Let’s start with Peter, who, back on Level Five, is still completely nuts from absorbing Sylar’s intuitive ability. He attacks Sylar and breaks his neck. When Angela tries to stop him, he accuses her of withholding secrets and tries to slice open her head. Sylar comes back to life and knocks him out. Bennet arrives and tells Sylar he has a lead on another of the Level Five escapees. They take off in hot pursuit.
Inside a building labeled “Pinehearst”, Linderman asks Daphne how she feels about recruiting super-powered individuals to form a New World Order. He gives her some files on her potential targets, who include Knox and Mohinder. Daphne agrees to help, though she dismisses them as “pretty nasty people”. Now you’ve done it, Mohinder: your icky genetic experiments have been off-putting enough to make adorable blonde girls lump you in the “pretty nasty people” category.
In Costa Verde, Sandra Bennet finally figures out: a) there’s no cheerleading retreat, and b) her daughter is a lying liar who lies. She suspects Claire, on her newfound vengeance kick, is going to try to take down the people in Bennet’s files. Meredith helps Sandra sort through the files and finds one on a man she knows named Eric Doyle. Dismissing Sandra’s offer to help, Meredith takes off on her own after Doyle. When next we see her, she’s having dinner under duress with Doyle, who evidently has some kind of mind-control powers.
Claire, off doing her crime-fighting thing, tracks down one of the Level Five escapees to an empty house in Los Angeles (we’re probably not supposed to recognize it as Evil Alternate Universe President Sylar’s mansion from Season One). The escapee is named Stephen, but because he’s played by Andre Royo, best known as the heartbreaking junkie/informant Bubbles from The Wire, he’s going to be Bubbles from here on out. Bubbles sincerely doesn’t want to hurt anyone -- he’s just trying to find his wife and children, who moved away during the two years he was imprisoned in Level Five. He demonstrates his ability for Claire: he can open up cool little vortexes that suck people away into oblivion. When Claire realizes he has no intention of causing her harm, she offers to help him locate his family.
Mohinder, still evolving into a twitchy, evil, man/bug hybrid, slinks around a park and attacks a drug dealer. When they were handing out plotlines this season, poor Mo drew the short straw. He drags the unconscious dealer back to his lab, leaving a messy trail of blood. When Maya arrives to cop a quick feel, she notices the blood and beats a hasty retreat. She later sneaks into the lab and discovers Mohinder’s missing wife-abusing neighbor swaddled inside a large cocoon stuck to the wall. When she tries to free the neighbor, Mohinder catches her and binds her up in another cocoon.
Claire helps Bubbles arrange to meet his wife and kids in Griffith Park. Bennet and Sylar storm in to recapture Bubbles, who opens up one of his vortexes. Claire screams and clutches desperately at the furniture to avoid getting sucked into oblivion. At the last possible second, Sylar grabs her hand and saves her life. Digression: you know the episode of Doctor Who where Rose gets sucked into the vortex between the two parallel universes, and the Doctor is helpless to save her, and it’s looking like it’s curtains for poor Rose, but then her father swoops in and transports her to the other universe, thus saving her life but forever separating her from the Doctor? Wow, that’s a great episode. I’ve seen it a handful of times, and every single time, I bawl and bawl and bawl. I bring this up because this scene is startlingly similar in almost every way, except for how the version in Doctor Who is wrenching and poignant and emotionally devastating, whereas this version made me snicker.
Anyhoo. Sylar saves Claire, the vortex closes, Bubbles escapes in the confusion, Claire yells at Bennet for working with Sylar, Sylar apologizes to Claire for cutting her head open and poking around in her brains, Bennet yells at Sylar to stay away from Claire, Claire makes Bennet promise not to hurt Bubbles. Claire, Bennet and Sylar track Bubbles to Griffith Park, where he’s sitting in a funk, his wife and kids having failed to show up. Over Claire’s vehement protests, Bennet pulls a gun on Bubbles and orders him to create a vortex to destroy Sylar. Fed up with the Bennets and their interfamilial squabbles, Bubbles sucks himself into a vortex instead.
After much duress, the exhumed Adam Monroe agrees to help Hiro and Ando track down the stolen formula. He takes them to a bar, which he claims is one of Daphne’s haunts. Adam makes a break for it, but Knox apprehends him. Daphne and Knox confront Ando and Hiro. Hiro claims he wants to work with them. Knox grabs a convenient sword (I can think of so many reasons why bars shouldn’t have big displays of lethal weapons on the walls) and orders him to kill Ando to prove his loyalty. Hiro stabs Ando, who collapses in a spreading pool of blood.
Post-coital, Nathan asks Tracy if she’s going to try to kill herself again. She confesses to accidentally killing the reporter with her freezing power. Nathan takes it in stride and talks her out of turning herself in to the police. He tells her his powers came from God; she tells him her powers came from a doctor in Reseda. This throws Nathan for a bit of a loop. Nathan, who knows how to show a girl a good time, stops by Level Five to introduce Tracy to his mother, who has put crazy Peter into a medically-induced coma. Angela reveals how synthetic abilities were given to baby Tracy as well as to baby Nathan, which pretty much sticks a fork in Nathan’s God theory. Nathan manages to summon up some shock and moral outrage about Angela’s role in these experiments. Honestly, after Angela tried to talk him into letting Peter blow up New York, you’d think nothing about his mother would faze him. Nathan and Tracy storm off, intending to ask Mohinder for help understanding Tracy’s abilities.
In her office, Angela hears Tracy scream. She runs out and finds Tracy, Nathan, and Peter dead in the hallway. This all turns out to be one of her precognitive dreams, but when she wakes from it, she finds she’s paralyzed at her desk.
Daphne returns to the Pinehearst facility and explains to Linderman that she’s recruited Knox, Hiro, and Adam. Linderman instructs her to go after Matt next, telling her he’ll be the most difficult one to bring in. Matt? Really? We’re talking about Matt Parkman, right? When Daphne leaves, we discover Linderman has been merely a psychic projection generated by Matt’s evil dad Maury. Oh. Maury’s back. Joy.
Inside Pinehearst, a comatose man on life support communicates telepathically with Maury. This man, who appears to be the mastermind behind Pinehearst, is Arthur Petrelli, Angela’s presumed-dead husband and father to Nathan and Peter. I’m sure NBC’s promo department knows what it’s doing, but this shocking last-minute revelation might have packed more punch if a commercial cheerfully hyping Arthur’s return hadn't been airing all week long.
A fine, perky, fast-moving episode, though just to summarize: Peter tries to kill his mother, Hiro (supposedly) murders Ando, and Mohinder turns into a crazy, evil bug-man. I know this is just Heroes’ fast and sloppy way of giving the nice characters some edge, but I would prefer not seeing all my sweet-natured bunny rabbits turning into homicidal twits. The show’s got plenty of those already.