Claire and Noah experience some more family issues (surprise!), while Claire heads off to rescue a new hero from Nathan's clutches.  Sylar and Luke continue on their supervillain road trip, Hiro and Ando stop a wedding in India, and Nathan has to deal with a too-inquisitive Homeland Security representative who wants to cut the funding for his little "project."  It's all after the jump.

Episode 16: Building 26
Full Episode Online: NBC Official Site

Father Daughter (Again)
The Bennett family gathers around the dinner table, as Noah tells them bullshit stories about his job as a consultant. They ask Claire to tell them about her college road trip, but she just gives them a stony stare.  Noah replies that his favorite college was Brown, giving Claire knowing look.  Claire’s texting to “Rebel” under the table, and storms off when she can’t take her dad’s BS anymore. He excuses himself from the table and follows her into her room, where he warns her (again) that there’ll be hell to pay (again) if she doesn’t do what he says (again) and leave her mom and brother out of this (again). Okay, this Claire-Noah BS is getting really, really, really old. How many times can Claire be caught, forced to stay at home, and then escape under her dad’s watch while bitching at him about he’s such a terrible father?  Where’s the kickass non-whiny future Claire we saw at the beginning of last season?  Hell, where is ANY Claire whose every word doesn’t have something to do with “wanting to fight?”

Homeland Security
The Hunter is lecturing his cronies about what to do with the heroes, informing them that Claire is safe for now, but should any of the terms of agreement between Nathan and the Bennett family be breached, they can go after her right away. Nathan steps into the room to inform all of them that these are people, not animals, and they need to be kept alive when caught.  Later a representative from the department of Homeland Security, Abby, comes to Nathan’s office and confronts him about his massive funding increases, and he talks around it until she tells him he has no other choice but to show him the prisoner she knows he’s holding. He reluctantly takes her to Tracy, who’s tied up in a room with four gigantic heaters pointing directly at her body, numbing her freezing power.  Oh yeah, and apparently Tracy and Abby once knew each other.  Anyways, Abby is horrified at the treatment of prisoners and says that she’s going to file human rights violations against Nathan, and that this is no way to treat people.

In the car, Sylar pulls over in frustration when the kid just tells him to “keep heading west.”  After Luke tries to lie a couple of times about where Sylar’s dad is, marveling at how Sylar can tell when people are lying, Sylar shares that he cuts open people’s heads and looks at their brains, and that’s how he got the ability, and there’s no reason he can’t do the same to Luke.  Luke points out that Sylar needs him to tell him where his dad is, and after a few minutes of going back and forth on whether or not Sylar is a serial killer, Sylar drives off, but not before a nearby camera takes a snapshot of them and transmits the pictures to Nathan’s HQ.  Later they stop at a diner, and Sylar says to Luke, “You really need to stop trying to be my friend or I’m going to have to kill you.” Luke doesn’t answer, and instead asks Sylar if he likes birds, prompting a story about how he and Sylar’s dad used to go birdwatching, and in the story he mentions a little red wagon that was used for carrying supplies, which jogs Sylar memory – his dad used to drag him around in a little red wagon, and Sylar almost smiles.  “He sold you for money,” Luke says, explaining that he was strapped for cash and sold Sylar to get it – Sylar wonders aloud what kind of man would kill his own son, and then gets suspicious, asking Luke why his father would just share that story with him, a random next door neighbor kid. There’s a long pause where much of silence screams that Luke and Sylar are secretl brothers (which Luke hasn’t denied yet, so we know he’s not necessarily lying), and then Luke shrugs.  “Maybe I reminded him of you.” Luke’s a clever little bastard – at least he’s not a whiny angsty teen just tailing along with the cool killer – he’s dark, manipulative, and potentially even more messed up than Sylar. I’m still crossing my fingers that they don’t kill him off too quickly.

Claire to the Rescue
Claire comes into a comic store to warn the clerk Alex (a dude she knows Noah is coming to capture thanks to a text from “Rebel”) that there are people after her that will come in and take her away.  The clerk doesn’t believe her, and tells her she needs to be better at convincing him, mistaking her for a stripper that his friends hired. Anyways, she rips open her palm with a knife and shows it to him, and his mouth drops open as he stares. Claire then sees Noah outside the store, and looks back at the clerk. “Move. Now.”  They try to hide behind the racks, but Noah eventually finds the clerk while Claire hides behind a comic book rack a few rows away, getting on the phone and trying to distract her dad so that Alex can knock him back and go dashing out the store as Noah struggles among the fallen comic books.  Claire catches up to Alex and the drive away.  He reveals to her that his power is breathing underwater (yes, like a fish, as he says)– in high school he noticed on the swim team that one day he didn’t have to come up for air anymore.  As they’re talking, Claire notices a car drive in front of the alley, the second time the car’s gone by, so they hop out of it and hide in the bushes nearby, watching as federal agents swarm it, cursing the sky that Claire and Alex escaped.

