Season 3 Episode 19

Shades of Gray

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Mar 09, 2009 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
657 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Sylar finds his father at last, Claire must decide whether to help a sworn enemy, Danko digs into the secrets of the Petrelli family, and Matt must find a way out of an explosive situation.

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  • Gaps in logic

    When Bryan Fuller returned to the "Heroes" fold, he was bluntly honest about the state of the fourth volume. He said that the first few episodes would be a strong start, but that things would fall apart and get pretty bad by episodes 18-19 of the season. That kind of honesty could be interpreted as simple arrogance and narcissism, but I can't help but see his point.

    Oddly enough, I'm usually one to root for the underdog. If I start watching a random football or baseball game with little or no personal investment in a given team, I'm the one who starts cheering for the losing team. Someone says a film or book sucks? I look for the silver lining. Which is the roundabout way of saying that I still have hope that "Heroes" can pull out of the tailspin they've found themselves in for the past couple seasons, and I see the potential within the story that has yet to be managed particularly well.

    The episode doesn't get off to a good start. Previously, Danko had set Matt up as a "terrorist", complete with a bomb strapped on his chest, to give the public and his superiors evidence of a threat worthy of serious human rights violations. For this to work, Danko's involvement shouldn't be obvious or easy to determine. Unfortunately, somehow, everyone is quickly convinced that Danko set Matt up, and Danko doesn't even try to deny it. This renders the entire situation moot, revealing it to be little more than an attempt at shock tactics.

    But it does serve to bring the conflict between Danko and Nathan to a head, effectively paying off their little power struggle. There was never any doubt that Danko would take full control over the operation, and that his more extreme policies would take effect almost immediately. Nathan was a fool to ever expect that he could keep Danko under control, and sure enough, now Nathan is in the crosshairs. (The outright thick-headed stupidity of the Petrelli family is staggering to behold.)

    Much like Matt's subplot early in this episode, Claire's subplot seems a bit pointless. If the writers were going to have her stay in Costa Verde for a while, working for Rebel and the burgeoning metahuman underground, it would make sense for her to take a new job and establish herself. But as it stands, the situation is mostly notable for tossing her into a comic shop job where she can be the object of attraction. Oh, and so she can prove to be as clueless as her father and uncle when it comes to taking people at their word.

    The highlight of the episode is, as usual, the Sylar subplot. Even that, of course, has its flaws, but the darker side that Sylar represents is a lot more interesting. I loved John Glover during his tenure on "Smallville", and he brings some familiar amoral depth to the role of Samson Gray. If Samson hadn't been weakened by time and disease, I doubt Sylar would have been able to beat him so easily. But it does seem to have given Sylar the closure he needed to move on, and it should be interesting to see what he does with Danko. I suspect he will convince Danko, one way or another, to make him an operative, serving both their interests (since Danko's team was unable to stop Sylar in the past).

    It's far better to contemplate Sylar's ongoing shifts in character motivation than, say, the logic behind tossing Hiro and Ando into a baby plot. That turn of events was beyond random, and perhaps typifies the underlying problems with the episode (and the volume thus far). While the central conflict could certainly be compelling, the writers appear to be struggling with the task of giving so many characters something to do. Even so, I'm holding out to see if the revised writing staff can turn things around.moreless
  • Sylar at last meets his father while Claire must help a former enemy.

    I think at this point in the series I'm simply suffering from fatigue. From what I've read it was very good, but I've lost a lot of my previous interest. The terrorist set-up involving Matt was handled horribly, it really could have lasted the episode and ended meaningfully. Claire's story line had some potential, the puppet master is genuinely creepy. However, I think some of my fatigue crept in here because I was just not blown away. In addition, I hate to say this but Sylar has been used up. What was once the biggest baddie on TV has turned into an overused character, much like HRG. In short, average.moreless
  • huh.

    At first sight I knew this would be another Daphne-less episode, which is really pissing me off. I think with all the commotion about the bomb scene, they could have made it a little longer than 2 or 3 minutes. Plus; The Baby? Really? and they're bringing back Janice!? Oh god no, Are she and Matt gonna have some sort of big heart-felt talk?! I really hate those. ...On a possibly lighter note, Rebel? Did Tracey know their identity all along, or did she really just figure all that out from a message?. I really hope Molly's involved; I drastically miss her. Hopefully Molly and probably Micah, Cause that'd be so awesome. Well, We'll just have to wait and see!moreless
  • One of the better episodes of "Fugitives," but still far from perfect.

