funny. Seeing him wheeling Sylar out of the diner was great and while a bit cheesy, it worked nicely. The thing here is that the episode seemed to be grasping at what was good about the first season. While it had no where near the same emotion as before there was enough and the humour played off it well. Another good thing was continuity, something Heroes can be terrible with at times. Hiro referring to himself as "future-Hiro" and being questioned why he didn't have his cool sword was great and a funny little running joke. While it did point out that Hiro's character has hardly developed at all in three years it's always good to see a show that's able to poke fun at itself.

    As well as Hiro's story we were given some extra story on Bennett. My main issue here is that it played like a flashback episode for him (which it was I guess) but it was covering a time period that was already shown. That this fairly major character of Lauren was supposed to have had this story with Noah during season 1 seemed a bit much. True timeline wise it worked and by having her mind wiped it helped the continuity but it still felt out of place. I think the main reason for it was just to have some kind of B-story for Hiro's main story to cut away to.

    Hiro's deal with Sylar to save Charlie kind of worked. It still felt a bit iffy that super-cool season 1 Sylar would've agreed to Hiro's offer as all he had was Hiro's word that he was from the future and could tell him how he died. Still you could believe it and the scene where Sylar got rid of her tumour has well handled. The blood going down through her eye was a bit gross but a cool visual. Of course they still needed a way to get Charlie out of the main story, as otherwise season 1 Hiro wouldn't have continued on this journey. I quite liked the way they did this. Having her angry at Hiro at first made sense as it was what the audience was likely thinking. However once she'd cooled down she could accept that Hiro had simply saved her life and was greatful.

    From there having Samuel kidnap her or whatever made sense both from a story and thematic perspective. The last moment showing him standing over a seemingly dead Mohinder was a cool cliffhanger. It's noticeable that he hasn't been in any episode this year, to the point where I couldn't help noticing the actor's name in the opening titles which gave the game away a bit. But it was a good ending to a decent episode. There were still plenty of issues, but the characters are getting more likeable again and the plot doesn't seem to be the giant mess it was last year so things are looking up.

    Also as a side note, despite her story not really working too well, I liked Elizabeth Rohm as Lauren here. Having not seen her on anything since Angel it was cool to watch her again and she was very good. It's a bit of a shame we'll likely not see her again, but you never know.moreless
  • The Charlie storyline was okay the first time around - it introduced Sylar - but this rehashing of it feels completely pointless, not to mention annoying.

    Hiro wanted to save Charlie – he actually forgot that means confronting Sylar. Samuel is right – the coffeeshop is a minefield. So many lives intersected there. Just moving Sylar meant Hiro didn't go back to save her and he disappears from the photo. A perfect example of the Butterfly Effect, this point in time – right before Peter saves Claire – is critical… and Hiro is messing with it! Hiro is changing things without knowing the consequences. Hiro allied himself with Sylar to save Charlie. Talk about a deal with the Devil. It worked out but it could so easily have gone wrong. Even Charlie knew Hiro did the selfish thing – he lets Sylar keep killing to save her. That's quite a burden.

    Noah had a thing for his co-worker. I like her. Noah was at the diner and didn't even know that Sylar was in the same room. Noah even kissed his partner, Lauren – she's great, even offered to help save Claire. If I know one thing about Noah, it's that he loves his family – and he flirted with the idea of having an affair. Lauren must seriously have had it bad for Noah to need to wipe her own memory to deal with it.

    It's becoming a pattern that brain trauma is related to powers – Hiro and Arnold have brain tumors; Charlie has a brain aneurism; Emma became deaf.

    Samuel's big secret, the reason he's manipulating people, he killed Mohinder?moreless
  • There's taking time guys, and there's downright procrastination...

    Okay Heroes, I'll give you one thing: while you may be dabbling in that age-old problem-generator time travel for the seven millionth time, at least, this time around, everything actually seems logical and fairly water tight. At least we aren't creating gargantuan paradoxes or a series of alterna-strands that serve only to boggle the mind and frustrate the quantum physicists in the audience. No, here, things stay strictly on the straight and narrow and the only concession made is Hiro's alteration to the untimely ending of poor Charlie's life. Thank the Lord for that. Problem is, while all of this works wonders, the same cannot be said of the meat of the plot, which is depressingly lean.

    There is a nagging ambivalence coarsing through the entire episode and it somewhat hurts our enjoyment of it. On the one hand, Noah and Lauren's story is a rather brave move that opens up a entirely new set of doors for HRG's character, allowing us to see both the minutiae of his work life and exactly how it affects him (how lonely and torn he is), but it's also achingly predictable and more than a little questionable given his absolute devotion to his family. Oh yes fine, so nothing actually happens but the idea that he would even consider it seems rather out of step with his personality.

    Similarly, it's great to see Masi Oka being more than a cipher for once, making some darker, more human, decisions, and hell, he gets a lot of great dialogue, but it's a shame that it all amounts to some glorified 'happily ever after' Hollywood fantasy; a trite love story that fails to surprise. Sylar's inclusion here is probably the best thing about the entire episode: honestly, give Zachary Quinto his own show, stat. It's incredible how effortless the slip is back into his former self. The 'OK corral' scene (you know the one I'm talking about...) is rather regrettable however, taking the Hiro/Sylar confrontation just that one step over the line into cringeworthy.

    There are some other praiseworthy elements: Robert Knepper continues to be simply fantastic as Samuel, and the final scene is a genuine shocker, but overall, the episode feels too much like it's taking on water. For all this may, conceptually, be a fangeek and continuity freak's dream, there's not really enough engaging plot to go around and what there is becomes a little stale around two thirds of the way in. There's taking time guys, and there's downright procrastination...moreless
  • A trip into the past may give Hiro another chance to save the love of his life.

