Well, it's over. So it turns out that Bennet got Angela and Claire out of the car last time before he was captured, and after successfully escaping, Angela drops Claire off at the Capitol Building before heading off to find Matt, whom she dreamed would save Nathan. Matt tells her he came to destroy Building 26, but Angela convinces him that they need to rescue Nathan to save their future.
Sylar takes Danko's shape and, after explaining that he shapeshifted his weak spot to elsewhere on his body, frames him for shooting at his own men, and then uses that "knowing the history of an object" power to fool Claire into thinking he's really Nathan, so she goes with him to try to help. Meanwhile, Bennet and Danko find themselves sharing the same cell, and Danko admits that he effed everything up before they decide to team up, which could have been about the only truly interesting twist that's happened in quite some time. However, Hiro's recovered somewhat, although his power is still making him sick, and he stops time just before Bennet and Danko officially shake on their alliance. Hiro and Ando then find that room where all the Heroes are being kept, and free them and, unwittingly, Bennet and Danko. Mohinder warns Hiro that he's got to stop freezing time, but moments later, just as Danko is about to turn on Bennet by drugging him, which is disappointing but consistent, Hiro uses his ability again to save him and collapses. That's it for Danko and pretty much it for Hiro (although we learn he survives), which: Lame.
Peter finds the real Nathan (like, it took him longer to get to D.C. flying than it did for Bennet to drive there, show) and they go after Sylar and Claire, who have made it to the President's suite, wherein Sylar reveals himself to Claire (and Bennet, by phone). Sylar then talks at poor Claire for ages, which I suppose brings things full circle from the season premiere, while downstairs, Nathan reveals his power to one of the President's people before convincing him to let him and Peter up to Sylar, and the two Petrelli brothers head for a showdown with Sylar, which happens offscreen, like, what the shit, show? In the end, after separating from Peter, Sylar slits Nathan's throat, which as much as I've despised Nathan this season I was still quite afraid would happen. However, Peter has copied Sylar's power, and heads after him even as Sylar has taken the form of that staffer I mentioned earlier. Sylar catches up to the President (Michael Dorn again, which yay, for two seconds, which boo) -- BUT IT'S PETER, who drugs Sylar immediately. That was pretty awesome, I have to admit, although I wonder if Peter's going to stay a shapeshifter for any length of time.
And oh, is the aftermath screwed up, as Angela and Bennet charge Matt with using his power to permanently convince the drugged Sylar that he's actually Nathan, so as to cover up the fact that Nathan was killed by one of them, which would mean the end of their lives as they know them, or something. I guess this means Matt is the new Haitian, although it might have been better for them to ask Matt to use his power to RESTORE THEIR MEMORIES SO THEY'D KNOW THAT CLAIRE'S BLOOD CAN RESTORE THE DEAD. In the end, "Nathan" tells us that he talked the President down from the ledge…
…and then we get a preview of Volume Five, "Redemption," which starts six weeks later with a former Building 26 agent coming home and finding water in his apartment… which coalesces into Tracy, very much alive and pissed off enough to kill the guy, apparently. Also, a bit of Sylar seems to be surfacing in Nathan, which probably means this whole business was for nothing. And that's all we've got -- until next season.
So after a ton of previouslies, most of which are totally unnecessary, we start... by showing a bunch of stuff from last week, interspersed with stuff that's new but annoying, like Matt, who we left in the middle of a standoff in which he was protecting his family, sitting on a train. I mean, I guess I shouldn't be surprised anymore when the show leaves off on a tense moment and pretends it never happened next episode, but it's hardly worth getting irritated about when we next see Bennet, Claire, and Angela outside Arlington, Virginia, which has to be AT LEAST three days' drive from wherever the hell Coyote Sands is, so unless Peter decided to fly around the world the other way for some reason, there's no way this timeline makes a lick of sense, but anyway, we're actually coming in a few minutes before what we saw last week, as Angela awakens with a start in the back seat and says that Nathan's in trouble. But he's apparently not the only one, as Bennet pulls over and informs Angela and Claire that a "construction site" they just passed was a government setup, and there's going to be a roadblock upcoming, so the two of them need to get out. Once they do, he gives them directions to get to D.C. on foot, and hands Claire what's presumably an untraceable cell phone before telling her to get to Nathan and make sure it's him and not Sylar. Grandmother and granddaughter obey Bennet's orders...
...and then we're back to what we saw last week, with Bennet stopping at the roadblock and getting swarmed by commandos. Glad to know it wasn't a surprise, at least.
We now once again see Danko stabbing Sylar in the head and Sylar recovering, only this time Danko doesn't tell the guy on the other end of the walkie that he'll call him back, and I think I'm just wholly tired of the show at this point, but seriously: Which is it? Did he say it, or not? The way this show is so in love with its own supposed cleverness and high drama to the point where basic continuity is regularly ignored is just positively bewildering. Anyway, Sylar telekinetically throws Danko up against a wall as he explains that he used his shapeshifting ability to move the "off" switch in the back of his head somewhere else, and you're more than welcome to make speculative jokes about where on his anatomy said switch is most likely currently to be residing, but I don't want to talk about Sylar any more than is absolutely necessary, which is of course way too much to begin with. Sylar moves Nathan's unconscious form into an adjoining room and closes the door, saying he'll kill him later, but first he has to use that ability he mentioned last week -- the one that allows him to see the history of an object -- to absorb Nathan's memories, so as to be as convincing a Nathan as possible. Personally, Sylar, I don't think you have much to worry about, because if people ever stopped staring at Nathan's hotness and actually listened to the things coming out of his mouth, he wouldn't be where he is today, in more than one sense. Anyway, Sylar takes many more words than are necessary in order to convey his plan -- shake the President's hand and become him -- and Danko breathes that if he wants to execute that idea, he'll have to kill him now. WHY WOULD ANYONE EVER SAY THAT? Anyway, Sylar smirks and says he's got something else in mind before assuming Danko's form as the voices of the team Danko summoned become audible. Sylar then picks up Danko's gun, steps out into the hallway, fires three times. We hear reports of at least one man down before Sylar releases Danko from his invisible grip, and as Danko recovers for a moment, Sylar then switches to Taub, that agent Danko had him mimicking, and calls to the team he's got Danko, and seriously, how dumb are these agents that they don't notice Taub just randomly appearing and disappearing at the drop of a hat? But rather than point any of this out, Danko decides to accept the frame job with just a seething "You son of a bitch" sent Sylar's way. You'd think the reference to his mother would cause quivery lips and misty eyes in our serial-killing mama's boy, but we can only guess if that's the case, because like all of us, the title card is so over this season it's beyond expression, and speeds things along by finishing its S3 duties right here. I only wish I were in the same position.