After taking a week off from Hiro’s quest to deal with the more pressing matter of Sylar’s mind and body slowly-but-surely trying to find their way to each other, this week’s installment opened on Hiro in the carnival, right where we left him a couple of weeks ago. Samuel offers Hiro a way to rescue his beloved Charlie, by obtaining a film from Mohinder. Apparently Suresh had destroyed a videotape in a motel room in Texas eight weeks ago, and Samuel tells Hiro that Charlie’s life depends on his obtaining the tape and delivering it to Samuel.
Nine weeks before, Mohinder is (was? Tense is always a problem when writing about time-travel) tutoring a student in India. After a little bit of expository dialog that basically demonstrates for the audience that, like Peter Petrelli at the beginning of the season, he’s happy, using his natural gifts to make a good life for himself and aid humankind, a woman with whom he’s clearly involved finds a big, old, taped-up box full of his father’s things and confronts him about why he hadn’t thrown it out. He waffles a bit, promising to do it but rationalizing why he hasn’t. She convinces him that their “good, simple life” is better than what happens when he pursues his father’s work, and he places the entire box (carefully, and without disturbing its contents) into what appears to be a large, public trash can and walks away with his arm around her.
Fade to Washington, D.C., where Tracy (making her first appearance since storming out on Noah a few weeks ago) is sitting in a diner, in the present, with the compass from The Carnival. After a brief and strange argument with the waitress over whether it’s better to be a waitress at a crappy diner or live with the circus freaks, she accidentally freezes her coffee cup, which breaks into little pieces and scares the waitress; Tracy gets up to leave, and the scene closes.
Next, Peter and Nathan Petrelli are entering Nathan’s office, each dressed for their day job as opposed to in the rags that Nate/Sylar had been wearing while at The Carnival. They’re apparently waiting for their mother, and it’s because of her that nobody in the press or his Senate office seemed concerned that Nathan just up and vanished. Instead of Angela, though, the first person to enter the office is The Haitian, who dismisses Nathan and tells Peter that it’s time he knew “the truth.”
The next cut brings us to Noah’s apartment, where Claire has apparently come to do some laundry but finds instead that the door has been frozen open. Arming herself with a kitchen knife, she confronts Tracy, who seems to pose no real danger—Larter, who has been a professional badass for most of her acting career (that’s what you get for having a great bitch-face, I guess), really pulls off the fear and confusion of this episode. It’s a beat that she’s had a little opportunity to play with in this show, but it seems they’re intent on exploring it a little deeper this season, and it’ll be interesting to see how that pans out. At any rate, she tells Claire what’s already pretty evident to the audience—that she’s lost control of her powers.
Back at Senator Petrelli’s office, Nathan is more than a little confused by the fact that as Peter and The Haitian speak in hushed tones, the pair keep looking back at him. For Peter’s part, he’s not thrilled that Angela has asked the Haitian to mindwipe the brothers, but he tells Peter that he’s not going to do it. There are some lines, he says, that aren’t meant to be crossed—and if Peter wants to know the truth, he can follow a little map to get it…but he’d better go alone. He adds, “What you discover might be more than you can bear,” which seems like an odd thing to say when you want someone to go alone, but I suppose it’s a fair enough observation.
Back in India, nine weeks ago, Mohinder was having some problems sleeping after having trashed his father’s scientific legacy, so he left the marital bed to go garbage-picking. What he finds, among journals and some other things, is a video diary kept by his father. After expressing some reservations about the superhuman detention center and the fact that these superbeings seem to get a lot more super when they’re in proximity to one another, he observes that a pregnant woman at the center seems to be creating some kind of unusual seismic activity. He announces for the camera that he intends to film the birth, and moments later there’s an earthquake going on, with someone in the background shouting that “I think he’s crowning.”
Back to the future we go, with Claire helping Tracy into an incredibly hot bathtub; Tracy’s skin seems to be freezing, and they’re trying to keep her body temperature up—which is great, and all, but I suspect it’s going to be a lot more expensive to replace a clawfoot tub, when it shatters and falls apart all over the ground, than it would be to replace the diner’s coffee mug. The tea kettle whistles, and the minute Claire walks away to get some hot beverage for Tracy, the water starts to freeze. Interestingly, it seems as though Dr. Suresh The Elder’s theory about metahumans in proximity to one another operating at exponentially more powerful rates is a little wonky here—maybe when Claire’s physically close to her, it’s easier for her to CONTROL her powers? Or maybe whatever is going wrong with Tracy’s body, the opposite is simply true. Maybe I’m just reading too much into it—all he said is that powered beings secrete a kind of signal at a higher rate when others are around; I guess it doesn’t have to have anything to do with the actual function of the powers. At any rate, Tracy starts to freak out and Claire tries to calm her with a hand on the shoulder. The predictable result is that Claire turns into a giant, invulnerable popsicle, which seems like something Noah really won’t be that happy to come home to.
