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Robert Knepper as Samuel Sullivan
|Last appearance||"Brave New World"|
|Portrayed by||Robert Knepper
Julian De La Celle (young Samuel)
|Occupation||"Sullivan Bros. Carnival" Leader|
Samuel Sullivan, portrayed by Robert Knepper, is a fictional character on the NBC science fiction drama series Heroes, being the primary antagonist of Volume 5: Redemption. Samuel has the ability of terrakinesis. He is the mysterious leader of a carnival ring, "Sullivan Bros. Carnival".
Samuel was born on August 11, 1961 at Coyote Sands Relocation Center, AZ, where his mother and brother Joseph were residents at the time. His delivery was filmed by Dr. Chandra Suresh who recorded much of his research as part of Project Icarus. Even at birth his ability was present: during his birth, he produced a major seismic event, leading Chandra to understand that Samuel’s ability grew when surrounded by other evolved humans. Knowing this, Samuel's mother asked Joseph to keep Samuel under control by limiting his closeness to other evolved humans.
It is unknown if Samuel and his family got out of Coyote Sands before Hurricane Alice or survived the massacre of evolved humans on May, 1961. Whatever the case, he and his family were released at some point according to Joseph.
After Coyote Sands, the Sullivan family lived and worked on the Wheelers' estate, NY. Young Samuel fell in love with the Wheelers' daughter, Vanessa and spent a lot of time with her and shared dreams about the future with her. Later, the Sullivans moved out the manor, and eventually opened the "Sullivan Bros. Carnival". Samuel tried to train his power into a carnival act so people would come to see him, but Joseph stated he only wanted Vanessa to come and must forget her.
Years later, Samuel found Vanessa at college, and they began a relationship. Samuel asked her to marry him and come to the carnival, but she refused to leave her life.
At the carnival, under Joseph’s leadership, Samuel grew up into a trouble-maker, and together with his right hand Eli dabbled in petty crime and felonies, such as robbery, etc. Knowing he couldn’t control Samuel anymore, Joseph exiled Eli from the carnival and even sent Arnold back in time to kill baby Samuel at Coyote Sands, unsuccessfully. Ultimately, Joseph gave Emile Danko a compass to find and capture Samuel for everyone’s sake.
In "Orientation", carnies are gathered around during Joseph’s burial while Samuel is eulogizing his deceased brother. Later he is seen with his associate Lydia. He pokes her with a long stick and ink floods into her skin. After she gives him information on Danko, he sends Edgar to "go get the compass", once again using his ability to make him do so. Next, he is seen asking Lydia for information on Hiro Nakamura. After gaining the information, he asks Arnold to send him back in time. Fourteen years in the past, Samuel tries to persuade Hiro to use his power to right past wrongs. Later, he uses his power again on Lydia. Using his strange tattoo power once again, images of Claire Bennet, Sylar, and Peter Petrelli appear on Lydia's back.
Following Edgar's revelation of meeting an empath (Peter Petrelli), in the episode "Ink", Samuel pretends to be one of the people Peter had recently saved in a bus crash, and sues Peter to get to meet him. Over the course of the day, Samuel breaks into Peter's apartment and uses ink to make himself appear in the crash photo, resulting in having Peter seemingly empathize with Samuel (his primary goal); before leaving, he watches Peter admiring Emma's cello play. Later, Samuel goes to his old home - a mansion where his father and mother, both servants, worked - to see the carriage house. After being denied entry, Samuel levels the mansion by creating a sinkhole.
In the episode "Hysterical Blindness", while sitting around the breakfast table, he remarks to his carnival family that since his brother's death, their circle has been broken (one empty chair), and that before the day is done he will bring a new member to the family. As the day wears on, he reveals to Lydia that he does not know who it is, but that he has a feeling that someone is coming. Late in the evening, getting a bit desperate, he tries to tattoo Lydia to see if anyone's face shows up. While he is waiting, Becky reports in to him on her progress with pushing Claire and isolating her in an effort to bring her into the family. Finally, the ink settles and (although it is not revealed on screen, it is implied that) Sylar's face appears. As Sylar (in his amnesiac state) runs from the police, he stumbles upon the entrance to the "Sullivan Bros. Carnival" where Samuel is holding out his arm welcoming him into the family. A cello appears in Emma's apartment so she starts playing it while her ability evolves; the cello was in a box with the "Sullivan Bros. Carnival" label on it.
In "Tabula Rasa", after Sylar rests, Samuel shows him around the carnival, intent on trying to awaken Sylar's memories immediately. However, he is surprised when Sylar refers to himself as 'Nathan', and returning memories reveal not to be the real Sylar's. Talking to Damien, he has Sylar sent to the Hall of Mirrors to attempt to regain his memories, while having tickets sent to the police officer bent on arresting Sylar. After telling Sylar that it is his duty to become a guardian of the carnival, he sends Sylar to kill the police officer, although Edgar ends up actually killing the man. Not worried, Samuel makes Sylar one of the carnival members, cryptically saying that in time, Sylar would regain his murderous tendencies.
In "Strange Attractors", Samuel then moves his sights to other superhumans, namely Tracy Strauss and Jeremy Greer. He somehow teleports Tracy to the carnival, and begins trying to convince Tracy that she belongs to the carnival, as she and Jeremy are both lost in their ways. Spooked, Tracy demands to be sent back to Georgia to help Jeremy out of prison with Noah, but they fail when Jeremy loses control and kills a civilian who attacks him as they are leaving. As a result, an officer and his friend kidnap and kill Jeremy. Samuel obtains vengeance by returning to Georgia and leveling a building the two men enter, presumably killing them.
