Heroes Review: "Shadowboxing"

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Heroes has had a few bright spots this season, but we've finally determined the reason why it still lacks drama and suspense:

There's no flow to episodes.

Each week, the series focuses on various characters and storylines (last night, it was Peter, Parkman and Claire), but none of them seem remotely related. Sure, Samuel shows up occasionally and makes a pitch to different heroes. But does anything come of that?

Tracy seemed to be considering the carnival a couple episodes ago and we haven't seen her since. Hiro was blackmailed into assisting Samuel last week, and he wasn't mentioned last night.

Read our detailed recap of "Shadowboxing" and see what we mean.

Parkman and Sylar

Heroes is at its best when there's a clear storyline, one that gives the characters purpose and builds momentum each week. Think the season one showdown in Kirby Plaza. Think the Shanti Virus; remember Arthur Petrelli.

With almost half of its fourth season complete - and cancellation staring the show in the face - something major has to take place shortly or else the series is doomed.

We've also been critical of the show for years for never taking death seriously. Last night was another example. Wouldn't the Parkman/Sylar scene (pictured above) have been a lot more suspenseful if a single viewer believed that Sylar might actually be dead?

There were a few quotes we enjoyed from the hour at least. For example:

Peter: Earlier I saw you with, the uh, suture. Where'd you learn how to do that?
Emma: Clown college. | permalink
Sylar: The world is my hostage, Matt. Anybody. Anytime. | permalink
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. | permalink
Lydia: It sounds like the Claire Bennet recruitment is a lost cause.
Samuel: You know me. I'm the patron saint of lost causes. | permalink

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

Neon glo

Gee, I actually forgot about Tracy! Even without a catchphrase, the connection between the stories is Samuel's tattoo wish list. But that would be meaningful only if Samuel's goal made any sense. He doesn't seem that charismatic to me - I guess he's just surrounded by cowards and sheep. The problem I really have with the writing is waste. Gretchen is already gone and served no real purpose. HRG's almost-fling from the past served no purpose. Good news for now: I just read a blog that listed shows already axed and Heroes wasn't mentioned. Whew.


I think Heroes needs a CatchPhrase for this season to get people hyped up....How about "Embrace your Inner Carnival.." I think you guys are being seriously unfair, up to this point we know Samuel is recruiting, We have been introduced to new Heroes/villains, Samuel is good at blackmailing, MOhinder is dead some how, and Samuels intention is coming out very soon. At the same time we are seeing MAtt's situation with Sylar, Sylars Body situation with Nathan, Peter trying hard to save peoples lives, Hiros effects with the Tumor, Claires situation with College and dealing with the invisible girl, and Tracy Chillin..lol. Can we bring back Rebel to bump Tracys part in the show. If this was after the halfway point I would understand what you guys are thinking but we havent crossed that line just yet and something big is coming,,,,,,,,I CAN FEEL IT.


I would really rather not remember Arthur Petrelli.


Granted. We learned of that objective in the fifth episode, so I'll give you that this season is bit behind in revealing what the endgame is. Maybe we got it last night from Sylar: Find my body, kill all involved. LOL

Matt richenthal

Point taken. But season one also had Save the Cheerleader, Save the World. That was THE catchphrase on TV and it brought everything together. There was a clear end game to all of it.
I was excited for the same here, as they introduced Samuel so well on the season premiere. Since then... nothing.


I think you are being a little unfair in this assessment, as we have the benefit of evaluating S1 as a whole, but only part of S4, and there may be a little rose-coloured glasses retrospective here. I agree that S1 was excellent, but it was just as fractured as this season before everybody met at Kirby Plaza. In the first half of the season, what did the Jessica storyline have to do with a cheerleader discovering she has regenerative powers? We had the Nathan storyline on its own, Peter's on its own as he learned to cope with his powers, which crossed over to the Isaac/Simone story. Hiro and Ando had no link to the Parkman storyline. S1 was filled with fractured stories that may have had brief crossovers, loosely bound together by Primatech and the threat of Sylar, but building to a monumental event , which we later found out was stopping an exploding man in Kirby Plaza.
I think what I like about this season so far is that the formula is very similar. We have fractured stories, loosely bound together by Samuel, and we know it is building to something, we just don't know what that will be yet. They are building something good here, but you can't judge the structure based just on the foundation. Wait until the season is over, and then a fair comparison to Kirby Plaza can be made.

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Heroes Season 4 Episode 8 Quotes

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: 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.