Samuel brings the carnival to Central Park and plans to bury its audience. Doyle puppeteers Emma into playing her cello and gathering a crowd, but Sylar overpowers Doyle and Peter confronts Samuel.
Hiro meets a 90-year-old Charlie. It turns out time-traveling Arnold ditched Charlie in Milwaukee in 1944, whereupon she got a job and started a family. Hiro is heartbroken, but the adorableness of the Mini-Charlie is such that he decides not to rewrite history just so he and Charlie can be together.
Claire and Noah pursue Samuel to Central Park after Tracy water-drills into their buried trailer and helps them swim to safety. Samuel is exposed as a power-hungry murderer, and Hiro teleports everyone away from the carnival, draining Samuel of his power and leaving him a broken man.
Claire decides it’s time the world knew about people with abilities, and, with a film crew broadcasting the stunt across the nation, jumps off the top of the carnival’s Ferris wheel.
SAMUEL’S ULTIMATE PLAN SPELLS DISASTER FOR THOUSANDS
In the climactic season finale, everyone bands together in an effort to stop Samuel (Robert Knepper) from taking the lives of thousands. Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) joins forces with his most unexpected ally to save Emma (guest star Deanne Bray). Meanwhile, H.R.G.’s (Jack Coleman) life hangs in the balance as he and Claire (Hayden Panettiere) find themselves trapped underground with oxygen quickly running out. Elsewhere, Hiro (Masi Oka) starts to come to grips with the decisions he has made and is called into action to help stop a disaster.
Greg Grunberg, Ali Larter, Zachary Quinto and James Kyson Lee also star. Ray Park, Deanna Bray and Elizabeth Rohm guest star. David H. Lawrence XVII, Harry Perry, and Todd Stashwick also guest star.
Images from the episode after the jump — SPOILER ALERT!
Peter discovers that breaking out of Sylar’s mind is more difficult than he thought. Time moves a lot slower in Sylar’s head than in the real world, so it takes several years in an empty city before Peter accepts that Sylar’s a changed man, at which point the two of them work together to knock down the wall trapping them inside Sylar’s head.
After Lauren stumbles into the carnival and gets her gunshot wound treated, Samuel tells Lauren he’s tired of living in the carnival and hiding what he can do. Then he tells Eli it’ll be the Greatest Show On Earth. Then he tells Claire he’s bringing the carnival to Central Park to make the world tremble before him. Apparently, after 18 episodes of keeping his nefarious plans to himself, Samuel wants to tell everyone about everything.
By way of a Damien Whammy, we learn that Noah was once a used-car salesman (!), that he had a wife named Kate, and that he and Kate were about to start a family when a TK-assisted petty thief killed her. This prompted Noah to become the badass we know today, although it wasn’t until he tracked down and shot an unrelated super that he came to The Company’s attention. After Noah then botched several assignments, The Company tried to restrain his aggression by encouraging him to marry some random waitress. Turns out said waitress was Sandra.
Claire finds this as outrageous as we do, but stands by her father, whereupon Samuel concludes she’s not carnival material and buries a trailer with her and Noah trapped inside.
Noah and Lauren plan a raid on the carnival. Claire tries to persuade Samuel to surrender, but Samuel uses the situation to his advantage by assigning Eli to gun down everyone at the carnival and making it look like Noah is the shooter. This gives Samuel an opportunity to take charge when chaos ensues, and after Lydia bleeds to death, Samuel fuels the carnival’s hatred towards the outside world and tells them it’s time to reveal what they’re capable of.
Sylar demands that Matt remove his abilities so he can be “normal.” When Sylar threatens to kill Janice if Matt doesn’t cooperate, Matt uses Maury’s old trick and traps Sylar inside his own mind. Given that Sylar is immortal, this means he’s going to be trapped inside his own mind for a very long time.
Peter has another dream about Sylar rescuing Emma at the carnival. After Angela reluctantly points him in the right direction, Peter shows up at Matt’s house, absorbs his ability and finds Sylar in the basement, buried behind a brick wall.
Peter goes inside Sylar’s head to rescue him so that Sylar can rescue Emma.
Hiro has a near-death hallucination involving a mock-court session at the Burnt Toast Diner. Adam represents the prosecution and brings Hiro to account for his many temporal screw-ups, and Papa Sulu finds his son guilty of using his abilities irresponsibly. Hiro accepts his fate and resolves to die with dignity, but when Papa Sulu grants him a sword to fight Adam and Mama Sulu shows up to heal him, it seems Hiro wins the battle in the real world and overcomes his inoperable brain tumor.
Sylar uses his Lydia-empathy on Claire, hoping to learn why she isn’t as screwed up as he is. It turns out she is as screwed up as he is, albeit without the psychokiller tendencies. Claire talks through her issues with Gretchen, and realizes that her ability has defined who she is and caused her to become emotionally closed off. Then it turns out that Gretchen is actually Sylar, which removes a lot of the impact from that conversation but at least affords Sylar the revelation that he needs to get rid of his abilities in order to regain… what, exactly? His humanity? His identity? His sweet, good-natured, kitten-loving, old-people-helping soul?
Are you serious, show?
Samuel takes Vanessa to an ice cream parlor and, after working his charm, takes her to the carnival’s Magik Valley, shows her the home of her dreams and asks her to move in with him. This, it seems, has been Samuel’s endgame all along.
Two words: Frolicking. T-Bag.
Not even kidding here.
Vanessa gently tells Samuel to get over his childhood dreams and asks to be taken back to her real life. After letting her go, Samuel returns to the ice cream parlor, goes berserk on the poor waitress and levels the entire town.
