So if you’ve seen any of the commercials on NBC this week, you’ve seen that Sylar is back in control on the next episode of Heroes. How did he get there? Well, this week the opening monologue (by Samuel) was all about “the demons that whisper in our ear.” After a quick look at each of the characters, we opened on a hospital where Hiro and Peter are together, with Peter telling Hiro all the things he already knew—“you came to me and passed out…you’re very sick.” Going back to his roots even more than he already has this season, Peter offers to be his hospice caregiver—but Hiro has other plans: “Maybe destiny has brought me to you, Peter, to fix a problem in your life.” Peter counters that maybe he can somehow help him. After taking Hiro’s power and setting out to do something he doesn’t explain, he runs into Emma in the hallway. She asks if he was the one who sent her the cello last episode—the one she used to accidentally crack the walls of her apartment with the Dazzler powers she’s developing—and Peter says that he has to go save Hiro’s life, and can’t stop to help her. He does tell her, though, that Hiro’s extensive understanding of those with abilities—born out of his love for the comics he’s been reading since the first season—will provide her with a lot of insight to the way hers are misbehaving.
At the circus, Samuel and Lydia the Tattooed Lady discuss Sylar—he observes that for all the mythology surrounding this powerful new acquisition, Sylar has the look of a beaten man. She explains to him that while she has no idea exactly what’s happened to him, “it’s like there are two sides to him.” They’re quickly joined by Nathan/Sylar, who doesn’t quite know what to make of these new acquaintances telling him that his name is Sylar—after all, the cops had told him his name was Gabriel and he didn’t really believe them, either. He’s decidedly less dangerous and creepy than usual, looking like a confused and genuinely human character, while Samuel seems creepier than ever, obviously trying to manipulate Sylar into remembering his past. He asks what Nathan/Sylar wants to be called and is a bit perplexed himself when he’s told, “Call me Nathan.” Their discussion takes them around the circus, where Nathan/Sylar is given a look at others besides himself with abilities. This seems to give him a touch of comfort, as though he fits in—a handshake with Lydia reminds him that he might have been a politician, and with that little bit of memory his story fades out for the moment.
Claire winds her way to Noah’s apartment, begging for quarters to do her laundry, only to be interrupted almost immediately by the unexpected arrival of Peter in their bathroom (“it’s been a long time since I’ve teleported,” he explains).
Back to the circus, where Samuel and his super-speeded bladeslinger conspire to bring the police to Nathan/Sylar in the hopes of “jumpstarting” the serial killer’s persona within the body where it’s been sublimated.
And again, at Noah’s apartment, Peter has enlisted the help of the Bennett family in finding a healer whose powers Peter might take to save Hiro. The obvious question—why they can’t just bring Claire and give him some of her blood—is answered in a reasonably believable way, and so they move into Noah’s Company files which, bizarrely, he still keeps on his laptop apparently just in case he ever needs to reminisce about his good old days bagging and tagging superpowered teenagers. They find one, quickly enough to make it a little suspect as a major story beat, and it’s back to the circus for the viewers. Nathan/Sylar is starting to really connect with Lydia, all while being creepily and obviously watched by everyone else. Not-so-veiled threats from Ray Park’s knifeman brings him into conflict with Nathan/Sylar, who is finding it’s easier to remember how to use his powers, than anything about himself. He remembers more of Nathan’s history, even momentarily shapeshifts into the Senator, before being brought to a powerful psychic who they promise will show him the truth at the House of Mirrors.
Hiro’s enthusiasm for the powers, rarely seen since he became so familiar with his own, makes an appearance again as he talks to Emma. She wants to turn the powers off, but he wants to help her get used to them. Just after he comes to the conclusion that maybe she’s “the real reason” fate brought him to this time and place, she leaves.
Noah and Peter, appearing at the healer-kid’s front door in Georgia, quickly realize that something is amiss when the kid who used to heal bugs and dogs back when the Company last saw him, is living in a house that stinks of death, with a dead parrot (insert Monty Python joke here) in a cage on the porch. Entering the house, they find that Jeremy’s parents have also ceased to be; Noah hypothesizes that Jeremy’s healing powers may have taken a turn, allowing him to simply manipulate “the flow of life,” both giving it and taking it away. Before there’s much time to analyze the concept, someone starts shooting at them.
Nathan/Sylar, meanwhile, is making his way through a Hall of Mirrors that for some reason or another has a lot halogen lighting and still isn’t bright. The dreadlocked seer guides him through it, and then “reads” him and leaves him to see visions of his past in the funhouse mirrors. Murdering his own mother is a sight that this less-terrible version of Sylar isn’t quite ready for, but he DOES recognize his mom early in the playback, indicating that even though he’s been all Nathan so far in the episode, there’s at least some of Sylar that’s still in there and not locked up inside of Parkman.
In another manic cut (each of the scenes this week got about a minute before the show moved along), Hiro drags his IV to Emma’s office and challenges her to use her powers in a talent show. Using the old “it’s for the kids” logic, because the show is in the pediatric wing, he convinces her that maybe going into denial about her powers isn’t the wisest course.
As gunfire rains down on Peter and Noah (who, by the way, produces his own gun—was he wearing it at home? Didn’t Peter just grab him at his apartment and come here a few minutes ago?), the pair both decide to make their ways up a pair of different stairs to where the kid is hiding out. Before Peter even gets there, though, Noah has laid down his gun and talked the kid into admitting that everything he touches, dies.
