So, it was nice of Glee to let Charlie come back to play tonight. To make this all easier for everyone – 98% of this episode is set three years ago in Texas, but under the effect of the consequences from Hiro’s insistence at going back in time to save Charlie. The term “butterfly effect” comes to mind and, in fact, is bandied about quite a lot in this episode. Also, apparently Charlie lived in the same town as the Benets when Claire was in high school and throwing herself off towers, being stalked by Sylar, cheering her little heart out, etc. Ain’t that a coincidence.
Picking up from when we last saw him, our Present Day Hiro time-travels/teleports back to three years ago in Texas, giddily watching Charlie through the diner window. We are treated to a short series of flashbacks to remind us of their doomed story: they meet; Hiro falls in love; and then, no matter what Hiro tries, Sylar kills her. The flashback over (but still three years ago), Sylar shows up at the diner - not recognizing Hiro of course because we’re three years ago and they haven’t met yet - and goes inside. “Oh boy,” says Present Day Hiro.
In the present, at the Carnival, an upset Samuel tells Lydia that Arnold (the Carnival’s time-traveler) is dying. Their family is shrinking and the graveyard is getting bigger, he laments. She reminds him that he thought Hiro could help them, but he’s not sure how he can convince Hiro to do so. They try taking a look at Lydia’s magical soothsaying tattoos, and learn about Charlie, and also Benet, Claire and Sylar – all connected. Samuel says that he must get back to the folks in Texas three years ago – imposing on a dying Arnold yet again – since desperate times call for desperate measures.
Three years ago in Texas. Sylar flirts with Charlie as he figures out her gift (remembering everything she’s ever read ever (I wish I had that power)), and also using his own see-how-things-work gift to tell her that he sees the blood clot in her brain. This freaks her out a bit. Then, Samuel appears and hustles Hiro, who is skulking behind a newspaper at a nearby table and eavesdropping Sylar and Charlie, off for a little confab.
At the other side of the diner, Benet hangs up his phone after getting a scolding phone call from Sandra about missing Claire’s cheering at Homecoming due to his job. We also learn this: Benet apparently has a different partner in this reality, she who played Kate the cop the first season on Angel … um, where’s the Haitian? There’s a little bit of flirtation between the two of them, more than flirtation, in fact, as Kate’s booked them a motel room. Benet gets another call and has to go; Kate says she’ll meet him at the office, disappointment evident in her face.
Samuel says that he’s here in this time to make sure that Hiro understands the magnitude of his potential actions. He reminds Hiro that at this point in time, all the Heroes are on specific paths … saving Charlie would be a huge change – is she worth it? Yes, says Hiro, emphatically. But oops – when he looks over at her, both she and Sylar have disappeared from the diner’s dining room. Hiro runs to the storeroom, finding Charlie opening a can and Sylar about to open her skull. Hiro freezes time and looks sternly at Sylar.
After the commercial, Hiro wheels a frozen Sylar out of the diner on a dolly (heh) and puts him in the cargo compartment of a Greyhound bus which he has also frozen. All this freezing is going to take a toll on him, don’t you think? Then he rushes back to the diner’s storeroom, taking time to primp a little. Then he pauses: if Charlie doesn’t get killed by Sylar, he won’t go back in time the first time to try to save her, and therefore they won’t fall in love with each other … and then I get confused with the time-travel stuff because Mr. Mouse is talking to me and I don’t have a DVR to pause things. So anyway, our Hiro goes into the diner’s restroom where Three Years Ago Hiro is washing his hands, and tells TYA Hiro that he must go back in time to save the waitress (what about save the cheerleader? says TYA Hiro but our Hiro doesn’t have time for that now) … and so TYA Hiro blinks out of sight to save the day. And then, I believe our Hiro calls his past self a moron..
At the Company Benet is talking to Isaac (remember him? and that little girl with the short hair is there too – what was her power again? I remember Sylar killed her …), asking for his help to identify Sylar because that wily murderer is after Claire. Apparently Isaac is not much help (I just don’t remember what happened the first time around and can’t be bothered to look it up for you, sorry). Later, Kate finds an upset Benet in the break room … and they kiss each other! Benet is cheating on Sandra with his mind-wiping blonde hussy of a partner? This reality sucks. WHERE’S THE HAITIAN??!!? Stupid Hiro-induced retcon.
