Welcome back, Heroes fans. If you’ve gotten sick of Good Sylar lately, this episode promises plenty of Bad Sylar for your guilty pleasure. Are you a Claire/Gretchen shipper? You’re in the right place. For the rest of us… I’ll try to make this quick and painless. It’s a rainy night in LA (that right there should tell you something weird is going on) there’s a nice fire going and the Parkman Manor windows are all steamed up. The episode title, “Strange Attractors”, is written on the window.
All we’re missing is Kate Winslet’s hand on the glass.
Sure enough, there are some Strange Attractors getting their freak on inside. Janice Parkman is taking a ride on the Sylar train. Before you can do more than throw up in your mouth a little, the scene is over and Matt’s waking up. It was all a dream! Or was it? Janice wakes up and makes morning-after eyes at him, so it was really Bad Sylar in charge last night and our Mrs. Parkman has a thing for bad boys. I think I liked Sylar better when he’d rather slice people open than do them. Remember when we all thought he was eating brains? Good times.
So that MacGyver trick HRG did that was supposed to make it look like Death Kid’s parents were killed by carbon monoxide? Yeah, not so much. Death Kid’s been booked by a local cop who’s seen a few too many episodes of CSI: Miami. He forgot the most important part though: you can’t do Caruso without the sunglasses.
So it turns out that Death Kid has a rap sheet, and Buford T. Justice isn’t letting him out of his sight. Death Kid can only be sprung by a family member, and oops, looks like he’s killed them all off. So sorry. HRG is useless without “one of them” for backup, so he calls Tracy and bang, she’s there in like 2 minutes. Maybe she should have come an hour ago and picked up Peter and driven him to New York, so he could save Hiro. Tracy is not interested in helping HRG do any bagging or tagging, but if she had doubts, wouldn’t the time to express them be before driving 400-some miles? Maybe I ask too much of this show. HRG promises this is a rescue mission, not an experiment.
It’s 4:40 am and Claire and Gretchen are lying awake in separate beds. They decide to have The Talk, because there’s no better time than four in the morning to have a serious conversation. Claire says her first girl-girl kiss “wasn’t bad” and that Retchin is a good kisser. That kiss was like a half-second peck. By that logic, my five-year-old boy is a good kisser. And if that grossed you out, then welcome to how my feelings on this whole dumb subplot. Then Claire drops the F-bomb(“You’re a great friend”) followed by the L word (“I like you a lot”), and BOOM, poor Retchin is DONE. In the midst of the carnage, the door to their room flies open. Someone breaks in and Claire tackles them. Rebecca the invisible evil chick is standing at the door. Is Forced Entry 101 still taught at college? I thought my school was the only one. Rebecca scolds Claire for going “all Buffy”, it’s just a little hazing, that’s all. At which point Claire decides to go back to sleep. Hazing is probably nothing if you have Angela Petrelli as your grandma.
So because the “friendship” conversation wasn’t awkward enough already, Claire and Retchin decide to continue it while kidnapped, tied up and locked in a trunk, Claire notes that “there are entire websites devoted to this.” I haven’t done the research, but if this guy can be a phenom on the intarwebs then anything’s possible. The conversation is put out of its misery by Rebecca opening the trunk and announcing “Welcome to Hell Week.” They’re in a factory, or more likely a meat-packing plant, with their heads bagged. They’re locked in for some kind of scavenger hunt. Claire is probably still dozing under that bag.
Death Kid, cooling his heels in jail and none too pleased with HRG, gets a visit from Aunt Tracy.
And somewhere under those bangs he’s probably glad she’s not really his aunt.
He doesn’t want Aunt Tracy to bail him out because he’ll just kill more people. Sorry to make light of the awful tragedy that is Death Kid’s life, but come on, this is Heroes we’re talking about.
Somewhere in Matt Parkman’s head, Bad Sylar proves he’s insane by saying Janice “is kinda hot.”
Only if you’re into Sally Field circa 1990.
“Enough!” yells Matt, which makes Sylar say “That’s the second Parkman I made scream today.” OK, that’s just gross. Matt takes a swing at him, which is just dumb. He’s in your head, ya maroon. Sylar makes vague threats of violence to Janice and Baby Matt, which is more like the Bad Sylar we know and love. Matt is really not doing so hot at this whole brain-warfare thing.
Set of Saw XVII
Claire may be bored with this Hell Week stuff, but Retchin is having the time of her life, as anyone who researches throwing cadavers out of windows probably would. There are two other girls with them, one of whom is saying “OMG” over and over. They come to a set of lockers with numbers painted on them. A sign says “When we were found will keep you alive.” That doesn’t make any sense. It is the kind of thing a sorority girl would write, though. Has anyone checked the demographic makeup of the writing staff lately? The OMG girl opens the wrong locker and gets a spray of blood to the face.
