Claire hurries to the cafeteria and finds Gretchen on a couch with flash cards. She hugs her and asks her if she's okay. Gretchen says some guy stole her backpack, but she's fine. She asks why Claire's acting so weird, and Claire says she's just happy Gretchen's here and she's sorry about this morning. Gretchen says it's fine: "You know me! Impulsive Gretchen wants to hold hands so she does it." Claire knows, and loves that about her and wants to be more like it instead of being "beholden" (which is a weird word that I don't think Claire would use, and Hayden Panettiere's delivery makes me think she agrees with me) to any label or definition of who she's supposed to be. She wants to hold Gretchen's hand, so she does. Gretchen says people are going to start to talk, and Claire says that's fine, and she herself could use some talking if Gretchen still has a sympathetic ear. Gretchen, in fact, has two. They walk off holding hands as Sylar watches. Poor Sylar. Always the matchmaker, never in a match. Or something.
Diner Court. Kaito asks Ando to call his first witness, and he rifles through papers until Kaito asks him again. Ando calls Hiro, who asks if he hasn't ever seen Law & Order, since that always backfires. But he calls him anyway. He asks Hiro how long he's known the defendant and Hiro replies, "Seriously?" Then, "All my life." Ando asks what the driving force of his life has been, and Hiro says only to be a noble hero, not to be a celebrity or get rich, but to use his powers for good. Ando asks how that has worked out, and Hiro says, "I saved the world. Twice." Ando asks if he's broken the code, even to save his murdered father, and Hiro says he didn't. Ando asks what changed, and Hiro says he was weak and desperate, so he found himself a victim of Samuel's con. Hiro: "And I found myself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong." Adam: "Objection, your honor. He's reciting the opening to Quantum Leap." Close enough. Kaito asks Hiro to wrap it up. Hiro says he made mistakes, but it was always to make the world a better place, for family, friendship, and love. And if that makes him guilty, then he supposes he is. Kaito says "So be it. Guilty." as we cut back to the hospital, where his heart's stopped and medical types try to revive him. Ando watches from the viewing room, and tells him to fight. Commercials, including Greg Grunberg reminding us to take our prescriptions. Seems a weird PSA, but I guess there are a lot of oldsters watching TV (although probably not this show), and maybe they'd forget? Thanks, Greg.
Back in the hospital, a constant high-pitched sound and a helpful nurse remind us Hiro has no pulse. Ando watches, distressed, as Hiro sits up. He's still in the hospital, but everyone from Diner Court is outside the doors of the operating room. He walks toward them, and bows to Ando. They separate as he walks through and down a white hall. Ando, Kaito, the jury, and finally Adam follow him as he walks toward the light. He turns back and tells his father he wants to change his plea to "guilty." If this is the end, he wants to go out with honor, doing the right thing, a hero. Kaito tells him to go, "my son," then gives him his sword and tells him to fight for his honor. They all leave except Adam, who has his own sword. They fight in the hall as doctors work on Hiro in the hospital. Ando pep-talks him, telling him to fight, that he can do whatever it takes, that he's Super-Hiro. In the hallway, Hiro and Adam fight and fight until Hiro finally stabs him right in the gut. He's satisfied with himself, then we see an image behind him. He turns and sees his mother. They have missed each other so much. She's proud of all he's learned (she must have missed his ramblings of the past few episodes). He tells her he's ready to go with her, but she says he's not going, because there are things more powerful than science, like destiny. She's here to heal him, not take him. She puts her hands on his head and apparently does so with a kiss on his forehead. Which ... whatever. She's dead. He's dreaming. But we are supposed to believe this would actually heal him? God, I hate this show sometimes. Hospital. His pulse returns, and Ando's excited about it.
Samuel's alone in the ice cream parlor as lonely, strummy music plays. The waitress asks him if something's wrong, and he growls, "Yes, something is wrong." He asks if he's scaring her, if he looks scary. She stammers she just wanted to know... and he stands up and screams that he can see how she's looking at him, like he's different, like he's not good enough. He's done trying to change himself for her (not sure if he actually means her, though, or all non-heroes; he just says "you," which could mean he's crazy-talking to her as if she were Vanessa or that he's talking to everyone; I think it's the former), trying to fit into her world, play by her rules. From now on, "you're gonna play by mine." He clenches his fists and screams and the earth shakes beneath them.
Back at the carnival, everyone feels the earthquake. Lydia the Tattooed Lady leads everyone out, where they watch the entire nearby town crumble into a sinkhole. Just like Sunnydale, except, you know, not as sad or as cool. And ... there go any profits the carnival was making in that there location, since he just killed off what must be the majority of their clientele. Samuel stalks back through the carnival angrily as Vanessa rides away in a cab still holding onto the flower Samuel gave her.
Heroes music picks up as Gretchen and Claire laugh in their dorm room. Ando and Hiro talk in Hiro's hospital room. Janice Parkman plays with Matty. Then her doorbell rings, and she answers it. It's Sylar, who introduces himself as Gabriel, a friend of Matt's from the 12th Precinct. He asks if there's any way she could tell him where Matt is since it's really important. She says sure, but then, "I'm sorry. Have we met?" Have they met or is she just remembering the Sylon sex? Also, I think the music here is ominous, but since we know he wants to have his powers removed, is it really scary that he'd go looking for Matt? I mean, who better to remove your powers than the brain-controlling guy?
Next week: Sylar tells Parkman to purge him of his powers, or he'll use them, use them all. Claire tells Lydia (through touch, for some reason; if it were to keep it quiet, it doesn't work since Lydia says it all out loud) that her father's coming to kill Samuel and it's not going to end well. HRG's the carnival sniper, then Replicating Eli hits HRG in the face with a shovel. It's probably naïveté, but I keep holding out hope this show will get good again. But when the previews aren't even exciting, it's a sure bet the episode won't be.