Season 4 Episode 13

Upon This Rock

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

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Claire joins the carnival but begins to suspect Samuel has a secret agenda. Hiro returns to find his friend Ando, but is disoriented and has trouble communicating. Samuel seeks out Emma to help him recruit someone with the special ability he needs to make his dream of a homeland a reality.moreless

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  • Chuck Schumer, even worse than Samuel Sullivan

    Eli: So she's free to leave.

    Samuel: Not in my lifetime.

    This is how you tell the good guys from the bad.

    Do they respect your individual sovereignty and individual liberty? Or when persuasion fails, will they resort to naked force?

    Samuel is an ever so slick con artist, carnival barker, i.e., a skilled politician.

    But Chuck Schumer, a real life politician, is even worse. Like all politicians, left and right, east and west, ancient and contemporary, autocratic and "democratic," he's all about using physical coercion to bend you to his will.

    New York Post WASHINGTON -- Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Bob Casey (Pa.) took aim at Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin Thursday when they introduced legislation designed to tax expatriates even after they have left the country. Their so-called "Ex-PATRIOT Act" would impose a mandatory 30 percent tax on American investments for those who renounce their citizenship and would also prohibit individuals like Saverin from re-entering the country.

    Eli: So she's free to leave.

    Samuel: Not in my lifetime.moreless
  • Nancy Drew has never looked hotter

    Picking up after the break, Claire has decided to stay with Samuel at the carnival. But some suspicious behavior throws Claire into Jr. Sleuth mode and she wants some answers. I've been enjoying what they've been doing with Multiple Man, and the Claire gaining the upper hand in the House of Mirrors was a fun touch. Her scene with Puppet Man was also enjoyable, like a trip down memory lane. The poor dude doesn't want to break up the family. And so it seems this "family" isn't the problem, only their leader, Samuel. It's so hard to know what to feel with this character because despite negative evidence to the contrary, he's been mostly redeeming and dare I say, likable.

    Just look at the the way he was with Emma, our hospital clerk with the sonic boom. She and Sam share the best scenes of the episode as he teaches her the harness the true nature of her powers. It seems she is a 'siren' and her 'call' can bring others to her. I dig that. Sullivan was searching for a dude with plant powers. I immediately thought of Bush Root from the "Darkwing Duck" cartoon.

    The weakest element of the show was enough to damn this episode with a 7.5 from me. More crap from Hiro. If you thought "10-year old boy" was bad, just wait to get a load of this gibberish "comic-book geek speak" they've got him stuck with now! Yes, I get all the Sherlock Holmes/Spiderman/Star Wars/X-Men/Batman references. But none of this is done in any way that is clever or cool. It makes sense to Ando only, and I feel sorry for everyone involved. It's embarrassing. Claire finally confronts Samuel and he shows her what was up with that empty valley. Turns out he needed Poison Ivy over there to turn the land into a lush a fertile place for his people to live and grow. Seems innocent enough...The ep concludes with the funeral of Nathan Petrelli. Nicely done. But where were his ex-wife and kids? I hate when the show can't remember something as fundamental as a dead man's CHILDREN.moreless
  • A solid return for Heroes, continuing the strong balancing act between character development and plot progression that the show has been pulling off so far this season.

    Heroes achieves the nigh on impossible this week and actually does something productive with Emma's character. After weeks of pontificating over bizarre colours, oohing and aahing at her ability to see sound but ultimately achieving nothing other than giving the cinematographers something different to do, Carlos Cota actually bothers to make her story relevant to the ongoing narrative, doing something more with her than simply pointing and exclaiming at how gosh darn cute she is. As suspected, good old Samuel was responsible for sending her the cello and while we're still unclear on how it managed to crack a hole in the wall of her apartment, at least now we're aware that Emma can do a whole lot more than just make the screen look pretty. That she is a siren should have been screamingly obvious from the earlier park scene but its underplaying did a deft job of disguising the fact. Refreshingly, Cota actually explores the possibilities inherent in her deafness too, using sign language rather than lipsynching and attempted dialogue, which feels far more natural than the conversations she's been having in her previous appearances. It makes the viewer work to appreciate the scenes and adds a potent level of believability, strengthening our investment in her character.

    The other crucial development this week concerns ol' Clairebear, whose trip around Carnyville (see what I did there?) actually proves to be more than passingly interesting. It's intriguing to follow the day-to-day activities of the occupants of the place and acquire a different perspective on their way of life: Doyle's dialogue in particular gives us an opportunity to understand just how much the notion of togetherness, of community, can mean to people. Once again, David H. Lawrence XVII is tremendous as the illustrious puppet master, proving endearing and bloody freak in equal measure. Further airtime for Lydia and Eli proves to be nothing other than a good thing too: the latter is particularly eerie in his continual observation and pursuit of the young Bennet, while the tattooist just generally fascinates, enveloping Samuel's world further in murky shades of gray and allowing someone, anyone, the opportunity to finally see a little of what T-Bag might be planning. It is never quite apparent what will happen to Claire, whether or not she will choose to stay, as developments twist and turn continuously, flipping her onto opposing sides of the decision. This lack of predictability is certainly refreshing and the fact that the choice is only stalled by Nathan's death really strengthens the storyline.

