Review - Heroes Chapter 8 - Shadowboxing

Here we go again. The episode opens up with a massive train wreck in New York. Of course, this is just cause for Peter to use his newfound ability on the scores and scores of victims coming in from the wreck. I'm surprised it took two episodes for Peter to start doing that, although in all fairness last week was all about Hiro (ugh). The ER is understandably insane as a result of the wreck and Emma sees that her calling as a doctor may actually be valid. I thought the scene was really well done, as Emma is viewing all the trauma while there was only the music playing and no sounds (because Emma's deaf and all). Peter calls upon his power yet again to heal a flatliner and the toll is noticeable; noticeable as in he's getting worn down. Not using the power gives him strength as he's awake enough to stumble upon Emma and a toddler princess in a janitorial closet near death. Why she was there I don't know. Regardless, Emma saves her with some quick thinking and two years of medical school (she really learned a lot in those two years apparently) and is comforted by Peter afterwards. He encourages her to go back to school and finish considering the reason she dropped out was because her nephew drowned on her watch. You can cut the romantic tension with a knife! Afterwards, Peter is greeted by Nathan who thinks he did something wrong. I like the quick thinking Claire. When faced by the other pair of sisters she suggested that "these aren't the droids you're looking for." That is, the two women didn't see Claire get impaled or Becky try to kill Gretchen (instead they were drugged). Claire decides she needs to confront Becky and while at the sorority house the two accomplices to Becky seem to have no memory of the night in question. Odd to Claire, until she sees the Haitian looming in the corner. And Mr. Bennett, investigating Claire and sending the Haitian with Claire to protect Gretchen. None of the sorority sisters are suspicious about two men in suits moving about the upstairs of the house? As Claire gets back to her room Gretchen is packing to leave. She's scared. Wasn't it only about four episodes or so ago that Gretchen was dying to be part of Claire's life because of the intrigue? Now all of a sudden she can't handle it? She leaves for the airport with the Haitian in tow, which is a convenient opening for Samuel to knock on Claire's door seeking assistance. Again, no one raising an eyebrow about well-dressed men roaming the campus? Regardless, Samuel is looking for his niece Becky (not really his niece in the familial sense, unless you consider Samuel's brotherhood a family). Instead of playing another ruse Samuel just goes into his power spiel; basically how him and Claire are alike, she should listen to him, blah blah blah. Meanwhile, Bennett is sifting through Becky's closet and finds the compass as Becky walks in. She confronts Bennett (who is facing her with the taser) and admits that he should recognize her. Bennett came to take away Becky and her dad for their powers way back in the day and she saw him kill her dad in front of her. This scene was actually well done because Becky and Samuel are telling the story together in a sense (Becky to Bennett and Samuel to Claire). Becky wants revenge on Bennett for his killing her father and she's going to get at Claire to do it. Right as Bennett is about to tase Becky, she goes invisible while at the same time roommates come in. Bennett retreats to Claire where he walks in on Samuel offering a chance to Claire to join him. He went to her because he knew exactly what Bennett would do, and he doesn't disappoint as he walks into the room with a gun. What he didn't expect was Claire one-upping Samuel by stalling and keeping him there until Bennett can get there. Smart move Claire. I really like her maturity this season. Her trusting of her dad is somewhat thrown asunder by Bennett throwing her down to get a clean shot at Samuel and Becky before they flee. He doesn't shoot at the request of Claire, and the two of them get away, most likely making an appearance later on down the road. Samuel had a really good line about Bennett "scorching earth" to get to people like him, which is definitely true and adds a sort of rivalry between the two of them. I admired Samuel in this episode. Because he so brazenly went to Claire and told her everything it kind of adds a dimension to his evil character. Becky is clearly disturbed due to seeing her dad killed in front of her and now she's pairing up with Samuel once again. I was honestly convinced by Samuel's pleas with Bennett that they just want to stay hidden, but now he's going to get crazy and start killing people out of some sense of vengeance on Bennett. With the title of the episode being called "Shadowboxing" you can imagine that it would feature a heavy dose of Parkman/Sylar/Nathan. And it does. Sylar is trying to get to New York, as the last thing he remembers is getting stabbed in the neck by a syringe. Parkman is still having an out of body experience as Sylar is moving through the airport. I really liked the monitors showing only Parkman while he's having a conversation with Sylar (and is depicted as two people). When crossing through the security checkpoint it appears that Parkman got the upper hand by packing a gun in the carry-on. Touche Parkman. After being detained for four hours, the two (one?) hit the road until they get a flat tire. A tow truck driver just happens to be driving along when he offers to help with the flat, however Parkman decides to have a little more fun by causing Sylar to trip. Sylar, of course, decides to assert his power and kill the tow truck driver. This gives him leverage over Parkman that he's in control and will kill. Somehow the pair end up in what seems to be the only diner in Odessa, Texas, the same spot where last week's episode took place. Sylar meets Lynette, a waitress that Sylar is encouraged to kill because he tried to kill a waitress there before (thank you for factoring in the changed past and not creating a continuity rift). As Sylar moves to the back to kill Lynette Parkman offers to tell him everything so he doesn't kill her. I guess after all the issues that diner has seen another man in a suit walking and talking to himself isn't so suspicious. Parkman tells Sylar everything, including the part where Parkman pushed Nathan into Sylar's body. Sylar is going to continue his quest to get his body back, after which he says he's going to kill everyone remotely involved with the whole process. While Sylar thinks he's just doodling on the napkin Parkman has him write "I have a gun and I will kill everyone in here." Sylar doesn't know this of course and as he leaves he's confronted by a swarm of officers. Parkman makes Sylar reach for a mock gun, prompting a hail of gunfire that kills him. Of course, the EMTs are doing all the can to save him in the ambulance en route to the hospital so he may not be dead. Peter will no doubt revive him. Fantastic. Of course, neither of the two will stay dead, but I really think that was an awesome twist. Sylar and Parkman are seemingly dead, leaving who knows what to happen to Nathan/Sylar. Earlier, Nathan/Sylar wakes up at the carnival as Nathan Petrelli, who walks outside and promptly flies away. How will his thoughts change now as a result of the death of Sylar's essence so to speak? Will he maintain the Nathan facade and no doubt encounter his mom or brother again? I really loved the symmetry in this episode. Parkman and Sylar shown together but singular on the monitor. Sylar dying as Nathan is "revived." Bennett putting up articles on Samuel while Peter takes his down. Samuel and Becky telling the same story simultaneously. This was by the far the best episode of the season and is hopefully indicative of things to come. The previews kind of cheapen Parkman's death as Peter shows up to heal him in the hospital (see?) while Nathan (and Sylar) looks on. Nathan is regaining his self while unraveling at the same time an Samuel is still hellbent on giving Becky her revenge. This episode got it right. Plain and simple. Nothing was too outlandish storywise and there is a really, really good premise going on here that will have mammoth payoffs hopefully. This show really just needs to focus on Sylar, Nathan and Parkman every week and I'll be happy. Bennett and Claire are growing on me (as is Peter) but I could do without Hiro. Whatever showdown happens with Samuel should be pretty intense and I wouldn't be surprised if a major character is killed for real before the end of the season. Stay tuned. Overall score: 90 out of 100