Heroes Episode 2: don't look back

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Peter Petrelli’s eyes blink open, drawing to a focus in a hospital room where brother Nathan sits by his side. The fog slowly lifts from Peter’s brain, but Nathan sweeps it back by telling his kid brother that he’d tried to kill himself, that neither of them flew, that Peter landed on a fire escape and Nathan climbed up and got him, and that “the rest is just crazy talk. You understand?”

Claire Bennet of Odessa, Texas, tentatively approaches her father with one thing on her mind: her birth parents. His words wrap softly, protectively around her in carefully measured tones. “It’s an adult decision… keep things light and fun… Trust me. I actually know a few things,” he says with a dark undercurrent in his voice.

In the quaint little hamlet of Brooklyn, New York, Suresh returns home to find an exterminator busy at work… installing a telephonic bug. Suresh swipes at the guy with a small statue, clubbing him across the head as the man lashes back with his fake exterminator gear. “Who are you?” Suresh demands. The exterminator produces a gun, but Suresh is unafraid, shoving the man into the hall where the gun goes flying, skating across the floor. The exterminator bears down on the professor, but a female neighbor snares the gun, and the man goes running.

New York City… it’s a town that never sleeps, that never stops. It’s a town that Hiro Nakamura traveled to all the way from Japan through the sheer force of his will. While that may be odd, there’s something even weirder in a magazine stand. Hiro spies a comic book called “9th Wonders.” This wouldn’t be so strange on its own, but this is no ordinary comic: on the cover is a picture of him standing in Times Square with his arms outstretched… a snapshot of a moment that happened minutes before.

Breathless, Hiro flips through the comic book – it chronicles every moment of his life, starting the previous day. On the back page is a picture and address of the artist, a one Mr. Isaac Mendez, otherwise known as the junkie who had the unusual talent of being able to paint the future.

Simone tends to Isaac in his dark and dingy lower Manhattan loft. Sweaty and shaking, Isaac tells of a terrible vision, a vision of a white light flashing and all of Manhattan destroyed in the single thunderclap of atomic hell.

Niki Sanders of Las Vegas, Nevada, has problems of her own. She returns to waking life on the “set” of her home business. Though bathed in blood, this is the least of her concerns, because the bloodied bodies of two gruesomely murdered men rest eternally in her ramshackle room. She grabs the video camera that saw it all, locks the garage, and calls her son, Micah, to say she’ll be around to get him in five minutes. In her car, she plays back the tape, but all she sees is static crackling underneath the sound of terrible screams. Interrupted by her cell, she picks it up and answers: it’s Micah, and four hours have mysteriously gone by.

Suresh’s neighbor is devastated to learn of his father’s death. They had become good friends, close even, perhaps closer than he was to his own father. Suresh asks her to tell him everything his dad ever told her.

Police officers join the school principal to meet with the cheerleading squad to find the girl who walked into the fire. No one comes forward, but the officers pick Claire out of the line. Before Claire can say anything, her friend Jackie steps forward, claiming that she was the hero.

Later in the day, Claire’s friend Zach tells her that the videotape they took of her trying to hurt herself has vanished from his backpack. As they walk through the football field, a football player accidentally smashes into the petite Claire. Her shoulder is dislodged from its socket, but immediately snaps back into place. The whole team gathers around, confused that she wasn’t hurt.

Niki returns home with Micah, sending him inside to pack up his things while she goes to the garage to attend to the horror inside. But when she opens the door, the place is spic and span, nothing amiss, not a drop of red in sight. What she does find is a set of keys and a convertible parked outside. Taped to the steering wheel is a note to follow a map in the trunk. She opens the trunk, and true to the note’s word there is a map… resting on top of the two corpses.

