Gabriel Gray (alias Sylar, after his favorite brand of wristwatch) is the main antagonist of the Heroes series. He was once a casual watchmaker until he was visited by Chandra Suresh who identified him as Patient Zero, and revealed advanced humans to him. From there on, Sylar became a serial killer by examining other advanced human's brains to replicate their power, killing them.
Birth of a Sylar
According to a news clipping on Sylar's wall, a " Paul E. Sylar" was born on June 11, 1962. This would make that man 44 in 2006. Whether or not this Sylar is the same as the above mentioned character has not been verified. It's more accurate to say he invented the name himself in the episode "Six Months Ago" as he repaired a watch before the arrival of his first victim in his watch-repair shop. He later on wears that specific broken watch sharing his nick-name.
Sylar's real name is Gabriel Gray and he started out as a watchmaker. Initially, he had a talent for knowing how things worked simply by looking at them. He was clever, but not the kind of superpower he dreamed of. When Chandra Suresh approached him and told him about his theories, Gabriel felt his destiny was going to be fulfilled. But, after tests, Chandra told him he had no special abilities, Gabriel then stormed out but not before taking a file on Brian, a telekinetic. Gabriel calls Brian and asks him to come to his shop, He introduces himself as Gabriel Sylar and after talking to Brian he discovers his ability of being able to know how things work just by looking at them; the ability is called Intuitive Aptitude (Perceptive Replication). Gabriel then kills Brian and takes his power and after trying to hang himself due to guilt, he is told by Elle to meet other evolved humans, one of them being Trevor. Elle was on a mission for the company to make Sylar use his ability and so she constantly referred to Trevor as being special, causing Sylar to become infuriated and attack Trevor.
After killing Trevor he began his killing spree to collect as much power as possible. When Chandra's son, Mohinder Suresh, arrived, Sylar posed as Zane, one of the superheroes on Chandra's list. Mohinder soon realized this but not before leading him to some of the other heroes, including Isaac. Isaac told him his fate was to die at the hands of the heroes. Hiro Nakamura, Matt Parkman and Peter Petrelli were already after Sylar as they believed him to be the exploding man destined to destroy New York. They had also been trying to keep him away from Claire Bennet so he couldn't absorb her ability to heal, thus making him indestructible. Having killed Isaac, Sylar painted a picture of himself facing off against Peter at Kirby Plaza. Ando appeared in an attempt to stop him and revealed a comic book showing Hiro killing Sylar. Sylar dismissed it and headed off to face Peter. But it was Hiro who stabbed Sylar and seemingly killed him in the Season 1 finale, just as Isaac's comic had predicted.
Sylar is a serial killer, murdering people with abilities and taking them for himself by removing their brains. His next target is Claire Bennet but is stopped by the unexpected Peter Petrelli. Sylar is captured by The Company in the process. He eventually escapes and goes to Claire's house to finish what he started. However, he finds and confronts Claire's mother, Sandra, instead. Sylar decides to escape without her power after Claire's father, Noah Bennet, attacks him and goes to Zane Taylor and acquiring his ability to melt objects. He meets Mohinder Suresh and pretends to be Zane Taylor to gain his trust in finding more people with abilities. He later murders Dale Smither and acquires her ability of enhanced hearing. Then Mohinder discovers who he really is and drugs him, but Sylar secretly turns it off. He almost kills Mohinder until he meets Peter again and they face off. Sylar kills Peter but Mohinder knocks him unconscious and takes the list. Sylar finds Isaac Mendez and takes his power to paint the future.
He paints the future to foresee future events and decides to see his mother in Queens. His mother is afraid of him and then he accidentally kills her. He confronts Hiro Nakamura and taunts him for being so afraid to kill him before. Then he goes to Kirby Plaza and faces against Peter Petrelli, Niki Sanders, Hiro Nakamura, Matt Parkman, and Noah Bennet. After he seemingly dies, his body disappears and leaves a trail of blood to the sewers.
He awakens to find himself with no powers and can't gain any new ones. Believed he is done for, he encounters Maya Herrera and Alejandro Herrera, both with abilities heading to New York City to find Chandra Suresh where he is also headed. When he introduces himself, instead of calling himself Sylar, he says his real name, Gabriel Gray. After convincing Maya to use her ability to get past the Border Police, Alejandro becomes distrustful of him. When he helps Maya control her ability, she decides to leave Alejandro behind and go to New York without him but with Gabriel. Then after an intense encounter, Sylar kills Alejandro with a knife. They arrive at Mohinder's apartment and Sylar reveals his true nature. When he was about to leave with the cure to the Shanti Virus, Elle Bishop attacks Sylar but still manages to escape and regain his powers using the cure. Sylar finally cornered Claire and obtained immortality, but leaves her alive and alone. Then he goes to The Company to get to the Level 5 prisoners and take their powers as well, but in the process kills Bob Bishop and takes his power. Elle, filled with vengeance fights him head on along with Noah Bennet. After trying to acquire Elle's power, she electrifies him and shuts down the grid, allowing a dozen Level 5 prisoners escape upon the world. Sylar is captured and Angela Petrelli claims she is Sylar's mother. Sylar decides to change his ways and work for The Company for redemption. He is partnered with Bennet and goes to get prisoners Knox, Flint, The German, and Jesse. They capture Flint, The German is dead, Knox escaped, and Sylar kills Jesse to acquire his ability, giving into the "hunger". Soon after, he is confronted by Peter Perelli and learns that they're brothers. When Peter was about to kill Angela, Sylar knocks him unconscious. Then he goes with Noah to capture another Level 5 prisoner and has a confrontation with Claire. Later he frees Peter from his coma and wants him to help Angela wake up. When Peter heads to a place called Pinehearst, Sylar refuses to let him go and then they fight, with Peter being the victor due to him having various abilities. Angela enters Sylar's dreams and convinces him to wake up in order to save Peter.
