In the totally made-up small town of Cainan, Georgia (you can tell it’s evil, because it has “Cain” in the name), Noah Bennet watches while Jeremy, the kid who killed his parents last episode, is booked on suspicion of, y’know, killing his parents. The sheriff is being a dickwad to Noah, who (unconvincingly) tries to pass himself off as a family friend, but honestly, the sheriff shouldn’t go about releasing newly-orphaned teens into the custody of unrelated strangers. Noah calls Tracy for help, and she speeds into town in her cute car, and they exchange the de rigueur “I can get a latte here, right?” banter of all television city folk stranded in a backwater town. Noah persuades Tracy to pretend to be Jeremy’s aunt. Tracy is initially reluctant, because nobody involved with this show has sorted her motivations out yet and she can’t remember if she’s supposed to be good or evil this week, but she eventually agrees.
Tracy introduces herself to Jeremy and bonds with him over how much it sucks when you accidentally kill someone with your way-cool super-power. Noah tries to get the sheriff to release Jeremy to Tracy, but the sheriff is hell-bent on keeping him in custody. Tracy calls someone named “Dennis” to ask for a favor and is then interrupted by the sudden appearance of Samuel, who slinks around and introduces himself. He transports her to the carnival, and when Tracy asks where she is, Samuel replies, yep, “Home.”
Samuel shows Tracy around, rambling on about his whole one-big-family thing, then passes her off to Lydia. As Tracy departs with Lydia, Sylar approaches Samuel and tells him he remembers Tracy… but it’s Nathan’s memory of Tracy, not Sylar’s.
Tracy returns to Cainan, where she and Noah arrange for Jeremy’s release. Noah has set up a new identity for Jeremy in Georgetown, and Tracy will be on hand to help him control his ability. They try to escort him out of the sheriff station and to the car, but there’s a lynch mob waiting outside. When they get physical, Jeremy kills someone with his touch. Noah tries to get Jeremy to use his ability to bring him back to life, but Jeremy refuses and walks back into the police station instead.
Later, the sheriff discovers his deputies have secretly removed Jeremy from the prison. They wrap chains around his legs and drag him to his death behind a pickup truck.
No, Heroes. You don’t get to do that crap. You don’t get to evoke the horrific racially-motivated lynching traditions of the deep south (including the more contemporary dragging death of James Byrd, Jr.) in the service of your half-assed little show. Drawing parallels between made-up characters with made-up super-powers and horrific real-world hate crimes doesn’t give your show more depth, because... there's no parallel that can be drawn.
Tracy and Noah find Jeremy’s body, and Noah kicks himself for not being able to protect him like he promised. Tracy heads off to her car, and Noah slouches off in the opposite direction, and… I guess they just leave Jeremy lying in the middle of the road? Tracy pulls out a spinning compass, obviously given to her by Samuel, and looks at it.
Samuel stands in the middle of the road and waves his arms. The sheriff station crumbles into dust.
Arlington University: Claire and Gretchen discuss the World’s Least Erotic and Most Over-Hyped Kiss. Claire says she doesn’t want to mess up her only chance at an ordinary life by dabbling in lesbianism. Hey, Claire? Get over yourself. A bunch of masked strangers burst into the room, and Claire starts beating them up, but it’s just Becky and her sorority sisters, kidnapping them for the start of rush.
While being driven to an undisclosed location, Claire and Gretchen are crammed into the trunk of a car together. The show gamely tries to manufacture some erotic tension from the predicament, but all attempts are thwarted by the crippling lack of chemistry between these two. Claire and Gretchen are taken to an abandoned slaughterhouse with the rest of the pledges (all two of them. For a total pledge class of… four. Popular sorority, eh?) Becky tells them the drill: It’s the start of Hell Week, and it’s kicking off with a Screaming Scavenger Hunt. There’s a treasure hidden somewhere in the slaughterhouse, and whoever finds it first gets to sit out the rest of Hell Week.
The girls split up off into pairs, following clues in search of the treasure. Off on their own, Claire and Gretchen debate Gretchen’s lesbianism and Claire’s virginity. So help me, I never want to hear anything further about Claire’s sex life. I never want to hear anything more about Claire, actually, but I’ll settle for what I can get. A random meat hook comes flying out of nowhere and almost impales Gretchen, which gives Claire a chance to dramatically intone, “I'm starting to think this isn’t a game.”
The two other girls join up with them to scream for a bit, and then they split up again in the very next scene, which seems a little pointless, but probably no more pointless than the whole concept of a “sorority girls trapped in a slaughterhouse” plotline on a show about people with super-powers. Claire and Gretchen discuss their non-affair some more, until Invisible Becky flings a meat hook at Gretchen to get them to stop. The MVP award for this episode goes to Becky, in a landslide. Becky tries to strangle Gretchen with a chain, Claire fights Becky off, Claire gets impaled on a meat hook, Becky stops being invisible, and the other two sorority girls rush in just in time to see Becky scurrying away and Claire being totally, like, alive after getting impaled.
Los Angeles: Janice Parkman boinks Matt in front of a roaring fire. A lit fireplace? In Los Angeles? Look, it’s the week of Halloween, and it hit the low nineties today. It’s ten at night, and I’m wearing shorts and sitting in front of the fan while typing this. We don’t do roaring fireplaces here, romantic or not. Anyway, it’s not really Matt who’s boinking Janice, it’s the psychic manifestation of Sylar, who has taken over Matt’s body while Matt was off napping. When Matt comes to his senses, Sylar munches an apple (evilly) and talks about forbidden fruit.
Sylar taunts Matt, nastily, about boinking Janice, and after last week’s exploration of sensitive, damaged emo-Sylar, it’s mighty nice to see the fangs come out. Matt explains to Janice about Sylar being stuck in his head. At Matt’s urging, Janice takes the baby away with her to some undisclosed location safe from Sylar.
Matt calls Mohinder and leaves him a message, wondering where he’s gone off to. Yeah, you too, Matt? Delighted you remembered he exists, at least. Puts you one step ahead of everybody else. Sylar mimics Mohinder’s accent, poorly, and how sad is it that this is the best thing that’s happened this entire season? While pounding back a few brews, Matt notices that Sylar gets vague and distracted by his drinking. Matt concludes that getting plastered is the way to get Sylar to go away for good. Well, Matt’s never been the brainy one on this show, has he? Matt swills tequila and Sylar gamely plays along, pretending to recoil in agony with every swallow. Matt drains the bottle, and the apparition of Sylar disappears.
Janice returns, with Simon the Cylon in tow, just as Matt drunkenly passes out. When Matt wakes up, Simon the Cylon gives him a new sobriety chip and tells him they’re starting over from the beginning. Matt slumps off to take a shower, and we can see that Sylar is in control of Matt’s body, while Matt is trapped is his mind.
Sylar smirks and evilly munches another apple. Because that’s his new thing.