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Theory:Ability theft

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Main Article Theories about Ability theft Main Discussion

The following fan theories are about Ability theft.

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Theory Citations Notes
Sylar could have stolen the ability of shadow travel. None + In How to Stop an Exploding Man, Sylar was able to sneak up on Noah and Peter, even though they were in an open area.

+ In One Giant Leap, Matt corners Sylar, who disappears without the camera watching while it didn't sound like he jumped. It was dark on the floor and on the side of the building.

- Sylar was wearing black clothes, which make it easy to hide in the dark without any powers.
- Sylar could have simply used telekinesis to climb the walls.

+ In Homecoming when Peter tells Claire to go find people, when he turns back, Sylar is right in front of him. When Peter was talking to Claire, they didn't behave as if Sylar were approaching, or else they would have indicated as such. Sylar could have crept through the shadows that were surrounding the bleachers.
+ Also in Homecoming, a strange shadow is seen flying quickly across the wall shortly before Claire and Jackie are attacked by Sylar.

- Sylar was wearing black clothes, which make it easy to hide in the dark without any powers.

+ Also in Unexpected, Dale asks Sylar why she didn't hear his footsteps. Sylar replies, "Because there weren't any."

- This may be because Sylar was using his telekinesis to float or fly over the ground.

+ In Isaac's painting of Claire being chased up the stairs of the stadium, Sylar's shadow appears much larger than any normal projected shadow would be.

- Telekinesis can, in theory, propel an individual similar (but limited) to flight, allowing for quick travel without touching the ground.
- The shadow turned out to be Peter.
- Also, Isaac's paintings have a certain amount of symbolism. They're often more about getting a point across than portraying an event with perfect clarity. A massive, threatening shadow looming over Claire demonstrates the fact that she is being hunted in the picture better then a normal-sized shadow of Sylar would.

+ In all the dark areas he seems to move faster than normal.
+ If telekinesis propels Sylar in flight, Dale may have heard him traveling, although he would have been very quiet and her music may have cancelled out the sound.

- Dale said that she didn't hear footsteps. However, in the scene, Sylar's heartbeat was audible and it was evident that Dale heard it the whole time.
- It is possible that Sylar can stop his heart beating temporarily, as he fakes his own death. This, combined with whatever form of silent movement would probably have made him completely inaudible to Dale, who had her headphones playing loud music.
- However, the scene doesn't necessarily show the time that Sylar took to appear, but simply the time that Dale noticed. It is possible that, since Sylar has some psychopathic and sociopathic tendencies, Sylar just waited until either he was ready or that Dale noticed he was there, possibly to show her the true reason his heart raced when he met her.

- If Sylar possessed shadow travel, he would have been completely unstoppable. Peter would have run out into the auditorium, seen Sylar materialize in his shadow, then had about two seconds to live before Sylar telekinetically chopped off his head.

Sylar has the ability of hibernation. Sylar is able to fool Hank into thinking that he is dead. (The Fix) + He is able to trick Hank, who is (apparently) a trained doctor; a comatose or catatonic state could easily be mistaken for death, even by a doctor.

+ Hibernation could also help to explain how Sylar recovers from his injuries, such as when he falls in Odessa or when Modinder runs a board into him in New York.
- Sylar has the ability to freeze things. He could have simply frozen himself enough to stop his heart.

How would Sylar heat himself up again to "unfreeze" his heart?
Second Law of Thermodynamics. It doesn't take much of a temperature drop to cause the heart rate to slow significantly, and once the power is no longer applied the heart would return to normal body temperature very quickly as both the surrounding tissue and the circulation of normal temperature blood would heat it up.
Sylar's powers become weaker when he absorbs more powers. None + Sylar doesn't seem to notice his watch is stuck at 11:53. Later he may have fixed it but this could show that his powers are becoming weaker.
- Maybe he just simply doesn't care about it anymore.

- However, 11:53, the time that he killed Chandra Suresh, was after he had adopted the identity of Sylar. He had shed his role as a simple watchmaker to become something more. This is reinforced by the fact that the only time he fixes a clock after that point is at his mother's house, when pretending to be his old self and looking for her permission to just be normal.
+ In Unexpected, he is having trouble with headaches from his enhanced hearing. This could also be a sign that his powers are weakening or that he is simply going through the same process that Dale did as she learned to control her powers.

- Enhanced hearing is a passive ability; Sylar's intuitive aptitude would not allow him to master it any more quickly than Dale did.
- Well, Sylar's hearing didn't seem to be any weaker than Dale's, especially if he experienced headaches.

+ Claire's regeneration ability protected her from disease (when she lost it during the second eclipse she basically caught everything around her because she didn't have natural antibodies), but the virus released by Maya affected Sylar.

- Sylar didn't have regeneration yet when Maya affected him.
Sylar absorbs personalities as well as powers when he steals someone's powers. None + Sylar's internal monologue mirrors Charlie Andrews's way of talking as he is using her eidetic memory. (Road Kill)
- That could be because of the ability itself.