Didn’t we already do the whole Claire-is-Carrie thing way back in Season 1?
Someone wakes up Claire and she says to try locker number 24, because the sorority was founded in 1924. She knew that factoid because “my mom’s a former sister.” A statement that just sounds wrong until you consider Claire’s family tree. Retchin opens number 24 and finds a stash of bottled water. Good thing they found those. A college girl can’t travel across the room without a Dasani.
Please tell me you found some Crystal Light packets in there.
Hazzard County Jail
Since Death Kid won’t leave the jail, Aunt Tracy decides to sit and bond with him for a spell. She’s killed a few people in a blind rage in her day, in case you’ve forgotten. She shows him her power by turning her hand to water. Hey, can she still freeze things, or does the special effects department just like doing the water trick better? Meanwhile, HRG is still having no luck with the cops. They found Death Kid’s journal of emo lyrics. HRG correctly notes that half the songs on his iPod probably sound like that, which would be funnier if he wasn’t stealing my jokes. Suck it, Bennet.
Tracy is now fully on board with Team Save Death Kid, but she has to run out to Starbucks to get her pumpkin spice latte refilled. While calling around trying to get more backup, she runs into none other than…
How does this guy get around? Did he borrow her super fast car?
T-Sam gives her the same you-belong-with-us pitch he gave Peter a couple of episodes ago. This time he has some great visual aids to go along with it: he waves his hand and suddenly they’re in the middle of the carnival. I’m guessing it’s some kind of illusion. How does he do that? I’m not so sure the freakshow speech would work on people who are already afraid they’re freaks. Don’t most of them want to be normal? “What is this place?” asks Tracy, and you’d think it was the Emerald City by her tone of longing. “Home,” says T-Sam.
The other two girls (we’ll call them Shaggy and Scooby) decide to split off and leave Daphne and Velma behind. We know Invisible Rebecca is following them, because we can see her footsteps in the water. Nice effect. So how long has Velma been into chicks, anyway? “It’s not like I have to declare a major or anything.” Yeah, we get it, college, experimenting, yawn. Because we still have a few clichÃ©s to check off the list, Retchin asks Claire if she is a virgin (Gretchen isn’t, but Claire is, if you really care, which I hope you don’t). “Maybe we’re strange attractors,” says Retchin. She says a physics term for two particles that are different but are inexplicably drawn to each other. (This girl is not a virgin? I call shenanigans.) In the middle of the physics lecture, Rebecca sends a nasty-looking metal implement flying at them. Claire tackles Retchin out of ham’s way.
Do that again!
Meanwhile, T-Sam is wrapping up his cold call. Tracy’s totally not freaked out that a random stranger abducted her to a carnival, and what’s more, she’s of into this Highlander talk that all the Heroes are connected. Good Sylar watches from the background, probably wishing he was having as much fun as Bad Sylar is right now. Sam gives Tracy-what else-a compass, to find her way back home, and assigns Lydia to show Tracy the door. Lydia is like the equivalent of the hot girls that colleges assign to show football recruits around campus. They should think about getting need a new one. Good Sylar recognizes Tracy from Nathan’s memory, which bothers Samuel. He reminds Sylar that those are someone else’s memories. To which Sylar says “if this isn’t the real me, then where am I?”
No no no. It’s “If I’m not me, then who the hell am I?” Total Recall. Best Schwartzenegger line reading of all time.
Funny you should ask though. Off we go to…
Where The Real Sylar Is
Matt’s packing his bags and leaving his family behind, which he does about this time every season. (Things you can count on to happen once every Heroes season: Nathan dies, Claire is a freak magnet, Matt leaves home.) He tells Janice someone else is trying to control him and he has to get out for their safety. This sounds pretty loony even for Matt, but Janice takes it surprisingly well. Maybe Sylar was a little too good to her last night. Janice says no, we’ll leave, you stay here and work it out. So Matt grabs a beer and dials up his long-lost co-daddy Mohinder for advice. Mohinder isn’t there, of course, because he’s spent the whole season kidnapped by aliens or maybe Samuel has him stuffed in a cage. Matt has to leave a voicemail. Sylar does a funny imitation of Mohinder’s proper British accent. Looks like he’s getting drunk off Parkman’s beer. Who know Bad Sylar was a lightweight?
Team Save Death Kid
Whoever Tracy promised sexual favors to has finally come through, so Death Kid is getting out of jail at long last. Did they bail him out or were the charges dropped? If it’s just bail then he still has to stand trial, and how are they going to get around that? Luckily HRG has setup a new identity for him up in DC, which I guess takes care of that pesky plot point.
