I'm basing this question mostly off of memory, and my memory is not 100%, so forgive me if I've gotten any details wrong here.

After spending most of Season 1 trying to track down Sylar, Hiro finally confronts him just as he

accidentally fatally stabs his mother.

He stops time, but admits to Ando that he can't bring himself to kill a man who is begging for forgiveness, as Sylar is at that moment. Sylar then suddenly turns round and addresses Hiro directly while time is still stopped - I can't remember what he says, but the net result is that Hiro and Ando flee without attacking Sylar.

By my recollection, Sylar didn't have any powers that would have allowed him to do that. I checked Wikipedia and he never absorbs any super-speed abilities, and this question indicates that he never had any space-time manipulation abilities like Hiro did.

So how did Sylar break out of Hiro's time-stop? Did he have some other power I've forgotten about? Or am I misremembering the whole thing and he didn't actually do that?

  • I thought he just lost focus and time started moving again – IG_42 Jul 25 '18 at 0:04

We don't know. In the first season of Heroes, there was never any indication that the viewers had seen all of Sylar's powers. It was consistently a mystery how many people he had killed and taken abilities from. The fact that he could manifest new powers at any time was part of what made him such a tremendous potential threat.

However, from an out-of-universe perspective, there was a reason that this scene was put in. The original conception of the Heroes franchise was that each season/volume would feature a new group of characters, learning about their powers and dealing with fresh threats (with possible cameos by characters from earlier volumes). This was an unusual idea, and I think it would have worked. However, when the first season of the show was a significant success, and some of the characters became quite popular, NBC wanted to do away with the original plan and keep the same popular characters around for subsequent seasons.

This might have been workable, but the new setup presented one very obvious problem. Several of the characters had become far too powerful and proficient in the use of their powers: Peter, Hiro, and Sylar, in particular. Various methods had to be taken in subsequent seasons to "nerf" these Peter's and Hiro's abilities, so they could not solve all of a new season's problems in just a few minutes. Peter spent most of the second season with amnesia, keeping him for being effective. Then he was reduced to having only one power at a time, rather than all he had accrued, which reduced his power to a manageable level.

Hiro's powers were "nerfed" in a piecemeal fashion. First, he spent much of season 2 in medieval Japan, and after that, various other devices were used to limit the effectiveness of this abilities. At one point, he was regressed to a childlike mentality. Another element introduced was characters who were able to overcome Hiro's time-stopping ability. The most notable character with this ability was the speedster Daphne, who moved at normal speed even when time was supposedly stopped. (That this could actually stymie Hiro really made no sense, since Hiro could also reverse time, but the producers seem to have hoped that the viewers would simply have forgotten about that.)

Sylar being able to shake off the effects of the stopped time was just an early example to show that Hiro's temporal powers did not make him all-powerful. It was there to demonstrate that the villain was still a threat, even when there was a protagonist with control over space and time.

  • We do, of course, eventually see Sylar can adapt someone else's abilities without killing them. That said, that doesn't appear to be something he can do without analyzing those powers in some way. – RDFozz Jul 25 '18 at 16:59

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