Angela Petrelli is front and center this episode,  as she relates to her family the terrible events that led to the destruction and death they see at Coyote Sands, including her relationship with the sister Alice no one ever knew she had. It's a Heroes episode that's a little bit light on the action, but heavy on some great Petrelli family moments, and it's after the jump.

Episode 23: 1961
Full Episode Online: TV Dome

Coyote Sands
At Coyote Sands, the Petrellis unearth a shit-ton of skulls, and Peter picks up an old baseball glove. He thinks it’s wrong, digging up these graves, but Nathan knows she must have a reason, and he tells Peter to give her time.  Peter walks off, frustrated, and Claire approaches him to tell him he needs to give Nathan a chance – because he knows what he’s done and he’s trying to make up for it. “He’s here, isn’t he?” she points out. “Boy, he charmed you. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us,” Peter shrugs her off. Then he heads over to converse with Angela, and tells her that they didn’t know she had a sister, so why are they digging up graves looking for her? “Look, we need some answers,” he says. He asks what happened out here.

Black and white flashback! February, 1961, a bus drives into Coyote Sands Relocation Center.  A teenage or so Angela, accompanied by her sister Alice, is checked off from a list by a young Dr. Chandra Suresh, who tells them to come with him, where they can get food.  They walk past a playground, a dining room, and a game room; they show movies every night, with the best popcorn in the world. He tells them he’s from Bombay, India, and he’s come a long way to meet them and help them.  He lets a Dr. Zimmerman show them the way. They ask why the guards have guns. He tells them it’s not a prison; the guards are for their protection; to keep them safe.

New Friends
Inside Angela and Alice’s cabin, a trio of young men walk in and introduce themselves.  “Charles Deveaux, Daniel Linderman, and Bobby Bishop.” Angela points out that she doesn’t think boys are allowed in the girls’ bunks, but Charles explains that Bobby wanted to tell her how beautiful she was, which Bobby blubberingly denies.  “You don’t think she’s beautiful?” Charles says seriously, eyeing Angela. They take their leave, and Alice says doesn’t like this, but Angela tells her that it will be just like camp, they don’t need mom and dad to have fun.  “I wanna go home, Banana,” Alice says. Angela explains that the doctors told her that they could make her nightmares go away. She says it’s genetic, so they have to deal with it. She promises Alice she’ll always be there for her, and squeezes her hand as a bright ray of sun shines in on them.

History lesson
Back in present day, Angela tells Peter that her sister and her parents all died here, at Coyote Sands; and if their family can’t reconcile their differences, she’s afraid history is going to repeat itself.  From a window above, an ominous hand appears.  Angela continues her story, inside one of the buildings, explaining how back in 1961, when Kennedy was president, they were all patriots.  The government found out about their activity, and gathered them all up, keeping them contained in Coyote Sands.  Claire is listening, too, and she asks what happened. Angela explains she doesn’t know; she was lucky she survived, but her family wasn’t. Peter tells her she could have told them this in a restaurant, so why here? Angela tells them she’s been dreaming of Alice, alive, and it doesn’t make sense but often her dreams do that.  “I think…I think…I have to see her for myself…a piece of clothing, anything, to give her a proper burial.”  Peter is still frustrated with her for having lied to them all these years, but Angela defends herself – she didn’t want them to know the pain; mothers are allowed to protect their sons. Nathan sympathizes with her, and Angela whispers over at his brother, “It’s my nightmare, Peter. I never wanted you to know what I suffered. I tried to forget. We made everyone forget.” “Who’s we?” Claire asks.  “How do you think the Company was formed? We blackmailed, we killed…all to protect the secret of this place.”  She explains how Danko was resourceful, and Claire is disappointed in Noah for having screwed up again; now that Danko knows their secret, the only thing they can do is to try to bury it again, Angela says. She wants to go back to the old methods, and Claire is horrified, but Angela says it’s a necessary evil.  Peter’s had it. “I’m sorry what happened here, Mom. But it didn’t give you the right to do the things you’ve done, and it still doesn’t.”  Angela says she needs him. “The Company tore this family apart. I’m not gonna be a part of it again.” He runs out the door and into the sky, Nathan not far behind. Wow, this is some of the best Petrelli dialog in months – for once their antics don’t seem like poor attempts at drama, but are actually extremely well written, character important moments.

