Before we get started, I have to share this. I was trying to explain to a friend who no longer watches this show (like so many former fans) what's been going on this season, and this is what I said: "There are these carnies who all seem to have some sort of tattoo powers. One guy pushes ink into people's skin using either a pen or his hand, and makes it do stuff, but he says that his power is 'controlling the earth.' Carnie girl seems to be able to create (maybe?) or at least explain the tattoos ink guy puts into her skin. They also have a friend, who played Darth Maul, who is a super fast knife ninja guy. That's right. That's a power. And now there's a new girl who is deaf but can see sounds. Again, yes, that's a 'power' now. Oh, and Claire's doing nothing except falling for her creepy lesbian stalker. And Bennett, who is supposed to be awesome, is getting sucked into that college drama and doing nothing interesting on his own. And, of course, Sylar's still Nathan, or thinks he is and has shapeshifted into him. But Sylar's brain is apparently inside Matt's head so Matt has this cylon-type Sylar in his brain, who I'm calling Sylon. It seems Sylon's whole purpose in life is to get Matt to use his powers, which he tries and succeeds at in every episode so far. Mohinder's gone, which is great, except that they added so many even more ridiculous characters in his place. The end. Only it's not even close to the end." Can't that just be my whole recap, since there's really nothing more than that going on? No? Okay, then.Previously: Angela worried Sylar was emerging in Nathan. Sylar also was emerging in Matt's brain, in the form of a Six-style Sylon. Matt loses it -- as usual -- in his new job as an FBI agent. HRG's not sure he is the guy to help reform the Company. But he's still Claire's dad and giving her fatherly advice. She also has a stalker, who is completely annoying. The carnies came to be, and one of them met Peter, whom he told the carnie leader about, and his curiosity was piqued. Okay, then.
Claire's in her dorm room with a pencil in her hand lest we forget she's a student, and someone is pounding on her door. It's her stalker, Gretchen, and Claire's not answering despite Gretchen's desperate pleas. See, Claire's scared because Gretchen saw her heal last week and Gretchen's a crazy stalker so she's not giving up until she gets to be Claire's BFF or whatever it is she wants from her. (Do I even want to know?) The music is all ominous and creepy here, as if there's anything weird or supernatural about Claire's storyline.
Matt's looking at his sobriety chips when Sylon appears behind him, freaking him out. Then Peter tears his latest heroic deed from the newspaper. Is it wrong that it bothers me that he rips these out without scissors or anything but then they are all hanging very neatly and crisply cut on the wall? I mean, with this show? Of all the things to nitpick? I'll try to let it go. Anyway, he apparently saved a bunch of people from dying in a bus crash. How heroic.
At the carnival, Samuel is mixing up a fresh batch of ink or something. Whatever. He tells Lydia it's not for her; he's found someone he thinks might replace Joseph (his brother whose funeral we witnessed at the beginning of the season). Apparently Joseph was an empath. But it doesn't seem to have saved him from death, so it might not be the best power to have. Lydia wonders why Samuel would put on a regular white shirt, and he says he draws attention being himself. This show is acting like he was dressed all wacky or something before; he wasn't. He would fit in perfectly well in many places, including New York City, where Peter is. Anyway, Samuel complains about the suit as Lydia ties his tie and flirts with him. She'd be happy to "do whatever" he wants if he stays instead of going out trying to replace a person, which cannot be done. He really wants his compass, though, and is afraid he's lost without it. Wait, what? Didn't he get the compass back at the end of the last episode? He creepily says they have a need, and he has a candidate. "I just want to see if he deserves a place at our table." Please tell me they aren't going to eat Peter. Then he reaches into the jar of ink, which fills up most of the frame, and the chyron appears on the full ink jar -- "Chapter Two: Ink" -- then gets sucked up into Samuel's hand with the ink. All filled up with ink, he combs his hair as Lydia asks if he might go home while he's "out there." He says he left that life and doesn't want to go back. He wonders how he looks, and she says, "Like everybody else," at which he smiles gleefully and we get our opening title card.
