Heroes Review: “Shadowboxing”


After the awful two-hour season premiere of Heroes Season 4, I was considering quitting this show completely.  I kept watching, however, and have been pleasantly surprised that the show continues to improve.  In fact, all four of the past four episodes have been very good, and although it’s a far cry from Season 1, not only is Heroes watchable again, it’s entertaining and, dare I even say, good.  This week’s episode – “Shadowboxing” – unfortunately wasn’t as good as the prior three, but it wasn’t too bad, either.  Keep reading for the full review.  As always, spoilers ahead.

Read last week’s review HERE.


The show beings with Claire and Gretchen trying to explain to their sorority pledge sisters just what happened when Becky appeared out of the blue and impaled Claire onto a spike.  Claire tells the girls that the water they were given must have been drugged, and for whatever reason (read: lazy writing), the girls accepts this answer and leave.  I know Claire’s in college and drugs aren’t exactly rare, but who on Earth would accept an explanation like that without asking any further questions?  It was, in my opinion, a pretty weak way to cover up what really happened.  Lord knows college girls ask a lot of questions.  Later on, we see that Noah has gotten the Haitian involved, which makes a little more sense.  But still.

The Haitian – who people are nice enough to call “Rene” this time around – ends up staying with Claire so that Becky can’t sneak up on her while invisible.  It’s nice to see the Haitian Rene again, but I wish they’d use him for something other than the Bennett’s do-boy.  Claire stupidly (something we’re very used to by now) sends Rene to follow Gretchen, who can’t deal with all the invisible-girls-impaling-healing-factor-girls drama, which gives Samuel the opportunity to show up at Claire’s room and give her the hard sell.  Meanwhile, Noah is snooping around Becky’s room and finds a compass, but Becky soon appears and confronts Noah.  It turns out that Noah killed her father – who also had an ability – and Becky wants revenge on Noah.  She thinks that killing Claire would be a great way to exact her revenge, and I sort of found myself rooting for her.  I’d love to see Claire off this show, and I sympathized with Becky a bit.  Besides, nothing beats a good revenge story.


Noah makes his way back to Claire’s room (after two girls enter Becky’s room and accept without question this strange guy’s explanation that he was just looking for something – what the f*ck is the matter with these girls?  I wish girls were this gullible when I was in college), only to find Samuel.  Before he can take Samuel into custody, invisible Becky starts beating the hell out of Noah and Claire, allowing for her and Samuel to make their escape.  I still don’t get why Samuel shot Becky with the taser to expose her – does anyone know?

Samuel returns to the Carnival and is greeted with some bad news: Sylar is gone.  Earlier, we saw that Sylar was having Nathan dreams and woke up shifted back to Nathan physically.  In fact, Sylar has reverted back to thinking he’s Nathan, and so he flew away from the Carnival (does absorbing DNA give Sylar that person’s ability?  I guess so) and went to see his brother Peter.


Peter had been using his new power to heal just about everyone in the hospital, which was overloaded due to a huge accident in Manhattan.  All the healing seems to be taking its toll on Peter, as he is drained and exhausted after healing someone.  Things are nuts in the hospital, and an one point, in one of the most blatant deviations from the standard of care for the medical profession, a doctor instructs Emma (a file clerk!  Who cares if she “dropped out” of medical school – she isn’t licensed!) to apply pressure to a patient’s wound while he runs off.  Amazing.  The Emma/Peter story isn’t awful, but it’s not really going anywhere.  Let’s hope that changes soon.  And why do I have the feeling that Emma will be the one to bring down Sylar?


Speaking of Sylar, he was once again the best part of the show.  He’s still in Matt’s head, and he and Matt are jockeying for power over Matt’s body.  It turns out that Matt has learned to control Sylar a bit, but he’s not willing to go to the lengths that Sylar is in able to maintain power.  Sylar wants to get to New York to find Peter (ah, more revenge), but Matt causes a disruption at airport security by packing a gun in his/Sylar’s bag without Sylar’s knowledge.  They hit the road in a car instead, but things are still rocky.  Controlling Matt’s body, Sylar uses a tire iron to smash the skull of a Good Samaritan, and we’re reminded why Sylar is indeed such a great villain.

