Claire has to decide whether she's going to help Eric Doyle or not, and her two dads are still caught with Danko's dealings when they discover what he's done to Parkman.  Sylar finally meets up with old pops, and finds something very differnet from what he expected. Hiro and Ando also pop up, too on their quest to find and protect Matt Parkman. Check out the full story after the jump. 

Episode 18: Shades of Gray
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Maybe Claire is Harriet Tubman
Claire tells Doyle that Rebel lied about her being able to help him, and he pleads with her, because he can’t go back out there. Sandra comes into the house, and runs over to the two, while Claire assures her that Doyle will be leaving.  Doyle says he can’t – they’ll find him, and he asks her why the agents outside (who are currently answering a fake call from Rebel) aren’t coming in after her – and they explain to her that she was a free pass, and he needs to leave.  Doyle gets pissed and jerks his fingers up – taking control of Claire’s hands.  He tells them how they burned down his theatre while he was still inside ,and that she doesn’t know what it’s like to be hunted, to have to turn to the last person on Earth she thought would help her….then he lets go of Sandra and says he’s not going to force them to help him.  “It’s not wh I am anymore,” he replies, walking out the door.  The next morning, Claire wonders to her mom if she should have helped Doyle – and she thinks she needs to be doing something with her “free pass.” She suggests taking Alex’s old job at the comic book store and helping anyone Rebel sends, and her mom reluctantly accepts.  She goes there and lands the job nearly right away, despite having no retail experience (hey, she was a cheerleader, and these are nerds).  


Nathan and the Hunter argue about Peter’s escape, while the Hunter wonders aloud how many people knew Peter was on the rooftop.  Nathan receives a call, then, about Parkman’s bomb threat – and he asks Danko what the hell the cop is doing in front of the capitol building with a bomb strapped to his chest.  He leaves to take care of the situation, getting to he capitol building and walking up to Parkman, trying to convince him, but Parkman won’t believe him when he says that it was Danko’s doing and not his own.  He tells Parkman to use his power, but it doesn’t work; he’s been drugged.  Back at Building 26, Danko orders his men to press the button on Parkman’s chest-bomb.  They comply, and down gets pressed the red button – up comes a sign on the computer “weapon access denied.”  Ah-ha, Rebel! Back on site, Parkman analyzes the bomb techs’s minds nearby as he gains his powers back, trying to figure out how to diffuse the bomb. He figures out the black wire is the key, but doesn’t know whether he should pull it or not. Nathan reaches forward and snatches it out, and Parkman throws the bomb away, followed by a solid punch from Nathan in his jaw. “Sorry, Matt,” he says.  “Can’t have you using your power.”  Guys in black suits rush forward to overpower the hero.

Sylar, I am your father

Sylar comes to some backwoods shack, and walks inside, to a dusty room full of old stuffed animals.  He comes to the backdoor, and introduces himself to the man sitting on the bench as “Gabriel, your son.” “Is that so?” the man asks.  “That is so,” Sylar responds.  He tells him he has questions about himself – who he is, and where he came from, and then he tells how he remembered that his father killed his mother.  “So…what now?”  he asks.  “So now I kill you,” Sylar says.  The man turns around, revealing a breathing apparatus strapped to his chest.  “You kill me or the cancer does.”  Hm, so is Sylar not gonna kill him now?  Just because he has cancer?  Seems a little generous of a superkiller, but then again I wouldn’t put it past the writers.  Later, Sylar tells him that he’s pitiful, what he’s become – and Sylar’s father laughs at him – Sylar was expecting a fight, some grand showdown between father and son, but life, he comments, never gives you what you want. He then lets a rabbit out of a cage, and with an ability, makes it stand still.  When Sylar comments on it, Sylar says that he actually has lots of abilities, but he doesn’t know how many he has left.  His guess is that Sylar has the same ability – taking other peoples’.  He tells Sylar that, “Fish gotta swim.  Birds gotta fly.  You have to kill.”  He tells Sylar that he picks easy prey, and Sylar says it’s not his fault they were weak – they just had what he wanted.  He asks Sylar why he didn’t kill any of the agents following him, and Sylar can’t respond, searching for an answer that isn’t there.  His father answers for him.   “Without the hunt your entire life is meaningless and disappointing, because there’s no challenge in it,” his father says.  “You wanna know more or you gonna kill me now?”  he asks, offering Sylar a long, glinting knife.  Sylar grabs the knife and asks what he should do, and his father tells him to gut the rabbit that he’s holding up before him, belly exposed.

