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Episode:Hysterical Blindness

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Hysterical Blindness
Season: Four
Episode number: 404
First aired: October 12, 2009
Another theory Hysterical Blindness.JPG
Written by: Joe Pokaski
Directed by: SJ Clarkson
Previous episode: Acceptance
Next episode: Tabula Rasa
Heroes Interactive transcript


Story Development

Mrs. Comey · Captain Lubbock · Heating · Kara Hayback · Madeline Gibson · Rebecca Taylor



Sylar digs himself out of the crude grave where Millie's hired assassin buried him. He walks down the road until a policeman, Captain Lubbock, stops him and assumes he's drunk. When Sylar turns around, Lubbock sees the bullet holes in his clothes. He orders him to the ground and arrests him.

At the carnival, the members gather for breakfast. Mrs. Comey uses her powers to cook the waffles. Samuel sits down with everyone and says that breakfast is a time of possibility. He notes that Joseph's death has left them with an empty seat but he plans to bring lost lambs out of hiding and into the carnival. Samuel assures everyone that by day's end, someone new will arrive to complete the circle.

At Arlington University, Gretchen and Claire share breakfast and Claire admits that it's a pleasant change of pace for her to have a normal morning. She says her life is full of possibilities. Rebecca Taylor comes over and says that Claire can't escape her destiny and asks if she'll be rushing the Psi Alpha Chi sorority, the one that Sandra went to. Claire agrees to stop by but Gretchen objects, insisting that sororities are a social crutch for people who can't make friends on their own. Claire invites Gretchen along, promising to be her best friend if she comes. Gretchen reluctantly agrees.

In Baltimore, Dr. Madeline Gibson arrives to meet with Captain Lubbock, who is watching Sylar inside of an interrogation room. She explains she interned with her predecessor but Lubbock notes she doesn't have any real-life experience. They watch as Sylar paces his cell and Lubbock explains that Sylar has no memory of what happened to him. He advises Madeline to simply write off Sylar as insane but the doctor says she'll need to talk to Sylar.

Madeline goes into the room with Lubbock and introduces herself, saying she's there to help him. Madeline asks what Sylar's name is but he simply cowers in terror and mutters incoherent words. Madeline wonders if it's aphasia and tries to get through to him. Sylar talks of being lost in the forest as his head is filled with vague memories of being shot. Madeline asks Lubbock to unlock Sylar's handcuffs. When he refuses, she asks for the keys and does it herself as Lubbock leaves the room. She assures Sylar that she's going to help him regain his memories.

At Mercy Heights Hospital, Dr. Coolidge comes to see Emma in her office. She asks if Emma is still suffering from what she believes is synesthesia. Dr. Coolidge is wondering if Emma is suffering from hysterical blindness, and Emma wonders if she follows up her medical cases with other patients so diligently. Dr. Coolidge admits that she does when the patient is her daughter.

Peter has breakfast with his distracted mother.

At his apartment, Peter talks to his mother Angela and explains that he's trying to reconnect with others and is starting with herself. She wonders if he's been talking with Nathan and Peter suggests that they focus on him.

Dr. Coolidge accuses Emma of wasting her brilliant mind when working as a file clerk.

Peter tries to explain about his choice of becoming a paramedic and his hope it would fill a hole in his life, but Angela appears distracted, staring at Nathan's empty chair. She tells him to start over but he refuses.

Dr. Coolidge tells Emma that Chief Kaufman is willing to offer her a residency. Emma refuses to discuss it but her mother says it's been six years and it's time to stop grieving over Christopher's death. Emma insists she's not grieving and walks off.

Peter goes to work and Angela says that she'll stay and wait for Nathan. As he leaves, Angela tells him that he works too much.

Claire and Gretchen arrive late for the rush ceremony at the sorority house. Rebecca begins the rush by starting up some speed-dating to introduce pledges to the sorority members. Claire tries to talk about her life as best she can, but she discovers that everyone has learned about her background from Gretchen.

Emma walks down the street and starts to see sounds as colors again. Overwhelmed, she steps back into traffic and Peter grabs her using superspeed and pulls her to safety. Emma refuses to talk and walks away. When Peter tries to run after her, he discovers that his superspeed has vanished. When he strikes a garbage can in frustration, he sees colors radiate from it and realizes he's duplicated Emma's power, and that she is an evolved human.

In a field near the carnival, Samuel is digging in the earth when Lydia comes to ask who the new family member is. She says that he used her body to find the new person and she has a vested interest. She wonders aloud if it might be Peter, Hiro, Tracy, or "that college co-ed". Samuel refuses to say and Lydia realizes he doesn't know. He admits he doesn't but says that he felt something in the earth. Lydia warns that it's dangerous to make promises but Samuel insists that it's worth the risks.