Police officer Winston Zeddemore (as I still think of Ernie Hudson no matter how many episodes of “Oz” he did) turns up at the circus and is fed a line about how the free tickets provided to himself and his family are just a perk of being local law enforcement. He must not be too good a cop, because this somehow makes sense to him. When Samuel asks him about the escaped convict he’d been chasing, he (wearing a polo shirt and khakis, and off-duty) produces Nathan/Sylar’s mug shot from some hidden crevasse of his clothing. About a minute after Samuel declares that he doesn’t think he’s seen any such man come through the circus, Nathan/Sylar runs screaming from the House of Mirrors, having been driven to the edge of madness by a montage of Sylar’s Coolest Murders from the first few seasons of Heroes. As he shouts “No, make it stop, make it stop,” I can’t help but think that I—and many viewers—have asked the same thing as this one character has derailed the show the last few seasons. How is it that this year, he seems to be its one saving grace?
Noah, trying in vain to reason with Jeremy, finds himself witness to the first great “What the hell?” moment of this young season when Peter, teleporting in with the hopes of taking potential for violence away, freezes time around himself just soon enough to see a hole blown through his own chest. Time resumes as soon as Peter realizes he’s toast, not entirely unlike the old “Looney Tunes” episodes where Wile E. Coyote’s realization that there’s no ground underneath him is immediately followed by his plunge to the bottom of a gorge. Peter collapsing to the ground brings an immediate chill to any fans who may have been reading last week’s news and rumors at EW.com and E! News Online that one of the show’s male leads, an original cast member, has been killed (really dead-dead, not Heroes dead) to the surprise of everyone, including the actor playing him. A moment later, though, Noah convinces Jeremy to save him—setting the stage, of course, for saving Hiro next.
This of course leaves the question—if incidental, unconscious contact with Emma earlier in the season took away Peter’s speed-based powers and replaced them with the light-sound thing, then how is it being healed by this kid’s touch didn’t do the same and prevent him being able to teleport home?
So, okay, maybe I overstepped and assumed a little too much before when I said that Hiro had actually CONVINCED Emma to join the talent show ten minutes ago. He hadn’t, but it was such a painfully obvious next step that I included it to make it seem like that scene had a little more meat on its bones. Back at the hospital, right after we see Peter recover we get a flier for Hiro The Magnificent, entertaining the kids. Emma looks at it, gets inspired, and joins the time-traveling cranial case in the pediatric wing. He immediately summons her to the front of the room, where he gets all the kids to clap and then freezes time so that the light she sees from that sound is standing still. She walks around, touching it and moving it, and starts coming around to Hiro’s “powers are beautiful and wonderful” position.
Nathan/Sylar is sitting alone at the circus, not quite sold on the magnificence of powers at the moment and feeling pretty shabby about what he’s just seen himself do. “I am a monster,” he tells Samuel, who then tries to convince him that it’s just the outside world who made him that way and that he’ll be alright as long as he stays with the circus. He’s basically convinced that everything will be just ducky as long as he goes and kills Officer Winston.
Being lashed into his bed, Hiro sits with Emma and explains that the reason he’s so able to be strong and heroic in the face of death is because of his first-season girlfriend, Charlie (the bush baby-eyed guidance counselor in “Glee”), who was killed by Sylar. Hiro has repeatedly dealt with the ramifications of her death (in the first season as well as in one of the installments of the graphic novel), and says he can’t believe he forgot to put her on his “to-do” list of wrongs he had to right before dying. Emma, leaving the room, makes him promise to stay put until Peter can return to help him.
Peter, meanwhile, is with Noah calling the coroner to take care of all the dead stuff at Jeremy’s house. How the cops and coroner will deal with the shotgun blast of blood on the wall of the stairwell is an unknown quantity, but it’s explained that Peter did indeed get Jeremy’s ability. He has to take a plane back to New York, while Noah stays behind to help the confused young man whose powers are scaring the hell out of him. He explains to Jeremy that he feels he’s let him down, having deserted him years ago after wiping his memory of his powers.
Nathan/Sylar rushes right back to the House of Mirrors, where Officer Zeddemore takes a shot at him and he semi-consciously retaliates. He doesn’t want to be a murderer, but that reluctance doesn’t save the cop, who’s diced by Ray Park a minute later.
He’s not the only one whose inability to listen to directions may land him in the morgue, though; after a brief interlude of Emma playing music to herself, Hiro (still thinking about Charlie) again subconsciously teleports, this time ending up outside Charlie’s diner from the first season.
Nathan/Sylar, meanwhile, is baptized into “the family” at the circus, which I suppose he might think is his only option but which seems really out-of-synch with the way he’s felt so far in the episode about violence and all the other stuff these guys seem to enjoy so much. Ray Park, who I still say looks kind of like Morgan Grimes from “Chuck” in this show, challenges Samuel’s wisdom on taking in Sylar, but the pair agree that if they can breed a “better Sylar” who would be under their control, maybe it’s worth it. But that doesn’t stop Edgar the Bladey Guy from being pissed that Nathan/Sylar seems to be making time with his (Tattooed) Woman.