Review: Heroes 4×6 – Tabula Rasa

Back to form for Heroes

Tabula Rasa

In the US: Monday 19th October 2009
In the UK: Looks like February now

Ah, if only all Heroes episodes could be this good. While not entirely faultless, Tabula Rasa had everything that made season one so good: decent characterisation, a good script, some really cool uses of powers and some actual heartwarming moments – as well as, praise the Lord, a decent cliffhanger.

More after the jump.


Under Samuel’s (Robert Knepper) guidance, Sylar (Zachary Quinto) starts on a path to rediscover his true identity. Hiro (Masi Oka) helps Emma (guest star Deanne Bray) accept and understand the great possibilities that go along with having an ability. Meanwhile, Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) enlists HRG (Jack Coleman) to help him find a healer who can save Hiro’s life. Hayden Panettiere also stars. Mark L. Young also guest stars.

Was it any good?
Bar the lack of Tracy for a second week running, it was pretty much all good. In the Vincent D’Onofrio/Jeff Goldblum tag team stylee of Heroes of late, Tabula Rasa was a Hiro/Emma, Peter/HRG, Sylar/the Carnival piece, with just a hint of Claire for good measure.

The surprise new combo of the season. While we did get a little bit of Peter/Emma, Peter was too busy off trying to find a cure for Hiro’s brain tumour to help Emma get to grips with her new power. So instead, we got Hiro/Emma, and I have to say I liked it a lot.

This was actually genuinely heartwarming stuff, with the ever happy Hiro trying to help Emma enjoy her gift. Piece de resistance was the magic show for kids, and Hiro showing he knows how to applaud deaf people. Where once we all hated Hiro’s powers, now we’re glad he has his full monty back again, with time travel, teleportation and time freezing all used to good effect – including a leap back to season one to meet Charlie again, a cliffhanger that really does make us want more for once.

Emma’s proving increasingly enjoyable as a character, so I really do think the producers have managed the tricky task of introducing a new Hero post season one. I still want to know where they’re going with her power, though.

Great stuff here, too. Whiny Peter of old has gone, replaced by a Peter who will muck out and help others at a moment’s notice. Good to see Claire’s blood addressed in this episode (does this mean she’s doomed if she ever gets cancer?), too. HRG is slowly returning to his former life, but as a new, caring HRG who uses his skills for good. I miss the ethically dubious HRG of old, but this one will do fine while we find other enemies to worry about.

Also fun seeing Peter mess up Hiro’s powers and end up in the bathroom, then not using them quickly enough to avoid being shot by Healer/Killer boy. It was also hard not to smile at Peter’s reaction to getting healed. But is he going to get a chance to use his new healing power on Hiro, or is he going to have the touch of death from now on? If so, how’s he going to lose it without killing another Hero? Hmm.

Sylar/The Carnival
While I do worry about another attempt by the producers at taming Sylar, this still all worked for me. Sending the Jason Bourne-esque blank slate that he is now into the Carnival allowed us finally to get a handle on what the Carnival is up to, who’s involved and some of the underlying tensions.

I’m not sure how the Sylar memory-restoration process works, given that it merely showed all his murders, rather than showing anything more grounded. Was that part of the plan? It seems a bad one if it is, but it does make you wonder: how many memories would Sylar need before he became Sylar again?

I’m a little disappointed to see Ernie Hudson go so quickly, but his murder worked at all levels, giving Edgar and nuSylar a character-defining moment and reminding us that the Carnies really aren’t goodies.

There was also a brief glimpse of Nathan underneath it all, which was a clever touch, reminding us that Nathan’s still in there somewhere and probably coming back at some point.

Still not irritating, but we could go an episode without her, couldn’t we, if she’s only going to pop in to do her laundry? Maybe that’s too harsh though – she did add a little something to the Peter/HRG scenes as well as a reminder that normal/student life is still out there.

A definite cracker of an episode, blending all the traditional Heroes
elements together. Lost pace very slightly about three-quarters in, but not so much that it made a big difference. Looks like we’re picking up pace for sure now.

Definitely Tracy next week: I’ve checked the press release this time and everything.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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