+ After killing Zane Taylor, when pretending to be Zane and using Zane's power, Sylar seems to be much more nervous and excitable than usual. (Run!, Unexpected)

- We haven't seen much of Sylar before that, expect for when he was imprisoned in the Company. But that didn't seem to be a good place for philosophy.

In the commentary for Unexpected, Zachary Quinto and Greg Beeman both comment upon the subtle clues in the lighting and acting that show Sylar "changing".
- He was probably just doing this because he was pretending to be Zane, and wanted to convince Mohinder.

- Sylar is extremely good at imitating people. He also had enhanced memory at the time; his perfect memory of Zane's behavior would have made his impersonation even better.
+ Mohinder had never met the real Zane, so Sylar would have no reason to act differently while pretending to be Zane.
- Moninder talked to Zane on the phone. Sylar had no clue what Mohinder knew about Zane, so the safest bet would be to mimic Zane entirely.
Sylar won't be able to absorb Peter's powers. None + Sylar's method of power theft seems to depend entirely upon his ability to logically understand how that person's brain works through intuitive aptitude. Since Peter's power is based off of emotion, it is possible Sylar will not be able to figure out what makes Peter "tick". Peter's power-duplication ability relies on empathy. Because Sylar isn't at all empathic, he won't be able to use Peter's ability. Sylar doesn't have any feeling for others, so he won't be able to duplicate anything he might get through Peter's power anyway.
- Sylar did display an empathic aspect of his ability.
- When Peter absorbed intuitive aptitude, he was able to understand Future Nathan's thoughts and emotions.

- We have been given no evidence that Peter's ability is any less grounded in the brain than anybody else's.

Even if he does gain access to Peter's powers, he may not gain access to the other powers that Peter has absorbed.
If he does gain Peter's power, he may be able to mimick Peter's other powers using Peter's original power.
- According to BTE interviews, in the presence of another empath, they're only exposed to the core ability, not acquired ones.
They actually said Peter wouldn't be able to absorb powers from his future self.

+ The writers have now stated that Arthur's power is the same as Peter's was, only manifested differently because of his personality. It's plausible that Sylar could not have duplicated Peter's empathic mimicry because of his personality traits.

- They only discussed it, if the idea wasn't actually acted on, then it's not canon.
Sylar obtains powers through the manipulation of transposons. None + Transposons have the ability to literally cut and paste genetic material, and are responsible for 40% of human evolution. If Sylar had worked out how to manipulate them it would allow him to cut the desired genetic material and paste it into his own genome.
Sylar has the power of metabolic control. None. + Sylar has shown resistance to high doses of sedatives on at least two occasions.

+ Sylar has been able to mimic a death-like state at least once (The Fix) and possibly twice (How to Stop an Exploding Man)
- This might not be a power, but rather something he has learned to do using his intuitive aptitude. There are examples in real life of people who have a high degree of control over their own body and its processes, so his intuitive aptitude power just lets him do that without years of training.

Sylar may have a secondary ability to control his body or genetic structure in a similar way to Peter Petrelli. None + Sylar holds Peter up telekinetically and states "You're like me aren't you?" and says he'd love to see that work.
- Sylar could simply have meant that Peter can take powers as well.

+ Sylar pretends to be dead after watching a cockroach crawl on the floor. Cockroaches slow their heart rate, just as Sylar seemingly did to fool Hank into thinking he was dead.
+ Possibly if he has a secondary ability to control his genetic structure, he may have to use his intuitive aptitude first to see how things work with a certain power. Taking the cue from Dr. Chandra Suresh that everything stems from the brain, he learned to read brains from a book and then used his secondary ability to alter himself to fit it.
- Noah Bennet said that all the evolved humans with whom the Company has come in contact have only had one power each. (Fallout)

Noah states that Sylar is an exception to that.
- He might have meant because of the abilities Sylar had stolen.

- Sylar's assignment tracker states that he absorbs powers by reconfiguring his DNA, but implies it is part of his Intuitive Aptitude.
- Peter Petrelli doesn't control his body or genetic structure.

It is possible for anyone to obtain abilities by examining the brain of an evolved human as long as they know what to look for. None + Ability theft isn't an ability, its a side-effect of Sylar's Intuitive Aptitude. Theoretically, anybody who knows what part of the brain controls an evolved human's ability could acquire an ability by examining that part.

- Sylar's power lets him know everything about anything. It is highly unlikely that anyone without Intuitive Aptitude could understand the brain enough to get an ability the way Sylar does.
+ Just because someone might not have Sylar's understanding of the brain doesn't mean they don't know which part controls abilities.
- If it were that easy, people would be killing evolved humans by the thousands for their brains to get abilities.
+ The only ones who knew that abilities can be obtained by examining the brains of evolved humans were Sylar and Samson Gray.

  Theories edit
See Also: 9RedTime travelAbility theft