Review: Heroes 4×8 – Once Upon a Time in Texas

Heroes returns to season one - in more than one way

In the US: Monday 2nd November 2009, 8pm, NBC
In the UK: March 2010, BBC2

Wow. That was a bit good, wasn’t it?


When Hiro (Masi Oka) travels three years into the past, he has a second chance to save Charlie (guest star Jayma Mays) from the hands of Sylar (Zachary Quinto). However, Samuel’s (Robert Knepper) presence serves to complicate Hiro’s mission even further. Elsewhere, H.R.G.’s (Jack Coleman) past with his Primatech partner (guest star Elizabeth Rohm) is revealed.

Was it any good?
Oh yes, indeed. Essentially, this was a retread of season one’s Charlie plotline, with Hiro making it back to the season one episodes in which he met Texan waitress Charlie. Originally, bad old Sylar (only in silhouette in those days) spotted Charlie’s incredible gift of memory, cut her head open then went on his way to high school. Save the cheerleader, save the world, etc.

Here, though, Hiro uses his powers to stop Sylar mid-execution and dump him somewhere else. As you might expect, there are a couple of problems with that. Original Hiro still needs to go back in time and fall in love with her, which he won’t do now that Charlie’s been saved. And Charlie has an aneurysm that needs operating on.

Meanwhile, HRG is roaming around town with his partner, Elisabeth Röhm, trying to work out whether to have an affair with her, while through the miracle of old footage he urges poor old Isaac to use his powers to help Claire.

Hiro manages to get Sylar to help him, by promising to give him knowledge of his future. He saves Charlie, but then oh no! Those nasty carnies sneak Charlie back to the future to persuade Hiro to work for them. What does Samuel want to fix?

Oops. He killed Mohinder.

Note perfect
To be honest, there was almost nothing wrong with this. Although the obligatory Claire presence was a little pointless, Hiro’s storyline was clever, funny, continuity-happy, touching and intriguing. The HRG romance was an interesting twist that should become even more interesting once Elisbeth Röhm* appears in the modern-day storyline. I loved the characterisation of HRG and the revelation he always wanted to be an English teacher. Even Hiro-Ando worked.

Sylar may have been a little less evil than he was in the first season, but it was a plausible twist, and I loved the way Hiro was able to use his powers sensibly against Sylar for a change. Ditto his own impression of future Hiro – sans katana but avec Knight Rider T-shirt.

Possibly the only flaw was the conclusion of the Charlie/Hiro storyline, which didn’t quite ring true once Charlie had been healed or once Hiro ended up in the future again. But the cliffhanger made it all worth it, all the same.

I have no idea what’s going on with the carnies or what Mohinder has to do with them, but at last we have an explanation for why he’s not around. For once, his storyline actually looks interesting as a result.

All in all, probably the best episode of the season (yes, even better than Tabula Rasa) and a welcome relief after the duff Strange Attractors. It was everything we loved about season one of Heroes again. Roll on the next episode!

* Who’s the next best thing to Ali Larter that the show has to offer all of a sudden. I could cope with her one week, Ali the next, no problem. Although, I have to ask, another blonde? Not that I’m complaining.


  • 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.