He goes to Pinehearst and saves Peter, but is captured by Arthur Petrelli. He is convinced to join Arthur, when Arthur pretends to be his father, and throws Peter out a window but reduces his fall so he wouldn't die. Then he has a talk with Elle and is able to obtain her ability without having to kill her. She coaches him on controlling his ability and start to bond again. Arthur assigns them to capture his granddaughter, Claire, and bring her alive. The Eclipse begins and everyone's abilities stop working. Sylar and Elle are chased by Noah Bennet and don't stand a chance without their powers. Noah kills Sylar by slitting his throat but he regenerates when the Eclipse ends. He is about to kill Noah when Hiro returns and teleports Elle and Sylar to a beach. He realizes he can never change and kills Elle. He cremates her and shows remorse. He kills Sue Landers and acquires her ability to detect lies. He questions Arthur Petrelli on whether or not he is his father and then detects a lie, which makes him kill Arthur. Then he goes to Primatech and questions Angela Petrelli about being his mother. Along the way, he kills many Level 5 prisoners and Meredith Gordon by injecting her with adrenaline which makes her lose control of her ability. After Angela reveals that she knows who his real parents are, Claire stabs him in the back of the head, leaving him to die in the fire.
In "Villains", Hiro sees Sylar's life shortly after the murder of Brian Davis. Intensely remorseful over the act, Gabriel attempts to hang himself. Elle Bishop walks in and saves him by using her electric abilities to cut the rope, convincing him that he's a good person. However, she is actually working with Noah Bennet to get Sylar to reveal the method behind transferring powers from one person to another. Elle befriends Gabriel and the two begin to share feelings for each other. Against her wishes, Elle helps Noah manipulate him to kill again by introducing Gabriel to Trevor Zeitlan, a young man who can kinetically shatter objects by "shooting" at them with his thumb and forefinger. She purposefully enrages Gabriel by having Trevor repeatedly demonstrate his ability by shattering glasses while calling him "special." Gabriel turns on Elle, who tries to stop him from killing Trevor. When Gabriel realizes Elle also has an ability, he is furious and pushes her against the wall with his mind, commanding her to leave before turning on Trevor and taking his power. Bennet and Elle watch from the car as Gabriel attacks Trevor.
In the third season, Sylar injects himself with the cure, healing his wounds and regaining use of his intuitive aptitude and telekinesis (though none of his other acquired powers). Sylar makes his way to California and finally takes Claire's power, though he does not kill her, claiming that she is special and that he couldn't do so even if he wanted to because he felt something special about her. He also takes several of the Company files on superhumans she had collected.
Sylar breaks into Company headquarters, killing Bob Bishop and acquiring his power. He is captured after attempting to take Elle's power, which results in her involuntarily releasing an electric burst which knocks him unconscious. The discharge also disables the Level 5 security system, allowing a dozen dangerous inmates to escape the complex. Before Sylar can regain consciousness, he is locked up. During his imprisonment, Angela Petrelli claims that she is his mother and attempts to rehabilitate him. She allows him to kill Bridget Bailey, a woman who can see the history of an object by touching it, in order to feed his hunger for power. When Noah Bennet returns to the Company to hunt down the escaped villains, Angela assigns Sylar as his partner, sending the two out to confront the villains and save the trapped Peter Petrelli.
Wanting to prove he is not just a killer, to both himself and Bennet, Sylar saves Bennet from Jesse and Knox, two of the escaped villains. However, his "hunger" reasserts itself and he kills Jesse, allowing Knox to escape in the confusion. Sylar is placed in his cell once more, where he is visited by Peter, who angrily snaps his neck after Sylar reveals that they are brothers. Peter, having absorbed Sylar's power and thereby his hunger, nearly kills Angela before Sylar knocks him unconscious. As Angela deals with her youngest son, Bennet arrives to take Sylar along to capture another Level 5 inmate. Sylar is surprised that Bennet would want to take him, but Bennet rebuffs him and tells him not to "make it harder than it already is." During the road trip, Noah chastises him about the murder of Jesse at the bank and his terrorizing Claire, and Sylar states that "rehabilitation doesn't happen overnight. I am trying."
They track the escapee, Stephen Canfield, to an empty house, unaware that Claire is already there dealing with Canfield herself. The man creates a powerful vortex in the room which nearly sucks in Claire, but Sylar saves her at the last minute. The power gained from Bridget enables him to experience the horror she went through, so he attempts to sincerely apologize to her, but she regards him with anger and disgust, and Bennet emphatically tells him to never to speak to his daughter again. The three find Stephen at an amusement park, where Bennet tries to force him into killing Sylar in exchange for freedom; though Sylar is clearly aware of what Noah is trying to do, he doesn't do anything to stop him. Rather than become a killer, Stephen kills himself with his power instead. Later, Sylar calmly remarks to Claire that her father doesn't see people with abilities as human and never will.