In 1961, a sweaty Angela wakes up in shock in her bed. She runs outside and sees the three boys approaching.  Charles says he heard her and sister talking about her nightmares coming true. “Look, you’re not the only one that’s realized there’s something weird happening to you.” Angela claims she doesn’t know what they’re talking about, and tries to walk off, before Linderman uses his powers of healing to make a scar she got from a bicycle accident go away.  “This place is one big science experiment, and we’re the rats,” Charles says. Neither Angela nor Bobby believe it – they believe the government can help them. Charles points out that they’ve done it before, locked up people in places like these – but Angela insists they’re different. He asks what her dream was, and she says her dreams are confusing.  She looks over at the guards and back at Charles. “That doctor…Suresh. Don’t trust him.”  Alice comes out of the house and Angela hurries back in.  Alice tells her that she heard what she was telling the boys about Dr. Suresh, but Angela is quick to blame it on their active imagination. In a whispering voice, Alice tells about a time that she got so mad at someone that the weather wrecked their car. She says she thinks she can control the weather, and at that moment outside some snow starts to fall. “It’s Dr. Suresh gonna come for me?” she asks, terrified.

Dreams do come true
Present time finds Claire asking Angela why she didn’t tell Peter and Nathan about Alice.  “I wanna help you,” Claire says. Angela tells her she was almost her age when she came here – most of her mind on frivolous things like boys and the prom – she wishes she had half of Claire’s strength and courage.  “You’ve overcome those nagging doubts,” Angela says. “Sometimes,” Claire admits. Angela points out she dug up the bodies without batting an eye; maybe if Angela had trusted in herself, it would have been better. Claire says she still didn’t answer her question, and Angela asks if Claire has ever done something so horrible that she’s afraid if they ever start talking about it she’ll never stop crying? A wind blows the door in, gale force winds kicking up dust and dirt outside, coming out of nowhere.  Angela says that it’s impossible, but this is what happened in her dream.  “It’s her, it’s Alice!”  They go outside, and Claire calls for her dad.  Angela calls for Alice, but there’s no answer, so Claire drags her bodily back into the building.

At a café not far from the Coyote Sands camp, Nathan finds Peter sitting down drinking a cup of coffee.  (What’s with this show and diners?)  Nathan orders a coffee and says that they need to get through whatever it is they’re going through – he has to stop running away at the first sign of trouble.  Peter says Nathan should have stayed in Washington to deal with a problem that he created. “Pete, nobody can look down their nose at me like you do.”  Peter tells him about a time that Nathan got to meet a famous athlete because he convinced Peter to give up his ticket; so he thinks he conned him.  “Cause even in your generosity, Nathan, you’re selfish. And  that is just who you are.”  Wow. Zing, Peter; ouch, Nathan. Nathan says they need to find forgiveness with each other, but Peter cuts him off and says that he’s trying, hard. The TV interrupts them both and a severe storm warning is announced.

Out in the desert, Noah is shouting for his daughter amidst the swirling winds and stinging dust. He’s knocked out by something and then, indoors, an angry Mohinder slams him bodily against the wall. He demands to know how Noah found him, who quickly explains everything.  Mohinder is shocked, and Noah says that the graves are outside, along with Angela’s sister.  Mohinder says he came here to find out what his father was doing, but now he’s not so sure he wants to know. Speak of the devil, back in 1961 Dr. Suresh comes to Angela to take her away, while Alice looks worriedly out the window.  In another building, Dr. Suresh holds cards up in front of Angela one by one, facing him, as she describes what’s on each of them, answering each one correctly.  There’s cameras observing them, which he tells Angela not to worry about.  She tells him that she’s not reading his mind; she had a dream about this exact thing happening.  He asks if everything she dreams comes true, and she just says again that dreams are confusing. He says she dreamed about him; he’s going to kill everybody here; her parents, and her sister. “You are a good man, and you’ve treated us with nothing but kindness. But I’m telling you, it’s going to get out of control.” Dr. Suresh tells her that great good could be done with this; she can’t leave, it would destroy all their research. He walks off, fills up a syringe, and tells her everything’s going to be fine.

Missing mommy
Present time, Angela tells Claire that she tried to warn them; save them.  “And now Alice is alive.”  The storm is because she’s angry, but Claire says that storms do just happen; what if it’s not her?  Angela says she has to go out and look for her alone, and leaves before Claire can stop her. When she follows her out, the storm has ceased and Angela disappeared. The two Petrell brothers drop from the sky right then, and Claire tells them that their mom is gone.

