Season 4 Episode 9


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

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Claire tries to determine who is responsible for the attacks on Gretchen and Annie. Sylar maintains his control of Matt, and Peter uses his newly gained ability to help Emma.

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  • Very enjoyable mind-games between Matt and Sylar.

    Matt has a lot more experience with his abilities so figured out how to regain control. It's becoming a genuine power struggle now. As Sylar says, he's the one without rules and he doesn't hesitate to kill. Sylar takes Matt back to Charlie's café and what's interesting – Sylar now remembers the revised history – he 'tried' to kill a waitress here once. Very gutsy of Matt to stop Sylar whatever it takes – killing himself kills Sylar – suicide by cop.

    Nathan's back and connected instantly with his flying power.

    Peter's new healing power works great with his paramedic duties but it's very hard on him. At this rate, he's going to collapse.

    Claire's feelings for Gretchen are surprisingly strong. For someone who wants a relationship with Claire, she runs at the first sign of trouble. Granted, it's a homicidal maniac, but if she wants Claire, Gretchen has to fight for her.

    Noah's past actions come back to haunt him, as they have before. Noah killed Becky's father and she wants revenge. Danko got the compass from Joseph. Why did Samuel save Noah? Though stopping Becky does buy good will from Noah, letting them escape.

    Emma accidentally let her nephew drown. Explains why she doesn't trust herself to be a doctor.

    The episode ends with what I love most about the series – Nathan and Peter together.moreless
  • Action-packed episode , bad Tv.com reviews starting to banish

    After watching Heroes ever night I log on to tv.com and vote the episodes and read some reviews both good and bad , and what I noticed lately is that bad reviews are decreasing throughout the weeks. Also episodes are getting better scores ( This is the first over 9 episode since season 1 ) and that's probably because the show is getting better and better. This episode was simple great ,it was full of action , very good plotted and very revealing. Lots of powers were used and it felt like season 1 all over again.I love Heroes just the way it is , but I understand that some people demand more action and cool fights and Shadowboxing it' s a great example of this. I think writer should do more episodes like this and they will recover viewers within weeks. Robert Knepper adds a lot to the show and Matt-Sylar's fight is getting pretty interesting although I wasn't very sure about the concept at the begining. I say keep up the good work and keep this kind of episodes coming , this is definitely a great startmoreless
  • extraordinary