Sylar is returned to his cell once more, where he is approached by Daphne Millbrook with an offer to join Pinehearst Industries, who will accept him for what he is. Sylar refuses, wanting to change. After they leave, Sylar revives Peter so he can help Angela Petrelli. Peter is initially skeptical, but Sylar's willingness to change combined with experience with the future Sylar convinces him; Peter's description of the future Gabriel Gray also gives Sylar hope that he can be redeemed. When Peter discovers the Pinehearst logo in her mind and attempts to go there, Sylar tries to stop him from doing so, but Peter easily defeats him due to his wider variety of powers and places him in an artificially-induced coma just as he had been. Angela is able to use her powers to wake him so he can rescue Peter, who has been stripped of his powers by Arthur Petrelli. Sylar does as asked, but is convinced by Arthur to turn on Angela. Arthur has Sylar throw a powerless Peter out a seventh-story window, but Peter miraculously survives. In "It's Coming", Arthur reveals that he knows Sylar slowed Peter's fall. Arthur is not angry; instead, he uses this event as evidence that Sylar can use his emotions like Peter could, to obtain someone's power without killing them.
To test this theory, Arthur places Sylar in a dark room with Elle, who is restrained to the floor and still suffers from her uncontrolled ability. She is furious at Sylar for her father's murder and repeatedly electrocutes him to no avail. Sylar confronts Elle with his sorrow for what he's done as well as her sorrow for what she's done. She rages at him and continues to attack, finally collapsing and begging him to kill her so that her pain will go away. He forgives her for turning him into a monster and convinces her to forgive herself for her crimes, wanting to take away her pain without killing her. At that moment, Elle's pain disappears and she regains control of her ability. Likewise, Sylar is able to absorb her power. Sylar is overwhelmed by this development, as he no longer has to kill to satisfy his hunger. The two appear to rekindle their old feelings for each other as Elle teaches Sylar how to use her ability. In "The Eclipse", Sylar is relieved when he loses his abilities, and wishes to start a new life with Elle. However, after Noah Bennet claims that Angela and Arthur Petrelli are not his real parents and are just manipulating him, Sylar feels betrayed and reverts to his murderous tendencies. Having regained his abilities after the eclipse ended, Sylar expresses seeming remorse and then attacks Elle, using his telekinesis to scalp her.
The next morning Sylar proceeds to cremate her body, receiving a call from Arthur about his absence. Sylar curtly tells Arthur he is not returning and reveals he has a new list in the form of Elle's cell phone contact list. To ascertain the truth for himself, he kills Sue Landers, a human lie detector. He then heads to Pinehearst to confront Arthur, stopping Peter and the Haitian from killing Arthur by freezing the bullet fired at Arthur's head. With both the Haitian and Arthur apparently weakened in attempting to overwhelm one another, Sylar asks Arthur if he is truly his father. Arthur says yes; Sylar detects the lie with Sue Landers' power and proceeds to drive the bullet into Arthur's head, killing him. He then leaves Peter and the Haitian, claiming they do not have anything he desires.
Sylar travels to Primatech, and sets up a mind game for Angela, Claire, Meredith, and Noah Bennet. After locking everyone inside and killing the Primatech staff, he tells them over the PA system that he will turn them all into monsters as they try to hunt him. Noah releases several Level 5 inmates as bait, including Echo Demille, Eric Doyle, and Daniel Pine, but Sylar easily disposes of them. He then injects Meredith with adrenaline, causing her to lose control of her fire ability. She and Noah are then locked in a cell with a single bullet, so Noah will either burn to death or kill Claire's other mother, Meredith, to survive. Claire wants to help, as Sylar expects, forcing her to choose between her grandmother and her father; Claire is forced to choose her father, Noah, leaving her grandmother at Sylar's mercy. He confronts Angela and finds out that he is not her son, but was using him for his monstrous qualities. However, she also reveals that she knows who his real parents are and that they are not the Grays. As Sylar demands to be told the truth, Claire stabs him in the back of the head with a piece of glass, killing him as long as the glass is kept in place, and she escapes with her grandmother. In the prison cell, Meredith finally loses full control of her power and releases a massive explosion. Angela, Noah, and Claire manage to escape the building, with Claire saddened over the loss of her mother. Together, they watch Primatech go up in flames with Sylar still inside in the burning building. All believe he is killed in the fire at this point.
Following the destruction of Primatech, Sylar is shown to be alive and well (it's later revealed that the fire melted the glass, allowing him to regenerate), and begins to search for his true biological parents. He starts by tracking down his adoptive father, Martin Gray, in Baltimore, making a stop in Pittsburgh to kill an insurance broker who could replicate his signature, and possibly learn the whereabouts of Martin. Sylar learns that Martin had paid to take him off the hands of his supposed father, Samson Gray, in order to escape his marriage with Virginia, Sylar's adoptive mother. After interrogating Martin, Sylar raises his hand, and is about to kill Martin, but holds back and walks away. After taking the address from Martin, Sylar finds Samson's home, only for it to be empty and Senator Nathan Petrelli's agents, lead by Emile Danko, are waiting to ambush him. Although Sylar is shot at, stunned and restrained, he easily recovers and kills the agents, save one Agent Simmons who he tortures for information on Samson's disappearance.
In order to extract more information from Simmons, Sylar invades the house of Luke and Mary Campbell. Waiting for the two to return, Sylar telekinetically pins them, and states he intends to torture them to get Simmons to talk. He then proceeds to torture Mary. In a rage, Luke manages to free himself and boils Sylar's coffee with his own ability: microwave emission. Intrigued, Sylar begins to talk to Luke, telling him exactly why Luke has been in so much trouble, and that he understands Luke's frustration. During this, Simmons frees himself from his bindings and tries to grab his gun to shoot Sylar, but Luke notices this and kills Simmons. Sylar proceeds to leave the house, taking Luke with him only after Luke states he knows where Samson is.
