We’re back to the present at the start of this episode, shrieking at the top of our voices at Claire to NOT tell her dad about her abilities. It was such a nice little don’t-ask-don’t-tell arrangement… You just know Protective!HRG is going to come up with some dumb thing that he thinks is necessary to keep Claire safe. Then again, I get why he’s kept up the normal façade. And oh boy, the Weepy Blonde Moment-of-the-Week goes to Claire as she cries in the kitchen. Breakin’ my heart, Hayden: those single tear drops are masterful.

They totally had me going there with the scene between Nathan and Peter in the jail cell. I was right where I usually am, thinking Nathan needs some quality kumbaya time and that Peter is too sweetly innocent for his own good, and BAM! No more Nathan, it’s Sylar sitting next to Peter on the cot. Nice jolt at the outset of this episode.

Nice initial conversation between Sylar and HRG. And I like that they let Sylar be a little beat-up after that fall in 1x09 Homecoming. He seemed to waltz away from the high school a little too easily at the end of that episode, and I was beginning to fear they were falling into the trap of making the villain a little too indestructible. The hairpin turns of the conversation are handled very well by both actors as Sylar reveals he knows Claire is HRG’s daughter. HRG’s cool confidence slips a little and Sylar plays up the creepy with his description of “sweet, innocent, ripe, indestructible” Claire, only to have HRG again gain the mental upper hand with his repeated use of ‘Gabriel,’ prompting Sylar’s momentary meltdown: “My name is Sylar!” I like the far-away echoing of the clock at the end of this scene, as if the sound itself were locked behind the glass with him. Knowing the character as well as we do now at the end of the second season, it makes Sylar’s captivity in this episode even more affecting. Zachary did a really great job of playing a caged animal, pacing, mostly calm, but willing to throw itself at the cage walls when provoked.

I’m always impressed when a shot involves a bunch of mirrors and the camera is skillfully still out of view and not caught in any reflection (watch the opening shot of Peter being questioned by Matt and Audrey). I also really like the crossed-wires sensation Greg and Milo play when Matt tries to read Peter’s mind. The moment is shot well, too. Another good Greg moment comes when he attempts to listen in on HRG and Claire’s discussion with Audrey.

Alrighty. This comment continues on from what I said in my review of 1x09 Homecoming. There is just way too much chemistry between Claire and Peter for me to be comfortable with later storylines. The way they look at each other in Peter’s cell had me thinking at the time that we were in for an epic romance between these two, which disturbed me a little even then, considering he’s got to be at least 24 and she’s about 16. His “I like you, Claire,” and her follow-up “You’re totally my hero,” are just kinda gross now. Also, Milo does a great job gradually adding in more and more clues to his physical overload and ultimate collapse. Very smooth increase throughout the episode, and I appreciate that they didn’t have him running around completely fine one minute and in a coma the next. The make-up is good, too.

My heart breaks for Claire when her one true friend in the whole world is suddenly gone… Zack’s memory wipe made me so angry. Sort of the feeling you get when you watch someone lose a million dollar lottery ticket, or the feeling you get when your computer blue-screen-of-deaths on you and you lose your entire pharmacology review document (Toshiba Ruth, I’ll never forgive you). Like, how could this possibly be happening to me??

I love the shot of Sylar sitting still and quiet in the dark of his cell. Very pretty shot. And the little monologue that follows is so well put that you just know Sylar had been sitting and meditating on the subject, practicing the speech and biding his time until he saw Bennet again. I like how he likens his hobby of collecting special people to Bennet’s, and the “We’re going to take you apart, Gabriel,” from HRG is bone chilling. Another tidbit: later in the series they have a lot of shots where both the face in the foreground and way in the background are in sharp focus, but I like this scene with HRG in focus while the unfocused Sylar monologues in the foreground. Also a good choice, I think, to have Sylar remain perfectly still through the entire thing.

When The Haitian grabbed Claire I started freaking out! I was going to be so pissed if they wiped her and we had to start all over again with her (nope, that’s next season... sigh). And we get to hear him talk! Jimmy Jean-Louis has such a great accent, and I love that they kept him silent and mysterious for so long without being uptight about it. Having him speak to Claire is nice here, and lo and behold, suddenly we have a reason for Claire’s mom being so vapid and vacant all the time. No wonder the woman is two-dimensional! She’s been wiped more times than a baby’s bottom! Now I dislike HRG even more for what he’s done to his wife. Bastard. What gives you the right? Nice line: “Tell me, Claire… can you keep a secret?”

I’m a bit of a painter myself, and it cracks me up when they show Isaac with paint all over him, smudged from head to toe after he’s painted something. I manage to keep pretty clean, dude. Does the absurdly messy paint flinging come with the white eyes? Also, nice Ando line in that scene as he looks at the painting of Hiro facing a dinosaur/dragon: “Change the future? You’re going to die!”

I like that Eden tries to put things right in the end. She began as such a wild child, following no rules at all, and I think it’s nice that after working with The Company (read: Satan) she’s so fed up with evil that she’s ready to confess all her sins and try her hardest to make everything right that she perceives she’s done wrong. Poor chica. What I don’t understand is her discussion with Sylar in his cell. He knows she has the power of suggestion because of their rendezvous in the woods outside the high school, and he just now places her as Chandra Suresh’s neighbor? How does he overpower and ignore her power of suggestion? And he’s suddenly got his abilities back because The Haitian is out getting chatty with Claire? And what does he mean by “You knew what I was and you let it continue”? Let what continue? And did she really know what he was when he was visiting Chandra? Because Chandra didn’t think he was very special, and Eden was getting her info from him. And her final redemption could have been awfully cheesey, but I thought it worked well without being martyr-y or over-the-top preachy on her part.

Just as Peter is starting to look like walking death, Nathan stops in to yell at him. Jackass. But Peter’s collapse and subsequent dream/vision were very well done. (Side note: I love the popped collar on Milo.) The collection of all the heroes in slow motion as Peter explodes is one of the prettier sequences of this show. Really a beautifully put together two minutes. We’ve been light on some of the characters’ storylines for the last two hours, and it’s great to bring everyone back together, highlight the pivotal people, and set up the season finale extremely well. Kudos on continuity and forethought, guys. Very nice job.

Bits and Pieces:

* I love how the bullet phased through DL’s head. Very cool. But I will come back to this idea in my review of 2x08 Four Months Ago.
* Oh, how I love the Vulcan greeting Hiro gives Isaac when they finally meet!
* DL should just walk around with a big ol’ red and white bulls eye on him. This is #1.
* As much as I call Nathan a jackass, his character really is wonderfully complex. He does care, and it’s evidenced by the last 30 seconds or so of this episode where he’s obviously very concerned for his little brother.

Til next time, or visit my website for more reviews!