Wedding Wackiness
Hiro and Ando are in India, in the exact spot in the picture (well, that was a little easy), and Hiro has decided his job is to stop a wedding that they observe is about to take place, so he heads off to do just that, while Ando shakes his head at the picture and mutters to himself that this doesn’t make any sense.  He then sees a woman wandering around in wedding garb looking like the woman in the picture, and he approaches her (her name’s Annapura) about her wedding when it’s clear she’s not confident about it.  She breaks down in front of him and just talks randomly to a complete stranger about not really wanting to marry this guy Deepak, and having prayed for ages for God to send her a sign.  “I am the sign!” Ando says excitedly.  Red sparks shoot from his hand and she excitedly says that yes, indeed red sparks were what she requested as a sign, and so she’s going to call off the wedding.  Hiro comes in as they’re talking, crestfallen that Ando was able to use his powers to save the day, and so later on he pouts because Ando “interfered with destiny,” but as Ando points out, he’s just mad that Ando has powers and he doesn’t.  Gah, when will Hiro grow up?  Last season’s entire arc (the formula) was caused by Hiro making trouble because he was bored, which you might expect from the Hiro at the beginning of season one, but after all that he went through in that season, such writing seems glaringly flawed.  In any case, this woman that Ando saved from the shackles of eternal bliss apparently owns her own restaurant, and they invite Hiro and Ando in to eat some food.  While they’re eating, Deepak shows up, pretty pissed off that some random dude just convinced his fiancée to break off the wedding, and he takes Annapura into the backroom, where he starts to yell at her.  Ando comes in, asking if there’s a problem, and a metal pot to the head is the response he gets.  Deepak carries him away and when Hiro comes rushing in a moment later, he finds he’s too late, but still, he’s kind of excited that he has a mission now.  Until he finds out that Deepak will only be releasing Ando if they let the wedding go off without a hitch, and if they try anything, they’ll never see Ando again.  Well, wedding day comes, and Hiro does it anyway, coming straight into the ceremony and shouting out that Annapura does not truly love Deepak, and the marriage should be called off. While such behavior would normally be met with security carrying the gibberish-spouting man off to some nice padded cells, the crowd listens and Hiro ends up successfully stopping the wedding, and Ando doesn’t die because…well, because Deepak thinks Hiro and Ando bring too much trouble.  Really? That’s it?  Man, what a lame bad guy.  That night, in the restaurant, Hiro tells Ando that the point of this mission was to teach him he could be a hero without powers, and so now he’s okay with having none.  Oh okay, that’s good. Two seasons of Hiro “growing up” aren’t enough – we need a chokingly clichéd episode where the entire arc feels like filler.  It closes with a fax from “Rebel” – who apparently had sent it to Annapura prior to Hiro and Ando even coming by, and its only message is an address, with the words, “Save Matt Parkman.”
Lucky Luke
In the diner, Luke starts to microwave the glass of milk of some poor guy on the other side of the diner, and Sylar stops him.  “Always have an objective. Know the endgame.”  Luke asks Sylar exactly why he wants to go find his dad, and Sylar answers.  “Look him in the eyes,” Sylar says.  “What do you hope to see in there?”  Luke asks. “Why I turned out the way I did,” Sylar says. “I guess I’m just looking for answers, that’s all.”  Luke sighs, then writes out the address on a piece of paper and hands it to Sylar. “It’s a two day drive.” “You shouldn’t have done that,” Sylar says. “Now there’s nothing to keep me from killing you is there?”  “I guess I was just hoping you wouldn’t,” Luke admits.  Right then, some suspicious dudes in suits walk into the diner, and Sylar says quietly to Luke, “Walk to the emergency exit, don’t run.” They stand up and a gun is almost immediately planted into the back of Sylar’s head, the “sweet spot” that will incapacitate him for long enough to actually capture him.  Luke starts to yell about wanting to go back home to his mom, distracting the hunters, enabling Sylar to smash most of them unconscious and open up a window by merely breaking it with his mind. He and Luke jump through and run to the car, and when Sylar climbs in, he locks both doors, keeping Luke out, and smiling at the poor kid as he drives off.  Luke is terrified and alone and merely collapses to his knees on the ground, waiting for the knockout taser. The dudes in black suits rush in and capture Luke, throwing him into a black van, and later as they’re talking over the phone to Nathan’s people, something goes wrong, and we see Sylar emerge from the wide black doors of the van, triumphant as chatter comes from the radio asking what has happened, and to “please respond.”  Sylar reaches down and undoes the paralyzing instruments used to subdue people with powers from Luke’s face, and carries him over his shoulder in one hand and grabs a laptop with the other, heading off.  In the truck that he steals, later, Luke thanks him for returning.   “I didn’t come back for you, “Sylar says.  Apparently, he needed the equipment that he stole (the metallic briefcase) so that he could keep better track of his pursuers, or else they would just periodically interrupt his road trip with little escapades like the last one.  Luke points that he could have just left him there, but Sylar doesn’t answer, instead cranking up the volume and driving on without a word.

