Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Heroes episode recap – “The Fifth Stage” S4E11 (airdate 11/30/09)

Sullivan Bros. Carnival. Lydia finds Samuel and tells him that she knows the truth about what he did to Joseph, but promises to keep his secret in order to protect her daughter (whose storyline has really been only seen online or during those 60-second spots). Some random carnie comes up too, as Samuel has asked him to be his right hand man what with Edgar gone AWOL and all. This new carnie, Eli, is a Multiplicity-type of guy, and also a guy-liner kind of guy. His first assignment: Samuel wants him retrieve some files from Benet’s apartment.

Benet’s apartment. Ol’ HRG is making notes on the Samuel Sullivan investigation when he’s interrupted by a knock on his door. It’s Kate (Lauren), all decked out in fancy theater-goin’ clothes. Before they can leave on their date, however, Kate catches a glimpse of his investigation board. He looks for Samuel’s compass to show her and finds it missing, realizing at once that his daughter has taken it. This gets him pretty upset – he leaves an urgent message on Claire’s cell – and Kate realizes they won’t be going out tonight. She even offers to use her CIA contacts to help triangulate Claire’s cell phone.

Which is parked in Gretchen’s car outside the Carnival. The girls are leery but head towards the gate … until Claire starts to get cold feet, worrying that she shouldn’t do this. Gretchen encourages her to keep on this path and then, suddenly, Samuel is there, welcoming the girls and soooooo glad that Claire decided to come.

NYC, hospital. Angela finds Peter and tells him that although there are five stages of grief, he needs to skip over denial and get right to acceptance. Peter is on a mission, however, and has actually planned ahead enough to ask the Haitian over to borrow his power-negating power. That’s pretty smart, actually. Angela, frustrated, asks what if Nathan is no longer in there to save? Peter: “Then I’ll just have to settle for revenge.”

After the commercial, Samuel takes the girls on a tour, handing them free passes for the whole night. Claire asks Samuel what it is she’s supposed to be seeing here. He says that the Carnival is just “the show part of the business,” a way for his family to support themselves. He gives them each a box of “the best popcorn in the world” and tells them to enjoy themselves, walk around, meet his family.

They wander into the freak show tent where the first person they meet is Lydia. She tells them to ask a question and take her hand. When Claire does, Lydia’s swirly back tattoos show a picture of Claire, in a circus costume, with a sign that says “Indestructible Girl.” Claire scoffs, like I’m going to be part of the show? “This isn’t the future, Claire,” intones Lydia, “it’s your desire.” Gretchen and Claire get creeped out and leave.

NYC hospital. In an elevator, a large female nurse with dreadlocks accosts Peter, shape-shifting back into Sylar and grabbing Peter by the neck. When the elevator doors open, Sylar throws him into a wall, then dumps out the bag of sedatives that Peter had been carrying. As Peter runs off to hide in an under-construction portion of the hospital, Sylar sneers, following behind. Peter sneaks up on the bad guy and whacks him in the head with a 2x4. Sylar tries to TK him away but nothing happens, thanks to the Haitian’s borrowed power kicking in, so the battle turns into a non-superpowered slugfest. Finally, a bloodied Sylar still can’t keep his mouth shut, and asks if Peter’s going to beat Nathan out of him. Peter picks up a nail gun: “Something like that.”

Ah, a little Christ-imagery! Peter nails Sylar’s hands to a board then slams a couple nails into his thighs for good measure. Sylar gets a little nuts, saying that Peter’s going to need a lot more nails in that thing. So Peter tosses the gun away and says that he’s got the Haitian’s mind-wiping power too, and he’ll just strip away everything that isn’t Nathan. “I’d like to see you try,” grunts Sylar. And then, in remarkably short and undramatic (aside from a shrieked “Kill me!” from Sylar) order, Nathan is there and Sylar is gone.

Carnival. As the girls walk, Claire starts to be charmed by what it would be like to live in the Carnival, while Gretchen just thinks it’s kind of skeezy. When Samuel rejoins them, Gretchen is very nearly rude to him, wanting to leave. Claire, however, wants to see what life is like behind the curtain for the Carnie-Heroes.