At the storage locker the Haitian had provided him directions for, Peter arrives with Nathan in tow. They speculate briefly as to why it is that nobody had wanted the Senator in the loop, but Peter dismisses it, saying that it doesn’t matter now. A few seconds later, though, as Peter opens a big, metal freezer that looks like a coffin, viewers know before the characters do, exactly why Nathan wasn’t supposed to be in the room. When Peter uncovers his own corpse, the two look at it, and then each other, with more than a little confusion and anger. When Nathan touches the corpse, though, he starts to see the scenes from the end of last season and it’s only moments before he realizes that he won’t be getting any straight answers out of any old company agents—they need to find Parkman.
Back at Noah’s apartment, Tracy keeps getting dumber and dumber. In spite of the fact that objects and indeed people have shattered entirely as a result of overexposure to her powers in the past, she decides that the best possible course of action is, of course, to try and lug Claire to the (half-frozen) bath tub to warm up. Because, you know—pouring the boiling tea water over the head of a girl who can’t be burned, wouldn’t have been a better idea. It’s not long before the Claire-sicle is sitting on the floor while Tracy slumps a few feet away crying over a severed, frozen foot in her hands. Claire, though, apparently thaws when the Deep-Freeze Queen isn’t actually touching her, and she wakes up, reassures Tracy that she’s fine, and will heal, and the two giggle together.
While the Petrellis talk about how great it is to be brothers and how happy they are to have each other, Nathan’s assistant comes in with a printout confirming what fans already knew when they saw Sylar/Matt in the ambulance last week: that Parkman’s suicide-by-cop failed, and the body’s in a hospital, under guard, in critical condition. Peter offers to use his healing powers to save Parkman so that they can get a straight answer out of him. Poor, poor Adrian Pasdar.
Back at The Carnival, Hiro keeps trying to go back in time. Samuel gives him a pep talk, which may not send Hiro back, but it sure as heckfire does send the viewers back to the night when Mohinder was looking at his father’s film. He falls asleep at his work bench and is therefore caught by his wife (I’ve decided she’s his wife; I don’t remember her from earlier episodes, but she’s talking like she’s been there all along), who tells him that if he disappears again, she won’t wait for him to come back this time. Suresh, meanwhile, is preoccupied with his invention of a compass that can help him find the child, who he says can become the most powerful being on the planet if he surrounds himself with enough “specials.”
Back in the present, the Petrellis have a surprisingly easy time breaking into Matt/Sylar’s hospital room, where Peter heals Parkman. When the body regains consciousness, Matt is again in charge, with Silent Sylar (that’s what I like to call the one that Matt sees) flitting around the room mocking him, but the Petrellis are too preoccupied trying to force him to explain himself, to worry about heeding his warning to get out of the room and away from him (and Sylar). He tells them what happened at the end of last season and the pair turn, dejected, confused and silent, to leave the room—Silent Sylar literally reaches into Matt’s head, forcing him out and taking control of the body. He tells Nathan that he can make it all better, if Nathan will just take his hand. Peter tries to stop him, but Nathan uses Sylar’s telekinesis to brush his brother away. A guard, finally noticing all the noise in the room of the formerly-comatose patient, comes in and tries to pull Nathan away from the hospital bed, but when Nathan turns around to TK him away, too, there’s incidental contact with Parkman’s hand. There’s a glow there, to indicate something happened, and Nathan picks up Peter, flies out the window and leaves Parkman there, screaming and pulling against the handcuffs binding him to his bed.
Eight weeks ago, Mohinder found his way to The Carnival, using the home-made compass he’d developed from scribbling on his father’s board in an old filmstrip made thirty years ago. Yeah, I know, it’s all pretty dicey. Anyway, we finally get a look at Joseph, Samuel’s brother whose death apparently touched off all the events of this season, as Mohinder meets him while Joseph is taking tickets at the front of The Carnival. He asks for Samuel, and Joseph brings him inside, assuring the doctor that he has no idea what he means by “powers” or “abilities,” and then allowing him to steal a glance at Samuel, the beleaguered drunk who can’t even be bothered to build a fire he’s promised to build (nothing at all like the very proactive Samuel we’ve seen in the last few weeks). Joseph takes him inside his trailer.