Danko and Nathan argue over what happened at the Capitol building, while Nathan tries to fire him. Danko says that he only answers to the president, and he’ll have to prove anything to him first.  Then he starts playing a video overhead: Tracy calling out that Nathan is one of them.  “Looks like we’re both building a case against each other,” the Hunter says, smiling and nodding.  “Let’s see who gets there first,” Nathan smirks right back.  And speaking of Tracy, later on she’s led down a hallway, and sees a message on a computer telling her that help is coming, and to have hope.  Up on the main floor, Noah and Nathan talk about Danko – and Noah warns him that he should take a page from his mother’s book and keep his head – he shouldn’t be surprised that Danko went over his head; he’s a wild dog.  Nathan goes into the room where he was headed – where Tracy is.  He tells her that he’s been helping all of them out all along – which Tracy, not surprisingly, doesn’t believe.  He explains to her that he’s her last hope, and that she needs to understand that, when Danko barges in, smugly calling out, “That’s my prisoner.”  Nathan leaves obligingly, and watches on the cameras as Danko interrogates her.  “What do you know about Nathan Petrelli?”  he asks.  “He was lousy in bed,” Tracy says, smiling.  Danko asks her if he has an ability, and Tracy replies that she doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Familial Relations

In a conversation with Noah, the Hunter points out that that he must have had connections with the Petrellis, given that he adopted Nathan’s daughter.  Noah points out that he actually didn’t ever really know until a few years ago that he had adopted Mr. Petrelli’s daughter.  After the conversation, Noah gets on the phone to update Angela.  “Things will be better for us with Danko gone,” Angela replies, and when he warns her that “he does his homework,” Angela says, “So do I.” At a lunch later, she meets up with Danko, who tells her he needs her help.  He comments to her about how Claire, Peter, and others all inherited powers from their parents – Angela merely explains this away by saying that sometimes two blue-eyed parents can have a brown-eyed child, so, yes, Nathan was the misfit.  Danko tells her that he doesn’t believe her, and Angela says something about an “incident” in Angola in 1997 – commenting that she’s surprised Danko survived it.  Danko shakes his head, impressed at how well connected she is, and stands up and walks away, foiled again.

Sylar and his father sit down and talk about hobbies while working on stuffing the bunny, Sylar telling him that he used to fix watches.  “You’re still clinging to that need for connection; the only thing people are good for are disappointment,” his father says.  Sylar asks if that’s why he killed his mother, and why he abandoned them.  “I don’t even remember; it didn’t matter to me, so few things do,” is the response.  He tells Sylar to cut the thread on the animal they’re sewing up, and Sylar accidentally cuts himself, showing his father the self-healing wound.  “I guess not everybody gets old,” he says.  “Not everybody dies.”  “I guess you just have that much longer to suffer, do ya,” his father says, reaching over to his breathing apparatus and taking a few deep breaths.  As Sylar has his back turned, he sends two arrows flying into his shoulders just as he’s turning back around, pinning him against the wall, and shouts out that he wants his ability, and Sylar laughs.  “You think is going to stop me?”  His father just points and starts to whistle, and Sylar starts to feel woozy, and looks like he’s going to fall asleep.  He passes out, and wakes up later, seeing his father sharpening a knife, and asks him why he’s doing this – and his father says that this time, he’s going to do it all right, just to see if he can.  He’s about to put a knife to Sylar’s forehead, when Sylar gets his powers back, and pushes him back, wrapping the breathing tube several times around the old man’s neck, cracking air from his trachea.  He begs Sylar for the power, and Sylar’s about to leave with his stuffed bunny, when his father tells him not to.  “I came here to kill you, I got the answers I wanted, now I know what I need to do,” Sylar says.  “You’re gonna die…slowly…painfully…alone with your sickness. You’re just small game.”  So, that was an interesting confrontation, but once again, nothing really for the books.  The conversation Sylar held with his dad could just as easily have been held with Luke or some other hero, maybe, and the fact that he still didn’t kill him is beginning to make me wonder how effective of a serial killer Sylar is when he’s not actually killing anybody.