    Shadowboxing is the practice of sparring with an invisible opponent for combat sports. Which sums up this episode quite nicely as Matt, Claire, Noah, Peter, and Emma have to face their personal demons. With Matt, his demons are literal as Sylar tries to board a plane to New York, so he can grill Peter since his last memory is of Peter injecting him with poison. However, Sylar doesn't get far when cops pull a gun from a metal detector checking his luggage. Turns out that ingenious ploy was courtesy of Matt. Nice. Sylar tries to hypnotize his way through but Matt's got full access of his powers, sneering that Sylar won't get to them, Sylar being dragged away, protesting. Back at Carnivale, body-Sylar awakes as Nathan. "Nathan", clueless where he is and confused, he flies off before Samuel and Lydia storm outside, Lydia seeing Claire as a lost cause after Rebecca butchered the deal. Samuel believes otherwise. Claire convinces her ditzy sorority sisters that what they witnessed was the result of a spiked drink. They walk away, freaked out. Gretchen and Claire go back to their dorm, Gretchen trying to pull information about Rebecca but turning up nothing, Gretchen still spooked about Rebecca and paranoid Rebecca could be anywhere. Claire promises she'll handle the situation, leaving Gretchen to fend for herself with baby powder. Sigh, yeah Claire. Excellent defense system. In New York, Peter's hospital deals with an accident crisis, Peter continuing his heroic missions with his healing-touch ability in tow, with unexpected results. When Peter heals someone, energy is drained from him. Emma winds through the chaos, a medic pulling her aside so she can help him treat a patient's wound, Emma providing adequate care, Peter watching her. He turns to a dying patient, heals patient, and almost doubles over in agony. Claire walks into the sorority house, finding the ditzy sisters' memories wiped. True enough, turns out to be the work of the trusty Haitain. Noah walks up to Claire, she marveling that he works fast. With Sylar shut off from air travel, he rents a car, only to have it break down. Matt laughs, taunting that he mindbended Sylar into not seeing a tack on the road. Matt snarks that he kind of likes being the shadow villain. Sylar gets pissed, not finding Matt's humor in this and informs Matt he not's completely in control. To prove it, when a mechanic pulls over to fix the tire, Sylar kills him with a wrench. Ugh. Noah and Claire talk through their plan of action for Rebecca. Noah will look in her room and the Haitain will go with Claire back to the dorm. Claire, scared that Noah plans on erasing Gretchen's memory, begs him not to. Noah sees how important Gretchen is and insists he not going to erase her memory, Claire just needs the Haitain so he can negate Rebecca's power if she gets to Claire. Good plan. Sylar stashes Mechanic's body into the car, smirking that Matt underestimated one thing. Matt plays by the rules, Sylar doesn't. He has no qualms towards doing anything possible in order to get what he wants. True but why does that remember of the Joker's speech at the end of Dark Knight? Anyways, Matt agrees to stop saboteguing Sylar and Sylar fixes the car. Peter collects himself while Emma sits with him. He explains his glitch while Emma reasonably advises to just stop healing people. For Peter, it's like she told him to stop breathing. More than that, this power, while limited, is making him stay extraordinary. He marvels over Emma's quick thinking with her patient and asks how she knew how to do that if she's just a secretary. Emma explains she went to medical school but dropped out, running off. Claire comes back to her room with the Haitain to find Gretchen packing to leave, maybe temporary, maybe forever. Who knows? Claire insists she's got the situation under control and Rene?!? aka the Haitain will take care of them. Gretchen says she's too scared and doesn't want to live in fear of an invisible woman coming at her in her sleep and doesn't want to stay on lockdown. She marvels at how Claire lives this everyday and wishes she could be as brave. Claire pleads with her to stay but Gretchen wishes her goodbye. Claire requests 'Rene' follow Gretchen to the airport. When they leave, Claire cries, only to have Samuel come to her doorstep, asking for Rebecca's whereabouts. He puts up a nice front and explains to Claire he's looking for his niece and regrets the awkward situation. Rebecca's "told" him about her ability and says he's a hero too. Samuel promises to explain, Claire intrigued. Meanwhile, Rebecca slinks in while Noah storms her room. Noah finds a compass in one of her shirt pockets when he senses her prescence, pulling out a taser, goading he had a partner like Rebecca. He says he doesn't want to hurt her when Rebecca materializes, finding that hard to believe. Sylar takes a pitstop at the Burnt Toast Diner of all places, showing Matt he's familiar with the place and people, especially Lynette. Sylar orders food and at Matt's look of discomfort, a 'Diet' Coke, changing his mind when Lynette insists he live a little. Sylar marvels at how he killed a waitress here and he'll do the same for Lynette if Matt doesn't cooperate and explain what happened to him. Matt balks so Sylar moves to kill Lynette. Matt finally gives. Samuel explains his power and his "family" and his relationship to Rebecca. He admits she's kind of crazy (look who's talking) and he doesn't codone what she did to Annie but he says she's not completely right because her father was murdered when she five. And who else killed him but good old HRG? Rebecca takes Noah on a trip through memory lane, saying he stormed into her house to capture her and her father, her father hiding her under the bed. He attacked Noah and Noah shot him to death. He didn't find Rebecca because she wished she could hide, making her ability manifest. Rebecca wants revenge against Noah for what he did and in order to do that, she's willing to hurt Claire in order to hurt him. Both are spared by two sorority girls bursting into her room. Rebecca fazes, Noah leaving. Samuel congratulates Claire on sending her friend away. When she says Gretchen left, he laments that ordinary people don't get it, will never get it. Easier to live with one of your own than pretend to be "one of the them". He claims he came to Claire because he couldn't make Noah