    As was probably to be expected, this is treated with great sensitivity, steering clear of the mawkish and overly emotional. Petrelli's funeral is a sombre affair, with surprisingly little dialogue. Peter's speech is short and sweet, a perfect tribute to the world's most schizo brother, and the use of military procedures adds a nice lump-in-the-throat touch. The cinematography is wonderful too, all fitting greys and blues, giving everything a solemn hue. It's a rather nice decision to use it as a bookmark to the hour, having no other reference until the thirty five minute point, as it qualifies all that has gone before, adding a strong sense of perspective. The only slightly disappointing element of the episode is Hiro's descent into ridiculousness, which does threaten to veer too greatly into cringeworthy territory at times (especially as he's rescuing the 'maiden' or whatever), but given that his dialogue is effectively a fangeek's wet dream, loaded with intertextual references, we'll forgive it.

    A solid return for Heroes, then, continuing the strong balancing act between character development and plot progression that the show has been pulling off so far this season. Tropes move forward, characters acquire new significance and insight and Masi Oka gets to reference Battlestar Galactica. Let's just forget about those horrible child actors and their side-splittingly awful attempts to pull off an Irish accent, shall we?moreless
  • Mostly a filler episode.

    Looks like Hiro's brain tumor's finally kicked in – that was hilarious! 'Stirred his fanboy brain'.

    Emma's powers are starting to make sense – her Pied Piper routine the other day in front of Peter really was just that – she can summon people to her. Samuel wants another elemental like himself. Creating his little Eden is very benign… and doesn't fit at all with the ominous forebodings.

    Angela! Now that Nathan's really dead, she makes sure his disappearance is explained with Nathan's real body. An autopsy would show the body had been frozen but Angela can have that covered up.

    Nathan really is dead. It was a beautiful funeral. The one odd thing was Claire – she hasn't even spoken to Nathan this season.moreless
  • The steady pace continues...

    (Note: This review covers the first half of the two-episode event that aired on 04 January, 2010. This review was written without prior knowledge of the events in the second episode. A subsequent review will cover the second half of the event.)

    "Heroes" returns from a brief winter hiatus to begin its final stretch for the fourth season (and possibly for the series). The events of the previous episode suggest that the season arc is shifting into its resolution phase, with about 6-7 episodes remaining, but the momentum doesn't pick up much in this particular installment.

    The writers have adopted a slow but steady approach to the fourth season, focusing more on character development and exploration than endless plot twists and turns, and the results are mixed. Generally speaking, this is a preferable approach, especially when the characters are fascinating. This is one reason why "Lost" has been so successful; at the heart, it is a show about complicated characters on a bizarre journey to redemption (or, in some cases, a lack thereof).

    Everything about this season of "Heroes" boldly points to a similar mandate. As I've said before, the statement was a bit too bold. Redemption works when it is organic. If the audible has to be told that redemption is the goal, it's not redemption. It's self-serving rhetoric. But it has been toned down over the course of the season, and now the question is whether or not the characters are still interesting enough to carry the story. (And this has been an ongoing concern since the beginning of the third season.)

    For my part, Samuel and the other carnies continue to be the saving grace of the season and series. Why? Because the writers do better with characters without established history. They can shape the character's background to fit the immediate story requirements, and for the most part, it all feels right. Despite some hiccups along the way, Samuel has proven to be a complex character, full of righteous indignation and a dangerous level of self-deception.

    I had hopes that Samuel would emerge as a true Magneto-esque figure, and one way or another, he's serving that purpose. Whether it is all about his personal desire for power and control, he is still bent on creating a sanctuary for metahumans. To call on another typical comparison, Samuel reminds me very much of Jordan Collier from "The 4400". I love how he's calculating in one moment and solicitous the next, all while carrying the banner of providing a home for his people.

    If Samuel's character had been less nuanced, Claire's reactions might have been too obvious. Instead, Claire seems to have come to the logical conclusion: Samuel's goal is not the issue, but rather, his methods and personal agenda. The problem is that Claire has yet to communicate much of anything well, so it remains to be seen if these distinctions will carry over to Peter (who is obviously the one she will be turning to for help).

    That said, this is the most interesting Claire has been in a long time. While the Claire/Gretchen kiss has proven to be little more than ratings fodder, as many feared, her interaction with Samuel strikes at the heart of the character's inner conflict, tired as it has become. It doesn't hurt that Hayden is still very easy on the eyes.

