Heroes Review: “Tabula Rasa”


The fact that this week’s episode of Heroes was Sylar-heavy and Claire-light may have a lot to do with it, but I actually liked it.  A lot. “Tabula Rasa” wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was the best one to air in quite some time.  For the most part, we were spared any Claire scenes, the central storyline involved the two most interesting characters on the show, and we even got some violence.  Keep reading for the full review.  Spoilers ahead.

Read last week’s review HERE.


Last week, Sylar ended up escaping from Ernie Hudson and finding his way to Samuel’s carnival.  The entire carnival disappeared (did we ever find out how?  or did I miss that?), and Samuel began his “recruitment” of Sylar.  Tabula rasa – the concept that a person is born as a blank slate, and that personality is shaped by experience – must be something in which Samuel believes.  He, along with Lydia and Edgar (Ray Park), recognize that something – or someone – has screwed him up big time, and Lydia comments that it’s as though there are two aspects to Sylar, warring within.  It’s a dangerous game to get mixed up in, but if they play their cards right, it looks as though Samuel and Co. will have themselves there very own Sylar.  Not that I’m expecting this will end well for them.

I will commend Heroes for actually planning in advance.  There wasn’t much action in this week’s episode, but it is clear that the show started to develop some intriguing storylines that will last for a while.  Sylar didn’t go from a mind-erased blank slate back to the old Sylar right away.  In fact, he’s still not back to his old self, as he didn’t have the heart (or cruelty) to kill an unarmed and terrified Ernie Hudson.  Edgar had the honors of doing that, and it was nice to finally see death and blood on a show that claims to feature some of the most of the most dangerous people on the planet.  Samuel’s recruitment process of Sylar is methodical: he became familiar with Sylar, earned his trust, showed him his old memories via a very unique telepath of some kind who was able to project Sylar’s memories onto mirrors, he baptized Sylar, and finally, welcomed him into the carnival family.


Noah, in the meantime, could be in the process of recruiting, too.  After last week’s episode, Peter had the ability to teleport.  In an attempt to save Hiro, Noah and Peter teleport to the home of a disturbed kid named Jeremy, who supposedly has the power to heal.  Naturally, Noah has a file on him from his days of bagging and tagging and knows everything there is to know about Jeremy.  It turns out that somewhere around puberty, Jeremy’s healing power turned into something like Omega Red’s death factor, and everything he touches dies – including his parents.  The kid is obviously a wreck and when confronted by Noah and Peter, opens fire with a shotgun.  Noah and Peter are able to subdue Jeremy, but not before Peter – in a pretty cool sequence, I have to admit – takes a shotgun blast to the chest.

I thought the show was a bit cheesy at this point – hey, this is Heroes we’re talking about – but it wasn’t too egregious.  I mean, did anyone think Peter would die?  And did anyone think that Noah wouldn’t talk Jeremy into digging deep down and finding the power to heal Peter?  I thought it was obvious.  Anyhow, I hope that Jeremy becomes a regular character – there are many creative directions you can go with a troubled kid who has the ability to heal or destroy anything he touches.  If he’s joining up with Noah, and Samuel is in the business of recruiting, too, perhaps we’re headed for an awesome battle by the season’s end.  That’s what I’m hoping for, and maybe Heroes will finally get something right.


Peter had to drive back home from Jeremy’s house, so I am guessing his teleportation powers are gone, replaced instead with Jeremy’s ability to heal.  Will Peter also be able to kill simply by touching?  It’d be interesting for a character with Peter’s empathy to wield that ability.  Also, kudos to the writers for actually addressing the possibility of using Claire’s blood to heal Hiro and why it was impractical.

Like I mentioned earlier, there was very little Claire this episode, which is always a good thing (although the previews for next week’s episode make it look like a horrible horror movie starring Claire and her sorority sisters – ugh).  Hiro was toned down quite a bit and served as a mentor for Emma, showing her that her powers are a beautiful thing that make her unique and that they should be cherished, not despised.  After his lesson, though, Hiro jumped back into the past once again, this time to save Charlie.  And that’s where we’re left hanging.

This wasn’t a perfect episode of Heroes, but it’s the best that has aired in a long, long time.  I enjoyed it, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that.  The story seemed carefully planned, and it looks as though the writers are focusing more on character development and on fewer characters, which should serve to give the show the depth it has been lacking since Season 1.  The previews for next week’s episode make me think it’ll be a real groaner, but at least “Tabula Rasa” is a sign that all hope is not lost, and that maybe this season of Heroes will right itself after all.

What did you guys think?

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  1. Can we all agree Emma’s ability is useless?
    A friend of mine came over last night who stopped watching after Season 1 and I had to attempt to explain Sylar and I think I confused myself more then I did him. (If I got it right: The Sylar at the circus is actually Nathan and the real Sylar’s body is still somewhere else and that’s the body evil Sylar who is haunting Matt wants back yes?). Then my friend proceeded to go on and on about how old Claire looks now, Hah!