    A trip into the past may give Hiro another chance to save the love of his life. I thought the Hiro portion of the episode was pretty silly. Didn't really think the show needed to get back into the Charlie love story again. I did think the rest of the flashback was pretty interesting and think it should set up some very interesting scenes for the rest of this season? Is what Hiro did going to change what we once thought to be "the way it was"? Noah cheats on his wife with a woman he ends up erasing her memory. I thought that was a little bit out of character - but it does explain why he clung to his family a little bit. Overall, better episode then most this season but still not amazing. Excited for the next episode though.moreless
  • Great episode, with a a few boring parts *looks at Noah*

    Why Once Upon A Time In Texas worked:

    1.Season 1 Sylar came back and was still creepy!

    2. No plotholes!


    4. Dr. Sylar!

    5. I felt the love Hiro had for Charlie

    6. Samuel was a minipulating as ever

    7. Mohinder was gone for a shocking reason!

    8. I loved the scene where Charlie was getting her anuerism 'fixed'.

    9. It felt like Season One in some ways.

    10. Hiro vs Sylar

    11. Hiro is put in an awkward postion to work for Samuel.

    That's about all I have to say, I liked this episode, this season's been going well, very well. Of course it isn't Genesis, but its doing its best.moreless
Jayma Mays

Jayma Mays


Guest Star

Santiago Cabrera

Santiago Cabrera

Isaac Mendez

Guest Star

Bryce Hurless

Bryce Hurless

Pistol Petey

Guest Star

Danielle Savre

Danielle Savre

Jackie Wilcox

Recurring Role

Sally Champlin

Sally Champlin


Recurring Role

Elisabeth Rohm

Elisabeth Rohm

Lauren Gilmore

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Samuel: My family is shrinking and our graveyard is getting bigger.

    • Lydia: Her name is Charlie. Hmm. There's a problem. She's dead. Three years ago.
      Samuel: That's not a problem. That's an... opportunity.

    • Lauren: I mean, I wish I could tell my mom that I missed my nephew's bar mitzvah because I was busy bagging a guy who can shoot fire out of his nose, but I can't.
      Noah: So what'd you tell her?
      Lauren: PMS.
      Noah: I don't think that would work for me.

    • Hiro: I'm here to save Charlie.
      Samuel: And why would you be doing something like that?
      Hiro: You told me I could right the wrongs of my life by stepping on the right butterflies. This is the biggest. It's Mothra.

    • Claire: I mean, do you like it? Do you love it, selling paper?
      Noah: Yeah, I like it a lot.
      Claire: I just.. I'm sorry, I can't imagine you being in high school, and saying, "When I grow up, I want to sell paper."

    • Hiro: Yes, I will tell you how you die. You die alone. I'm sorry.
      Sylar: What the hell is that supposed to mean?
      Hiro: It means that you will collect a lot of powers. You will kill many people. You will become strong. The strongest of them all. But in the end, it won't make any difference. We all gather to stop you. You're alone. No one will mourn your death. No one will shed a tear. No one. I wish I could change fate, but you must go on your path.

    • Samuel: I've got my own butterflies that need crushing.

  • NOTES (3)

    • International Airdates:
      Australia: November 25, 2009 on 7TWO
      UK: February 20, 2010 on BBC2
      Latin America: March 2, 2010 on Universal Channel
      Germany: October 20, 2010 on RTL II
      Czech Republic: January 14, 2011 on Prima COOL
      Finland: March 9, 2011 on Sub

    • Music: Sweet Old World (Lucinda Williams - in the diner as Hiro watches Charlie serve Sylar, later when Hiro orders root beer)

    • As of this episode, Robert Knepper (Samuel) is promoted to the main cast.


    • Title:
      Referencing two notorious Sergio Leone movies: Once Upon A Time in the West (1968), with the classical western good-guy/bad-guy showoff, and Once Upon A Time In America (1984), where an old gangster returns to his town to face the regrets of his past.

    • Hiro: Oh, boy!
      This is the famous catchphrase of another well-known time traveler, Sam Beckett, from the 90's TV series Quantum Leap. Sam would say these two words, with differing amounts of emphasis at the end of the teaser for each episode after he realized what body and situation he had leapt into.

    • Hiro: It's Mothra.
      Referencing the giant moth-like Japanese monster first seen in the 1961 movie Mothra. The monster is occasionally seen as a mammoth egg, which hatches into a giant web-shooting larva, and eventually matures into the familiar moth-like form. Originally she could generate gale-force winds and lift other monsters into the air. Later in the 90s, she was given additional powers to fire energy beams from her antenna and generate electricity.

    • Hiro: The MJ to my Spidey.
      Referencing Mary Jane Watson and Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man. The couple have an on-again/off-again romantic relationship in the comics. MJ eventually learns Peter's secret identity, they marry, and later become separated through supernatural means. The relationship is a major plotline in the three Spider-Man movies, as well as the animated adaptations.

    • Past-Hiro: The Marle to my Crono!
      Referencing the console role-playing game Chrono Trigger. The protagonists, female and male respectively, are two of the three playable characters from the game setting's 1000 A.D. setting. The Nintendo DS and Playstation games show the couple marrying in a final scene at the end. Crono is killed in the game but, like Charlie here, is saved through the use of time travel.

    • Noah: "Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour draws on apace; four happy days bring in another moo:; but, o, methinks, how slow this old moon wanes! She lingers my desires..."
      Referencing Theseus' line from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 1, Scene 1, addressed to his wife-to-be Hippolyta

    • Noah: "The course of true love never did run smooth."
      Referencing Lysander's line from A Midsummer's Night Dream, Act 1, scene 1, lines 132-140. The character is speaking to his lover, Hermia, and comparing love to a river.