Best episode yet. In the future, Parkman is a badass; Peter is a badass with a scar; and Mr. Bennet has new glasses. This takes place on the fifth anniversary of the explosion of NYC. We come right back where we left off: Hiro and Ando meet Future Hiro. In this time’s past, Sylar had killed Claire and became basically unstoppable, until he channeled Atomic-Ted and blew up half of NYC. FH has been trying to determine when exactly to go back and change the past as he knows it; when our Hiro confirms that Claire escaped Sylar, FH insists that Hiro and Ando return to 2007 and kill Sylar before he detonates. Then, Parkman – who works for Homeland Security – busts in with the Haitian and captures Hiro. FH and Ando teleport to Las Vegas to try to find Peter Petrelli to help them rescue Hiro from the government.
In Vegas, Niki is Peter’s girlfriend (DL and Micah were killed in NYC) and is for some reason dancing as a stripper in a bar she runs or owns. She angrily tells FH and Ando that Peter won’t help them fight, but relents to say that Mr. Bennet is still in Texas, “rustling cattle.” Back in the Homeland Security NYC HQ, Parkman reads Hiro’s mind and can’t understand why Hiro doesn’t remember all his “terrorist” activities (i.e. helping Heroes escape from prison, attacking government labs) of the past five years. Parkman calls the President to report; the future President is, of course, Nathan Petrelli. Nathan is meeting with Mohinder who has not found a cure for the Heroes: people with powers are practically another species – their DNA is coded differently. Nathan says: Fine, we’ve tried prohibiting them from breeding; we track them and keep them restricted, and yet we can’t control them and people are afraid of another Sylar; if you can’t cure them, we’ll have to go to Plan B. Mohinder is outraged: that’s genocide! and points out that the President is himself one of “them.” Nathan cattily says: I fly – I’m not dangerous. Hmm.
In Texas, Mr. Bennet is running an Underground Hero Railroad. FH and Ando show up and ask him to contact Candace (the shape shifter), DL (wait – he’s not dead like Niki thought?) and some others to help them rescue Hiro. Mr. B refuses at first, saying he protects these people and won’t endanger them, but seems to rethink after Ando mentions Claire. Cut to Claire who is stunning as a brunette (!!). She is also incognito as a waitress (in her old hometown? whatever) and engaged to be married. Mr. B stops by the café to tell her to leave town, as it’s no longer safe. She pouts, but sees his point. Back at the Underground Railroad, Parkman – who can move from NYC to TX pretty handily for a non-teleporter - attacks FH and Ando. Just as it’s looking dire, Invisible Peter appears, works some freeze-time-fu on Parkman’s team, and teleports Ando and an unconscious FH back to Las Vegas.
Mr. B ratted FH and Ando out to Parkman (I didn’t see that coming)! They have a deal: Mr. B tells Parkman about the dangerous “refugees” and then Parkman allows Mr. B to spirit away the harmless ones … like Parkman’s now-five-year-old son (we don’t learn his power). But wait: in another twist, Parkman double-crosses Mr. B, pulling Claire’s whereabouts out of his head and then – thankfully off-camera – shooting him. In NYC, Mohinder and Nathan check out FH’s timeline in the studio; Mohinder theorizes that FH is trying to go back to kill Sylar and change history. Nathan, however, doesn’t want to talk about the past: he has to deal with the present and is ready to get moving on his hero-cide. Parkman pops back in from Texas to say that he brought the President a present. It’s Claire, of course, and she has some sharp words for her father back at the Petrelli apartment, saying that he made people afraid of the Heroes. He retorts that they should be afraid, the Heroes are special and he, having met a lot of the Heroes, is the most special of them all. You see, folks, it isn’t Nathan at all: it’s Sylar who didn't explode - that was Peter as we've been told all along. Sylar has instead shape-shifted into "Nathan" for who knows how long (so then Candace isn’t alive, as FH had thought) and managed to become leader of the free world. Yikes. Just as Claire assimilates all this, Sylar gets down to the cutting off of her skull. I wonder how that’ll work with her regenerative power?
Peter, FH and Ando break into the HQ where Hiro is being held (and where Mohinder is preparing to kill him as per “Nathan’s” orders), while “Nathan” is on t.v. making a speech. Supposedly there’s some Hero-fu as Peter and FH defeat scores of soldiers with guns, but we don’t see any of it. Mohinder sneakily injects the Haitian with the poison, killing him instead of Hiro, and tells Hiro that it’s up to him to save the world, while somehow (also off-camera) FH, Peter and Ando make it upstairs past Parkman's team to join them. “Nathan” shows up, having been alerted by Parkman that Peter is in town. He and Peter begin to fight, Sylar morphing into his real self and both of them starting to go nuclear. Parkman shoots FH (I told you Parkman was a badass in 2012 – look at the body count!) and Hiro and Ando just barely teleport back to 2007, realizing now what the future holds.
10 minutes ago