Back in her room, Claire discovers that Gretchen is wearing her sweater. Gretchen asks if she can continue wearing it and Claire gives her permission. Gretchen goes to the restroom and one of her books falls on the floor. When Claire goes to pick it up, she notices that it's turned on Gretchen's laptop, and it has photos of Claire, web pages of Costa Verde High School, and an article on murder-suicide. Claire quickly closes the laptop as Gretchen comes back. She tells Gretchen to go on ahead to the sorority mixer and Gretchen reluctantly agrees.

Sylar can tell that Dr. Gibson's watch is fast.

Sylar drinks tea and says that he's never tasted it before. He explains that he's feeling everything for the first time, including simple sensations like hot and cold. Sylar describes how there are thoughts in his head but he can't put them together, and it's both scary and beautiful. Madeline describes it as jamais vu, the opposite of déjà vu, and says that it's common in cases of traumatic amnesia. She believes that the "real" Sylar is still there and begins a memory exercise. Madeline tells him to close his eyes and describe the first thing he sees. Sylar hears the ticking from the wall clock and Madeline's watch and says he's finding it too distracting that they are not running in time: Madeline's watch is fast. Madeline is amazed and thinks this must be a key to his past. Lubbock calls her out of the room and starts to tell her they have a fingerprint match on Sylar.

Peter arrives at the hospital and looks for Emma. She isn't at her desk and as he looks for her, Peter sees a child's choir performing. He sees their song as lights and notices Emma across the room watching the song the same way. Emma realizes that he's seeing the same thing she does and they smile at each other. Afterward, Peter tries to explain what is happening and that there are others who have abilities. She isn't sure what he's saying and has him write it down. Once she realizes what he means, Emma thinks it's crazy but Peter sits down at the piano with her and they play together, watching the music as colors. Together they play out a duet and once they're done, Peter invites her to lunch so they can figure out what she can do. When he suggests she might get out of the file room for a while, Emma says she's fine with the file room and leaves.

Claire arrives at the sorority and Rebecca greets her. She introduces Claire to Kara Hayback, another ex-cheerleader. Kara admits she hated the cheerleading part of cheerleading and Claire sympathizes. As they talk, Claire notices a falling banner pole and shoves Kara out of the way. It just misses both of them. Claire looks up and sees Gretchen on the balcony above.

Lubbock enters the interrogation room and tells Sylar to put his hands flat on the table. He explains that he sent Madeline home and they've confirmed that Sylar is Gabriel Gray, a watchmaker from New York who killed his mother. Lubbock unplugs the camera and says he's going to get a confession of how Sylar killed his mother. Sylar insists that he wouldn't have killed anyone. When Lubbock comes at him and threatens violence, Sylar raises his hands in a defensive move and sends him telekinetically flying through the two-way mirror, and then stares at his hands in shock.

Outside, Madeline gets into her car and reads the file on Sylar. The lights in the parking garage go out and Sylar taps on her window, reminding her that she promised to help him.

Gretchen admits her crush and kisses Claire.

Gretchen returns to the dorm room where Claire is waiting. She denies doing anything but Claire says that Gretchen was the only one there and either felt threatened or wanted to force Claire to reveal her powers. When Claire explains what she saw on the laptop, Gretchen angrily accuses her of violating her privacy. She then admits she was googling Claire, but Claire says she saw the information on Annie. She accuses Gretchen of obsessing about her and insists that all she wanted was a normal life. Gretchen insists she didn't kill Annie but is stalking her just a little. She grabs Claire and kisses her, and then admits she has a crush. Before Claire can say anything, Rebecca and the other sorority sisters come in and inform them they've been accepted.

Samuel places more ink on Lydia but is unable to form an image. She warns him that it's too late for Hail Mary passes. Rebecca suddenly turns visible and refers to Samuel as her uncle. She informs Samuel that she and Claire are sisters now and she's still doing everything she can to push Claire in the carnival's direction. Using her invisibility, Rebecca made the banner pole fall, dropped the book to reveal the pages on Gretchen's laptop, and pushed Annie to her death and then left a fake suicide note. Lydia warns that Claire isn't the one coming and warns that the dust has finally settled. Samuel stares at her back in satisfaction and says they're going to be moving soon.

Madeline drives Sylar away from the station. He insists that "Gabriel" doesn't feel like his name and that he's no killer. He thinks Madeline thinks the same and she stops the car. She tells him to take the car and go where he needs to, and suggests that he turn himself in. Sylar drops his stolen gun but before he can leave, Lubbock arrives with his men. Madeline tells Sylar to surrender and he starts to raise his hands. However, his hands start to spark electricity and Lubbock shoots him repeatedly. Sylar falls down a slope and Madeline goes down after him. They both watch in shock as his bullet wounds heal themselves. Lubbock and his men come down the slope and Madeline tells Sylar to run. He quickly goes off into the woods before the police arrive.