Back in the present, at Matt’s hospital, Matt cleverly gets around the whole “wanted for assaulting an officer” thing by using his powers to convince the cop guarding his room that he’s a corpse. The officer wheels him to the morgue, where they trade clothes and Matt makes him forget it all happened. Out in the desert, Nate/Sylar has taken Peter to a remote location with the intent of leaving him there to hitchhike home. He explains that it’s not safe to be around him, in case Sylar should get a foothold in his mind. Before he can take off, though, Peter grabs him, copies his power of flight, and tells his brother to go wherever he wants; he’ll be right behind. The pair take off into the air.
Eight weeks ago, Joseph told Mohinder that he was fully aware what Samuel was capable of, but that Samuel wasn’t and shouldn’t be informed. Joseph told Mohinder that he’d been trying for decades to keep Samuel’s genie in the bottle, and told him to leave. When Mohinder left the trailer, though, Samuel was around the corner, having listened to the whole conversation.
Seriously, folks—how often is the main problem of the season traceable back to Hiro or Suresh? It seems like it’s an everyday thing, and that the rest of the powered community would eventually just shun these guys altogether.
That night, in his hotel room, Suresh called his wife and apologized, saying that he was coming home. Following Joseph’s advice, he burned the film—in a garbage can in his hotel room—but unbeknownst to him, Hiro was in that room, and swapped it out with a different film reel. Hiro spoke a warning into Suresh’s time-frozen ear before he left.
Back in the present, Claire and Tracy are sipping tea in their bathrobes and speculating as to the causes of Tracy’s (apparently psychological) power problems. Tracy tells Claire that she’s considering moving in to join Samuel and Company, and Claire encourages her to do so. Just as they start to bond over how hard life is for people with powers, Noah comes home, notices the thawing, extra Claire-foot sitting on his coffee table and asks them how their day has been.
Back in Suresh’s hotel room (eight weeks ago), we see that in fact what appeared to be gunshots and a flaming room a couple of weeks ago was in fact fragments of rock that Samuel had thrown into Mohinder as projectile weapons, set against the background of the burning film. Before the murder takes place, there’s a brief altercation where Samuel demands to know what Suresh knows about his abilities and how to multiply them. He accuses his brother of betraying them and insists that sooner or later, he’ll find out what had been on the film. Suresh tells him that he’ll do everything in his power to stop that from happening which is, predictably, when he’s killed.
Or so it looks; from the very word go, I’d kind of thought that the clothes in this episode didn’t match up exactly with the odd-looking shirt Dead Suresh had been wearing in his first appearance. Turns out that, among other things, Hiro had somehow put a flak jacket on Mohinder while he was in the room. When Mohinder sputters back to consciousness, Hiro is there with a “Hello, old friend.” The two bicker briefly when Hiro tells him that he wants to bring the video to Samuel and that Mohinder needs to remain in hiding for eight weeks. Mohinder refuses, and Hiro freezes him, then takes him somewhere. Upon returning to The Carnival, Hiro hands over the film and tells Samuel to release Charlie, to which Samuel just replies, “I’m sorry your friend had to die” and walks away. In the next shot, we see that Hiro has transported Mohinder to a lunatic asylum where he’s in a straitjacket, in a padded room, and nobody believes him when he says that his name is Mohinder Suresh instead of what’s on the admission card.
[Side note: Did Hiro loose a potentially dangerous lunatic to make this work?]
At the hospital, Parkman tells his wife’s voicemail that Sylar is no longer in his head and that “the craziness over the past few weeks is over.” He says that he thinks Sylar got what he wanted and is back in his own body. At another diner, Tracy Strauss meets up with Samuel, who welcomes her to the family with a challenge to use her ability to help the powered community. Who wants to put money on him wanting her to kill Noah?
Back at Peter’s apartment, the Petrellis sit around talking about whether or not Nathan/Sylar is a risk to humanity at large. After all the talk about love and togetherness and brotherhood, the episode ends on the very ominous note that, even if they really have gotten rid of Sylar and the rest of the world sees him as Nathan Petrelli, Peter will always know it’s Sylar deep down.