Heroes Review: "The Art of Deception"

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This week's episode of Heroes focused on one undeniable fact: Every character is a complete and utter moron.

We'll review "The Art of Deception" by pointing out the reasons why:

Parkman traps Sylar inside his biggest nightmare... and then buries him behind a brick wall IN HIS OWN BASEMENT! Really? This was the best plan Parkman could conceive? You have a little boy and a wife at home and you decide to wall up the world's biggest villain a few feet from where they do laundry. Nice plan, dude.

Peter tries to rescue his nemesis... all because of some hazy dream. Really? You have no hesitation whatsoever about sending Sylar out into the world simply because you had a dream where maybe, possibly, he helped saved lives? There's been no real build-up to this storyline, nothing remotely related to anything else going on. It's simply been Angela randomly telling Peter she had a dream about Emma; Peter taking his mother's ability; and then Peter going on a rogue mission to free Sylar.

This didn't work, of course, due to Parkman's nightmare spell. So now Peter has pulled a Hiro and is stuck inside some strange, alternate universe. Why does this show continue to think it makes for good television to have its characters trapped in other dimensions or timelines?

Aim Taking

HRG takes aim at the carnival... for reasons unknown. Yes, Samuel destroyed an entire village last week. But HRG was attempting to take down the carnival long before that, though it's unclear why. As we've asked all season long, what has been Samuel's grand plan? What makes him such an evil force in the world? This question has NEVER been answered! Seriously, think about it:

Why did he recruit Claire? Why did he summon Hiro and trap Charlie? Why has Samuel been featured at all this season? Yes, he's become one angry dude after getting rejected by his long lost love a week ago - but that's a new development, one entirely unrelated to anything he did or said for 15 episodes prior to that.

We'll give the episode one positive critique: at least HRG and Claire have been apprehended by the carnival. At least someone is actually in danger for a change.

Lauren got shot... and phoned Tracy for help. Good call! No doubt she'll come swooping in and be as useful as she's been all season. Wouldn't you have loved to have been in the writers' room when this storyline was mapped out?
We'll have Lauren call someone, and it will turn out to be Tracy! Imagine the look of excited shock of viewers' faces when they see her return!!!

Sylar suddenly wants to be 100% ability-free? Really? Really?!? This could easily be considered the biggest development in show history and it received zero build-up after just one conversation with Claire.

Finally, no rundown of moronic characters would be complete with including Claire. She learns that Samuel has killed over 200 people and that her father is out to take him down. Does she help him? Of course not. She runs to a group of people to warn them... about what, exactly? That her dad wants to eliminate their evil leader? Did she think he has a nuclear weapon and would take out the entire carnival somehow?

There's never been any logic to any of Claire's decisions. One second, she wants to be normal; the next second, she wants to bond with people like her. If the show were written well, this might come across as your typical, confused teenager. Instead, it's simply an example of a character's actions conforming to whatever moves the story along.

One final question: How did Emma even get to the carnival? Lydia is dead, so who contacted her? How did she find it? Are we really meant to believe there's been no doctor on staff there? AHHHH!!!!

Check out the NBC promo for next week's episode and chime in with your thoughts on "The Art of Deception" in our Comments section below and/or Heroes forum.


Editor Rating: 1.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (12 Votes)

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


hmm i wonder why HRG wants to take take samuel... --first thing--a lot of people died or were injured, including himself, because samuel sent one of his own out to get a compass
--Samuel killed people in a mansion
--Samuel sent a member of his carnival, becky, to tamper with Claire's life--becky ends up trying to kill HRG, samuel makes it out that HRG is the enemy and turn claire again him
--samuel constantly explains that he and HRG have more history together than is known
--Samuel's power can increase to world-destroying proportions if he is surrounded by enough special---something that is growing increasingly real
--samuel killed a lot of people when he collapsed a police station
(unknown to HRG samuel also killed joseph and for a while mohinder)
--samuel killed more than 200 people when he collapsed an entire town
--samuel kidnapped a girl and ripped open a city street against HRG
--samuel sent eli to attack/steal files from HRG's apartment
--etc etc so mr qualified reviewer...would you now like to ask the attentive audience again "for reasons unknown. Yes, Samuel destroyed an entire village last week. But HRG was attempting to take down the carnival long before that, though it's unclear why. As we've asked all season long, what has been Samuel's grand plan? What makes him such an evil force in the world? This question has NEVER been answered! Seriously, think about it:" perhaps try paying attention before you berate something


Reviewer, what is wrong with you? Everyone seems to love this episode except you. Why don't you go write reviews for I-hate-TV-Shows.com?