    This was one of the better episodes of this story arc, but I still can't bring myself to give the episode more than an 8. Watching Sylar's struggle with his father was interesting, but I was expecting their conversations to be a bit more revealing. The reasoning for abandoning his son and killing his wife? He just felt like it. Really? That's the best the writers could do? Still, this episode did manage to keep things rolling pretty smoothly without too many plot holes like previous episodes. Sylar's self discovery isn't enough to keep this show afloat however. I've heard that season 4 is going to be a completely new slate, so hopefully they can wrap up these characters before then.moreless
  • Oh finally.

    Although this episode isn't right back into the usual Heroes greatness, I at least didn't feel disappointed as it unfolded, hence my higher score rating. It's an overall small push in the right direction. It seems like they've found a purpose for Claire in the show once again. Sylar is finally back to being the bad guy. (Thank goodness. No more daddy issues.) It's a good thing they decided to simplify things and making Nathan's position clear out in the open again. I liked how he saved Claire at the very end. It seems that the show is bringing back some previous characters - not sure yet if that's a good thing (Janice, Eric...esp the baby...) I guess we'll see. Solid episode but not great yet.moreless
John Glover

John Glover

Samson Gray

Guest Star

Mara LaFontaine

Mara LaFontaine


Guest Star

Roger Bridges

Roger Bridges

Bomb Squad #1

Guest Star

David H. Lawrence XVII

David H. Lawrence XVII

Eric Doyle

Recurring Role

Zeljko Ivanek

Zeljko Ivanek

Emile Danko

Recurring Role

Quin Baron

Quin Baron

Baby Matt

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Mohinder: (voiceover) Generations unfold. Father to son. Mother to daughter. Where one leaves off, the other follows, destined to repeat each other's mistakes, each other's triumphs. But how do we see the world if not through their lens? The same fears, same desires. Do we see them as an example to follow? Or as a warning of what to avoid? Choosing to live as they have, simply because it's what we know, or driven to create our own identity? And what happens if we find them to be a disappointment? Can we replace them, our mothers, our fathers? Or will destiny find a way to drive us back, back to the familiar comforts of home?

    • Danko: I'm sure you'd have grown close to the Petrelli family.
      HRG: The Petrellis were never exactly a warm and fuzzy bunch.

    • Samson: I guess the apple didn't fall too far from the tree.
      Sylar: I'm not your apple. You don't know anything about me.
      Samson: I have some idea. You and I can't be all that different.
      Sylar: From where I stand, we have exactly nothing in common.

    • Sylar: This is pitiful.
      Samson: What's that?
      Sylar: What you've become. You used to be a killer. Now look at you. You're pathetic.
      Samson: Oh. You want a fight? That what you were expecting? Son kills his father, epic battle, huh? That's a myth. No. Life... life never gives you what you want.

    • Claire: I have a free pass for a reason. I should be using it to help people. Rebel seems to think so.
      Sandra: Yes, well, this "Rebel", whoever he is, can't send psychopaths to our front doorstep. I don't think I can take any more surprise guests.

    • Nathan: I thought Parkman was in your custody?
      Danko: He was, last time I checked.
      Nathan: What the hell is he doing in front of the Capitol building with a bomb strapped to his chest?

    • Eric Doyle: But if there were agents outside... why aren't they kicking in the door, looking to collect a comes-back-to-life Barbie?

    • Danko: I want to know everything you know about Nathan Petrelli.
      Tracy: He was lousy in bed.

    • Sylar: I guess not everybody gets old. Not everybody dies.
      Samson: Then you just have that much longer to suffer, don't ya?

  • NOTES (1)

    • International Airdates:
      UK: March 30, 2009 on BBC2
      Belgium: May 14, 2009 on VT4
      Latin America: May 16, 2009 on Universal Channel
      Australia: May 28, 2009 on Channel 7
      Germany: January 6, 2010 on RTL II
      Finland: June 12, 2010 on Sub
      Czech Republic: October 8, 2010 on Prima COOL
      Slovakia: August 10, 2012 on Markiza