Heroes Review: “Shadowboxing”

Emma and Rebecca expose their pasts, Sylar and Parkman engage in a battle of wits, Bennett does what the script tells him to do, and Gretchen does the one thing most sane people would do in her situation.

Title: “Shadowboxing”

Cast and Crew

Zachary Quinto as Sylar/Parkman
Adrian Pasdar as Sylar/Nathan Petrelli
Greg Grunburg as Matt Parkman
Robert Knepper as Samuel Sullivan
Hayden Panettiere as Claire Bennett
Madeline Zima as Gretchen Berg
Deanne Bray as Emma
Milo Ventimiglio as Peter Petrelli
Jack Coleman as Noah Bennett
Jimmy Jean-Louis as Rene the Haitian
Tessa Thompson as Rebecca
Cacho Ribeiro as Lydia


  • Noah and the Haitian assist Claire’s investigation of Rebecca and the sorority. Gretchen flees; Samuel hatches a plot that seems (at present) needlessly convoluted.
  • Parkman and Sylar continue their personal battle.
  • Peter and Emma bond over a disaster as we learn more about her personal history.
  • Is anyone here watching “Slow Burn?”
  • Sylar awakes as Nathan and flies the coup.

High Point

The battle between Parkman and Sylar kept my interest, even if I must address its finale under “Low Point.”

When the writers aren’t making the characters act according to the plot arc, they can do interesting things, pushing the human element to the forefront. Peter and Emma had several effective scenes together, and her backstory fits what we know about the character.

Low Point

Time travel, super-healing, and inconsistent characterization: all three combine to prevent me from caring about anything that happens. We already know that Sylar/Parkman isn’t dead. Even if he was, it still wouldn’t mean anything.

I realize we’re watching a kinder, gentler Noah Bennett but, honestly, he would have just shot Rebecca when he had the chance. He’s too good at this and he has motive.

Not that it would necessarily mean anything.

The Scores

Originality: 2/6.

Effects: 5/6.

Story: 4/6. See “High” and “Low” Points. Rebecca and Emma both have backstories with potential.

Acting: 5/6.

Emotional Response: 4/6.

Production: 6/6

Overall: 4/6. The episode features some good moments– Claire’s brighter side continuing to grow, Rebecca and Emma’s backstories making some sense– but the show has never really reclaimed its lost momentum from the second and third seasons.


Lingering Mysteries

Is it open house at the sorority? Noah and the Haitian wander around very easily, raising few questions.

7 replies on “Heroes Review: “Shadowboxing””

  1. I’ll start with one thing that has been bothering my prior to this episode. Why is no one concerned with the disappearance of Nathan Petrelli? A prominent US senator doesn’t just disappear without some sort of news milling about, news that might help Samuel figure out who Sylar is in. Or might point Bennett to start tracking down Nathan in case the Sylar spills out. At least give me a scene or two that has Angela Petrelli trying to track him down. She’s been keeping a close eye on him; why isn’t she bothering Noah and Peter?

    Now, my major gripe with this episode is why Samuel is where he is. Shouldn’t he be using Hiro to fix his mistake in the past? Unless I blinked and missed it, there was no message of X days ago; I’m supposed to believe Hiro is just twiddling his thumbs waiting for Sammy boy to get back?

    Parkman’s attempt at a sacrifice was actually something I enjoyed; yes, we all know he isn’t going to stay dead. The mystery is who will be in control when the body is revived. Sadly, the art of the teaser preview has been dead, and we can’t even let this mystery linger longer than a brief minute.

    Other gripes… Bennett can get the Haitian to help out at Claire’s college but not at the Atlanta prison for the healing kid? Claire wouldn’t just stand in front of her dad’s gun instead of rushing at him? No one was up in the morning working the carnival to see Nathan/Sylar fly away?

    Show is hanging on by a thin thread; I really don’t see Mohinder’s return helping matters next week.

    • What I don’t understand is: WTF is the deal with Sam? I understand going after Hiro (he needs him to help him fix something in the past) and Sylar… sort of (he can be used as muscle/protection if he can be manipulated and/or controlled… not a sure thing but, whatever. Why does he need/want Claire and any of the others? Why does he need to keep growing his “family?”

  2. Is anyone here watching “Slow Burn?”


    Much of what I was going to bring up was brought up by the review or sprak’s post. A few added nits:

    Claire seemed a little too upset about getting pushed by Noah. He knows she can take it.

    The timeline alterations are at least somewhat consistent, with Sylar’s statement that he “tried to kill a waitress here once” — presumably that didn’t have any other major impact on his history or he wouldn’t have been there.

    Fully agreed about them “killing” characters. The impact was lost, long ago, and they seem to realize this as they didn’t really make as big of a deal out of it as I had expected, and when I saw the preview I realized why.

    • I can understand Claire being a bit upset; her dad has talked about redemption and helping people but was back to pointing guns and acting like the company man once again. Still, she’s bright enough to stall for time so her dad can get back but is silly enough just to run at him instead of standing in between the gun and Samuel? Don’t buy it, not after all she’s been through.

      • What? You mean you expect the characters on Heros to do things by taking into account stuff they’ve learned in the past? C’mon, that can’t happen!!

        • With all the time travel and resets, the writers and the audience can’t keep track of what they’re supposed to have learned in the past, so they apparently choose to just ignore it.

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