As Sylar and Luke proceed to find Samson, Luke wishes to stop at some local diner to eat, as well as lying to Sylar about Samson's location when prodded. This irritates Sylar to the point where he threatens to simply take Luke's emission ability. Luke simply states that Sylar would never find his father then. Choosing to stop at a diner, Luke reveals that he and Samson went birding, awakening a memory from Sylar's childhood. As they eat, Sylar teaches Luke some lessons about using his power and having objectives, as well as revealing the change in his 'hunger' (emphasizing finding Samson over acquiring powers). This results in Luke giving Sylar Samson's location, even under the threat of being killed for his power. They are soon interrupted by Nathan's agents. Luke distracts the agents enough for Sylar to telekinetically toss a few around and punch a hole through a window. However, as he gets into the car, Sylar locks Luke out and drives off, leaving Luke to the agents. However, a short time later, Sylar disguises as an agent and gets into their van, killing the agents and saving Luke, as well as taking a laptop. When confronted about this by Luke, Sylar states that Luke was simply conveniently nearby and that his goal was to get the laptop to understand how Nathan's agents worked, though Luke seems skeptical about that reasoning.
Continuing to elude Nathan's agents, Sylar and Luke finally lose them. Irritated with Luke's wish to fry some agents and subtle attempts to stop the search for Samson, Sylar pins Luke to the side of the truck, essentially telling Luke to shut up. Sylar then seems to remember the area in which the two are in, and they reach an abandoned diner. Sylar makes an entrance by pulling off some of the board (throwing them in Luke's direction) and they enter. Here, Sylar recounts being brought to the diner as a child, and dropping a toy car in a wooden post. To prove this memory true, he rips open the post telekinetically and finds the car. He then remembers exactly what happened at that place: His father took money from Virginia and Martin, then left to his car. Sylar followed, only to see his biological parents arguing, and Samson telekinetically splitting his mother's skull open, killing her. In a rage exacerbated by Luke's revelation that Sylar's father was indeed a bad individual, Sylar pins him to the diner wall, but drops him and tells Luke to go home. Sylar leaves, intent on not only finding, but killing his father.
Arriving at a run-down trailer in the woods, Sylar finds his father old and dying of cancer. Samson is not frightened by Sylar's threat to kill and instead prepares a rabbit for taxidermy. Demonstrating several abilities, he and Sylar realize that they have the same ability - the ability to steal powers. Samson reveals that it did not matter how many people he killed or how many powers he stole; in the end, he did not lead a fulfilling life and is now miserable. He claims to not even remember selling Sylar and killing his mother, as these things did not matter to him. He goes on to say how he would have lived life differently, if given a second chance - how he would risk everything to attain true power and ultimately change the world. He touches on Sylar's original guilt for murdering to steal abilities by mocking Sylar, telling him how both their victims were weak and helpless and that they had no chance against seasoned killers. However, when Sylar cuts himself and heals while stuffing the rabbit, Samson transforms, reviving his hunger for abilities, desperate to gain immortality and escape from death. Temporarily incapacitating Sylar, he is stunned when Sylar first resists and then retaliates, strangling Samson with his own oxygen tube. Samson does not understand, since both he and Sylar know that Sylar would not die from Samson's "examination". Sylar states that he is finishing what he came to do, taking the stuffed rabbit. Samson begs Sylar to kill him quickly, but Sylar refuses, relishing the fact that his father, who is ultimately just like him, will "die alone with his disease". Later, when Danko returns home to his apartment after discovering Nathan's ability, he finds the stuffed rabbit on his desk, unaware that Sylar is lurking in the shadows nearby. Instead of a confrontation, however, Sylar chooses to leave, but not before stringing up an unconscious Eric Doyle in Danko's apartment as a 'gift'.
This 'gift' is explained further when Sylar surprises Danko in his car: He wishes to work with Danko in rounding up all superpowered humans, and quickly leaves before Danko can pull out his gun. To further win Danko's trust, Sylar decides to help Danko track a shapeshifter, James Martin, who managed to kill 4 of Danko's agents (3 via gunshot, and one murdered for his form). At Martin's apartment, Danko surprises Sylar, and the two exchange taunts and information, resulting in Sylar and Danko teaming up for the time being. Through their cooperation, the two find out that Martin takes forms of power and authority, in order to woo women at a local nightclub. At the club, Sylar and Danko are spotted by Martin (in the form of Danko), and they lose track of him. A short time later, Danko and Sylar decide to leave the club; however, the 'Sylar' is actually Martin in disguise with the intention of killing Danko. However, Danko shoots Martin, but doesn't kill him. Instead, he allows the real Sylar to take Martin's ability (without removing the skullcap) in order to not only make hunting superpowered humans easier for them, but to fake Sylar's death and keep people such as Noah Bennett from trying to track Sylar down.
