Heroes Review: “The Fifth Stage”

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For the first time in a long time, there’s been some buzz about last night’s episode of Heroes, “The Fifth Stage.”  The reason, of course, is that the death of a major character was supposed to not only occur, but actually stick.  With no Claire’s blood or time-traveling to reset the death, it seems as though Heroes may be starting to trim the fat.

Last week, Samuel continued to manipulate Hiro, Sylar emerged before Nathan could subdue him, and we witnessed a very awkward Thanksgiving for the Bennett family.  I think before even watching last night’s episode, you would have been able to figure out who died, but what are the implications for the rest of the season?  Keep reading for the full review of “The Fifth Stage.”  As always, there will be spoilers.

You can read last week’s review HERE.

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“The Fifth Stage” undoubtedly is a reference to the fifth stage of the Kubler-Ross model of grief, acceptance.  And it’s an appropriate title for last night’s episode, as Angela, Peter, and Nathan himself finally come to terms with Nathan’s death at the hands of Sylar.  In the beginning of this episode, Peter briefly meets with the Haitian and “borrows” his powers of ability-blocking and mind-wiping in preparation for his showdown with Sylar.  I suppose the best offense against someone like Sylar is a good defense, so good job by Peter for thinking ahead.  Later, in a very cool scene that reminded me of Prototype, Sylar – in the form of a black woman thanks to his shapeshifting ability – ambushes Peter in a hospital elevator and mocks him for his plan to use tranquilizers again.

I suppose this clears up some debate over the Haitian’s ability, in that it’s clearly a voluntary ability.  To put it another way, the ability-blocking ability doesn’t automatically block abilities; the user of the power has to intentionally block abilities.  Anyhow, Peter beats Sylar to a pulp and then goes to town with a nail gun, since Sylar can’t use his ability to heal (or any abilities for that matter).  Peter then uses the Haitian’s mind-wiping power to somehow bring out Nathan, and the two brothers go to the roof to discuss just what the hell is going on.

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Once on the roof, Nathan reveals that he’s growing tired of fighting Sylar and concedes that Sylar is killing him.  It seems as though Sylar may emerge again (how great was the line about crucifying Peter in Times Square?  I would have loved to have seen that!), and so Nathan, having already accepted his own death, leaps from the building in a suicide attempt.  Peter catches Nathan, but also accepts his brother’s death.  After a somewhat touching moment, Peter lets Nathan fall to his death below.  And then, in the coolest scene of the episode, Sylar picks himself up, brushes himself off, gives Peter a little nod and then heads off intot he world, hopefully to collect more abilities.

Why was Sylar able to heal if Peter had the Haitian’s power?  I’m guessing the ability-blocker has to be close to his target.  Otherwise, that’s kind of a big goof.

Meanwhile, Noah and Lauren cancel a date so that they can look for Claire, who Noah realizes stole his compass.  I wonder just what is going to become of Lauren because as of now, she doesn’t bring much to the show – she’s essentially a female Noah.  Anyhow, Noah and Lauren are visited by a “multiplier,” a person who can create duplicates of himself.  Another X-Men (or in this case, X-Factor) ripoff?  Multiple Man says hello.  The multiplier – who was sent by Samuel – terrorizes Noah and Lauren until they retreat into the bathroom.  When they come back out, he and his duplicates are gone, along with the Primatech files for which the multiplier was sent.

By the way, did anyone else find it a little out of character for Noah to suggest that sex was an option during his date?  Not that there’s anything wrong with that; I’m glad he ;s approaching single life with some aggression.

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The rest of this episode focused on Claire and her trip to Samuel’s carnival, where she met freaks people like her who were living their lives without hiding.  Normally I rip on Claire for being so dumb, but I can see why the carnival would be so appealing.  Claire’s tired of hiding her ability, and Samuel is the father figure that she needs – a father with an ability who understands what she’s going through.  In the end, Claire ditches Gretchen and sticks with the carnies.

There were two things that struck me as pretty odd during Claire’s carnival visit, though.  One, she sees Doyle and gives him a hug?  A big, “Hello, how do you do?”  The guy kidnapped her and her mother and tried to have at least one of them killed.  I’m not one to hold grudges, but I don’t think you let stuff like that go.  And wasn’t Doyle killed by Sylar?  Or at least captured by Sylar and then turned over to Danko?  Well, he seems to be doing a lot better now.

The other occurrence was the minor league pitcher (or so the dude claimed) who was pounding Samuel after losing at a carnival game.  It was just a few of bucks and we didn’t see the guy drinking, so his willingness to start throwing fists seemed pretty ridiculous.  And when young, little Claire gets in his way to try and stop him from beating up Samuel, the dude breaks a glass and slices her face?  Really?  What kind of carnival is this?

That aside, I thought the episode was pretty decent, especially the way Nathan was killed off for good.  Sylar is back and badder than ever, and it looks as though Samuel’s plan for a home is coming to fruition.  Samuel wants to keep recruiting people with abilities, but Claire isn’t the one he’s after.  Who is?  He already had Sylar, so my guess is Peter.  Heroes is off until Januray, so we’ll have to wait a few weeks to find out.  What did you guys think?

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