In "Once Upon a Time in Texas", Samuel and Lydia talk about Arnold's terminal condition and imminent death, feeling that Hiro's path has grown too long for them to wait. Lydia's ability directs him to travel back in time three years ago so he could find Hiro in Midland, TX. Once there, he asks Hiro about his plans and warns him about the risks of changing what is meant to happen (Charlie's death at the hands of Sylar). However, Hiro manages to change it anyway after making Sylar fix Charlie's aneurysm and then teleporting him directly to Odessa, TX. Samuel kidnaps Charlie, sending her to the carnival in the present, and then forces Hiro to control his ability and teleport there. Once at the carnival, Samuel tells him that Arnold hid Charlie somewhere in time, and blackmails Hiro to stay there and help him right the wrongs for Charlie's sake. Samuel doesn't want the carnies to know that Arnold's final effort killed him because Samuel asked too much of him. It is revealed that Samuel is somehow responsible for the apparent death of Mohinder Suresh eight weeks earlier, and that he needs Hiro to undo this event.
In the episode "Shadowboxing", Samuel comes to Claire's college to stop Becky from getting out of control. In the meantime, he talked to Claire about how Bennett will never understand people like them and that he's just a hunter. At first Claire doesn't fall for it but towards the end, after Bennett tried to tase Becky, had handcuffed Samuel, and tried to chase after them when they got away, Claire realized there was truth to his words. In the end, Samuel promises that she will be able to have her revenge on Claire and Bennett, and also notes that even though she screwed up, Claire's mindset is now in a place better than what he had hoped for.
It was revealed in "Brother's Keeper" that Samuel becomes stronger when he is surrounded by people with abilities, and this is presumably why he's been expanding his "family." His brother, Joseph, kept that fact from him, and kept him away in the then-small carnival. Having overheard Joseph and Mohinder talking about his ability, Samuel went to Mohinder's hotel room to get a video about his ability, but Mohinder had destroyed it, so Samuel killed him. Samuel sent Hiro to go back in time to switch the videos being burnt. Unbeknownst to Samuel, Hiro also strapped a bulletproof vest on Mohinder, so that the rock fragments that Samuel shot at him didn't kill him. He also meets with Tracy at the end of the episode, talking with her about the carnival, which she apparently joins.
It was revealed in "Thanksgiving" that Samuel killed his brother, Joseph, because Joseph had lied about Samuel's true abilities; after Samuel kills him, he seems to show regret. In the present, Samuel blames Edgar for his crime, forcing Edgar to flee the carnival. Consequentially both Lydia and Edgar agree that Samuel must be replaced as leader of the Carnival by someone like Joseph; Lydia believes the best candidate for the job is Peter Petrelli.
In "Brave New World", Samuel plans to kill thousands of people in Central Park for his 'coming out party' and to make people fear him. Emma draws the large crowd while under the control of Eric Doyle. Meanwhile, after escaping the trailers with the help of Tracy Strauss, Claire explains Samuel's plans to the carnival workers. Samuel denies everything, but Noah and Edgar (with the support of Eli) reveal the truth about the murders of Joseph and Lydia, convincing the carnival workers to leave Samuel which will weaken his power. Angered, Samuel charges on-stage and attempts to create an earthquake but is stopped by a flying tackle courtesy of Peter. Peter copies Samuel's power and the two battle each other to a draw. Hiro teleports the crowd away, weakening Samuel's power severely. Peter then successfully blocks a physical attack from Samuel and throws him onto the stage. Finally, the desperate and enraged Samuel stumbles out onto the empty Carnival grounds, accuses the absent carnival workers of being cowards, and collapses to his knees in defeat.
Brave New World
Samuel is arrested for his actions and taken by the police as the heroes gather around the carnival.
Slow Burn Webisodes
During the Redemption's arc, the story of Amanda Strazzulla took place as an online serial, along with several graphic novels. Amanda just discovered her abilities and contacts Lydia, her mother, to help her adjusting, but Lydia tries desperately to avoid Amanda to find her as she feels the potential danger Samuel represents for all of them. Nevertheless, Amanda reaches the carnival and finds in Samuel some sort of paternal figure to rely on, disliking Lydia for attempting to send her away. Finally, Samuel helps Amanda feel safe and home within the carnival, joining the Bowman Family's fire act.
Powers and abilities
Samuel has the ability to control earth and other minerals with his mind. His ability manifested before he was even born, as it was shown in one of Chandra Suresh's videos that Samuel caused a seismic tremor while still in his mother's womb. Samuel becomes stronger when he is surrounded by people with abilities. The exact range that he needs to be from other evolved humans for them to enhance his powers is unclear, although he possessed enough power to throw a rock with enough force to penetrate a human skull while some distance from the main carnival before he learned the full potential of his power. After he began to gather evolved humans to him, once his carnival was rapidly emptied by Hiro teleporting the rest of the residents away, Samuel finds himself completely powerless when only Peter, Sylar, Doyle and Emma are in the carnival (Although it may be that prolonged use of his powers in proximity to other superhumans left him, like a drug addict deprived of his substance of choice, totally reliant on their presence just to achieve what he would have once been capable of on his own).
He seems to evoke some sort of green aura when he gets angry. This is seen while creating an earthquake to sink an entire town in "Pass/Fail" and depicted in graphic novels as well.
The extensions of his ability includes manipulating ink on peoples' skin and paper, evoking water from the depths of the earth, creating a sandstorm, propelling rocks as bullets, and creating earthquakes to sink buildings and even a whole town.
It is unknown if his power somehow lets him instantly teleport people or the carnival itself.
Without his powers, his skills in a fight are relatively limited, allowing Peter Petrelli to easily defeat him in a fight.