Sylar, disguised as Danko, later meets Noah at Building 26 as Noah, unknowingly, examines Martin's body. Noah, knowing how hard it is to kill Sylar, doubts Danko could do it single-handedly. When Sandra arrives to question Noah about Claire, Sylar shakes Sandra's hand in introduction, gaining access to her form. In disguise as Sandra, Sylar finds Noah and tries to learn where Claire is being hidden. Noah, aware Claire is being protected by her other father, Nathan, in Mexico, only reveals that Claire is safe and does not devulge any other information. Wanting to destroy Noah, Sylar later visits Noah at Noah's apartment, still in disguise as Sandra. He delivers divorce papers, stating that he (Sandra) cannot trust Noah anymore and that their marriage is over. Noah is distraught but, upon examining the signature on the forms, discovers that it is not Sandra's. Rushing to the crematorium, Noah stops the cremation of Martin's body. He removes the metal shard in the back of the corpse's head, telling the surrounding soldiers that when Sylar was stabbed with a glass shard before, it melted in the Primatech fire allowing him to regenerate. When the corpse does not regenerate, Noah returns to Danko and confronts him with the knowledge that Sylar is still alive. Danko confesses and tells Noah that Sylar is in disguise and out on a mission with other soldiers. Noah forces Danko to take him to Sylar and, when they arrive, shoots the soldier Danko identifies as Sylar in the back of the head. When the corpse continues to bleed out and does not heal, Danko orders his men to capture Noah, who Danko claims has gone insane. However, when the soldiers leave in pursuit, the corpse gets up and shifts back into Sylar. When Danko asks him how he survived while bleeding so much, Sylar says it was all to make his death look realistic.
As Sylar continues to shapeshift, he finds it is harder and harder to regain his form without side effects, including left over body parts like teeth. He also retains personality traits and memories of those he changes into, causing him to go through a literal "identity crisis". When Danko tells him that he needs to leave his "Sylar" identity behind to retain his free pass, Sylar kills the next target on Danko's list, Tom Miller, and takes his power. Further examining the shapeshifting ability, Sylar realizes he is actually absorbing different DNA sequences into his body, causing him to permanently change a little each time he shifts. When Sylar starts to shapeshift in his sleep, Danko tells him he has to find an anchor that will remind him of who he is. To that effect, Sylar, as one of Danko's agents, retrieves the evidence from the homicide of his mother, Virginia Gray. While examining her collection of snow globes, Sylar unknowingly shapeshifts into his mother and begins to have a conversation with himself, showing acute symptoms of dissociative identity disorder. He at first does not realize what is happening and talks to his mother about his encounter with Samson, why his mother lied to Sylar about his lineage, and how he is starting to lose himself. He, as his mother, tries to convince himself that he did not mean to kill her and that he is still special. Danko interrupts when his agents track down Rebel. Sylar gets to Rebel (Micah Sanders) before Danko's agents do and prepares to kill him and take his power.
Micah, however, reveals that he understands what Sylar is going through because his mother, Niki Sanders, endured the same thing when her power manifested. Convinced that Sylar is special and the only one capable of saving those with powers, Micah convinces Sylar to join his cause. Sylar, disguised as Micah, tricks Danko and his agents into chasing the wrong person, allowing Micah to escape. Sylar, again talking with "his mother", reveals that her murder was no accident but "Virginia" forgives Sylar anyway, convinced that he can still be whomever he wants to be, including the President. Realizing his opportunity, Sylar breaks into Nathan Petrelli's office and finds a brush containing some of Nathan's DNA. He later appears, as Nathan, at a press conference concerning new plans for change he has for the country and how he soon plans to meet with the President and "shake his hand". In Coyote Sands, Nathan and his family watch Sylar (in Nathan's form) on television. Noah and Nathan realize what Sylar is trying to do. Nathan, despite objections from Claire, Angela, Peter, and Noah, returns to DC to get ahead of Sylar. He arrives at his office, where Sylar is waiting, and confronts Sylar. Sylar reveals he has examined Nathan's life in depth using clairsentience, taunting Nathan about his loved ones (his brother, Peter, daughter Claire, and mother Angela) and how he turned on everyone. Expressing pity and determined to become better than Nathan, Sylar prepares to take Nathan's ability when Danko appears and stuns Nathan with a stun gun, who is left unconcious and put into another room. Attempting to salvage his operation, Danko orders Sylar to shift back into one of his agents so they can continue hunting specials. When Sylar refuses, Danko stabs him in the back of the head with a knife. However, Sylar recovers, having used his shapeshifting ability to relocate his weak spot.
After framing Danko for the murder of an agent, Sylar takes on Nathan's form and prepares to meet the President when Nathan's secretary informs him that Nathan's daughter has come to see him. Claire comes in and sees "Nathan," unaware it is actually Sylar and not her father. Sylar, disguised as Nathan, deceives Claire into believing he is her father, Nathan, with his shape-shifting and clairsentience abilities. Sylar goes to meet the President with Claire in tow. When Claire discovers she is not with her father but is actually with Sylar, Sylar shape-shifts back into his own form and controls Claire's physical actions by using the motor-control manipulation ability he had empathically absorbed from Eric Doyle. He tries to convince Claire they are similar, both being adopted and having immortality, proposing that, given enough time, Claire might come to forgive him and even love him. Claire vehemently disagrees and vows this will never happen. Sylar is interrupted when Peter and Nathan arrive, who rescue Claire in the process, and battle Sylar. Sylar and Nathan fly out of a window and into another room. Sylar subsequently kills Nathan (after empathically absorbing his power during the fight) and takes on the form of the President's Chief of Staff. However, the President injects him with an elephant tranquilizer, and reveals himself to be Peter, having absorbed Sylar's ability during the fight. In an effort to shut down the program, Angela convinces Matt Parkman to use his telepathy to convince Sylar that he is Nathan. Noah and Angela decide to send Peter and Claire away to "look" for Nathan in order to keep them unaware of Nathan's death. Sylar, as Nathan, talks to the President and convinces him to shut down Building 26 and divert the funds to the new Company that will now be built. Later, Sylar, as Nathan, watches "Sylar's" (in reality James Martin's) body burn at Coyote Sands alongside Noah, Claire, Matt, Angela, Peter, Mohinder, Hiro and Ando.
