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?

Plot
HIRO GETS A SECOND CHANCE TO SAVE THE LOVE OF HIS LIFE JAYMA MAYS RETURNS AS CHARLIE

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.

Conclusion
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.

  • Dan

    We’re clearly moving in opposite directions re: what constitutes a good episode of Heroes these days! 🙂 http://danowen.blogspot.com/2009/11/heroes-47-once-upon-time-in-texas.html

  • Darkeyes

    Nice review! I liked Charlie was rescued, even chaging the timeline, Mohinder appeared and Samuel was such a bad guy, and I’m really hoping Lauren will be in future episodes, because there was chemistry with English Drama geek Bennet :). Best episode of this season, which is mostly, better than Villains and Fugitives.

  • MediumRob

    @Dan: ratings are going up, so at least people agree with me! But I don’t mind them retreading a season one episode if it’s good, which I thought this was.
    @Darkeyes: Thanks! I did like the HRG/Lauren chemistry and I’m definitely hoping Lauren will be back (I’ve liked Röhm ever since she was on Angel and she was about the best thing in the whole of the first season of The Mentalist – apart from Simon Baker – despite only being in one episode). I think I still marginally prefer Fugitives, but Volume 5 is definitely proving better albeit far less action-packed than Volume 3.

  • I was quite disappointed with this episode.
    The one the week before impressed me enough to actually watch the episode when it aired rather when i am trying to fall asleep a few nights later (Heroes used to be a ‘must see twice! And before everything else!” in first and second seasons)… plus the whole Charlie thing. I had my hopes up that maybe it will be consistent in its turnaround and was let down.
    I think with regards to ratings, those two items may have been the case for some of the increase.
    But we will know better after the next episode if they fall or continue to rise.

  • The ratings have been going up for the last three episodes, so it might well be a trend.

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