Determined to stop Samuel, Noah persuades Matt to help him track down Vanessa. They prize information about Samuel out of her, then use her as bait to capture Samuel. Samuel of course outwits them and brings Vanessa to the carnival.
Noah wants to rescue Vanessa but knows he’s SOL. Matt doesn’t like the idea of cult leaders recruiting his toddler son but knows he needs to have dinner ready on time. So everyone calls it a day, heads home and hopes for the best.
Angela has a dream of Emma playing her cello at the carnival and killing thousands of people. Peter wants to see this for himself, absorbs Angela’s ability and has a similar dream (including an image of Sylar claiming he’ll save Emma). He promptly attempts to derail upcoming events by smashing Emma’s cello.
Ando arranges for Hiro to be admitted to the same psychiatric hospital as Mohinder. Typical slapstick fare ensues, but after Mohinder’s medication is switched and his superstrength returns, the three of them break out.
Mohinder suggests that Ando unscramble Hiro’s brain by zapping his friend at close range with red lightning. This does not have the effect that many of us hoped for, but it stops Hiro from babbling and leads to the three of them teleporting to Noah’s apartment in time to put a stop to something awful.
Yes, by that, I do mean Noah locking lips with Lauren.
Peter attends Nathan’s wake and tries to pretend everything’s fine. Angela and Claire do their best to help him mourn, but Peter’s more interested in running off to stop a homicidal office drone who’s gunning everyone in sight. After another heartfelt speech, Peter gets shot and has to borrow Claire’s ability. You’d think he’d be wise enough to hold onto this ability, but he ditches it when the option to absorb West’s flight presents itself.
Noah captures Edgar and channels his inner badass to extract information on Samuel and the carnival. Lauren advocates a gentler approach, and the outcome is a map of the carnival and a strategy to overthrow Samuel. Edgar changes his mind, however, when it turns out that members of the carnival might get caught in the crossfire.
Sylar returns to the carnival with the aim to scalp everyone there. To his chagrin, he discovers that he’s impotent (the show’s word, not mine!). On an unrelated note (one would hope), Sylar gets a Magik Tattoo of Claire and decides to stalk her by hovering outside her window.
Samuel visits Emma and demonstrates how she can draw people to her with her music. Using this ability, Samuel recruits a super with the ability to revitalize plant life.
It turns out that putting grass in a valley is the dastardly plan that Claire spent the weekend trying to uncover. (Although the implication is still that Samuel’s world domination will follow.)
Nathan finally gets the funeral he deserved. Peter gives a heartfelt speech about playing ball with his brother, Angela cries, and even Simon and Monty show up to pay their final respects to their father.
Hiro teleports to Tokyo, rescues a bystander from a petty thief and babbles about the Enterprise, being a Jedi and finding the swamp monsters. Ando deciphers that Hiro wants to visit a psychiatric hospital in Florida. Then William Shatner shows up wearing a pink tutu and warns everyone of the impending Tribble invasion.
OK, so I made that last part up. But Papa Sulu would have gotten a laugh out of it. And the rest is true.
What exactly did Masi do to deserve this? Did he drown Kring’s puppy? Did he say mean things about Jeff Zucker’s mother? Did he scrawl obscene graffiti all over the offices at NBC? And after this episode, who could blame him for doing any of those things?
Peter absorbs the Haitian’s ability, blocks Sylar’s abilities and tortures him until he morphs back into Sylathan. Sylathan tells Peter it’s time for him to let his brother go, and after Peter literally lets go by letting Sylathan fall from a rooftop, Sylar reclaims his body and walks away.
Claire and Gretchen visit the carnival. After disagreeing over the carnival’s ethics and meeting Doyle (!), Claire tells the younger carnival members a story about a special frog (!!) and watches a disgruntled customer repeatedly punch Samuel in the face (!!!).
The gist is that Claire has decided to make this place home.
Samuel wants to recruit a lot more supers. To this end, he assigns self-replicating Eli from the graphic novels to steal Noah’s Primatech files.
Lauren finds out that she had herself Haitian-whammied and isn’t pleased.
Just to clarify: Sylathan is dead.
This time, there doesn’t appear to be any twist or caveat.
Peter and Sylathan join Angela for Thanksgiving, and finally prize a confession out of her about the Sylathan Debacle. We learn that Angela still has a heart beneath that steely exterior, although it doesn’t do her much good when Sylar reemerges and decides to make good on his promise to kill everyone involved in his out-of-body experience. Sylar scarfs down pie, kisses Angela (!) and comes moments away from slicing her head open, only to be stopped by Sylathan when he regains control of his body and flies away.
Lydia strips for Hiro and asks him to touch her (no, really!), and then they travel back in time and discover that Samuel killed Joseph. Who gets a cookie for calling it, like, 10 episodes ago? Well, a lot of us, but I’m one of them!
Samuel watches Mohinder’s film reel, gathers the carnies for Thanksgiving and responds to Edgar’s anger by pinning Joseph’s murder on him, whereupon Hiro saves Edgar’s life, stands up to Samuel and gets Damien-whammied. This leads to Hiro experiencing a few memory flashes, yammering a bit and then teleporting away.
Noah stalks Lauren at a supermarket and persuades her to cook Thanksgiving dinner at his apartment. Sandra and her new boyfriend show up, as do Claire and a playmate for Mr. Muggles. The dinner is fraught with tension, especially when Claire announces she’s planning to drop out of college, but the scene turns hilarious when Claire decides to be melodramatic and slices her wrist open.
Noah tries to dissuade Claire from a visit to the carnival, and Claire pretends to agree, but even when Gretchen shows up and makes amends with her, Claire remains determined to meet the murderous bunch. Oh, Claire.