Six weeks later, this Nathan starts to rediscover the other powers he had gained in his old life. Later, following Nathan's confession of being involved in the accidental death of his girlfriend Kelly Houston, her mother, Millie Houston, has him shot and buried in a shallow grave. When healed, Sylar emerges from the ground in his own body, suffering from amnesia. Picked up by the police, he is recognized and accidentally uses his powers to escape. He then encounters the "Sullivan Bros. Carnival" and Samuel, who take him in as one of their own. The carnival is hidden from Sylar's pursuers, and Samuel assures him he is safe in his new "home".
Once Sylar has rested, Samuel proceeds to show him around the circus, showing that everyone at the carnival has an ability. Sylar also meets Lydia, who he immediately hits it off with. Edgar, however, jealously attempts to out-show Sylar with his power, but is easily beaten. Samuel also notices that Sylar's memories are not his (in fact, Nathan Petrelli's). In an effort to awaken Sylar's true personality, Sylar is taken by Damien to the hall of mirrors, where he is forced to look at his past murders, starting with his mother. Repulsed, Sylar is unable to believe himself a monster. Samuel uses this to try and convince Sylar that he is a protector of the circus, and must remove threats such as the officer who attempted to capture him the night before. Sylar is told the officer is at the house of mirrors, and goes there to tell the man to leave. However, the officer shoots at Sylar, forcing an uncontrolled electric blast. Here, Sylar's killer instinct begins to take hold, but Sylar stops himself just in time for Edgar to cut the man into pieces. Later, Samuel formally makes Sylar a part of the circus family, baptizing him and letting him mingle with the others. Sylar and Lydia leave arm in arm for the night, much to Edgar's dismay.
In "Shadowboxing", the persona of Nathan returns, causing him to shapeshift back into Nathan's form while sleeping. Panicking upon finding himself at the carnival, he flies away, and is later shown arriving at Peter's door, asking for help. Arriving for work at his office, Peter and Nathan discover that no one has been looking for Nathan, as he had been on 'vacation' according to Angela Petrelli. The brothers are further surprised when the Haitian appears, and tells Peter to go see a storage facility for the truth of the situation. Here, Nathan and Peter discover the real Nathan's preserved body, which 'Nathan' touches and sees Sylar and Matt Parkman. They head to Texas to see Matt, who is at the hospital, in a coma.
Meanwhile, Matt Parkman, regretting his actions, is haunted by Sylar, who claims to have lingered in Matt's mind after Matt "sucked" all his memories and replaced them with Nathan's. Though Matt had resolved not to use his powers anymore, Sylar eventually tempts him into using them again. Following this, Sylar escalates his tormenting of Matt, using his own telepathy against him to force Matt to use his powers to save himself. Sylar then gives a defeated Matt an ultimatum: either continue to live with Sylar in his mind or return Sylar's mind to his body.
Matt decides to keep Sylar in his mind, which begins to have consequences when Sylar's control over Matt advances, where Sylar has sex with Janice while Matt was asleep. Scared of what Sylar could do to his family (which Sylar himself alludes to), Matt tells Janice the truth, and Janice agrees to let Matt try to exorcise Sylar by leaving the house. During another conversation, Sylar appears pained whenever Matt drinks alcohol, giving Matt the idea to drink into a stupor. Sylar appears successfully removed as he fades from Matt's mind, and Matt remains conscious long enough to see his partner and Janice return. In actuality, Sylar simply tricked Matt into knocking himself out. Now much more powerful, Sylar takes full control of Matt's body, leaving Matt trapped in his own head. Despite his control over the body, Matt's personality constantly hampers Sylar from reaching his body, including being arrested. In response, Sylar threatens to murder innocent civilians if Matt doesn't cooperate. Faced with an ultimatum, Matt attempts to commit suicide by cop.
The attempt appears to almost work, but 'Nathan' and Peter arrive to revive Matt. Once revived, Matt is surprised to see Nathan and Peter, as is Sylar. Desperate to return to his original body, Sylar forcefully takes over Matt's body, only needing to touch Nathan in order to jump back into his own body. While 'Nathan's' confidence in who he is is shattered (Matt reveals that 'Nathan' is Sylar), Sylar uses Matt's telepathy to bring Nathan closer to him, with intuitive aptitude forcing Nathan to throw Peter telekinetically and proceed to get closer, to understand who he is. Although the event is temporarily stalled by an incoming guard, Nathan brushes hands with Matt, freeing Matt from Sylar's hold, and leaving Nathan fearful that Sylar will soon take over his body once more.
Staying over at Peter's apartment, the brothers are surprised by Angela, who springs a Thanksgiving dinner on them. Nathan wakes up in time to hear Peter and Angela discussing the discovery of Nathan's body. Although they press her for information, Angela threatens to simply leave if they do not sit down and eat. During the dinner, Angela finally confesses that she had Matt Parkman place Nathan's mind into Sylar's body. During dessert, however, Nathan begins to act oddly, and transforms back into Sylar, happy to be controlling his body once more. He telekinetically traps Peter and Angela, relishing his ability to control himself. After taunting Peter, he begins to scalp Angela, only to have the 'Nathan' persona fight back. Losing control, Sylar transforms back into Nathan, who flees the building to protect his family. Peter devises a plan to eliminate the 'Sylar' persona leaving just Nathan using the ability of The Haitian to erase Sylar's memories. On a rooftop however, "Nathan" confesses to Peter he is not himself and cannot keep fighting off the 'Sylar' persona. Nathan tells Peter how proud he is of him and tells him to look after their mother, Angela, and his daughter, Claire, before jumping off the building and landing on a parked car. Peter then sees Sylar heal, get up and wave as he walks away.
