Hiro's life hangs in the balance as his brain tumor worsens, prompting him to subconsciously deal with some of his past decisions. Meanwhile, Sylar pays Claire an unexpected visit to get answers as to why he isn't quite himself. Elsewhere, Samuel's plan to impress his long-lost love, Vanessa, takes a terrifying turn.
- Previously on...: Sylar was suddenly questioning his evil ways and Samuel told him it was because Hiro had told Sylar he was going to die alone and that was haunting him. Samuel revealed a sketch of Vanessa, the love of his life, and she told H.R.G. and Matt Parkman that Samuel was stalking her. Samuel kidnapped Vanessa and told her it was for her protection. Samuel gave Hiro a chance to go back in time to save Charlie and he took it. Hiro had a brain tumor and Ando thought it was getting worse. Nathan died and Claire told H.R.G. she needed time to grieve.
Pass/Fail: Gretchen tried to talk to Claire and told her she was there for her if she needed anything, "anything at all." She put her hand on Claire's hand. Claire smiled, then pulled away slowly. Claire left for class. Sylar stepped up and asked Gretchen if Claire's seat was taken.
Hiro and Ando were at H.R.G.'s apartment in Washington, D.C., where Mohinder was putting together a compass device that he said would "only work in the hands of one of us." Mohinder left, saying he needed to make amends on his promise to a girl. "Then I guess this is it," Noah said.
"In our lives, when is it ever?" Mohinder asked. He left.
Hiro, who was watching the conversation through a water glass, dropped the glass and fell over, hitting his head. Suddenly, Hiro was sitting at the Burnt Toast Diner in front of Adam Monroe, who he believed to be dead. Hiro wondered if he, too, was dead. "That's for the judge to decide," Monroe informed him.
"Judge?" Hiro asked. Hiro looked up and saw that his father, Kaito, was the judge. The case was "The World vs. Hiro Nakamura," and Hiro was on trial for breaking the hero's code and "willfully altering the timeline for personal gain." If found guilty, the punishment was death.
Claire arrived in her review session with Professor "Yanno" across campus. When she arrived, Sylar was waiting for her with a chalkboard covered in her name, saying he was "Here to learn."
Vanessa woke up in one of the Carnival trailers and looked around, noticing a dress hanging there, out of place. She grabbed her jacket and purse and made to leave, but Samuel was just outside, shaving. He apologized to Vanessa for hurting her and promised to take her home. He said there was one more thing he still wanted her to see. He asked her to stay for breakfast. He told her he fixed her record player, which he'd broken way back in the day, and he'd given her a dress to wear. She agreed to eat with him, "then you take me home."
Ando hurried Hiro to the hospital as Hiro's dream trial continued. As the nurses wheel Hiro away from Ando, we see Adam Monroe step into the picture, segueing back into the dream. Hiro pleaded not guilty and asked for a lawyer. Ando suddenly appeared as his lawyer, but didn't seem too confident.
Claire told Sylar she wanted to kill him for killing her father. Sylar showed Claire a tattoo of her face on his arm and said they were destined to be together because he needed to make a connection. She said she wouldn't help him if her life depended on it.
"It's not your life you need to worry about," Sylar said. Noticing her roommate's backpack, Claire realized he was talking about Gretchen's. She agreed to help Sylar so he wouldn't hurt Gretchen. Sylar then started to list their commonalities. They were both adopted, abandoned by parents who didn't want them and raised by parents who didn't understand them. He went on to say that both of their dads were "cold-blooded killers, which is ironic, because you and I cannot be killed." He was writing this all on a blackboard and when he turned his back, Claire slipped a sharp pencil into her sleeve. Sylar insisted their commonalities were not arbitrary but formative, "the basic building blocks of our lives." He wondered why they turned out so differently. She told him the difference was he was a psychopath. "Mystery solved," she said as she walked away. Sylar knocked Claire over onto a couch from across the room and said that if she didn't volunteer her answers, he'd have to get them right out of her head. He said his friend Lydia gave him a new tool, which allowed her to see right into someone's soul. Snarking about college is for trying new things, he planted a long, deep kiss on Claire.