Near the graves, Mohinder can’t believe his eyes. Angrily, he says to Noah, “So my father was Dr. Mangler?” Noah says they don’t know what happened, but Mohinder points out that he worked here, those are the facts.  “Everyone died. He survived.  The most obvious answer is usually the right one.”  “Working the enemy doesn’t necessarily make you the enemy, you should know that,” Noah says. He says Mohinder’s father was a good man – he doesn’t know what he faced, what his intentions were. He tells Mohinder not to make any assumptions; not until they know the truth. Nathan, Peter, and Claire come by and say they’re going to continue looking for Angela; Mohinder heads off with Peter. They come into another abandoned building, and Peter steps on an old needle. He asks what this room was used for, and Mohinder says that his dad used it to experiment on the people with abilities. He laughs wryly, and says that in every way he is his father’s son.  “Not for science…for self-interest.”  Peter tells him he’s too hard on himself – he knows Mohinder, they started this together. Mohinder says he’s corruptible and selfish, but Peter says everyone is; his brother proves it time and again.  He explains to Mohinder Angela’s plan, and Mohinder says that Peter could do it right this time around, because he doesn’t have the pain and anger and fear of a tragic event like this to deal with.  “I have to believe that there is hope for redemption…even for Nathan.”

Life goals
Noah, Nathan and Claire come into another building, and Noah asks if Peter is going to be all right. Nathan says he blames him for everything, and Noah says that he can’t entirely disagree – they did make a mess of everything. Then he explains the situation about Danko, and Sylar with his new shapeshifting power.  “He almost made me kill my wife.” Meanwhile, Claire picks up the old Alice in Wonderland book cover.  She wonders aloud what the last book she read was aand can’t remember -  nor the last movie, nor anything. “I should be a basket case,” she commented. “Digging up graves…I tried so hard to impress you.  Both you.  Becoming an agent, trying to stop the bad guys.”  Noah says that she was very brave, and Claire says she was an idiot; all she ever wanted to do was grow up.  “That’s what every teenager wants, you can’t fault yourself for that,” Nathan says.  Claire says that she wonders what will happen when they go back – where she doesn’t have to be an agent; she could be chef, class president, anything but agent.

Long lost sisters
In 1961, in May, Charles comes to see Angela in her room.  He tells her they have to leave right now, during the changing of the guard, while Alice observes from her bed.  Charles tells her Alice can’t come, but Angela says she promised she would never leave her. Charles tells her she should just lie about where she’s going then.  He leaves, and Angela sits down on her own bed and tells Alice that they’re gonna sneak out. Alice says that she’s coming too, but Angela says she can’t; she just wants to hang out with kids her own age.  “I’ll be back in a few,” Angela says, squeezing her hand. “Cover for us.” She tells her she had a dream the previous night, about Alice, and it’s gonna be safe at the camp, for her.  They’ll be right back.  She says good night to her sister, and present day Angela Petrelli jerks up in her seat, awake and in some kind of odd, small room with a bed. She looks around and finds an old dusty Alice in Wonderland book, hearing noises from the next room.  Looking through a crack in the doorway, Angela sees her sister Alice, her hair long, gray, matted, and ratty. She starts to put away on the shelf some supplies she’s found, and Angela begs her to talk to her. Alice ignores her.

Never left
At the Coyote Sands diner in 1961, Charles Deveaux offers to take Angela on the dance floor to the smooth jukebox music. They start dancing, and a clerk tells them they don’t allow dancing with colored people. Charles looks angry, and says, firmly, “We didn’t mean anything by it. Just pretend like this never happened.” Instantly everything in the room is okay and the chef has forgotten about the issue.  Flash back to present day, and Angela is extending her hand out through the crack in the wall, to touch Alice’s face.  “I’m alive, you’re not going crazy,” Alice says.  “I almost didn’t recognize you. Do I look old?”  “Not at all,” Angela says, tears in her eyes.  She asks how this was possible.  Alice said when she found this place, it was packed with food, so she did what she had to do; stole the clothes and food she needed.  Angela asks why she stayed, and Alice’s answer is simple – Angela’s dream.  “I thought I’d be safe here. The world would be safe from me.” “From you?” Angela asks.  She comes around the corner and over to her.  She asks her what happened the night she left.  Alice explains….

