This episode should have been called flashbacks, because that’s where we spend more than ninety percent of our time – in the past, as Hiro navigates the visions given to him by the African dude’s paste. It’s actually not that bad – there’s a lot of stuff with the Petrellis, we get more backstory on Sylar, and more of the interplay between Linderman and Arthur is revealed. Most everything takes place between a year and eighteen months ago.

Eighteen months ago, right as good old Gabe is about to hang himself from the guilt plaguing him after his first kill, Elle pops in and zaps him free, then convinces him that the rope just breaking is an act of God.  Behind the scenes, Noah watches as the other half of the agent team as Elle tries to provoke Gabriel to manifest his powers.  Noah comes off as the bad guy here, refusing the possibility of any good existing in Sylar, while Elle finds hope as Gabriel’s suicide attempt turns him into a nice, kind person.  She ends up going along with Noah, and succeeds in unleashing the killer in Gabriel.

The Petrellis
Flashback eighteen months, the Petrellis are a whole family showing the first signs of the massive division that’s just around the corner.  There’s shady deals going on between Arthur and Linderman, and Nathan gets pissed off, blaming their dealings when his wife nearly dies in a car accident.  In an effort to shake him off their tail, Arthur and Linderman orchestrate a scenario whereby Nathan “accidentally” discovers he has powers.  Arthur must impose his mind control onto Angela to reliably keep her quiet, but Linderman lets her know what’s really going on by healing her mind woudns, and she decides to use the Haitian to control Arthur and poison him so receives a fatal heart attack.  Ah-ha, but little does she know Arthur arranged to have a fake body cremated, and we see how he survived all the way to the present. 

So apparently we find out that Claire’s mom used to be an agent with the Company, accompanied by a non-powered individual by the name of Thompson, going around and kicking ass, rehabilitating villains into agents.  They eventually catch Flint (the blue-fire psychopath from the original breakout a few episodes again), and we find out that the two are brother and sister.  When the three get involved in a train crash that lets Meredith go free and Flint lying near dead in the burning train crash, we discover that the dude Claire originally saved all the way back in the first season.  Seems like this episode is enjoying tying a whole bunch of sorta loose threads back to the beginning.

Hiro and Ando
After steeping us in nothing but flashbacks for an hour, Heroes knows we need something to tie us over to the next episode, and in two quick swipes it does this: After Hiro wakes up, he and Ando find African dude’s head lying just a few too many feet away from his body, and next thing you know Arthur has his hands clasped around Hiro’s head while our young Asian hero screams as loud as he can.   “To Be Continued” flashes across the screen.

This episode should satisfy both those who have disliked Heroes’ recent turn to more complexity as well as those who enjoy the labyrinthine turns the mythology takes.  It clarifies the mystery and much of the confusion without seeming like a cheap flashback trick – the overarching themes are starting to become more clear; and we’re seeing more clearly the connections and differences between Pinehearst and the Company. Noah’s repetitive, “Sylar is a killer, he always will be” – is getting on my nerves, though. It’s starting to look like it’s just a stunt to drag the episode and the whole series on – but now that we’ve seen Noah as the good guy who won’t give the bad guy a second chance, I think it’s time to see something different. This episode is mostly for thinking and enjoying the characters –not a lot of cool whiz bang stuff happens, but it’s a nice breather before we get right back in to the deep end of what’s happening presently – Heroes does that – every now and then they’ll give you an episode to mull things over, and this is that episode.  It’s especially crucial if you’re to have any understand of what’s to come next, though I suppose that’s true for any Heroes episode these days.