Samuel offered Vanessa a strawberry milkshake and wanted to stroll down memory lane. He reminded her of when they were in college and she described to him her dream home (a cottage). She said he was "such a romantic," then said everyone had to realize they were never going to have the cottage. He asked if she looked back at their time together with even a hint of fondness. She said nothing, but when he offered her a straw to share the milkshake, she accepted.
Back to Hiro's trial, a young Ando and a young version of Hiro's sister, Kimiko, were on the witness stand, being asked by Monroe, the prosecutor, about a slushy at a carnival. Ando said it slipped out of his hands, and Kimiko said it landed on a "strange old man." He pointed to Hiro as the strange old man and Monroe claimed that demonstrated Hiro's altering of the timeline for his personal gain. Ando objected, saying Hiro helped two people fall in love and there was no crime. Monroe seemed amused by this, knowing what Hiro had done to him 400 years ago (or in season 2) by wooing Yaeko away from him, and asked Hiro whether his definition of justice was "it's OK, so long as no one gets hurt." Hiro said, "Yes, that is my definition."
Monroe said that was good to know, because his next witness was ready. It was Sylar.
Back in the classroom, Sylar told Claire she'd been holding out on him. He told her they were the same. He said she does the same thing he does, using "this gift, curse, whatever it is" to build walls and stop herself from making personal connections with anyone else -- like Gretchen. He told Claire that she'd had so many interactions with Gretchen, yet couldn't say the one thing she wanted to say to her. "You keep this up, you might end up alone, too," Sylar told her. She slowly reached for her pencil and stabbed the distracted Sylar in the eye with it. She got up and told him, "You're right, you are off your game." She realized that in the course of his speech, he told her exactly where Gretchen was. She walked out as Sylar writhed in pain on the floor with a pencil in his eye.
Back at Hiro's trial, Sylar said he killed "hundreds" of people because of an agreement Hiro had made with him to save Charlie. Monroe told the jury that it seemed "a lot of people were hurt" as a result of Hiro's time tampering. Hiro shouted that he was trying to save Charlie, and Judge Kaito told him to be quiet. Sylar started listing the people he'd killed after his deal with Hiro. Monroe said saving Charlie was not for the overall good, but for his own. Hiro defended himself again, saying Charlie was a good person and the world was better because she was in it.
Monroe sarcastically called Charlie to the witness stand, but said she couldn't be there. He asked Hiro why, and Hiro admitted he "made a deal with a villain, and he double-crossed me." Monroe rested his case.
Samuel kept up his courtship of Vanessa back at the Carnival, reciting poetry to her. He then showed her a sketch of her dream cottage. She smiled and asked him, "How do you do it, every single time?" They kissed, then they strolled through the greenery and flowers Ian terraformed in the valley earlier as Samuel showed her the dream cottage, saying, "my friends and I can do the most amazing things." He said they'd make it a real home if she'd have him. She said she couldn't live there, and that she didn't think he'd actually get her the cottage. She said the dress, the milkshake and the cottage were all fantasy, they were his fantasy. "But it's not me," she told him. "My life isn't here."' She went on, "Don't tell me this was all for me." Then Samuel, embarrassed, said it wasn't and said he'd take her home. She tried to kiss him some more, but he pulled away and just said, "It was really nice to see you again," as he walked away.
Claire raced across campus and found Gretchen bound and gagged in their dorm room. Claire apologized for getting Gretchen caught up in her mess. They hugged and Gretchen said she was just thankful it was over. But the lights flickered and went out. Gretchen realized, "It's not over, is it?"
"No, it's never over," Claire replied as the window exploded. They ran, looking for a place to hide. They slipped into a dark closet and Claire again said she was sorry for keeping Gretchen at arm's length. She said she did "want to" but was just scared. She started telling Gretchen about how she was building walls, just like Sylar said she did. She confessed she was afraid she'd end up alone the way he said she would. Claire went into a speech about how she always wanted to think of herself as a normal girl who just happened to have these powers. She realized she understood why Sylar was so messed up, because he had so many excuses.
