In this column, we'll have a variety of contributers from our Best Shots and Blog@ crews taking a look at the biggest sci-fi and genre shows, providing recaps and commentary. The nature of the column allows for SPOILERS, so consider yourself warned.So while Noah and Tracy have decided that they want their lives back, Peter and Hiro have returned to form and are chasing adventure and intrigue…in ways that are probably stupid and likely to create some kind of bedlam not just for themselves, but for everyone around them and, if the past is any indication, everyone in the world.
The episode opened on Hiro and Ando who, despite having been absent last week, picked up right where they left off two weeks ago: with Ando engaged to Hiro’s sister Kimiko, and Hiro being only tangentially aware of how it came to pass (other than the fact that he made it happen by preventing the Slurpee calamity of fourteen years before). Hiro has become the Early Hickey that NBC is sorely lacking after having canceled the Jason Lee show, as he's determined to travel back and undo all the wrongs he's committed in his life. When Kimiko asks Hiro to give her away at their wedding and her brother consents, it sends Ando into a minor panic, telling Hiro that it’s not fair to hide his terminal condition (relating to his powers and the problems he’s been experiencing with them since the beginning of the second season) from Kimiko. His refrain for the rest of the episode—that Hiro must come clean to Kimiko—gets a little repetitive…but not as repetitive as Hiro going back in time over and over again to help a man from their office who, after making a fool of himself at an office party, was fired and calls the “Dial-A-Hero” line to make Hiro come to the roof and witness his suicide. Hiro travels back through time, prevents the man from making his first drunken mistake, and then in a scene that recalls Bill Murray’s “Groundhog Day”, gets the same phone call from the same man reporting the same suicide for marginally different reasons. So…back to the past again.
Tracy, whose “I want my life back” conversation with Noah from the previous episodes was her only intro in the “Previously on Heroes” montage at the open, appears to be going back to her old life. She returns to the governor she was working with when we first encountered her, and immediately gets her old job back. One can only assume that it won’t actually end well for her, but at the moment it seems like she’s getting her wish—not entirely unlike Noah, who refuses Peter’s request for help in dealing with the interactive compass on his forearm from last episode (it’s gone now). And while he may not be helpful with Peter, claiming he wants to return to a normal life, he accepts a little bit of help—hesitantly—from his daughter Claire, who wants to roleplay job interviews wherein he uses his cover as a paper salesman to his advantage. Wearing jeans and a t-shirt instead of his customary grey suit, he makes the obvious joke (“Why do I suddenly feel like you’re the parent?”) when Claire starts doling out advice on living his life.
Peter, refused Noah’s help, returns to work, where he’s faced with his brother. The viewers know what Peter doesn’t—that “Nathan” is actually just Sylar’s body with the dead Senator Petrelli’s brain downloaded into it—and when his mother brought him a bunch of his old stuff to help “refresh” his memory, it worked a little too well. “Nathan” finds a number of new powers, including the ability to “see” the history of objects by touching them—an ability that leads him to remember a criminally-negligent homicide he committed when he was a teenager (he got drunk with a girlfriend and, when she died in the pool while horsing around with him, he hid the body and committed credit card fraud to give the impression she was alive and on the lam). While the real Nathan may have come to terms with this act years ago, Nathan Mark II finds himself wrestling with the guilt and—reasonably—wondering how the hell he could have forgotten or sublimated that. His mother explains that she used the Haitian to wipe his memory of the event, and that he needs to forget all about it—but as a fundamentally decent guy (at least Nathan), he feels obliged to tell the girl’s mother (Swoozie Kurtz, as cantankerous and wry as she was as Chuck’s eyepatch-sporting aunt in “Pushing Daisies”).
After Kurtz kicks Nathan out of the room, the show returns to Japan where Hiro claims (either facetiously or not) to have gone back and saved Tadashi (that’s the guy’s name) 47 times. Without using his powers, but instead just by being a good guy, he talks the man off the roof and talks himself into coming clean to his sister. His truth-telling expedition appears to go better than Nathan’s, as his sister embraces him, tearful, after he tells her that he has “many stories” to share. Presumably, he’s told her that he’s dying, but nothing about his powers (we don’t get to hear that dialogue), but Ando’ll have some ‘spainin’ to do, Lucy, as Hiro vanishes into spacetime right in front of her and they both stand around looking shocked for different reasons.
Tracy and Noah, whose “civilian” lives are starting to take shape, both feel like something is “missing” without the heroic aspect of their lives. He advises her that if her governor isn’t sufficiently committed to helping people, maybe the way to be heroic is to bail on him and do something meaningful within government, and she leaves looking all thoughtful, goes to meet the governor, and asks the governor to help her help others. His counteroffer is to go upstairs for casual sex, and so she politely excuses herself and goes to the ladies’ room, where she seems to be losing control of her powers, turning involuntarily to water. When she returns to the governor, she leaves him abruptly with some vague but acid-tinged words.
Ironically, for a guy with a mass-murderer trapped inside of him, Nathan is wracked with guilt over the accidental death of his girlfriend decades before. In the final sequence of the show, he appears to be ready to report himself to the police for the crime—but then hangs up when they put him on hold. He exits the car, though, to be suddenly attacked by someone who clearly knows what he’s doing, as he stabs the base of the beck with a hypodermic and leaves the senator collapsed on the parking-garage floor.
So…nothing from our newly-introduced circus folk? Well, a little bit. Tattooed lady Lydia goes to Edgar, the knife-wielding speedster, and asks him if he’s worried about the direction the circus is taking. Samuel steals Lydia away, paints a new tattoo on her back and is surprised and none too pleased to see she’s “showing him” Noah Bennett. She reveals to Samuel that Noah may not be completely retired. This notion is bolstered a quick cut of Noah looking at a number of headlines tacked to his wall, including “The compass that changed the world.” One assumes that Noah and Tracy will be putting together a more ethically-sound version of The Company, based on how chummy they’ve gotten and the high-minded whimpering they both put in this episode…but at what point does a slap in the face of a morally-bankrupt governor constitute something that someone with a past might regret if they’re looking to score a lucrative, top-secret government job?
Nathan’s assailant, apparently a hitman hired by the mother of his dead ex-girlfriend, drags the unconscious senator out to the woods in the middle of nowhere, drops him in an open, shallow grave and fires a couple of shots into him. He makes a cell phone call to Swoozie Kurtz (let’s face it, her character name isn’t important), who’s having drinks with Mrs. Petrelli, and tells her that the job is done, then buries the body and drives off. Moments later, of course, we see Sylar crawling out of the earth.
So we’re left to wonder—what will Nathan think when (presumably) he still remembers his own life, but looks like Sylar? If he felt so guilty about one accidental death and a decades-old cover-up, what will he think when he realizes that he’s actually a resurrected serial killer with the power to destroy most of the world and a legitimate chance of resurfacing to try it? And why couldn’t the writing staff keep this in their pants just a LITTLE bit longer, to draw out the suspense of it? Sylar as “the creepy guy in Parkman’s head” last episode was way more entertaining than anything we saw out of EITHER of those characters last season.