Peter’s mom visits her son in his hospital room, asking what he was doing up on the roof. He won’t say. She changes the subject, “There’s something you need to know about your father’s death… he committed suicide.” When Peter was 23, his father was diagnosed with a major depressive disorder linked to delusions of grandeur, invincibility, and other flights of fancy. There’s something else she never told him: “You were always my favorite.”
Hiro arrives at Isaac’s loft. No one appears to be home when he steps inside, but a trail of blood leads to a cold gun. As he ponders the silent steel, a group of police race in with guns pointing squarely at the young man from Tokyo. But the most shocking thing of all is Isaac’s dead body, the top of his head neatly sliced off like a serving bowl, his brain nowhere to be found.

In sunny Los Angeles, police officer Matt Parkman is on the scene of a serial killer’s latest production, even if he’s just helping to string up the yellow tape. Voices swirl inside Matt’s head as he stands there thinking about his failed bid to make detective. “Please don’t hurt me,” a young girl pleads in a voice that only Matt can hear. While two detective wonder if “Sylar” is behind this, Matt steps into this house of death, glancing at the body of a dead woman pinned to the staircase with a series of knives, and a dead man frozen solid with his skull neatly sawed off. Matt follows the voice in his head to a room beneath the stairs where a little girl shivers with terror.

Suresh and the neighbor play back his father’s phone messages. They’re all mundane except for one: On the tape, a sinister voice intones that he can see Suresh standing over the phone, that Suresh has handed “these people” to him. “What have you done?” Suresh’s father asks on the tape. The reply is sinister, to say the least: “You’ve given everyone of them to me… a sacrament.” Suresh tells his neighbor that he once found a tape of a conversation his dad had with a man named Sylar. The neighbor then finds a portable hard drive in Mohinder-the-lizard’s cage. Suresh opens the files and discovers the reason behind his father’s death: the old doctor had come up with a way to locate those who had taken the next evolutionary step.

Outside the house, two detectives ask Matt how he knew where the little girl was. He tells them that he heard a voice and thought everyone else did as well. When they see how fidgety he is, they ask if he has “someplace better to be?” He admits that he and his wife have a couples therapy appointment. As he shifts his weight, he hears the thoughts of the two detectives: “This guy’s worthless. Cut him loose. He got lucky.” He turns to leave but one holds him back, accusing him of setting up the murder to make himself look like a hero. “I didn’t kill these people,” Matt says, “Sylar did.” The detective asks how Matt knew that name when only six people assigned to the case know it. His answer fails to please, and Matt is immediately put under arrest.

Following the map, Niki is led into the desert where she finds a shovel stabbed into the earth. She does the natural thing, digging until she hits something buried beneath the sand… the remnants of a human face staring up at her with ghastly, Munchian eyes.

Claire’s father sits his daughter down with the news that the adoption agency is going to try and get in touch with her birth parents and arrange a meeting. It’s a lengthy process and might take weeks, though he hopes it will take years so “you can be my little girl a little while longer.” He sends her off to get ready for dinner and presses “play” on a video camera, watching the tape of her jumping off the tower and running through fire.

Nathan finds his confused younger brother on a building’s rooftop. Peter was so sure that Nathan flew to protect him but now… now he feels like he’s going crazy. Peter begs his brother to give him a straight answer, threatening to jump if he won’t. Swallowing pride or ego or his own protective shell, Nathan tells Peter, “We both flew.” Peter doesn’t believe it: “You’re lying to me again!” But Nathan isn’t lying. Peter looks down to see himself hovering four feet above the roof.

What the police really want to know is what Hiro did with the man’s brain. But before that, they’d like to know why he has no passport, no ID, and no American money, but he does have an honorary membership card for the Merry Marvel Marching Society. Hiro tells an interpreter that he can “bend the space-time continuum.” To prove this, Hiro has them call his friend back in Tokyo whom he left behind the day before. But when they get him on the phone, Hiro’s friend tells them that he hasn’t been seen in five weeks.

Hiro is shocked to learn that it’s November 8 and not October 2. A rumble in the distance distracts everyone’s attention. In unison, they turn their heads just in time to see a nuclear blast rain hell over New York City. Hiro closes his eyes, furrows his brow, and wills himself to return to that Tokyo subway car from which this journey began.


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