"Maybe that's his answer," Gretchen replied. "In order to become human again he has to get rid of all of his powers."
Claire agreed, "Yeah, maybe." Then she looked up to see Sylar sitting where Gretchen had been. He said he never took Gretchen and she was probably right where Claire left her. Sylar said, "I told you, I've been having a little trouble being myself." Claire went and found Gretchen, who was just fine in the cafeteria, with the exception of the fact that "some guy" had stolen her backpack. Claire told Gretchen she was "really lucky" to have her. Claire apologized for pulling her hand away and said she wanted to hold Gretchen's hand. They walked away as Sylar looked on with sad eyes.
Hiro's trial commenced and Ando was asked for his first witness. After a long pause, he called Hiro, who answered Ando's questions. Hiro said he did not rob banks or make himself famous when he discovered his powers because he vowed to only use them for good. He said he'd saved the world -- twice. He also noted that he didn't even break his code to save his murdered father. When Ando asked what changed, Hiro said he was weak and desperate for a meaningful legacy. He then fell victim to the bad man's con. "I found myself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong," Hiro said. Monroe objected, saying that Hiro was "reciting the opening to 'Quantum Leap.'" Hiro admitted he used poor judgment, and despite the disastrous effect, "it was to make the world a better place, "for family, for friendship, and love. And if breaking my code for those things makes me guilty," Hiro confessed, "then I supposed I'm guilty."
"So be it," his father said. "Guilty." Back in the hospital, doctors were trying to save Hiro, whose heartbeat flatlined. With one last jolt of electricity into his chest, Hiro stood up and saw doors open, the dream's operating room suddenly empty as Ando looked on. Hiro stood and walked toward the doors, flanked by Ando, his father, Monroe and the jury from his trail. He walked toward a bright light. He stopped, turned around and told his father he wanted to change his plea to "Guilty." He said if this was the end, he wanted to do the right thing and go out with honor.
"Go my son," his father said, the Kensei sword suddenly appearing in Hiro's right hand. "Fight for your honor."
The crowd parted, clearing the way for Hiro to go back into the O.R., but Monroe stood in his way, holding his own Kensei sword. Hiro battled Monroe in his dream, with Monroe trying to push Hiro closer to the light and away from the O.R. doors. Ando, in the real world, was speaking encouraging words to his friend, encouraging him to fight. "You are Super-Hiro," Ando said. Hiro unleashed a flurry of swings and finally landed a fatal stab into Monroe.
Hiro then turned and saw a colorful silhouette of his mother in the light. She told him she was proud of all the things he's learned. He said he thought he could fight the tumor and beat science, "but I can't." He walked toward the light and said, "Mother, I'm ready to go." She told him that some things are bigger than science, like destiny. He realized she wasn't there to take him. She was there to heal him. She stepped toward him and took his face in her hands and kissed his forehead. She backed away slowly as Hiro smiled. In the real world operating room, Hiro's pulse was back.
A dejected Samuel went back to the ice cream parlor, sat at the table he'd shared with Vanessa earlier and pushed away the milkshake glass. A waitress came and asked him if something was wrong and Samuel went off on her. He asked her if he scared her, and said she was looking at him like he was different. "Looking down your nose at me like I'm not good enough," he shouted. He said he was trying to change himself to fit into her world and play by her rules. "From now on, you're going to play by mine."
He slowly raised his fists, shaking the building to its core. The ground was also shaking at the nearby carnival, which was perched on a high hill overlooking the valley town. As Lydia and the other Carnies watched from their view of the town off in the distance, we could see that he'd created a massive sinkhole, swallowing the town, whole.
A silent montage followed, showing Claire and Gretchen talking by candlelight in bed, Hiro smiling at Ando in his hospital room, and in LA, Janice Parkman playing with her son, Matthew. Sylar shows up at Matt Parkman's house, greeting her and Matthew with, "Hey, buddy." Matt wasn't home, but Sylar lied to Janice he was a friend named Gabriel from the 12th precinct. He said it was important that he speak to Matt. She gave him a curious look and asked, "I'm sorry, have we met?"
To be continued...