Moving on
…about how Dr. Suresh came to her to inject her with a needle, despite her telling them to stop.  Lightning and thunder sound outside and wind gusts into the room. Taking advantage of the distraction, she runs outside and is caught by Dr. Suresh soon enough, but then another person with an ability knocks him back with a shockwave, right before he’s shot. Alice huddles under a house while gunfire and smoke erupt all over the camp. Present day, Angela tells her sister she doesn’t have to stay here anymore; it’s time to go home.  “You don’t ever have to be cold again,” Angela says.  “I am so sorry.” She’s sitting down next to Alice now, and the two are holdings hands and laying their foreheads against each other’s shoulders.  “It’s okay, it wasn’t your fault,” Alice says. Angela then explains that it was, because she lied to her, thinking it was the right thing to do. As she speaks, Alice’s expression becomes darker and darker.  “I was trying to protect you…to save you,” Angela says.  “You….you….,” Alice says, standing up and dragging Angela around so that her back is to the stairs leading outside. A gust of wind and a flash of lighting rumble through, followed soon by Peter and Mohinder, while Alice is pressed up against a wall, still wailing about Angela. More lightning flashes in, and Mohinder, in an attempt to control Alice, comes forward. “Calm down, Alice! Calm down!” Alice has flashbacks of Dr. Suresh Sr. telling her the exact same thing, and a bolt of lightning hits Mohinder in the chest, sending him flying backward.  He’s knocked unconscious and Alice goes over to the stairs to look up into the sky, still screaming.  Angela leaves Peter to talk to her.  She tells her to stop – this isn’t their fault. “This is your nephew!” Angela says. “You’ll punish them for my mistakes!”  She apologizes again, and says that they need to get out of here and go home. “Say goodbye, Alice,” she says.  Alice whispers no and runs up the stairs and outside. Angela follows, but of course when she arrives Alice is long gone.  That night, Peter informs Mohinder of Alice’s disappearance.  “Judging from Alice’s reaction, I think I know what my father was doing here,” Mohinder says, bitter. Peter hands him a reel of film that he thinks will tell him something about his father.  Mohinder thinks the bones should remain covered, and Peter shrugs, telling him they should get out of here.  Mohinder tells him that maybe he’s ready to move on, but not him. He’s not ready to forgive himself.  They shake hands and Peter walks off.

Familiar face, strange place
In the diner where Angela danced with Charles Deveaux, Mama Petrelli watches the table where Nathan, Peter, Noah, and Claire are eating. The scene turns black and white again, and we see Charles, Linderman, Bishop, and Angela talking about forming an alliance and never speaking of it again. “I dreamed about the future…we’re going to form a group; a Company, to protect people like us,” she says.  “What do we do in this dream?” Charles asked. “Anything we have to,” is Angela’s response. “Anything to do to keep the secret safe.  It’s a necessary evil.”  Back to color and present day, and Nathan comes over to talk to his mom.  He hands her the old Alice in Wonderland book and says, “I get it, Mom…the guilt.  But you gotta let go of that.” He pauses.  “Come join us?” She smiles and goes to sit down at the table next to them.  They start to eat, and Peter says, “This isn’t a Company. This is a family.  Families have a capacity for forgiveness.  We need to make our existence secret.”  “Try to put our lives back together,” Noah adds, nodding.  Claire asks what’ll happen next, and Nathan says he’s gonna go back to Washington and own up to what he’s done.  “Looks like you already have,” Claire says, nodding at the TV screen.  A live press conference is going on, with Nathan Petrelli announcing real change and purpose coming to the White House.  Nathan asks who it is, and Noah growls, “Sylar.”

This episode thankfully continues the upward Heroes trend; storylines that are going places, character moments we can actually get into and not roll our eyes at, and some special effects-driven spectacle for good effect. Let’s start off with the Petrelli family – Peter finally telling his mom off? Classic. His line about them being a family, not a company? Pitch-perfect. Claire bonding with her grandmother? Adorable. Not to mention that they even managed to squeeze time in here for Mohinder – what his character is doing is finally making sense – Mohinder has always been the type of person to thoroughly think things through, so maybe some time off will be good for him.  The flashbacks had some powerful emotional moments along with a few of “oh, I know who that is!” one, the most notable one obviously being when Linderman, Bishop, and Deveaux made their first appearance. The relationship between Angela and her sister wasn’t perfect, but it was competent enough that it set it up well so that the payoff at the end of seeing her sister alive and well had much more punch. If they had weaved in hints in earlier episodes at Angela’s dead sister it would have been more surprising now, but you take what you can get. And I can’t leave without mentioning the speech that almost single-handedl justified Claire’s endless run of being a whiny bitch. She’s growing up, realizing that maybe she doesn’t always have to just use her powers – maybe she can live a normal life, away from all this craziness.  Hopefully we’ll get to see some change in her behavior soon. Next week’s episode promises to be Sylar-centric, which should be amazing.

-Thomas Anderson
aka MovieBuzzReviewDude. Check out his movie/media/pop culture blog here.