On his quest to figure himself out, Sylar finally gets in touch with Claire. He creeps out the whole world (or at least the few people still watching) by making out with her so he can use Lydia's powers to figure out how she connects. Turns out she doesn't know either, though, so he pep-talks her about how much she needs to connect with Gretchen. She does, and she's happy to finally hold hands and laugh. That doesn't solve Sylar's loneliness, though he does figure out his powers are the problem. Then he heads to Parkman's, where he shows up and ominously talks to Janice and Matty, which ends the episode.
Hiro drops a glass and ends up in a dream world where he's on trial for abusing his powers for personal gain. The best part is that Adam Monroe is representing the prosecution (the world), and the judge is Hiro's father, Kaito. It's nice to see them both again, and especially the beautiful David Anders. Hiro ultimately pleads guilty in his head as Ando tells him to fight in surgery to remove the tumor back in the real world. In his brain, his father gives him his sword back and he fights Adam. Still not tumor-free, though, he sees his mom and thinks she's there to take him to heaven. But she says destiny doesn't want him to die yet, so she heals him. In his dream. But let's hope there's an actual explanation, too, such as the doctors removed the tumor while he was dreaming.
In the only other storyline of the episode, Samuel tries to convince Vanessa he loves her even though he kidnapped her. He shows her the house he built for her, and she loves it and kisses him, but wants to leave. She says this fantasy is his, not hers. He lets her go, but then ends up so angry, he Sunnydales an entire town as the carnies watch from afar. So now he's evil. My problem (one of many problems, actually, but it's the biggest one) with all of this is that he seemed bad from the beginning, and now we're supposed to believe the plan he kept spouting off about was to win back Vanessa, and only her rejection will make him want to destroy the world. Whatever you need to tell yourself to make this somehow make sense, I guess, because it's definitely not going to on its own.
Previously (says Mohinder): Sylar made out with Lydia the Tattooed Lady and took her power. Samuel psychoanalyzed him, based on supposedly overhearing Hiro tell him he's going to die alone (but Samuel wasn't really there). Samuel hearts Vanessa, and she admitted to HRG that Samuel's a bit of a stalker. Hiro didn't want to change the past until Samuel talked him into it, and he went back to save Charlie and defeat Sylar. But now Hiro has a brain tumor. Samuel has something beautiful and magical to show Vanessa. Let's hope it's nothing sexual, because ... ew. Nathan died, and Claire was pissed that everyone lied to her about the fact that he was already dead.
College cafeteria. Claire's picking at her food, so Gretchen asks if she wants to talk about either life among the carnies or the death of her father. Claire doesn't know where she would start talking, so Gretchen tells her that's cool, but she's here if she needs anything at all. She puts her hand on Claire's, and Claire jerks away, pretending she is late for a study group clear across campus. Gretchen gloomily watches her walk away. Sylar doesn't wait before approaching Gretchen and asking if this seat is taken. Gretchen gives him a friendly smile even though a) he looks way too old to be hanging out with college freshmen and b) she doesn't like boys. Opening title card.
Bennet apartment. Hiro's drinking water, while Ando and HRG ask him if he's okay. We get an "artistic" shot of Mohinder through Hiro's water glass as HRG walks over there and asks him how it's coming. When the camera moves around the glass, we see on the table in front of Mohinder is a contraption that's supposed to be a homemade compass, and next to it our chyron: "Chapter Fifteen: Pass/Fail." Mohinder reminds HRG the compass will only work in the hands of a hero, but at least HRG has Hiro and Ando, because Mohinder broke a promise to a girl and has to get back to make amends. HRG spares him the "responsibility" speeches he's given this season to Parkman and Peter and just lets him go, off to his new show or whatever. Once he's gone, Hiro drops his glass and passes out...
He wakes up right away, but he's no longer in HRG's apartment, but at the Burnt Toast Diner. He looks around and sees Adam (whose appearance raises this episode's letter grade a full letter on looks alone), who greets him casually: "Hello, carp." Hiro points out Adam's dead and then wonders if he's dead. Adam says that's for the judge to decide. And the judge? Hiro's dead father. The trial is the world vs. Hiro, who has been accused of breaking the heroes' code by willfully altering the timeline for personal gain. If convicted, the penalty is death. Commercials. I hate Bing's vampire commercial, and if it makes all the tweens in the world decide to use Bing, well ... then they deserve a search engine like Bing.
