|Portrayed by||Madeline Zima|
|Nicknames||Retchin' Gretchen, |
|Residence||Dormitory at Arlington University|
|Significant other||formerly Claire Bennet|
Gretchen Berg is a student at Arlington University who accidentally discovered Claire Bennet's power. After the death of their friend Annie, Gretchen became Claire's roommate and the two became best friends. Gretchen had strong feelings for Claire that she acted upon, kissing Claire once after a heated fight. Despite Claire's trouble with opening up to people, Claire herself has admitted that Gretchen is the friend she has always wanted. Their relationship came to an end after it was exposed to the media when Claire revealed the existence of evolved humans to the world.
At the Arlington University campus, Gretchen meets Claire, whose name she recognizes from the murdered cheerleader incident in Odessa, TX on Homecoming night at Union Wells. Gretchen suggests that she would have changed her name, and Claire tells her that she did for a while, and she was hoping that people would have forgotten.
Later, at the dorm mixer, Gretchen apologizes to Claire about ever mentioning the murder, and then the two girls attempt to play Guitar Hero III. Gretchen improves her skill at the game, but neither girl does well.
Gretchen waits outside of Claire's dorm room for Sandra to bring Claire back after Annie's death. Gretchen discusses the supposed suicide note with Claire and her mother, who believes Claire probably missed it. When Sandra leaves, Gretchen claims that this must be a murder, and they need to need to find a way to prove it.
Gretchen gets some books on forensic science and brings them to Claire while in a cafeteria. She explains the process of the "Jump, Push, Fall Test" that she learned from Crossing Jordan, using an orange as a visual aid. When she gets to "push", she sends the orange flying into a table of girls, who reluctantly, with disgust on their faces, return it.
Gretchen says they need to get a dummy or cadaver that matches Annie's height and weight. Claire doesn't want to get involved, but Gretchen tells her she already is.
Gretchen sees Claire heal after Claire jumps from her dorm room window. The girls exchange awkward waves.
Gretchen tries to get Claire to talk to her about what she witnessed. Later, Noah comes by and invites Claire to lunch. Claire goes to the bathroom to brush her teeth and Gretchen approaches her and asks if she's a vampire, some kind of alien or government experiment. She follows Claire back to her dorm room and takes advantage of Noah's visit to get herself invited to lunch.
At the lunch, Gretchen talks about Claire hiding her powers. She then talks about how she plans in majoring in biology and talks about a case she saw on YouTube about a girl who didn't feel pain. Noah realizes she's talking about Claire. Gretchen then asks what Claire plans to major in. When Claire says she doesn't have to declare until her third year, Gretchen says that some choices are inevitable. She then asks Noah about his job and he admits that he's retired. She leaves for the restroom and Noah and Claire discuss the situation.
Later, Gretchen and Claire walk back to the dorm and Gretchen apologies for being too pushy. She says that when she was in junior high, students used to tease her and call her "Retchin' Gretchen" because she smelled of vomit and they thought she was bulimic. Claire finds that hard to believe but Gretchen doesn't deny it. Claire invites Gretchen to ask her anything, and Claire reveals her power. Later, the two girls chat and Claire lets Gretchen cut her hand to show her how her ability functions. Shortly after this, Gretchen asks to borrow a book from Claire, who responds by inviting her to be her roommate.
Claire and Gretchen share breakfast and Claire admits that it's a pleasant change of pace for her to have a normal morning. She tells Gretchen how much she is looking forward to a normal life when suddenly, Becky Taylor appears and offers Claire a position in Psi Alpha Chi. Gretchen declines on her behalf, not believing that sororities are a good place for making friends. Claire insists that it will be fun and Gretchen reluctantly agrees to tag along. The two of them arrive late for the mixer and as Claire speaks with a pledge, she learns that Gretchen has only been talking about her.
Claire later notices that Gretchen is wearing her sweater. She allows her to continue wearing it but then finds several pages on Gretchen's laptop devoted to her. Gretchen returns and is disappointed when Claire tells her to go to the mixer before her. During the mixer, Claire is nearly crushed by a pole. When she looks up to where the pole was, she sees Gretchen. The two of them return to the dorm room and Claire reveals that she knows all about Gretchen's computer. Gretchen insists that she is not stalking Claire and then kisses her, admitting that she only has a crush. Before Claire can say anything, Becky and the other sisters rush into the room, announcing that Claire and Gretchen are officially in the sorority.
