Peter cries, and it's totally heartbreaking. He tells Nathan he can't do this without him, and Nathan says he can do anything. Peter continues crying, as Nathan smiles and tells him he loves him. Peter's losing him, so he manages an "Ah. I love you Nathan." And then he loses his grip, and Nathan falls. The show goes slow-mo here, and Nathan apparently gives up halfway down, because he transforms awesomely into Sylar on the way down. The effects are at least still good enough to do that. When Sylar lands, he gets up and walks away. Peter keeps on crying. It's very sad, very well-acted, but it means so much less than it could have if the show hadn't killed Nathan off already so many times. Anyway, commercials, including the latest Slow Burn, in which there's a funeral for someone who Amanda killed. Lydia says it's not her; it's this place and Samuel. But Amanda says this is the only place for her. They hug.
Back at the carnival, Claire's cleaning up Samuel post-fight as both Gretchen and Lydia watch. Claire asks him why he let that guy do that to him. Samuel says it's a choice he has to make to protect the well-being of the family. He says he could have defended himself, but that the path of least resistance is sometimes the best for the family. She says it's not right, but he says that's how it sometimes is, and that the two of them aren't that different. He says they're looking for ways to live their lives on their own terms. She says they've found this out here, but he says only if they lie, bow their heads, keep their mouths shut, let people punch them. He says he's been sold a bill of goods, how to be a second-class citizen, his whole life. It's weird that when he started this scene he had an Irish accent and now he doesn't. Why does he even need one? It distracts from the rest of this. Samuel tells Claire that she could help them figure out how to be something bigger, better. He tells her she's welcome to stay a few days and do some soul-searching before going back to school.
As Gretchen and Claire walk out of the carnival, Gretchen says this whole night has felt like a bad Fellini film. Then, "Whoo! Twenty-one-hour drive!" So she'll be back Saturday night. So, Claire could actually stay two more days and get back to school Monday night. In order to make it to class on Monday, she can only stay one more day. Gretchen asks if Claire wants the first driving shift, but Claire stops and says, "I'll see you Monday." She says she's going to stay a couple more days. She says she knows it's hard to explain, but she just... Gretchen finishes that she needs to see for herself, and she gets it. She saw Claire's face, how she looked at them like she belonged, like she knew them. Gretchen's never had that feeling in her whole life, so she's happy for Claire. They hug, and Claire cries the tears of someone who's staying longer than a couple days. Samuel and Lydia walk up and watch from the carnival gates. Claire tells Gretchen she'll see her Monday. Gretchen hopes so. As Claire walks back, Samuel tells Lydia he'll make this right soon and it will all make sense -- Joseph, the gathering of the others, all of it. She says he's gone to great lengths to bring Claire here, but she's awfully innocent and Lydia's not sure she'll serve a purpose for him. He says it's not her he's after. Then we get a weird close-up of Gretchen driving away as if it's her, but I think that's just so that the camera can pan over to show us the guy who punched Samuel is dead in the back of his truck. I think Samuel's after HRG. Or Peter.
Samuel sermonizes that his brother Joseph had the right idea. He believed that alone, this family would be safe. As he talks, we watch Peter return to his apartment and cry when his mother embraces him. Seriously. Milo Ventimiglia is doing some great work in this episode, and it's pretty wrenching. Samuel says that the idea has worked for years, but how long can they live like this, wandering in the desert alone. We see Emma playing her cello; Hiro, Mohinder, and Ando (!?) running through a jungle; and Sylar putting his black cap back on (although it looks like past footage to me, from "Once Upon A Time in Texas"), Tracy looking at her hands. Samuel says they should stop living in the shadows and be stronger, but the problem is there are too few of them to make a stand. He says if they're to truly be great, they need to grow and bring in new members, and the newest can't be shackled with the same burden of wandering. They need a homeland, and he keeps coming back to this very spot, where they're all standing. It looks like Joseph's grave site from the premiere, though where is it? Ohio? Ireland? He says they'll plant roots here, and build a life and community. They will be oppressed no longer. He says they will live life on their own terms. But none of that can happen until they've gathered the others. Only then will they return to this place, and wander no longer. They will finally be home. The camera pans around and we see a smiling Claire in the crowd. I think it's Ireland; otherwise why the accent? And how did they get there if it's really within two days.
That's it until January 4. Oh, and Chuck is back January 10. And the previews have been ... awesome! And prolific. And it looks like it will be on Monday nights with this show again, so I'll see you there.