Matt richenthal

Ok, Michael, let's assume all you said is true: who cares? So... Samuel isn't a nice guy. Has anyone been in danger all season long? Has he actually done anything? Aren't there plenty of bad people in the world?
By trying to "collect" Peter, Hiro, Claire and Emma, did the show not imply Samuel was building up to something involving these heroes? So the question remains: What on earth was that something?


Things I agree about: Yes, there wasn't good enough build up to the Sylar situation, and I suppose we still don't know what Samuel really wants. However, Matt trapping Sylar in the basement was actually a good choice. He didn't have to cart the body out, and as far as he knows at this point, there is no way to get out of the "nightmares" he can create. And, with Sylar being immortal, he would be trapped in this coma forever. He would not come out of it, he would not die and create a stench. He'd just be there. Of course, that's not gonna work out, but his choice makes sense. And the rest of your complaints are just kind of silly. HRG attacked the carnival because *gasp* he knows somewhat the Samuel has a plan, is dangerous, and is violent. He's trying to stop something bad (whatever that is) from happening. Just because we don't know doesn't mean he doesn't have some idea. And as for Claire... umm... it's completely in the nature of her character to want to warn them. The carnival isn't bad, Samuel is. She wants to stop them from getting hurt. But she did it in a stupid, impulsive way, and Samuel took advantage of the situation and even got Lydia killed. In a turn of events, he is turning the people of the carnival against society and convincing them that they can never live in peace and live happily unless they do something about it...


Obviously the reviewer has no idea what they are talking about and doesn't watch the show carefully. Samuel's evil goes way beyond rejection from his lover. He genuinely does want to create a world where his family can be safe and accepted. All his life he has been shunned and faced contempt from society. He was the son of the hired help at some mansion, then he starts a circus where people with powers can be more open but are still looked down on by society. And since he is a megalomaniac, he feels the only way his people can truly live freely is to kill people that don't accept them. He also has more selfish motives as he covets power and gains more power when people with abilities gather around him. This is another reason why he wanted to gather as many people with powers around him, including Claire. And the reason he forced Hiro to work for him was pretty clearly laid out. He needed Hiro to go back in time and retrieve the film that explains the true nature of his powers that Mohinder had destroyed. Also,it's pretty obvious why HRG wants to take down the carnival. He has been hunting specials his whole life so naturally he becomes suspicious when a mysterious carnival full of them pops up. Then he saw Danko murdered and was cut up himself for a compass that is somehow related to the carnival. His motivation further escalates when Samuel's niece tried to kill Gretchen and Samuel began courting Claire. Honestly, I'll admit the show has its flaws, but the reviewer apparently can't remember what happened more than two episodes ago, so of course he or she is not going to appreciate what's going on.


Perhaps the answer to Matt's dilemma would have been the following introduction: Sylar, Haitian. Haitian, Sylar. (Go deep.) Anyone think Peter has been collecting powers since his brother's death b/c he's "open" again? Like saying Claire's is one to hold onto, but then immediately seeking flight. (How did he get to Parkman's house?) On the other hand, maybe he's still one power at a time, which leads to.. One theory I've heard that's interesting is what if the Sylar in the dream is Peter inside Sylar's body--maybe that's the only way he & Sylar can regain consciousness from Matt's hell. And Peter comes back in Sylar's multi-super-powered body to handle the situation (could Sylar perhaps wake up in Peter's one power at a time body? Certainly could solve his problem--less temptation; while Peter, in Sylar's body, would have the powers he needs to help others; kind of a reverse Sylathan.) I don't know. I'm trying to pull intrigue out of character minutia because as noted there has not been much danger or real, purposeful movement to the action on the show. Peter, HRG and Hiro (when each is allowed to be true to their character) still hold my interest, but the clock is ticking and I HOPE the finale is even somewhat satisfying..


loved what you had to say, datanant. I fully agree with your statements! Hopefully Heroes will be this gripping the rest of the way.