understand, knowing what he'd do, and true to form, Noah shows, pulling a gun on Samuel. Samuel realizes Claire set him up and Claire smirks just why she would trust a stranger over her father. Hah! Noah demands answers after Samuel digs him for causing Rebecca to go crazy. Samuel explains he killed Danko because Danko killed his brother and people like Noah would do Samuel and hi crew harm. He explains the compass is a navigation tool that in the wrong hands would be disasterous for Carnivale. Back in New York, a little girl collapses in a children's ward, Emma with her. Peter comes over for support, Emma sparing him ability by saving the girl. Noah handcuffs Samuel, planning on taking him away, Samuel manipulating Claire that Noah will never understand "them" when Rebecca intervenes. Samuel tasers Rebecca to gain trust and Noah pulls his gun on both of them. Claire rushes to stop him but Noah slaps her aside. Realizing what he did, Claire finally reasons with him to let them go. Samuel-Rebecca flee, while Noah apologizes. Sylar doodles on a napkin, flinging it away when he asks for a check. Matt finally admits Angela's plan. Sylar, marvelled, leaves for New York, informing Matt he's going after "Nathan" to get his body back and then he'll kill everyone remotely involved with the plan. The cops surround Sylar outside. Matt manipulated Sylar into writing that he had a gun. Sylar demands what Matt is doing. Matt says Sylar's right about Matt's morality but Matt won't let Sylar kill anyone. If he has to die for Sylar to, so be it. Matt forces Sylar to reach into his pockets, when the cops shoot Sylar down, Matt phasing away. Noah takes Claire back to her dorm, apologizing. She brushes it off but all is not forgiven. Noah says he wishes Claire could have everything she wanted but Claire pines that it's not that simple. Emma plays piano, Peter giving her a tiara from her rescuee. Awwwwww. Emma finally tells Peter her sad story. Her nephew, Christopher, drowned when she didn't hear him walk out. She tried to rescue him but couldn't. Soon after, she dropped out of medical-school. Peter coaxes that she has a second chance. She saved that girl, she can be a doctor. Emma says Peter saved her (awwwwww!). Peter asks to join her in a duet even without the shared ability, Peter placing the tiara on her head. Awwwwwwww! At Carnivale, Samuel tells Rebecca Claire's-recruitement isn't a total loss, they still have her in a comprising situation and he'll let Rebecca get revenge on Noah, as he promised. Samuel's grand-plan is thrown for a loop when Lydia says Sylar's gone. Claire sleeps alone. Emma dusts off her old medical coat. Matt's driven away in an ambulance. Noah tracks Samuel's criminal record. Peter lets go of some of his hero-obsession, taking down the clips when "Nathan" appears, begging for help. I can't say this enough, Heroes somehow finds way to impress me in ways I couldn't be more impressed about. This was such a great episode, extraordinary on so many levels. For one, it had an odd connectivity between the individual stories that Heroes hasn't been able to reach for a long time. Poor Noah has to face his past and realize that he's created another monster. Claire, using her brains and calling Noah and the Haitain for help and not letting Samuel play her for a sap? Brilliant. I could finally understand why she cared for Gretchen so much and it's because she's lonely. She doesn't have a lot of friends. Gretchen was her first ordinary friend besides Zach that took her for her and gave an edge of normalcy in Claire's chaotic life. I understand but it would have worked a lot better between her and Gretchen if the OC-lite wasn't pulled. I would have liked to see Gretchen and Claire be friends without Gretchen having a crush on her, where Gretchen and Claire were on equal terms, her sharing that she was a lesbian sooner and Claire her ability, two "outcasts" against the world. And Claire's only stable relationship with Noah is comprised by Samuel so now she's on her own, Samuel pushing her closer to his designs. Now we now why Samuel wanted Danko dead and not just for a key. We find out the Haitain's name is Rene?!? Huh. Rene. I'm still going to call him the Haitain, if that's all right. For all the Matt-critics, Matt proves he's got brains and considerable skill by making Sylar dance like a marionette. Wonderful to see Matt get the upperhand for once. Matt willing to sacrifice himself to do the right thing was powerful. Those who want Matt to turn darker, it's not necessary, because Matt proves he truly is a capable hero that can hold his own. And it's great to see that doing the right thing didn't wind up crippling Matt or Peter as usual. It was nice to see Sylar a little more calmed down, less megamaniacal anyway, a little "nicer" towards Matt, at least as nice as Sylar can normally be towards most people. Finally, we know why Emma refused to be a doctor, she, like Peter, felt she could have done more to save someone. It makes the accident that rendered her deaf, resulting in her ability, bitterly ironic. It was wonderful to have Emma finally be the one to calm Peter's obsession down. As for Peter, it was wonderful seeing him grapple with his limitations and wanting to have at least that one self-inflicting power that made him extraordinary. He doesn't want to be normal anymore. He doesn't want to go back to being human, to being fragile, to being useless and letting people's lives slip from his grasp. I loved that he learned that the smaller victories, as with Emma, can be just as powerful. And I loved that "Nathan" has returned, for now. I don't think I'm spoiling anything but look away if you will be, but enjoy "Nathan" while he's still here. And regarding Peter, this storyline proves how traumatic it will be once he finds out about "Nathan". He will take it on himself that he couldn't save his real brother from Sylar and since it is his brother, he will go even more far and beyond to try and "save" him and I have a bad "feeling" (more like an indication) that it will have tragic results. Applause, applause, applause. Bravo. Magnificent. I hope Heroes can continue this wonderful path. Next episode, we find out why Samuel killed Mohinder, Peter having to come to "Nathan's" rescue, and Matt reviving along with Sylar to find "Nathan". Strange stuff. Stay tuned.moreless
  • Just getting better and better