At Peter's. A knock on the door reveals someone wondering if Peter isn't himself, the one who saved that cop's life. Peter's all, "Yeah." The guy thinks it's awesome, but then serves Peter with some papers and says, "I guess you need to be more careful when you're saving people, hero." Really? So, the guys who serve the papers actually get to read them? I didn't realize that. Peter reads the paper, shakes his head, and scoffs.
Close-up of an alarm clock, which goes off along with a vibrating bed. It's a blonde, and for a second I thought maybe the third Ali Larter triplet was deaf, but it's not her. It's someone else, with a cat that she loves and snuggles as she gets up and gets ready for work. Then she walks into the kitchen and we hear water dripping in the sink. She walks over to it, and looks closely. Tiny flashes of blue come from the drop as they hit the spoon. She smiles and then weirdly grabs the faucet and looks up. Huh? What the hell was that?
Matt and Rick Worthy are sitting in a van as Matt looks all shifty. Rick Worthy wonders why Matt's acting so weird, and Matt pretends he's just wondering why the judge hasn't issued that damn warrant yet. Then he comes clean and gives back his 30-day sobriety chip, saying he "used" and is being haunted by the ghosts of his past. Rick Worthy is like, "Dude! Stop with the whining and grow a pair!" Or maybe that was me. Rick Worthy takes a call and leaves Matt in the van to whine with his imaginary friend, Sylon, who's in the backseat. Matt sees him in the mirror, and he's all, "I wish I was [sic] a ghost. It would be so much better than this hell, being stuck in your miserable life. I mean, have you seen yourself eat a burrito?" I wonder if Greg Grunberg is okay with all of the fat jokes at his expense. Matt tells him to go away, but Sylon says the only way that will happen is if Matt lets him go. Matt says he's a cop, so he'll never do that, especially since Sylon's annoying but totally powerless. Which is different than Sylar, who is annoying and powerful. Matt says he'll just ignore Sylon until he fades away like a bad memory. I would like it if Matt would at least try to actually ignore him instead of talking to him nonstop and even looking for him when he's not there. Talk about annoying. Then Rick Worthy gets back in the van and tells Matt they got the warrant. He tells Matt he wants him on this job, but he has to know he'll keep it together. Matt says he's been clean for one day now and he's ready to do this.
Matt puts on sunglasses and they barge into the house. Inside, he takes the sunglasses off. So, basically a waste of time putting them on and now he has to carry them around. He's some agent. Rick Worthy's going to check downstairs and then Sylon's right there with Matt, everywhere he turns. Sylon ends up telling Matt where the drug dealer is and that he has a gun, just as the guy starts shooting out of the closet he's hiding in. Matt looks at Sylon, all, "What the hell?" And Sylon shrugs, "You're welcome."
Claire's reading a Biology book when someone knocks on her door. She actually gets up and answers it, starting to tell Gretchen she's tried to tell her... when she sees it's her dad. She's like, "What are you doing here?" But he reminds her that, "Hey, Dad. Thanks for bringing the housewarming presents" is a better greeting. He holds up the presents -- a fake fish tank and what appears to be a blanket or sleeping bag -- as Claire mockingly repeats what he just said. They hug and he tries to talk to her about her roommate, Annie, killing herself. Claire's sad about that, but she also misses her family. Even Lyle. Bennett wants to grab some lunch, and Claire agrees but thinks she should go get pretty first. Claire, you're on TV. The people in hair and makeup have already made sure you look pretty. Just go with him. Don't create a situation where you have to run into Gretchen to bring her into the scene. No one likes her. Not even you. Trust your gut on this. Bennett agrees, at least about the part where she already looks pretty.
She doesn't listen, though, of course (this is Claire), and next thing we know she's brushing her teeth. Which I'll point out is not the same thing as making yourself pretty. If she'd said she wanted to brush her teeth, I wouldn't have protested, because I haven't smelled her breath, and it might be quite bad. A guy walks by wrapped in a towel, presumably because she's in the boys' bathroom to avoid seeing her stalker. We get a close-up of her toothpaste spit and then Gretchen's voice: "So, this is your plan?" She's standing behind Claire and asks if she's just going to avoid her. Man, how I wish she would. Claire says she's not, and Gretchen stutters that she's amazed that Claire's even going to avoid admitting she's av