Season 4 Episode 16


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Jan 18, 2010 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (13)

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  • A generally solid episode, thanks largely to its refreshingly considered focus on the show's most sorely mistreated Japanese supergeek.

    A generally solid episode, thanks largely to its refreshingly considered focus on the show's most sorely mistreated Japanese supergeek. Finally, Masi Oka gets the chance to prove that he's not just a cutsie-wutsie face with a penchant for ludicrously overused catchphrases. Give this man something with weight, a storyline that has some actual bearing on the arc plot and manages to deliver a whack-load of character development to boot, and he'll outshine the lot of 'em. As with season three's once-in-a-blue-moon 'Our Father', 'Pass/Fail' dares to treat Hiro as something other than comedic foil and reminds us all precisely why we fell hopelessly in love with him in the first place. For all the makeshift trial is pseudo-fantastical gumf (it's all in his head! Wait... his mum's there! She heals him! Is it all in his head? Is there something more going on? Is it all just symbolic? We'll never know!), it has its hrt in exactly the right place: it helps us to put Hiro's actions in the past season into a wider context and carefully outlines the somewhat murky moral dilemma that inevitably arises when presented with the responsibility of control over the space-time continuum. It also gives us a chance to marvel at the woefully-missed acting talents of good ol' David Anders, whose turn as Adam Monroe, Metaphysical Prosecutor, is right on the nose, and, indeed, at George Takei who, despite having only a handful of lines and just bashing a salt-shaker a bit, is one of the best things to happen to Heroes in ages. It's a shame that the denouement, in which Hiro engages in a symbolic battle with His Inner Conscience (sorry, Kensei), falls rather flat; there is never any question of the character actuallysuccumbing to his illness so while the point is not exactly moot - he still needs to re-learn the moral lesson, if you will - it still lacks the dramatic punch that it perhaps could have packed. Elsewhere, there's a nice little turn between Kate Vernon and Robert Knepper, who act their tiny socks off with every passing scene in order to present the impression of a couple with a tonne of history. Their dialogue, interactions and nuances make the whole thing lift off the page with a delectable sparkle, disguising the fact that the story is distinctly conventional. By hour's end, when Vernon snubs T-Bag as he presents her with his fantasy, you actually feel resca shred of empathy for this dangerously manipulative character... and then he goes and levels an entire town and ruins it all. The episode's other strand, Sylar's quest to understand what draws him to Claire, is passable but nothing particularly spectacular. We've been here before (for a great deal of season three, it should be noted) and while, once again, Zachary Quinto is absolutely marvellous, delivering each line with just the right level of quiet menace, the whole story feels distinctly inconsequential. Still, Claire gets a nice go at Sylar's eye and we get the chance to witness the Heroes writing staff's desperate attempt to channel the ghost of Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer (come on... Claire and Gretchen want to be Willow and Tara so badly, it's bloody embarrassing). Oh, and that Quantum Leap reference made my year.
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