Tracy and Eddy are arguing, and in the hotroom, Tracy notices that the chains are loose, which allows her to break free and escape into the hallways, freezing a guard to death, conveniently right in front of the eyes of the woman who had been on Nathan’s ass all day about something called “constitutional rights.”  She is shocked and appalled when the guard’s body breaks apart and smashes to the floor in icy chunks of flesh, and chances are she’ll be just fine with Nathan’s plan.  Later, Nathan looks at pictures of the heroes (all from season one – you wonder why they wouldn’t get current ones), and she comes and tells him he’ll have all the funding he needs.  When Nathan approaches Tracy later, she says that she knows Nathan loosened the chains, and that next time she’ll just escape without bothering to help him.  Nathan looks slightly confused, and when he’s talking to the Hunter later, he informs him that the name of the man who died in the hallway was Mark Leggett – also, he knows the Hunter loosened Tracy’s chains, not him.  The Hunter says he only did what needed to be done – “Apologize to his bloodstain, it’s still warm,” Nathan says. Nice phrase, except for the fact that his entire bloodstream was frozen, so unless someone has been holding a blowdryer to the pile of blood in the hallway for ten minutes, the blood is probably pretty damn cold.

HRG the Homewrecker
On the phone with the Hunter, Noah has to explain why he wasn’t able to catch the fish-dude, while the Hunter points out that Claire’s car is less than two blocks away from the comic bookstore.  Noah’s explanation? “It’s a small town.”  The Hunter is not completely satisfied, but he has no solid evidence either, so the two hang up.  Noah approaches Claire later as she comes back to her car, not believing her story about applying for a job at the local coffeehouse.  “Do you have any idea what happens if they think I can’t control you anymore?”  “That’s the thing, dad,” Claire says. “You can’t.” Back at the house, Claire’s making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and casually telling her mom that her husband is a crazy, immoral person who’s helping round up people with abilities to do God-knows-what with them. (And it’s true; at this point we still don’t freakin know what the hell Nathan is planning to do with them). When Noah walks into the room, Claire’s mom sends her upstairs and then yells at Noah for lying to her again, and he says that if he didn’t cooperate they would put Claire on the government list of people with powers, to which she yells, “Don’t make this about Claire!”  Later that night, he approaches Claire with a final resolution (again) – to stop telling lies in this family.  He’s going to move out of the house for a few days.  As he’s talking, he gets choked up, and Claire, despite her resolve, breaks down and walks over to hug him. When he’s gone, out of Claire’s closet steps fish-dude Alex, both he and Claire looking very ironic and guilty.  Later, at a bar, Noah finishes off a drink at a bar and notices there was a little more than alcohol in there as his vision starts to go blurry and he collapses on the floor.  Peter, Parkman, and Mohinder then show up and drag him off to question him.

It’s a little disappointing that after so few episodes into this new volume “Heroes” is already suffering from many recurring problems – the repetitiveness with the whole Claire/Noah thing was especially annoying, though from the teaser for next week we see we’re going to get a special Noah episode where we learn all about his backstory, so that’ll be pretty fun.  That, and the whole Hiro/Ando diversion was boring, pointless, and poorly done – seriously, THAT’S their mission?  To just stop some random wedding in India, all for the purposes of Hiro “learning a lesson?” Seriously, in the first episode he was ready to fully set up base camp as a superhero,  but now he’s all whiny when Ando actually does use his powers for good?  Hiro just doesn’t make any sense anymore.  The best part about this new episode was what went on in Building 26, where Tracy is being kept.  The dynamic between the Hunter and Nathan is one of the most interesting parts about this new volume, and scenes that bring that out are among the most powerful we’ve seen so far – the fact that he went over Nathan’s head by freeing Tracy adds a little bit of spice to his character and shows he’s willing to do just about whatever it takes to capture all these “monsters.”  Whenever he ends up going after Claire’ll be the day – since he already suspects Nathan of having superpowers there’s no reason he couldn’t use this and his disgust for such people to go out and hunt Claire – which could bring on the full wrath of Nathan.  Obviously Claire means something to him, but what exactly we’re not sure yet.  Nothing that much happened with Sylar and Luke – though it was interesting that Sylar actually came back for the kid, showing he’s more interested in him than he lets on.  This is easily the weakest episode of the volume so far, which is unfortunate, given it’s only three episodes in, so it doesn’t bode too well for the rest of the volume.  Episode Four’s quality will tell us how much potential there is for picking themselves back up, but let’s not get our hopes too high.

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