Washington, D.C. Benet and Kate are getting frustrated with their inability to track Claire down. Benet takes this opportunity to feel sorry for himself, saying that he’s driven everyone away with his obsessive need for control: Sandra, Claire, Kate. Even though she doesn’t remember (due to the Haitian’s mind-wipe), he tells her that they had had feelings for each other; when she doesn’t believe him, he tells her that she “Haitianed” herself. Unfortunately, she’s a little cross about this revelation and not so hot for him now. There’s a knock on the door: it’s Eli, claiming to be an “emissary” from the Carnival. Benet doesn’t intend to let him in but he multiplies and suddenly there are Elis all over the apartment. All hell breaks loose as Benet and Kate dive for hidden guns. They barricade themselves in the bathroom to reload but when they come out, guns blazing, the Elis – and all of Benet’s files – are gone.

Carnival. Claire and Gretchen watch as Samuel entertains the Carnival’s children with a story. Gretchen is still being Debbie Downer but Claire is becoming more and more enamoured with the place. Then – surprise! – Doyle (“the Puppetmaster”) shows up, dressed in a blue tuxedo and still calling Claire “Barbie.” He’s nice, and enthusiastic, and really wants to talk to her later about how great it is at the Carnival. Claire, slightly taken aback but pleased to see that Doyle seems to be in a better place, says yes. Then Samuel invites Claire to tell a story to the children. While she does, Gretchen approaches Samuel and asks just what it is the Carnival wants with Claire. He says that this world is brutal and hard, but his family can offer her love.

NYC. Nathan wipes the blood from his palms, telling Peter that he’s exhausted, that he doesn’t think that he can keep fighting Sylar anymore. Peter puts his arm around him and suggests that they get some air.

Back at the Carnival, Claire finishes her story and one of the little kids gives her a big hug. This tender moment is interrupted when an irate customer barges up to Samuel, demanding his money back for being gypped at a ball-toss game. Samuel tries to talk him down and the irate customer just starts punching. Samuel refuses to fight back, taking hit after hit without even raising his own fists. Unable to take any more, Claire steps in between the men and for her trouble gets slashed across the face with a broken bottle. As the cut heals right in front of the irate guy, she growls, “You can’t hurt us.” The guy bolts, freaked out and much less irate. And Samuel staggers to his feet with a grimly smug expression.

The Petrelli brothers make their way up to the roof of the hospital, and reminisce about S1E1 when Peter threw himself off the roof in an attempt to harness his newly emerged power. Nathan looks BAD. (Ooh - do you think this foolish show is going to take an actual stand and REALLY kill off one of its man characters? Gawd, I hope so.) Nathan whimpers that he’s sooooo tired and just he can’t fight against Sylar anymore. He staggers, groaning, Sylar struggling for the upper hand. “I’m sorry, Pete,” he says, then lunges over the side of the building. Peter grabs his hand in the nick of time but Nathan refuses to help pull himself up. Then he calmly lets go of his little brother’s hand and poor Peter can’t hold him. And there’s more Christ imagery as he falls in Super Slow Motion, landing with a smash on a car far below. Then Peter watches, horrified, as Sylar heals himself and gets up off the wrecked car, giving a little wave towards the hospital roof before walking away.

Carnival. Claire washes the blood off Samuel’s face, asking why he just let that guy beat him up. He explains that, as gypsies, the path of least resistance is often the best choice for the Carnival folk. She sulks that it’s not right, but at least at the Carnival the Carnies can be themselves. Well, yes, he says, but there must be some way that they can be better, be more, not be second-class citizens any longer … and he thinks she might be able to help them get there.

When Gretchen starts walking back to the car, Claire tells her that she’s going to stay here for the weekend, to see what the Carnival is really like. Gretchen is actually not annoying and says she understands, giving her friend a hug. “I’ll see you Monday,” Claire promises. “I hope so,” is Gretchen’s reply.

Samuel and Lydia watch the two girls and he promises her that he’ll make things right. Lydia isn’t so sure that Claire will be much help in his machinations, what with being so innocent and all. “It’s not her I’m after,” says Samuel. As Gretchen drives away, the Carnival shimmers out of existence, and the camera pulls back enough to show the dead body of the irate guy, now lying in the bed of his pickup truck.

Blah blah blah – Samuel is speechifying again. He tells the Carnies that they are on the verge of coming into their own, even finding a permanent home - they just need to gather a few more folks. He smiles at Claire and she smiles back at him

Previously on Heroes / next time on Heroes

P.S.  - I wasn't paying attention after the show ended so if there is a "next time on Heroes" next Monday, the recap will be late because the Mouse In-Laws are coming to visit and it's rude to recap with houseguests.

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