Back at the slaughterhouse, Claire puts two and two together and thinks maybe someone with powers is playing tricks on them. Maybe even trying to kill Gretchen, since Claire herself can’t be hurt. Implausible or not, Retchin totally buys it-probably because it makes her the center of attention. It’s official, Retchin has now out-Andoed Ando as Most Annoying Sidekick. They jump at a noise, which turns out to be Scooby and Shaggy back from their adventure. They team back up and Claire offers them the “treasure” if they find it.
Now that it’s dark enough in Georgia for the villagers to light their torches, they can finally let Death Kid out of jail. Just how many rednecks did Death Kid whack in this town? This is not going to go well. HRG starts to force his way through the mob when some big dumb guy up and grabs the kid who kills people with his mind. Death Kid goes all Maya on him, except without the black tears. HRG tries to get Death Kid to heal the guy who was too stupid to live. That was the last straw for Death Kid though, and he’s ready to commit suicide by cop at this point. He walks back into the jail. HRG tries to plead Death Kid’s case, but he kinda sucks at this. Cop-who-is-not-David-Caruso (although Horatio Caine sounds like a name a Hollywood writer would stick on a Georgia cop) says three people are dead and that’s all he cares about.
While HRG is arguing in vain, one of the cops has absconded with Death Kid into a dark alley. I fully expect Samuel and the carnival to appear just in time, but no such luck for poor Death Kid. He’s being chained up to a car bumper. Somehow he manages to keep his power under perfect control this time. It’s amazing what you can do when the plot requires it.
World’s Strangest Drinking Contest
After some increasingly slurry back-and-forth verbal sparring, Sylar finally passes out. Janice comes back to the house with Matt’s partner/sponsor/whoever. “I did it,” Matt tells them, just before joining his drinking buddy on the floor.
Probably not a viable long-term plan for containment.
The Mystery Inc gang stops at a sign pointing in different directions. Shaggy and Scooby want to go check the “kill house.” Velma and Daphne want to check the “prep room”. So they split up again. The “prep room” is full of meathooks. Can’t have a slasher flick without them. A teddy bear is hanging from one of the hooks. Kind of an anticlimactic treasure, huh? Retchin decides now is the time to finish the relationship talk, and is going to concede defeat, but Claire says she needs her-and Retchin gets all choked up. Not because of what Claire said, because Rebecca’s got a hook around her throat. Claire tries to fight back, but Rebecca impales her on another hook. Claire manages to whack her silly with a pole or something. Rebecca runs away just as Shaggy and Scooby come back again. They think Claire is dead until she asks for some help, and Retchin lets her off the hook. See what I did there? Shaggy and Scooby are a just a bit freaked out. Where’s the Haitian when you need him, huh?
HRG and Tracy finally decide to go looking for Death Kid and find him dragged to death in the middle of the road. Which has got to be just about the most awful way to die that I can think of. Ever since Chevy Chase left the dog tied to the bumper in National Lampoon’s vacation, that just creeps me right out.
DEFENSIVE SOUTHERNER RANT: Ever since they told us Death Kid was in Georgia, I figured they were going to pull a stunt like this. Somehow a cop dragging a kid to death on a well-lit city street is plausible because it happened in Georgia? The South: where our Snickers bars are deep-fried and our cops are bloodthirsty brutes. Thanks for that, Deliverance. OK, rant off. “We could have saved him,” says HRG. “He needed a home,” says Tracy.
How about using Claire’s blood now, genius?
HRG apologizes to Tracy for dragging her into this mess. I don’t know what for. He didn’t do anything wrong. What could he have done differently? I mean maybe he could have gotten Peter to teleport them ALL out of town and THEN take the kid’s power… um, yeah, big plot hole, moving on. Tracy starts to regurgitate Samuel’s speech about heroes all belonging together. “Don’t call me again,” she says. Tracy gets out the compass T-Sam left her. It stops spinning and points, straight to the carnival, no doubt.
When Matt comes to, Janice and the nameless partner are standing over him. Sylar is nowhere to be seen. Ha, now the partner thinks Matt really does have a substance abuse problem. Matt stumbles off to the shower in triumph. EXCEPT… do I hear clocks ticking? That can only mean… yep, it’s Sylar in control now. He was pretending to get hammered so Matt would drink himself under the table. This is why Bad Sylar is awesome and Good Sylar is just boring.
Samuel walks down the street all dressed in black and wearing cowboy boots, looking like he just stepped out of No Country For Old Men or any Stephen King book. He’s of a mind to kill him some hicks. He glares at the police station and knocks it down with an earthquake.
You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
I don’t know what Samuel is upset about. If he could pop in on Tracy and take her off to visit the carnival, why couldn’t he just grab Death Kid out of jail the same way? It’s at least as much his fault as Bennet’s that Death Kid is dead. But perhaps I ask too much. Anyway, that’s your Halloween episode of Heroes! Go eat your candy and get off my lawn!