Becky later returns to the carnival and reveals that it has been her doing all the awful things to Claire, not Gretchen.
Claire and Gretchen, while trying to get to sleep, decide to discuss Gretchen's feelings for Claire. Claire is worried that Gretchen may kiss her while she sleeps and Gretchen assures her that she will not. Claire then surprises Gretchen by saying that the kiss was not so bad. Becky and the other sisters burst into the room and "kidnap" the girls, placing them inside of a truck. Gretchen is close to Claire in the truck and Claire admits that she does not know how she feels about Gretchen. When they arrive at the slaughterhouse, Claire and Gretchen team up to try and escape before the other girls, Olivia and Ashley. Gretchen and Claire walk through the slaughterhouse and Claire asks Gretchen how long she has liked girls. Gretchen admits that she has had more boyfriends than girlfriends and then learns that Claire is a virgin. Gretchen says that they are strange attractors and is then pushed to the floor by Claire, who manages to move her just in time to avoid being hit by a hook.
Claire tells Gretchen that someone may be after her and Gretchen says that no one was in the room with them. Claire explains that there are lots of abilities and that someone may be trying to kill Gretchen like they killed Annie. They meet up with the other two girls and agree to work together to get out. Claire and Gretchen go into one room and Gretchen is attacked by an invisible Becky. Claire tries desperately to save her but Becky pushes her onto a spike. Claire manages to get Becky off of Gretchen just as the girls arrive. As Becky flees, Gretchen helps pull Claire free. She and the other girls then watch her heal.
After the attack by Becky, Claire stated to Olivia and Ashley that the water that they got was drugged, Gretchen confirms this. After Olivia and Ashley leave the room Claire asks if Gretchen is alright, she says that she isn't okay because Becky was trying to kill her.
Later Gretchen and Claire search on the computer for Becky but aren't able to find anything. Gretchen says that Becky has already succeeded to kill one room mate, now Gretchen is scared that Becky is in the room and that she wants to kill her. Then Claire comes with an idea to make Becky visible and grabs the talcum powder and puffs it in the air, there is nobody there. Gretchen is still scared and wants to come with Claire, Claire says she will be safer in the room and gives her the baby powder.
Later Claire comes in the room and sees Gretchen packing her stuff and asks why; she replies and says that she is going home. Claire says that she is taking care of it but Gretchen doesn't trust that. Claire says that she has called her dad and that he will take care of it. Gretchen says that she has already booked her flight. When she leaves, Claire tells René to make sure she's ok until she takes off.
Noah tells Claire to invite Gretchen to Thanksgiving but Claire tells him that Gretchen moved out and that they are no longer friends. After Doug passes out, Gretchen arrives at the Bennet family's Thanksgiving dinner.
Later that evening Claire asks Gretchen if Noah called her, Gretchen confirms that. Claire wonders how Gretchen's new roommate is and Gretchen says she is fine, but then changes her mind and she says that she is awful and a slob. Claire says that there is still a room available but then says that she shouldn't have said that and she understands that Gretchen doesn't want to come back. Gretchen says that all the other roommates she got where terrible but Claire was the only one who really meant something for her. When almost everyone in the room has left, Gretchen says that she will be waiting in the car and thanks Noah for the invitation.
Gretchen is still in the car and Claire steps in, Gretchen asks if she is ready to head back. Claire says that she wants to find out where the compass she is holding in her hand leads, Gretchen asks where she got the compass and Claire says she stole it from her dad. Gretchen starts the car and they follow the compass.
After a twenty-one hour drive, Gretchen and Claire arrive at the Sullivan Bros. Carnival. Claire begins to have second thoughts about the journey, especially with the threat of Becky possibly being present, but Gretchen reassures her. Samuel arrives at the gate and welcomes the girls, offering them free passes and popcorn. They have encounters with Lydia, who shows Claire her true desire, and a gaming operator, who uses his ability to make an overly confident man lose and a small child win. While Claire believes they are simply dishing out karma, Gretchen condemns them as con artists.