    I really liked this episode even thought it may be some fillers but first off about Matt-Sylar thing.I dident know what at first thinking about their storyline.I don't like it so much but it was actually more intresting in this episode and i liked what sylar said in the Café, ''I actually tried to kill a waitress here once'' or something like that.But good set up episode for ''Brother's keeper'' when nathan/sylar and Matt/sylar finally meets! And we are gonna see mohinder too.Peter was really exhausted when he healed all those people and i hope he gets another power soon.But man the scene with Peter and Emma at the piano playing when emma asked ''You can stil see the colours''? I was so hoping for him to say Yes and have his old ability back,lol wonder why i thought that?.Anyway a great episode with a good set-up for next episode.Can't wait!

    sorry if my english wasn't all that great.moreless
  • With 'Shadowboxing', Heroes begins to feel like it's going somewhere for the first time this season.

    With 'Shadowboxing', Heroes begins to feel like it's going somewhere for the first time this season. Dangling narrative threads start to come together and we acquire an idea of where it is that the volume appears to be heading. The Carnival developments are interesting, even if they take a complete U-turn from where we were last week (really, couldn't we have had some sort of acknowledgement of the HUGE Mohinder-related cliffhanger/bombshell we were treated to? No?) - seeing Robert Knepper without eyeliner is decidedly unnerving after eight episodes, but his transformation to 'normality' works very well. He's excellent with Hayden and the pair seem to have good chemistry. Becky's ignomny with HRG is logical, if a little repetitive (haven't we seen this a dozen times in the show before?), and it's questionable whether she can carry this sort of emotional gravitas, but at least it doesn't descend too far into absurdity. The scene in the car park is well choreographed, pointedly tense and just the right side of dramatic. The effect on Gretchen is neatly handled, and kudos for not having her change her mind and be sat in Claire's room at the end of the episode. It's actually a little touching when young Bennet sheds a tear, which is a sign that this storyline is moving in the right direction.. let's just hope they don't abandon all the good stuff in favour of some hot, meaningless, unbelievable lesbian action next week. If they handle the issue with sensitivity, as here, who knows... maybe they CAN compete with Buffy's handle on the scenario.