Emma learns a new aspect of her ability.

Emma returns to her apartment and finds a cello there. She picks it up and starts to play again.

Rebecca returns to the dorm as the sorority sisters prepare to initiate Gretchen and Claire.

Peter comes home, lamenting the fact he was unable to establish a human connection with Emma. Hiro appears behind him but just as he greets Peter, he collapses.

As Emma plays, she starts to become emotional, unintentionally manipulating the sound from the cello she's playing with a slicing motion, damaging the wall of her home.

Sylar runs through the forest with the police in hot pursuit and Madeline following behind. He finds himself at the Sullivan Brothers Carnival and Samuel is waiting for him. The circus master beckons him in and Sylar steps forward. Lubbock, Madeline, and the others come over the ridge a minute later but there's nothing but an empty field.

Samuel assures Sylar that he's safe now. When Sylar wonders where he is, Samuel tells him "home".

Memorable Quotes

"This is my favorite part of the day. It's full of possibility. Before the inevitable monkey wrenches come looking for us. But more than anything... it's about being with all of you. I know grace is a supper thing, but every morning I thank Heaven and Earth for our family."

- Samuel

"Would you do me a favor and unlock these cuffs?"

"No. I don't make a habit of locking myself in with unrestrained lunatics."

"Then can you leave me your keys on the way out?"

- Madeline Gibson, Captain Lubbock

"She was here to tell us who you are. But now we know that, Gabriel. You're a watchmaker from Queens who murdered your own mother."

"Did you say watchmaker?"

"I also said 'murder' and 'mother'. Now hands on the table."

"I didn't do anything wrong. I wouldn't, I wouldn't kill my mother. I would never..."

- Captain Lubbock, Sylar

"I didn't kill Annie. And I'm not stalking you. Okay, I'm a little bit 'stalking you', but... It's not what you think. It's just... I have a crush. I'm crushing on you."

- Gretchen

"Honestly, it feels like all I do is push."

- Rebecca Taylor

"I don't even know you, Gabriel."

"No! No, no. That isn't my name. I close my eyes, but it doesn't feel like me. It's not me."

"Well, it sounds an awful lot like you. Watchmaker?"

"Yeah, I know. Your watch. I heard that ticking, but it can't be. I know I'm not a killer. You know that."

- Sylar, Madeline Gibson

Character Appearances


  • Greg Grunberg does not appear in this episode, but he narrates the Previously on Heroes at the beginning of the episode.
  • In this episode, Gretchen kisses Claire and expresses her crush on Claire. In reality, Hayden Panettiere (who has admitted to experimenting with kissing other girls) was actually the one who persuaded the writers to include a lesbian for her character. She said "I kinda threw it out there. The writers put you in relationships and I was like 'Can I just be with a girl or something? Let's do that.' So they took it and ran with it."
  • The children at the hospital are singing Joel Scarbury's "Theme From the Greatest American Hero (Believe It or Not)", the theme song from The Greatest American Hero. This was a television show featuring a normal person who acquires an alien suit that gives him superpowers. William Katt played the hero, "Ralph Hinkley".
  • This episode features the symbol. Specifically, it can be seen in Peter's apartment on the doorway as he leaves his mother to go to work. The symbol also appears on a sign on Claire's dorm room.
  • While searching Gretchen's computer, Claire comes across her "sign up" page, along with a message from Becky. The message incorrectly identifies the name of her sorority as "Alpha Chi Delta", as does the message following Becky's. In truth, Becky is the pledgemaster for Psi Alpha Chi.
  • Gretchen fears that the sorority will transform Claire into "Stepford-Claire", referring to The Stepford Wives, a film in which women are replaced by robots.
  • Dr. Verheiden is a reference to Mark Verheiden, a writer and consulting producer.

See Also

previous: Acceptance Hysterical Blindness next: Strange Attractors
Season Four
Volume Five: Redemption

Orientation / Jump, Push, FallInkAcceptanceHysterical BlindnessTabula RasaStrange AttractorsOnce Upon a Time in TexasShadowboxingBrother's KeeperThanksgivingThe Fifth StageUpon This RockLet It BleedClose to YouPass/FailThe Art of DeceptionThe WallBrave New World

See Also: Volume One EpisodesVolume Two EpisodesVolume Three EpisodesVolume Four EpisodesVolume Five EpisodesHeroes Reborn EpisodesAll Episodes