Sylar returns to the carnival to face Samuel, but Sylar finds that while he wants to kill, he is unable to make himself do so. His identity in crisis, he makes a deal with Samuel. After absorbing Lydia's power, he tells Samuel to give him a tattoo, and that he would do whatever it said. When he sees the tattoo, he decides that he does not belong at the carnival. The next scene shows him floating outside of Claire Bennet's dorm room window, and his tattoo is a picture of her.
In the episode "Pass/Fail", Sylar kidnaps Claire Bennet's friend, Gretchen so Claire will talk to him in exchange for her friend. Now aware of Nathan's death, an enraged Claire furiously vows to Sylar that she will kill him because he killed her father. Sylar feels like they are very similar: they've never felt in place, they both lost their parents, and they are both immortal. Claire ends up stabbing Sylar in the eye with a pencil. She makes him tell her where Gretchen is and finds her tied up, and they hide in a closet. Claire confides in Gretchen that Sylar thinks they are alike and fears that they might be. Gretchen comes to the conclusion that Sylar's powers have isolated him from ever having any relationships. Giving them up might be the only way he could have any connections. Gretchen then shape-shifts back into Sylar. He then goes to Matt Parkman and asks him to take away all his powers away. Matt attempts but fails. Sylar threatens Matt's family and forces him to keep trying. Instead, Matt traps Sylar and his powers deep within the confines of his mind, "somewhere you'll never find them," and he is left alone to live out his worst nightmare: Being all alone. Matt then attempts to seal up Sylar within the walls of his basement. However, Peter Petrelli arrives after having a vision that Sylar will save Emma. Using Matt's power, Peter attempts to bring Sylar out of his nightmare, but ends up trapped in Sylar's mind along with him (The Art of Deception).
In "The Wall", Sylar is repairing endless watches in the empty city when he hears banging. Searching for the source of it, he finds Peter using a pole to get his attention by banging it on the concrete. Sylar is shocked to discover that Peter is real and says there's no way out - he's been searching for three years. Peter reveals that it's actually been three hours and that Sylar is trapped in a nightmare, which he is skeptical to accept, and runs back to his shop. Peter tries to convince him of the truth and tells him he must save Emma. He tries to pull them out of the nightmare but is unsuccessful. Peter avoids Sylar for a month while trapped, and Sylar tries being friendly by giving him a 9th! Wonders comic. Peter, determined to find a way out, does not understand why Sylar is so resistant to find a way out, and realizes that Sylar really doesn't want to be free. They come across a massive brick wall, the same one Sylar's body is actually trapped behind (in Matt's basement). Peter realizes that the two need to break the wall in order to escape. At first Peter tries to break it alone, but fails. Sylar compares his determination to a memory of Nathan's he possesses which angers Peter. Sylar apologizes for Nathan's murder, but Peter refuses to forgive him and Sylar finally joins Peter in attempting to break down the wall. After years of attempting and failing to damage the wall in the slightest, Sylar is surprised when Peter gives him a copy of The Pillars of the Earth as a gift as a to thank him for keeping him sane all the years of their imprisonment. Sylar admits he always worries Peter will attack him with the sledge-hammer which Peter admits he has contemplated. Sylar realizes that Peter won't let go of his anger out of fear of losing the last remnant of Nathan, and points out to Peter that he has truly changed. Peter finally accepts this fact and afterwards the two are easily able to break a hole in the wall, which frees them from their mental prison. Once freed, Sylar uses telekinesis to free him from his physical one and he and Peter learn that they've only been trapped for half a day in reality. The experience seems to have changed both Sylar and Peter and the two head off to save Emma, but are stopped by Eli and his clones who want to prevent their plans.
In "Brave New World," he and Peter easily defeat Eli and save Matt's life as knocking out the Prime Eli gets rid of his clones who were about to kill Matt. Sylar tries to convince a furious Matt that he's changed, but fails and begins to leave with Peter (who read Eli's mind and learned Samuel's plans). Matt tries to telepathically prevent Sylar from leaving, so Sylar asks Matt to read his mind to show him he has changed. Matt is unable to, although he does let them leave. Peter and Sylar fly to New York where Samuel plans to kill thousands of people. Peter is reluctant, but Sylar convinces Peter to trust him and reminds him that the dream says that Sylar saves Emma. Sylar heads off to the tent to save Emma while Peter goes to defeat Samuel. He finds Emma playing the cello with bloody fingers, and tries to save her by taking the cello, but is taken control of by Eric Doyle, the Puppet Master. Doyle, desperate to be better than Sylar, begins to taunt him. However, controlling and mocking Sylar distracts him from his primary focus on controlling Emma. Once Emma realizes he has loosened his control over her, Emma blasts Doyle with a soundwave through the cello, breaking Doyle's control over Sylar, and giving Sylar the chance to telekinetically grab onto Doyle. Doyle begs him to stop, and asks, "What do you care about this girl, anyway?" Sylar tells him that he's going to save her. Confused, Doyle cries out, "That's not you! You're like me!" Sylar looks at him and calmly says, "No. I'm a hero." After Peter reunites with Emma, she tells him that his friend is taking care of Doyle. Fearing the worst, Peter heads into the tent to find Sylar admiring his new "masterpiece": a dazed Doyle trussed up like a puppet, clad in giant light-bulbs. Sylar plugs the lights in, deviously grins, and says, "I like it!"