    As ever, Matt and Sylar are amazing together, with both parties putting in some fine, angsty performances. The dialogue continues to sparkle, with Parkman's about turn into manipulative SOB working exceptionally well... it's a nice change of pace, after all. It's a little irritating that the writing staff couldn't give him an ounce of sense when it came to the concept of Sylar using his body to kill... that seemed obvious to everyone and his or her cat from that fateful moment at the end of episode seven, and it takes a brutal murder for Matt to realise the gravitas of the situation. Still, this doesn't detract from how genuinely intense the sequences are; particularly the final, parting (supposedly) gasp, as Matt sacrifices himself in order to put an end to the 'Brain

    Man's sinister legacy. It's a genuine jump-out-of-your-seat moment, a 'mouth wide open' shocker... of course, they have to bookend it with footage of the guy being driven to the hospital and what's the betting that Peter is able to heal him next week?! Ack, if that happens... for now, I'm happy to think positive and commend the writers' bravery. Hell, even threatening to do away with one of the show's favourite characters shows they clearly have some balls... Peter and Emma's story is really the only lightweight element of the hour. There is some good character development to be found here, a product of the heroes' abilities rather than some grafted on swerve. The writing staff have done a damn good job of fleshing out Emma, to the point where she actually feels like an integral part of the show, and we want to see her develop. Her scenes with Milo have a delicacy that the show is often lacking, and they really are a joy to watch. Sadly though, after four or five episodes of amazement at the fact that she can 'see' sounds, it is beginning to become apparent that she is pretty directionless; that her story amounts to little more than musing over psychological issues and being taught how useful and all round great it is to have abilities. It's threatening to become tired, and the last thing we want is for this to besmirch an otherwise wonderful character. Let's hope they do something different with her soon... The other big news, of course, is that Nathan's back. Well, sorta. Zachary Quinto'll probably rear his ugly head pretty soon... but at least we have some actual plot development here; dramatic ironies are demystified and revelations made... if 'Brother's Keeper' picks up where 'Shadowboxing' left off, we should be in for some interesting sequences between Pasdar and his televisual family. On the whole, this is a pretty competent episode, steadily moving pieces across the board at a decent pace and finding the time for some encouraging character development and one mother of a shocker at the same time. There are gripes, and this certainly isn't an all time great, but 'Shadowboxing'is certainly one of the better offerings that Heroes has served up this year.moreless
Carlease Burke

Carlease Burke

Nurse Hammer

Guest Star

Michael Nye

Michael Nye


Guest Star

Omar Leyva

Omar Leyva


Guest Star

Jimmy Jean-Louis

Jimmy Jean-Louis

The Haitian

Recurring Role

Deanne Bray

Deanne Bray

Emma Coolidge

Recurring Role

Dawn Olivieri

Dawn Olivieri


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • The newspaper cutting which Noah Bennet pinned on the wall and scribbled "Samuel," underneath the picture of the destroyed mansion is some news text totally unrelated to the headline. In fact, the text is similar to the text of a newspaper article about the drunken cheerleader which West showed to Claire back in season 2.

    • Trivia: The Haitian's first name of Rene is given for the first time.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Sylar: I don't get to fly very often, you know. Especially not first class.
      Matt: Well, I'm glad my life savings could broaden your horizons.

    • Lydia: It sounds like the Claire Bennet recruitment is a lost cause.
      Samuel: You know me. I'm the patron saint of lost causes

    • Sylar: In his death, he has helped me prove a point about the line.
      Matt: What line?
      Sylar: The one I can cross and you can't. The one that says I can do anything I want like killing people in cold blood.
      Matt: No, you can't just...
      Sylar: The world is my hostage, Matt. Anybody. Anytime.

    • Peter: Earlier I saw you with, the uh, suture. Where'd you learn how to do that?
      Emma: Clown college.

  • NOTES (1)

    • International Airdate:
      Australia: December 2, 2009 on 7TWO
      UK: March 6, 2010 on BBC2
      Latin America: March 9, 2010 on Universal Channel
      Germany: October 27, 2010 on RTL II
      Czech Republic: January 21, 2011 on Prima COOL
      Finland: March 16, 2011 on Sub