Samuel Sullivan is the mysterious leader of the carnival ring "Sullivan Bros. Carnival" and the primary antagonist in the fourth season of Heroes, titled Volume Five: Redemption. He is capable of terrakinesis, and is able to get more powerful with each evolved person he is around.
Born in August 1961 at the Coyote Sands Relocation Center in Arizona, Samuel's delivery was filmed by Dr. Chandra Suresh, who worked at the facility and called the recorded film Project: Icarus. Even at birth, Samuel's strange power of controlling the earth was present; as he was being delivered, a tremor was occurring and Suresh concluded that being in the presence of evolved humans made his powers increase (there were loads of them at the Center). His closeness to evolved humans was very limited as he grew up, but it is still unknown how Samuel and his brother Joseph survived the hurricane caused by one of the escaping captives, or even if they were present when that happened, but whatever the case, Joseph claims that they were released from the place.
Long after Coyote Sands, Samuel came to discover his at-the-time weak powers. He and his family lived at the Wheelers' estate in the state of New York, where Samuel fell in love with Vanessa Wheeler. After they moved out of the manor, Samuel's family started a carnival called "Sullivan Bros. Carnival". Samuel sought to train his new powers as part of an act, but Joseph ignored his claims about being powerful. Years following, Samuel found Vanessa at college, and asked her to marry him and run away to the carnival, but she rejected him. As the carnival continued travelling, Samuel and friend Eli became involved in petty crimes such as robbery, which caught Joseph's attention. He banished Eli from the carnival one day and talked the time-travelling Arnold into killing Samuel as a baby in 1961, but this was unsuccessful. Joseph gave Emile Danko a compass that could lead him to Samuel, so that he can capture him.
The episode "Thanksgiving" reveals that Samuel had gotten angry at Joseph for hiding his powers from him; in response, he sends a rock flying at rapid speed into Joseph's neck, killing him brutally.
Volume Five: Redemption
The fourth season begins with Samuel and several other members of the carnival gathered around at Joseph's funeral, where Samuel uses his powers to seal Joseph's coffin into the earth. Later, he meets with his associate Lydia, and pokes her with a long stick with ink; after she reveals information regarding Danko (the secondary antagonist in Volume Four: Fugitives), Samuel tells Edgar (a speedy superhuman with sharp blades) to get the compass he had from him by any means possible. Edgar then killed Danko, slicing open his stomach, and was unable to see the key that was surgically-implanted into Danko's stomach. When Lydia tells Samuel about time-travelling Hiro Nakamura, who he thought could be useful. He tells Arnold (who was dying of a brain tumor caused by excessive use of his time-travelling powers) to send him to fourteen years in the past, where future Hiro sought to right the wrongs his life had experienced before his brain tumor kills him. Samuel found him and convinces him to do so, and then returns to the present to speak with Lydia again, where the faces of Claire Bennet, Peter Petrelli and Gabriel Gray appear on her back after another ink injection.
Following Edgar telling Samuel of Peter Petrelli being an empath, he goes to New York City (where Peter worked as a paramedic) to fake being one of the people he saved during a recent bus crash. He breaks into his apartment and uses his ability to manipulate ink to make himself appear on a newspaper on the wall, so that Peter is convinced he was present at the bus crash. He eventually meets Emma Coolidge using a cello at night to see the mysterious colors caused by sound waves she can see; later on, he goes to the Wheelers' estate to find that it isn't owned by them anymore. When denied entry, Samuel destroyed the estate with his powers.
While at a breakfast table back at the carnival, Samuel tells his "family" that Joseph has left a void in the carnival and that they will be getting a new member soon. He tells Lydia that he doesn't know who it is that he wants, but knows that someone will join them soon enough; that evening, he got desperate and tattooed Lydia, in the hopes of finding a face to add to the group, when he is interrupted by Rebecca Taylor as she tells him of her progress on recruiting Claire Bennet, which wasn't good. The ink settles on Lydia's skin off-screen, but it is said that Sylar's face is what's shown. An amnesic Sylar runs from the police after being arrested for killing his mother in the first season, and ends up bumping into Samuel and the carnival in the forest. When the police catch up, both Sylar and the entire carnival are gone. At the same time, a cello with the carnival logo on it appears at Emma's apartment.
As Sylar struggles with his lack of memory regarding Samuel's claims (claims about Sylar, "the most powerful of us all", being a serial killer), he finds shock in hearing Sylar call himself "Nathan" (he had been mind-controlled by Matt Parkman into believing he is Nathan Petrelli, Peter's brother). He sends "Nathan" to the House of Mirrors, where he gets his memories back; memories of him gruesomely removing multiple people's scalps with his powers and absorbing their powers through their brains. A police officer from the previous night shows up at the carnival and looks for Sylar, so he traps the officer in the House of Mirrors to be killed by Sylar. When he refuses to, Edgar appears and kills the officer himself. He later thinks about recruiting Tracy Strauss and Jeremy Greer, who were nearby at the moment, and speaks with Tracy about how she would like to join; he somehow teleports himself and Tracy to the carnival and shows her around, but she wants to be returned to Georgia. Days later, Jeremy is found dead on the road after using his power to kill a protester; he was chained to a police car and turned into roadkill, as the officers saw him as a freak. Samuel, in response, uses his powers to destroy the police station and kill everyone inside.
After, Samuel and Lydia talk about Arnold's condition worsening and that they need a new time-traveller. Samuel gets Arnold to send him back in time three years to see Hiro in Midland, Texas to recruit Hiro Nakamura to the carnival. He warns him of the consequences of saving Charlie from Sylar when she is meant to be killed, (presumably understanding due to frequent time-travel with Arnold) and is unable to talk him out of his plan. Samuel kidnaps Charlie and takes her to an airport to be teleported back to the carnival in the present, and forces Hiro to send them both there in the future. Now, Samuel had leverage over Hiro and wanted him to time-travel to the night he had killed Mohinder Suresh and get back the Project: Icarus film he had burned.
Samuel appears at Claire's room in college to stop Rebecca from her out-of-control rage spiral. He speaks with Claire about how her father Noah will never understand people with powers (he had kidnapped and killed multiple gifted people).
Powers and Abilities
Samuel's ability is to control the earth and its minerals with his mind, an ability that was present even as his mother was entering labor. He becomes more powerful when in the presence of other people with superpowers, but if there are none nearby, he is left unable to fend for himself, as he is heavily-dependent on his powers to save him. An exact proximity from evolved humans is never really stated, although he has been able to throw a rock at incredible force to kill his brother Joseph at a great distance from the carnival. In addition, he has been able to destroy a town by causing a sinkhole, miles away from the carnival, as well as destroying a police station with the same method. He can also sense who is an evolved human and who is not.
Throughout the season, the carnival teleports from one place to another, which has been theorized to be caused by Samuel's increased powers; how this happens isn't explained, although he has been known to cause impossible feats, suggesting that this is within his arsenal of powers. He can also manipulate inks, as they were part of the earth before, and can also cause sandstorms.
- Samuel is somewhat similar to fellow superpowered villains Magneto and Jiaying from Marvel Comics, as they all want their superpowered race to not be persecuted by mortal man for being superior.
- Samuel has the highest kill count out of any other character in the show, even more so than Sylar, who has only killed more or less 50 people, while Samuel has killed over 200 people. Maya probably has the second highest kill count next to Samuel, with a total of more or less 150 people (albeit accidentally most of the time).