Samuel, acting as loose end editor, reminds Hiro that Ando is sitting over there at a diner booth. Our Hiro tells Past Ando to wait for Past Hiro, no matter how long it takes. Then, he rushes back to the storeroom and gives Charlie a huge hug, asking her to come away with him. She giggles, incredulously – then the brain tumor kicks in and she starts spewing a torrent of random facts. Uh-oh - this isn’t going to be as simple Hiro thought: she tells him that her aneurysm has ruptured and she’s dying. “Not yet you’re not,” he says, and hops on his Vespa (where’d that come from?) back to the Greyhound station. He throws open the bus cargo compartment, only to find that Sylar is not there. Because Sylar is behind him, and crankily TKs him up against the side of the bus. Apparently Sylar is not a fan of bus travel. I hear you, man.
Sylar is super-annoyed at being treated like luggage and demands to know what Hiro did to him. Hiro instead asks him to fix Charlie before she dies. “You’re going to die,” growls Sylar (oh how I’ve missed growly Sylar!), extending an index finger. But Hiro freezes him, running out of range. They pretty much do this back and forth all the way down the street to the diner. Hiro, his brain tumor headache kicking in from all the time-freezing, finally promises to tell Sylar everything he knows about Sylar’s future if only he’ll save Charlie. They go back to the diner where Charlie is still sitting in the storeroom, shaking. Sylar tells her to hold still, snarking that he usually prefers more invasive procedures - and Hiro barks that if she dies, Sylar dies – and pulls the blood clot from her brain and out through her eye. Um, ick. There are tears and hugs between Charlie and Hiro.
Sylar just stands there, however, impatiently wanting to know what Hiro knows about him. Hiro tells him that he will kill many people, absorbing their abilities and becoming very powerful, but in the end it won’t make any difference. Other Heroes will band together against him and then Sylar will die alone and unmourned. Um, not quite, Hiro. Then Hiro says he wishes he could change the past but this is Sylar’s path. This is not quite what Sylar wanted to know, I don’t think – more details would have been helpful. Then Hiro teleports Sylar out into an alleyway, leaving him there.
Outside the diner, Benet finds Claire and they have a largely pointless scene together where she tells him she wants him to be happy. After she runs off to do cheerleading stuff, Benet looks ruefully at the motel key in his hand.
Kate is having a drink when he gets to the motel and pours him one. He takes a drink and tells her that he can’t do this – workplace romances never work. But she cuts him off, smiling that she’s had the human resources training. She says that this is more than just physical between them, and don’t they deserve a little bit of happiness? Benet sidesteps this, saying that he loves his family and even though he lies to them now, he doesn’t want to destroy the possibility that one day he could tell them the truth. He tells her that he needs her, needs her help with Sylar and with Claire. Kate sighs, yes, yes, I will always help you.
Charlie comes out of the diner looking a little pensive. She’s upset: she’d made peace with dying but this, this feels like cheating. How can Hiro be okay knowing that Sylar is going to kill all those people? She scolds Hiro, asking why she gets to live when so many others don’t. “Because I love you,” he pleads. “That’s just selfish,” Charlie snaps and walks off.
The Company. Kate (I’m not calling her Lauren) hands Benet an interoffice envelope. It’s got a motel key inside and she kids him a little about it. He’s confused, asking if they’re pretending that their conversation this morning never happened. Now Kate’s confused. He checks the envelope again and pulls out a note. It’s from her and says that she asked the Haitian to wipe her memory, saying that it’s better this way. Benet makes a thinky face, ultimately agreeing. So then what’s her power? She must have one because three years ago, the Company always did a “one of us/one of them” for their bag-and-tag teams.
A little while later Charlie finds Hiro and apologizes for her outburst. She thanks him for saving her life and tells him that she wants their happy ending together. Smooches! They leave the diner for their life together, Charlie a little ahead of Hiro … but she has disappeared by the time he gets outside and Samuel is there instead. He says that he has taken Charlie away to the Carnival in the future/our present. Hiro is furious and grabs Samuel’s shirtfront, shifting time and space to bring both of them back to the 2009 Carnival. The other carnies surround them, staring. Then Samuel ‘fesses up that Charlie’s not exactly here.
A frantic Hiro searches for her but instead finds Arnold, dead in a trailer. Samuel explains that Arnold was the Carnival’s time-traveler but his body couldn’t take the strain (he also had a brain tumor, just like Hiro’s); the last thing Arnold did, on Samuel’s instructions, was to take Charlie and trap her somewhere in time. This last act which killed him. Hiro is feeling manipulated but Samuel simply says that he needed Hiro to fix his own past transgressions – something that the other carnies wouldn’t understand. When Hiro gets vaguely threatening, Samuel reminds him that he is the only one who knows where Charlie is and Hiro must do exactly what he says if he wanted to see her again. “What must we do?” asks Hiro. “I made a mistake eight weeks ago,” admits Samuel.
Eight weeks ago: Samuel killed Mohinder. I just knew I liked that guy.
Previously on Heroes / next time on Heroes
4 hours ago