Sylar threatens to kill more people – including a waitress at a diner (the same Texas diner where Charlie used to work) unless Matt comes clean about what happened to Sylar’s body and Matt, being the boy scout that he always is, spills his guts.  Matt had been doodling on a napkin while Sylar was plotting, and he left the waitress a note that read “I have a gun and I am going to kill everyone here.”  As Matt and Sylar leave the diner, Sylar informs Matt that he intends to find Nathan, but the waitress (who found the napkin) called the cops.  Matt/Sylar become surrounded by cops with their guns drawn in the diner’s parking lot and, in an act of self-sacrifice, Matt pretends as though he has a gun.  The cops open fire on Sylar/Matt, who drops to the ground filled with bullets.  Of course Matt and Sylar won’t stay dead, and I’m guessing (with help from the previews) that Peter will heal Matt, ignorant to the fact that he’d also be reviving Sylar.

Overall a pretty decent episode, but somewhat of a dropoff from the last month.  What did you guys think?

Similar Posts


  1. I think Samuel tasered Becky to show Claire, that he wants to help his ‘niece’. It must be part of his plan luring Claire into the Carnival by seeming trustworthy and causing distrust.

    I enjoyed this episode much more than last week’s, due to the fact that there were less plotholes caused by lazy writing of time travel.

  2. I was blown away (no pun intended) by the Sylar segment…right up until finding out that he wasn’t really going to die.

    It was a near-perfect arc: the ruthless and calculating Sylar vs. the well-meaning but ineffectual Matt. Matt continues to raise the stakes in order to try and control Sylar, but in each case Sylar either finds a way around it, or is playing games with him. Finally, Matt realises that the only way to stop Sylar is to sacrifice himself, and summons the courage to through with it.

    See? Matt finally acheives redemption with a truly heroic act, while Sylar (or rather, his evil essence) is subjected to an ignominious death, at the hands of mere cops.

    And now…we realise that Peter will simply heal him, and that this was all for naught.

    Don’t get me wrong – I love the Sylar character, and I have no intention of seeing him disappear. But this would have been a great opportunity to isolate and extinguish his id – which doesn’t seem to learn much from its actions and is at risk of becoming a Jason Voorhees-type cliche – and allow his new Carnival personality to develop (Nathan/Sylar battle notwithstanding). In other words, it would have been a way to punish the Sylar that is beyond redemption, and keep (redeem?) the part that is.

  3. I’m just getting tired of Heroes splitting plots in half every other episode, which they’ve done for as long as I can remember. I’m annoyed now knowing I’m going to have to wait two weeks to figure out what happens with Nathan and Parkman, just as I was annoyed last week that I was going to have to wait two weeks to find out what happened with Mohinder. The show is just terribly structured.

  4. @ Haywire

    Eh, I’m not sure. I thought maybe he tased Becky to subdue her so that Noah wouldn’t eventually kill her…

    @ MrFire

    The Matt/Sylar arc has been terrific – easily my favorite storyline. I sort of root for Sylar, and I’m hoping after Peter’s healing of Matt that Sylar gets his body back…and then finally, so huge action.

    I do agree with your point though – for once, Matt did something badass and it was a great way to truly annihilate Sylar.

    @ Paul

    Can’t agree…one of the shows strenghts this season is focusing on a few characters every other episode instead of cramming everyone together and sloppily tying it together.

  5. The way Matt sacrificed himself to kill the Sylar within was truly heroic. But why oh why did they have to “reveal” next weeks episode so soon? Now it just looks like his death was in vein. I always thought that part of Heroes appeal was due in part to the anticipation you’d feel after watching. Like I wanted
    to know what happens next week.s sort of my love/hate towards the show. It was good feeling, at least my feelings during Season 1.

    But when all is said and done, I still # this show tho! Heroes4lyf (throwing up the H). Loved them at SDCC!

  6. i THINK the annoying or kinda of lame part of the episode was claire and gretchen, hrg wasnt so bad, and the haitian comes back for just memories removal? come on he is a cool character giv him some storyline…

    The thing im looking forward is the mohinder stuff i dont want him to die..

  7. Becky was going for Claire so i guess Samuel stopped her because he needs Claire and to put some more doubt in her mind.

    And i also like how they’re going slow with the episodes.

  8. dunno if someone said it already but sylar can get abilities through empathy too like peter in seasons 1 and two, but they wouldnt be perfected right off the bat like when he cut their heads open.

    but i guess he got nathan’s power, learned how to use it a little and when he became nathan he just “remembered” how he worked it then it was like nothing happened.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.