I agree, this episode would have been great earlier in the season. It was satisfactory, if uneventful, up to and until Parkman decided to trap Sylar behind a wall. The twist during the shooting wasn't bad and still proves Samuel to be a wicked and selfish person. We still have no idea of what he wants to do, other than keep all the unwittingly happy carnies around for power for some hidden goal. Part of me thinks that the puppetteer makes Emma play the violin destructively for Samuel to kill either a lot of people or the Heroes that were caught at the carnival. Sylar will show some compassion and perhaps some Heroes will stay dead. I'm just uninspired to think of anything else. Heroes, is doing horribly this season. I only watch to see how poorly it is going to end. There is something about my seeing this season to the end after so many episodes. The reviews on this site are fair and hard. They have also been fair and admiring. Again, much respect to those of us with some shred of honesty that can put their fanboy urges aside.

Matt richenthal

I'm happy to answer, Dan, and thank you for the comments:
- Correct, there's no time travel... but there is Peter and Sylar is some weird alternate dimension. And it's already been confirmed that Hiro will travel to find Charlie again. So that mess is far from over.
- People are dying? You mean Lydia, perhaps the most useless character ever on the show? Consider her prominence this season and then compare it to her pointlessness: her tattoos told Samuel what to do. She sort of had problems with him, but never did anything about it. She was there to simply move the narrative along, nothing but a plot device with no personality and no actual action.
- Are you actually excited about Tracy coming back? I never asked for that; I complained about how the show never killed off stupid characters, yet kept them around sporadically and thought viewers would still care.
- No Mohinder only makes the episode where Hiro broke him out of the asylum even more of a waste of time. What on earth was the point of that?
- Parkman grew a backbone because he didn't want Sylar to kill his wife? Look, you can't break down individual instances from one episode (even if you do, they make NO sense). Aren't storylines and developments supposed to build upon one another, in a logical manner, toward an exciting pay-off? Has Heroes done that in any way? I understand loyal fans wish to point to five minutes worth of one episode as something exciting... but is that really what the show has sunk to?


sylar is in a "coma". it doesn't matter where he is buried in, he cant break out of it (at least without peter's interference). the only reason why it would matter is if he's buried in a place where other people can find him. if people find him they're gonna do their best to get him out of the "coma". so why not bury sylar in your own home where u can make sure he is never found as long as you continue staying there? by the way, he was made completely powerless by parkman before he was buried and parkman already read sylar's mind, knowing that he does indeed want to be normal. im sure he's no longer the world's biggest villain after all that right? the reason driving peter to save sylar is simple. he loves emma, either as a friend or smth more, more than he hates sylar. after all u associate peter with love, not hate. and having understood her pain, struggles, and good-willed nature, cannot bear to let her be the cause of destruction of that magnitude. angela's dreams are usually accurate and when she says that peter can't save her, he recognizes that sylar is the only solution. and sylar's character development is realistic. from wanting to be special, he does become special. he consolidates his significance and special-ness by achieving immortality. he then wants to give his immortality meaning by finding out the truth about himself and his roots. seeing the pathetic nature of his father, he is determined to be the extreme opposite, working towards being the most powerful man in the world. he fails and has his mind messed up by parkman, is inevitably not quite the same even when his mind returns to his body. after hiro's antics, the fear of living forever in loneliness haunts him, though subconsciously. this fear (technically should have been with him from season 1 onwards since hiro messed with the timeline) only manifests when sylar becomes insecure again because he realizes he's not quite himself. he then resorts to rid himself of his powers because he realizes he fears isolation more than he fears being ordinary.

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