College. Claire apparently wasn't lying about her study group, because she shows up in an empty classroom and asks if it's the review session. Sylar's at the blackboard with his back to her, but he turns around and says it's a study group. He flips the blackboard over, and it's covered in "Why Claire Bennet," which is weird considering he was with Gretchen when Claire left for here. But he had time to find out where Claire would be, go there, and write all over the blackboard like an obsessive stalker (which ... well, that part is at least accurate). He asks if she's ready to brainstorm, and she asks what the hell he's doing here. He came to learn, of course. What else would one do at college?
Carnival. Samuel's shaving, which is weirdly intercut with Vanessa waking up in the trailer and seeing a flowery dress. She puts her own jacket back on and comes out to find him shaving. He tells her the dress is a gift. Vanessa: "A gift? You kidnapped me." Not to mention bringing her to this place that you won't even tell her where it is. He smiles, and says this reminds him of when they were kids and he broke her record player. She says she remembers it too, and he's glad because he still wants to show her something, but first: breakfast. She says it always starts like this, but then breakfast turns into lunch, lunch into dinner, dinner into drinks, and then... He says he fixed her record player, with tape and good intentions, so she agrees to have something to eat, but then he has to take her home. He says fine. I'm still wondering why their "dates," or whatever you call it when your stalker shows up, always start with breakfast.
Hospital. Hiro's being wheeled in on a stretcher, and Ando explains to the doctors and nurses that the doctors in Japan said the tumor is inoperable. They tell Ando to wait, and he tells them Hiro's his best friend, so to please help him. As they wheel him away, there's sort of a weird (I can't decide if it's cool or not, so it probably isn't) cut where we hear Adam start talking as Hiro seems to wake up on the stretcher and look back toward the voice. Then we're in the courtroom as Adam (the prosecutor) tells the jury it's their attempt to prove that Hiro's guilty of bending space and time for his own personal gain, with a blatant disregard for the consequences of the space-time continuum. Hiro calls his dad "father," who tells him to please address him as "your honor." Hiro says this must be a bad dream or a tumor hallucination, so Adam would like the record to show that Hiro disrespects the court. Hiro says it's not a court, it's a diner. The waitress, Lynette, who works there, looks insulted. Hiro pleads not guilty and asks if he's entitled to a lawyer. Ando appears next to him, looking through files, confused, all "Punishable by death?" Monroe calls his first witnesses, who are Lil Kimiko and Lil Ando.
College. Claire and Sylar seethe at each other. She's mad he killed Nathan, but Sylar just sulks, "It seems like a lifetime ago. I'm a little off my game. You're going to help me get it back." He shows her the tattoo, and says it wasn't his choice but destiny. She can't believe he'd actually think she'd help him, and says she wouldn't even if her life depended on it, but he says it's not her life she should be concerned about. He looks over and her gaze follows his to Gretchen's messenger bag. Claire says, "Gretchen" as the clocks in Sylar's head start to tick audibly. Commercials. Flavor Flav uses Sprint; doesn't that make you want to?
Back in class, Sylar assures Claire she'll see Gretchen again as soon as she helps him. He makes a Sylar/Claire chart on the board to discuss their similarities: adopted, abandoned by parents who didn't want them and raised by parents who didn't understand them. Claire says her parents understand her just fine. He tells her to stop lying to herself, since both of their dads are cold-blooded killers while neither of them can be killed. She gets they have a few arbitrary (adopted, abandoned, and unkillable are arbitrary? I'm not sure Claire knows the meaning of that word) things in common, but what's his point? Sylar agrees with me that they're not arbitrary, but formative, building blocks, and theirs are the same, yet she's a "content college coed" and he's him. How'd they end up so different? She says the difference is he's a psychopath. She walks off with "mystery solved," but he finally uses his mind powers to pin her down. He says this isn't a joke, and she has to help him or he'll slice her roommate up (he actually asks if she cares how many filets he slices Gretchen into, which is an odd way to ask that question, but then, this is Sylar, and Heroes). He says that if she's not going to contribute, he'll take the answers from her head. She asks if he's going to slice her open again, and he says he's evolved beyond that since Lydia gave him her methods. He calls them a little "hyper-erotic," but then says, "Oh, what the hell? It is college isn't it?" He leans down and starts making out with her. I have to think that this scene made both of these actors want to kill themselves. It's the only way I can watch it without vomiting, actually.
Somewhere near the carnival, Samuel and Vanessa are at an ice cream parlor. She won't sit, but is wearing the dress he gave her. A waitress brings a strawberry milkshake over, and he says it's her favorite. She sits and says that was a long time ago. So he brings up the last time he crashed in her dorm room and they talked all night. Vanessa: "Among other things." He says she talked about her dream home: a peaceful cottage surrounded by nature and happiness. She first says that was the tequila talking, but then says he's such a romantic, something she's always admired about him. She says there comes a time when you realize you can't have that cottage. S