Five years later, In"The Needs of the Many" while attempting to rescue Molly Walker from the confines of Renautas, Noah Bennett compares the company's agenda and modus operandi to Sylar's own brutal methods. Sylar went into hiding after the Peace Summit blew up in Odessa. In the eBook "Save the Cheerleader, Destroy the world", Sylar is a member of the 'Petrelli Movement'. He assists (with the likes of Mohinder Suresh, Peter Petrelli, Claude, and Micah Sanders) in finding innocent and apprehended Evos and freeing them from the restraints of the Registration Act. He was last seen rescuing a ferry load of Evos from Renautas, but once a freed Evo betrayed them to the Renautas, they had to go incognito. Peter, Sylar, and Claude all used Invisibility to stay well hidden from the world.
Sylar's innate ability is the power to determine exactly how things work. Sylar used this innate ability to discover how to take the abilities of other evolved humans. He determined that Chandra Suresh was correct that the abilities are based in the brain, and several of Sylar's victims have had their skulls opened and brains removed. By studying his victims' brains he is able to determine how their powers work and replicate those abilities himself.
Arthur revealed to Sylar that he can obtain the abilities of other people without killing them through empathy. Arthur left Sylar in a room with Elle, with whom he had a long talk, after which Sylar manifested her ability. It is unknown whether this manifestation was related to empathic mimicry or just a different method of using intuitive aptitude to understand an ability.
With this ability comes a 'hunger' for more knowledge and power. Sylar believes that it is this hunger that drives him to murder others and steal their powers. Twice he has been able to suppress this hunger. In one one future he battled to keep his hunger in check for the sake of his son, while in another he had acquired enough abilities to the point where he was comfortable eradicating every other evolved human (and thus, destroying every other ability) on the planet.
According to his assignment tracker file at primatechpaper.com, Sylar's control index is 76%. His data analysis shows his biological level at 40, cerebral at 85, elemental at 45, and temporal/spatial at 20.
During their conversation, Sylar and Noah confirmed that Sylar has multiple abilities (Fallout); however, apart from telekinesis, the Company was unable to identify what these powers were (Godsend). Based on Mohinder's statement to the authorities (Fallout) that at least six people from his father's list have been murdered by Sylar (prior to Zane Taylor), it's likely that Sylar had acquired at least ten abilities before he was infected with the Shanti virus: the six Mohinder mentioned, plus four he acquired after Mohinder made his statement.
After he cured himself of the virus he was once again able to use his innate ability in addition to the ability he had acquired from Brian Davis, which he retained due to his guilt over killing Brian. He was not, however, able to use the other abilities he acquired before his infection.
He has acquired several new abilities since curing himself of the virus and continues to acquire more, although he now seems to pursue them less obsessively.
He inherited intuitive aptitude from his father, Samson Gray.
With Sylar's ability enabling him to take the abilities of others, he has acquired many abilities.
Before he was infected with the Shanti virus (Kindred), he had acquired the following abilities (in chronological order):
Sylar originally stole enhanced memory from Charlie Andrews (Seven Minutes to Midnight). However, in Once Upon a Time in Texas, Hiro Nakamura went back in time, preventing the event from having happened. Thus, in the current timeline, Sylar never acquired the ability.
When he was infected, his intuitive aptitude and telekinesis were suppressed, and his other abilities were permanently lost.
He has since recovered from the virus (using a cure in Powerless), and subsequently demonstrated his original ability and telekinesis. Since that time, he has acquired the following additional powers:
|Rapid cellular regeneration|
|Invisibility||"Save the cheerleader, Destroy the world"|
Sylar killed Echo DeMille, severed Danny Pine's metallic arm, and knocked out Eric Doyle (Dual), but it is unknown whether or not he took their abilities; Doyle is still alive, Echo's body showed no signs of brain removal, and Danny's body was missing. Echo's ability is the same as Jesse Murphy's, which Sylar had taken previously.
Telekinesis is Sylar's most commonly observed acquired ability. Before his infection, he frequently used freezing as a secondary offensive ability and the passive enhanced hearing as well. Since recovering from the virus and acquiring new abilities, he often uses the passive abilities of lie detection and rapid cell regeneration, and he also seems to favor electric manipulation, shape shifting, and clairsentience. He has demonstrated the ability to use at least two of his acquired abilities at the same time (The Hard Part).
Possibly because of his intuitive aptitude, Sylar's control over an acquired ability is often superior to that of the person from whom he obtained it.
It was originally unclear whether or not Sylar stole Nathan's flight in An Invisible Thread using the empathic part of his ability, as he had previously levitated using telekinesis alone. However, Shadowboxing confirms that he did in fact obtain flight from Nathan.
- There was a persistent rumour claiming that Sean Bean would be playing Sylar, though this was highly disputed. The role was eventually revealed as being played by Zachary Quinto. Quinto also plays Mr. Spock in the 2009 Star Trek feature film.
Notes and references
|Ando • Angela • Claire • Hiro • Jessica • Matt • Maya • Monica • Mohinder • Emma • Nathan • Noah • Peter • Samuel • Simone • Sylar • Tracy|