Once out of popcorn, the girls are approached again by Samuel. Samuel invites the girls to visit backstage with his carnival family. Though Gretchen wants to leave, Claire eagerly insists. Samuel assures her that all are welcome, and they follow. Claire and Gretchen watch as Samuel tells lively stories to children sitting around a fire. After making a seemingly allying herself with the carnies, Claire tells Gretchen that she will stay at the carnival for a few days and that she will see her on Monday. Gretchen is distressed, but says that she is happy for Claire since she found somewhere where she feels at home. Claire hugs Gretchen as Samuel and Lydia watch her from the gate as she drives away, not noticing the Carnival disappearing behind her.
Gretchen asks Claire if she is okay after life with the carnies and the death of her father. Claire says she isn't, but says it is something she needs to work out on her own. Gretchen tries to hold Claire's hand, but Claire pulls away. After Claire leaves, Sylar comes over and asks her if Claire's seat was taken.
Later, after a discussion with Sylar (who had been disguised as Gretchen), Claire rushes back to Gretchen, and says that she apologizes for being so cold and withdrawn. She tells Gretchen that she wants to hold her hand. Gretchen asks if she is aware that people will talk, but Claire explains that she doesn't care what they think. The two leave the room hand-in-hand.
Gretchen waits with Claire outside of Noah's apartment. Gretchen asks Claire if she wants her to be there when she talks to her dad, but Claire says it's something she has to do on her own. Later, when Claire is discussing her anger towards her dad and how she needs to stop him, Gretchen acts very apathetic and tells her that, instead of involving herself, she might just want to go to class. The two get angry at each other until Claire leaves the room.
In the House of Mirrors, Damian uses his ability on Noah so that Claire is able see his hidden memories. One of the memories that she perceives takes place a few days after Thanksgiving. In their dorm room, Gretchen speaks with Noah about Claire. Noah asks about Claire and Gretchen wonders what is going on with her. Gretchen initially refuses to do what Noah asks but when he brings in René and threatens to remove her memory, Gretchen reluctantly accepts to do what he asks. This provides Claire with a reason as to why Gretchen discouraged her from returning to the carnival to stop Noah.
On December 14, 2010, a picture of Gretchen and Claire at Arlington University appears on the cover of a magazine with the title "Indestructible Girl in Love Nest with Co-Ed". Overwhelmed and humiliated, Gretchen sends Claire a text saying that she never wants to see her again. Claire sends her around 30 texts begging her to reply, but she does not. Claire finally gives up trying to contact Gretchen sometime in April 2011.
"I wanted to be Claire Bennet again. I thought people might forget."
"No, girl. Google's your enemy."
"Where did you get those, the homicide bookstore?"
"Is there such a place?"
"I have a crush. I'm crushing on you."
"You know me! Impulsive Gretchen wants to hold hands so she does it."
- Gretchen tells Claire that she tried out to be on the cheerleading team, but the other cheerleaders said her cheers were more like taunts. (Orientation)
- Gretchen confides in Claire that she once was bulimic. (Ink)
- Gretchen is attracted to girls, but has had at least six relationships with boys. (Strange Attractors)
- Gretchen initially plans to leave college after what happened with Becky, but apparently changed her mind and just moved across campus until Noah helped her reunite with Claire. (Thanksgiving)
- According to a blog post by writer Ollie Grigsby, Gretchen's bag in Pass/Fail has a white knot on the side. This white knot shows Gretchen's support for marriage equality.
- Gretchen drives a black Nissan Cube with Virginia license plates EI29438. Later, when Claire and Gretchen drive to the carnival, the car has Virginia license plates UL73691 (The Fifth Stage).
- Gretchen says that her former roommate smelled like pickles. (Ink)
- Gretchen's character is very similar to the character Zoe, who was in the original script for the show's pilot. Zoe's role was described as "artsy looking gawky" girl, but was later replaced by the character Zach in the final draft.
- Since Ink, Gretchen has appeared in every second episode. This trend stopped with her appearance in The Fifth Stage.
Please refer to Theory:Gretchen Berg for fan-created theories and other speculation.