(S02E18) "Company Man" last week gave us many dimensions of one character. This week's awesomeness gives us many events snowballing throughout the Heroes universe. New characters, new secrets about old characters, and in anticipation of a month-plus hiatus, some tantalizing cliffhangers.
If this episode had been a football game, then I would say it was remarkable for its extraordinary number of turnovers. Time after time, when one character thinks he or she has the drop on another -- surprise! It isn't so.
I'll get the Niki/Jessica stuff out of the way first. Niki manages to gain a modicum of control of her body back from Jessica. First she leaves the photo of Nathan -- Jessica's next intended target -- on D.L.'s pillow as some kind of warning. Hm. A written note might have helped: "Dear D.L.: My evil dead twin has taken over my body. She has a gun in her bag and is planning to kill this politician. (See photo, attached.) Take steps to ... " etc. But nah, and D.L. thinks Jessica is being paid to "entertain" Nathan or something, so he just warns her to just watch her step from now on.
Later, Niki breaks through again. She's too late to save the FBI agents, but just in time to warn Nathan himself about Linderman's plot.
Speaking of Nathan, the flying politician's fingers are in many a pie this week. Before heading to Vegas, he drops a dime on Isaac attempting to handle the tragic events at the Artist's loft and help Peter. Agents of the paper company intercept that call, naturally. When Nathan gets to Vegas he encounters Hiro, and helps him past Linderman's gate-keeping goons. "When I first met you," Nathan tells Hiro, "I thought you were crazy."
"That's okay," says Hiro, "I thought you were mean." Like Hiro, we have been given the idea lately that, yeah, underneath his power-craving exterior, Nathan really is one of the good guys. It looks even more like that is the case tonight, for awhile anyway. Nathan is revealed to be an FBI informant, working to take down his "father's good friend" Mr. Linderman all along.
But there's more. Nathan confronts Linderman with the intention of killing him. Linderman's not especially surprised by this wrinkle. It would probably take quite a lot to surprise Mr. Linderman. Not only does he know about Nathan's ability to fly, and Peter's and Claire's abilities, he also has a pretty good grasp of future events from his collection of Mendez paintings and possibly other sources. Or, maybe I should say, possible future events. Without going into details, Linderman reveals a plan for fast-tracking Nathan to within "a heart beat of the Presidency," in two years: "a life of meaning" but not happiness. That gets Nathan's attention, and he lowers his weapon.
Among many other roles in his distinguished career, Malcolm McDowell has in latter years played Ari Gold's antagonizer and James T. Kirk's killer. In his initial Linderman outing, he plays it clever, cool, calculating, charming, and sardonic. Just the traits I like to see in a decent megalomaniac.
Nathan either intends to align himself with Mr. Linderman, or to just play along to see what happens. It's too early too tell. But if Linderman had really wanted Nathan dead, where would that leave his plan for placing Nathan in the White House? Maybe Linderman knew the outcome of sending Jessica after Nathan in the first place. Or maybe he has detailed plans to achieve his goals under many different scenarios.
Soon we will head back to the future alongside Hiro. But first, Ando, it turns out, was not that easy to get rid of. He surfaces disguised as one of Linderman's security guards after Hiro finds the sword and the curator sounds the alarm. Ando infiltrating the highly-paranoid Linderman security force may not be the most believable twist we've seen, but I'm so happy that Ando is back that I'm not going to dwell on it.
Anyway, Hiro uses his powers to transport Ando and himself to safety. Okay, maybe not to safety per se, as they end up on the roof of the Deveaux building -- post nuclear disaster. Hiro immediately interprets this to mean that he will fail to stop the bomb. However, it could be only one of many possible futures.
One interesting thing about the skyline is that there is construction going on amid the Manhattan ruins. It looks like at least three new skyscrapers are being built. This might just be normal rebuilding the could occur after any disaster, but the significance of including this particular detail, along with hearing Linderman's intended future for Nathan, makes me wonder if the nuclear disaster is part of a plan by someone (Linderman? Nakamura?) to take over the world, a plan which also entails rebuilding a new city, a sort of Lindermanopolis if you will, from the ashes of NYC.
How about that Candice? I hated her from the moment she patted a strapped-down Matt Parkman on the head. Like many a metamorph before her, she's obnoxious as hell. I guess that's what comes from being able to take on anyone's form. (Update: Most commentators state that Candice is an illusionist, not a shape-shifter. This makes sense as the entire background shimmers and changes when she comes out of an illusion -- not just her body. She's still an a-hole though.)
Too bad it didn't occur to HRG after he discovered what Candace's power that he wouldn't be able to trust another living soul as long as she's around. This brought about one of the saddest reversals of the episode. HRG feels the relief of finally being able to talk openly with his wife about his secret life. Back from his New York mission, he tells "her" the company "has to be stopped -- for good" in order to ensure Claire's safety once and for all. Just like that, his plan, which were necessarily concocted in a hurry last episode, is uncovered by these much more sinister agents of the company: Candice and the boss, Eric Roberts' character.
Claire pulls a fast one on the Haitian at a New York airport, and seems to escapes him. She wants to stay in the city and look for Peter. Earlier, she kept asking the Haitian to tell her when she could see her family again. I don't understand that. After what she witnessed last week, how can she hold out the hope that this is an option? It's easy to forget sometimes that she's really a kid, and I guess this is a reminder.
Claire goes to the Petrelli family home. Nathan and Peter's mother turns out to be yet another character who knows more than she has let on, and has been working behind the scenes since forever. I was pretty blown away by this one. I never suspected her of being anything but a minor character placed there to make Peter feel like an ineffectual younger son. But no, Claire has a new French-speaking grandma who reveals herself as an ally of the Haitian and part of some greater scheme.
Mohinder shines for a moment when he, having discovered Sylar's true identity, tricks and drugs the serial killer. That moment, and the tuning-fork torture, almost make up for his extended naivety lately, chumming around with Sylar of all people. But, poor Mohinder has severely overestimated his ability to control Sylar. That is difficult to understand given Mohinder's knowledge that Sylar has absorbed a large number of abilities. Mohinder really should have taken the sample he needed and killed Sylar immediately after the drugged tea took effect. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20.
Anyway, Sylar's death would have deprived us of a Peter/Sylar showdown.
Contrary to spoilers I've read, no one actually dies in this episode. I'm not saying Peter or Mohinder won't die, say ... oh, five seconds into Chapter Nineteen. Mohinder is pinned to the ceiling, but still breathing. Peter is having his skull opened. The healing ability Peter absorbed from Claire might yet kick in as it did when Claude chucked him off the Deveaux building. Isaac's new paintings might sorta show Mohinder and Peter de-skulled Sylar-style. But who knows with those paintings. (Note: Commentators below see the paintings as being of Isaac himself. After looking at them again, and adding more screen captures, I'm inclined to agree.) Okay, I'm out of theories.
By the way, concerning previews and clips that will surely appear between now and late April: as it was with "Simone" this time, any character that is shown alive when they should be dead might actually be Candice. I'm just saying ...