  2. Cheryl,

    Carnival Sylar is the real Sylar. He was brainwashed to become Nathan at the end of Season 3 (Vol. 4), but now that spell has (partly) broken.

    Nathan himself is dead, killed by Sylar, and where his body is – we don’t know. The Sylar body that you saw burning at the end of Vol. 4 was James Martin, a shapeshifter that Sylar killed, and that was used by HRG, Angela, and Matt to fool all the others into thinking Sylar was really dead.

  3. Thanks, MrFire. That’s correct…the Sylar we are seeing is in fact Sylar, just missing his identity, which is currently locked up in Parkman’s mind.

    @ Cheryl

    Emma’s power is useless so far, but she did show the ability to manipulate sound in a way that can make it useful as a weapon…

  4. Stupid ass Hero should of went back and saved Charlie a looong time ago. And now that Peter can heal GASP he cant take away her brain tumor or blood clot. Some people don’t think hard enough on this show.

    Like as soon as they showed up in Jeremy’s and seen he had a gun, Peter should of just stopped time, went upstairs and took it. THEN he should of just teleported Jeremy with him to Hiro, healed him (if he were still around) then teleported him back to his house.

  5. >The entire carnival disappeared (did we ever find out how? or did I miss that?)

    Yes, there was the guy who ‘hid’ the garbage cart or whatever when sylar was being shown around the carnival. I think were supposed to assume he did the same thing last episode to hide from the cops.

    Interesting that they go with the whole powers of life and death thing. One of the main characters from the 4400 had the same ability: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawn_Farrell

  6. Factual error: Sylar was acting super drunk at the carnival party but HE CAN’T GET DRUNK DUE TO CLAIRE’S HEALING.

    Other than that, this was a halfway decent episode, except for Hiro suddenly remembering after three years that if he wants to he can go back in time to save Charlie.

    Where the hell is Matt Parkman? And what’s this I hear about a “main male character” dying soon? They’ve already written Mohinder out and I can’t imagine Nathan actually coming back at this point.

  7. @ Arlan

    Ah, that makes sense. Thanks.

    @ Paul

    Yeah, I guess that’s quite an oversight, if he was indeed drunk. A totally in-control Sylar may be able to turn his “healing” on and off (as he would undoubtedly know how it worked), but not this clueless Sylar.

    Parkman should be back next week, judging by the previews.

    I wonder who will be killed? Too bad it’s not gonna be Claire…maybe Hiro? Let’s hope.

  8. Loved the fact that when Peter got healing, he lost teleportation (he can only hold one power at a time now).

    Then he had to hop in an old truck and book it for the airport. Makes it more “realistic” if at all possible.

    Also liked them explaining Clair’bears blood and how it would only make the tumor healthier.

  9. Hiros going back into the past is gonna be interesting…especially seeing as there will be at least one old school sylar moment in it!
    sylar nowadays doesent have “the hunger” so he doesent have motivation to kill even if he gets his memories back, and in the alternate future he dident have to kill at all even without matts brainwashing him,so his monster persona will probably be dropped or tamer in future. speaking of matt/sylar im thinking sylars going to possess matt and make him a semi villain for a bit[at least thats what id like to see!]

  10. @ Darren

    One way or another, I’d like to see Matt become a villain. The show needs to make some of its regulars go bad, and Matt was never likable to begin with.

  11. there are many factual errors in this season, particularly in this episode.

    in an earlier episode, we saw Hiro go back in time to save Tadashi (was that his name?), then return to the present, only a few minutes after Ando was typing japanese on the computer (says 11 oclock). If we trace timelines, there should be another Hiro here, the Hiro that’s suppose to be talking to Ando before he actually went back to save Tadashi. Simply put, the Hiro who just came back from correcting Tadashi’s past should have ran to another Hiro who’s currently talking to Ando.

    in tabula rasa, Peter absorbed Hiro’s power while they were talking in Hiro’s hospital room. Then Emma came and Peter touched her on the back, on the arm, on the shoulders. He did touch her on parts that had actual clothes on, but on the episode where Peter got Emma’s ability, Peter toucher her on her sleeved arm, so it doesnt matter if he touched skin or clothing to get a hero’s ability. why didnt he get Emma’s ability again? is it an uncontrolled, random thing? seems like he can pretty much control it, since he got Hiro’s without breaking a sweat.

    ive noticed other continuity/factual errors but i kinda lost count already. there’s too many to list @_@

  12. Kelly, your thinking to hard to find errors when you fail.

    The reason why Peter got Emma’s ability by accident is because he didn’t know she is special. So now that he is aware of Emma having a power, he can chose not to take it.

    Note on being two Hiros, that is false.

    Hiro from the past appeared to the future(present) after present Hiro went to the past disappeared.

    Hence why Ando asked Hiro where did he go.

    Pay more attention to the episode rather then trying to be smart and find errors.

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