    The other prominent subplot in this episode pertains to Hiro and his attempt to communicate to Ando, now that his brain has been scrambled. It didn't take long to figure out that Hiro was trying to tell everyone that he needed to break Mohinder out of the psychiatric hospital, so it was a little frustrating when it was clear that the characters would take a lot longer to get to the same point. Hopefully this will be resolved in the next episode. Hiro's geek-speak aphasia was amusing, but it was a minor improvement on what continues to be another disappointing plot thread for Hiro. At this point, it seems clear that the writers have no intentions of letting Hiro (or Ando) grow.

    On the whole, the good elements of the episode outweighed the bad and tedious. I still consider this to be an entertaining show, even if it is occasionally frustrating. Much of that is due to the new characters and the storytelling opportunities they have generated. Even so, I doubt it is enough to bring back former fans of the show or earn it another season.moreless
Henry Hayashi

Henry Hayashi

Ramen Vendor

Guest Star

Ai Yoshihara

Ai Yoshihara

Japanese Woman

Guest Star

Keisuke Hoashi

Keisuke Hoashi

Japanese Cop

Guest Star

Dawn Olivieri

Dawn Olivieri


Recurring Role

Sasha Pieterse

Sasha Pieterse

Amanda Strazzulla

Recurring Role

David H. Lawrence XVII

David H. Lawrence XVII

Eric Doyle

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Powers update:

      Ian Michaels: Ian is a homeless man who has the ability to manipulate and even accelerate the growth of plants, shown most prominently when he turns an entire barren valley into a lush green paradise.

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Mohinder: (opening voiceover) There are many ways to define our fragile existence. Many ways to give it reason. But it is our memories that shape its purpose and give it context. A private assortment, of images, fears, loves, regrets. We alone chose the importance of each. Building our own unique histories one memory at a time. Hoping the ones we chose to remember don't betray or trap us. For it is the cruel irony of light that we are destined to hold the dark with the light, the good with the evil. That is what separates us, makes us human. and in the end, what we might fight to hold on to.

    • Claire: Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you.
      Samuel: Sounds deep.
      Claire: Sartre. College.
      Samuel: I always thought freedom was just another word for nothing left to lose.
      Claire: That, too.

    • Hiro: Good Citizen. I am a humble knight from the Starship Enterprise. I seek my first officer, Sancho Panza.
      Ramen Vendor: Miso, soy or salt?
      Hiro: I do not require sustenance. I require transport to Sancho Panza. He is my sidekick.
      Ramen Vendor: No sidekick. Noodles.

    • Ian: (Emma's) different. Like me.
      Samuel: Not different. Special.

    • Peter: My brother Nathan taught me a lot. He taught me... how to ride a skateboard when I was a kid, how to hook a marlin, he taught me how to catch a baseball. Those are all things usually a father'll teach his son. But Dad wasn't around. So it was Nathan. And I wish to hell it would've been my father, because Nathan didn't take it easy. He would throw it high, or he'd throw it wide, and I would yell at him. I'd tell him to throw it right at me, but he'd say to me, "That's not how it's gonna come at you at a game, Pete." I used to think he was just being a big brother and he was picking on me. But now I understand. He just wanted me to be ready... for anything. I'm ready, brother. For whatever comes.

  • NOTES (3)

    • International Airdates:
      Australia: February 18, 2010 on 7TWO
      UK: March 27, 2010 on BBC2
      Latin America: April 6, 2010 on Universal Channel
      Germany: November 24, 2010 on RTL II
      Czech Republic: February 18, 2011 on Prima COOL
      Finland: April 13, 2011 on Sub

    • Sendhil Ramamurthy is credited but only does the opening voiceover.

    • Music: Karn Evil #9 (Emerson, Lake & Palmer - playing on the radio as Young Samuel tries to move a boulder)


    • Hiro: I seek my first officer, Sancho Panza.
      Sancho Panza is a fictional character in the novel Don Quixote written by Spanish author Don Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra in 1602. Sancho acts as Don Quixote's "sidekick."

    • Samuel: I always thought freedom was "just another word for nothing left to lose."
      Samuel is quoting the song Me and Bobby McGee, written by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster, originally performed by Roger Miller, and most famously covered by Janis Joplin.

    • Hiro: There can be... only one.
      Referencing the movie, TV, and cartoon franchise first seen in the movie Highlander (1986). In the series, certain individuals are somehow born or created as Immortals, and can only be killed via decapitation. They are fated to fight each other through the ages, gathering their opponents' "Quickening," until only one survives.

    • Hiro: Citizens of Caprica. You are saved. the Cylon has been defeated.
      Referencing the SyFy TV series Battlestar Galactica (2003). The Cylons are an alien race of cybors, with infiltrators that can near-perfectly mimic humans while remaining loyal to the Cylon machine race. Caprica is the leading world of the 12 Colonies, and hosts the colonies' capital.

    • Eli: Well, well. If it isn't Nancy Drew.
      Referencing the teenage detective in popular detective novels, which have been updated occasionally for modern audiences. Nancy Drew was created by Mildred Wirt Benson under the pen name "Carolyn Keene." Nancy is probably known best under her TV incarnations in The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries from 1977, and the semi-parody movie in 2007.