Caught in the act
Nathan comes up to Danko with a signed document firing the Hunter right then and there.  “You lose me, you lose the whole team,” Danko says.  “That’s a risk I’m willing to take,” Nathan says, happily.  Danko leaves, and Noah approaches Nathan.  “You went to the president?” he asks.  “Yes, and he’s eager to meet my new right hand man. You comin?”  Nathan says.  Noah smiles and follows him out into the hallway, and Danko approaches the two, pulling a gun, commenting that through all this, Nathan has never shown one ounce of fear, and he wonders why that is.  He then shoots twice into the window behind Nathan and runs forward, shoving Nathan backwards, breaking the window and tossing him out.  Nathan ends up flying just a few feet away, and Danko stares, pissed off and amazed.  Nathan zooms off into the sky and Danko turns to Noah.  “Tell me you didn’t know about this,” he says.  Noah doesn’t answer.

No more safety net

At the end of a day of work, Claire walks outside and sees the van watching her.  She calls up her dad, and says that she has a question.  “How did you lead two lives for all that time?”  “Honestly, Claire, I’m the worst person to ask,” Noah says, as he watches two agents drag by Matt Parkman.  “Thanks,” Claire says sarcastically, hanging up the phone, getting a text from Rebel warning that Doyle’s been found.  The pool cleaning van rushes away, and we see Doyle cornered by the lady agent near the beach, later, who soon turns her gun against herself under his power.  He merely knocks her out, though, and Claire manages to incapacitate the other agent in time for Doyle to see her.  That night, in the park, Claire hands him a folder with a new identity for him.  “Just take it,” she says.  “Thanks Barbie,” is Doyle’s response.  “Did you mean all that stuff you said?  About how you’d changed?”  Claire demands.  Doyle just gives a very, very slight smile, and walks off.  At her house later, Claire gets a text from rebel telling her her free pass is up.  Agent break into her room and search everywhere, but can’t find her.  Outside the window, hiding behind the brush of a tree, Nathan holds his father in mid-air.

Two men and a baby
Hiro and Ando come into 63 Varna Avenue, looking for Matt Parkman.  Some girl comes in, saying that’s he desperately needs their help, and wonders why it took “the service” two hours to find a replacement. When they tell her that they’re here to save Parkman, she plops into their arms a baby who desperately needs to be changed, bolting out the door soon after.  Hiro and Ando, like us, the audience, are clueless.  What?  Parkman’s a baby, now?  Obviously it’s not the same Parkman that we know, because he’s locked in Building 26.  And how long are Hiro and Ando keeping the baby for?  Are the mother or father gonna show up soon?  It’s a clever way to end an episode, I’ll give them that; it did come completely out of the blue – but they’ve gotta be able to explain it well enough, otherwise it’ll just seem like another gimmick.

After such a long build-up, Sylar’s confrontation with his father left much to be desired, continuing the long Heroes tradition of getting potentially devastatingly fascinating characters together and going absolutely nowhere. For Sylar’s dad, for being so old and world-weary, he’s kind of a dimwit, and it’s also kind of disappointing that Sylar didn’t kill him – this does leave the chance that he could come back at a later date, but he’s not a strong enough character to justify leaving him alive.  Another disappointment: Eric Doyle, who just moped around on the episode, said “Barbie” a lot, and then disappeared.  What was the point of even bringing him back if you’re not going to do anything with him, writers? On the plus side, this episode does close off with a lot of changes, such as Nathan finally being revealed a having powers and saving Claire, and Hiro and Ando finding a baby Matt Parkman they need to take care of.  But on another side note, it seems just like the Heroes writers to start a great premise going with Claire functioning as a pseudo-Harriet Tubman and then just kill it in the next episode – for once it would have given Claire something unique and interesting to do that didn’t consist of whining (hell, she even got a job at a comic book store!).  In any case, it will be interesting to see how much more Danko cranks down that Nathan’s flip-flopping is out of the way, and especially so to see what Sylar does now that he’s finished his quest to find his daddy. We do know from the epilogue narrated by Mohinder that he dropped off the stuffed bunny in Danko's office, so maybe he's gonna make a deal with him to take down all the rest of the heroes as long as he can go free.This was a very up-and-down episode, but now that we've gotten all these changes out of the way, maybe we can get down to some serious action, courtesy of the Hunter.

-Thomas Anderson
aka Movie Buzz Review Dude. Check out his movie/media/pop culture blog here.