Right. So the preview showed that this one is going to center on Parkman (FINALLY!) and Claire. Naturally, as they set up that GREAT Cliffhanger with Hiro last time, there's no indication he'll be in this episode at all. So... yeah. That's Strike One.
Strike Two is the fact that Matt is, once again, the series Butt Monkey.
Let's see if there's a Strike Three tonight.
PARKMAN/SYLAR'S MIND: Matt is making love to his wife. Sylar takes over, because he's a dick like that. The ultimate insult? Matt's wife - who, as has been noted before - is a total whore who cheated on him and broke his heart, gets off on the rough sex. Matt feels even lamer.
Matt shouts at Sylar and tells him that he can't control him. Sylar points out that Matt really can't fight back against him and that he's just becoming more and more erratic to everyone else's eyes the more tries to talk to Sylar.
Matt tries to get away from his wife and son before he hurts them. Naturally, despite everything she's seen in the last three seasons, she thinks it's an excuse to get out of trying to rekindle their relationship. He finally comes clean with her on the mind wipe. She tells him to stay there and she and Matt will go somewhere else... probably to call the guys from the funny farm.
Again, with everything else that has happened in their life, it is totally unbelievable to her that Matt could really be holding a bad guy prison inside his head.
Matt, showing uncharacteristic intelligence, tells his wife not to tell him where they are going. Sylar calls him on this and points out this STILL does nothing to get rid of him.
Matt tries calling Mohinder but, thankfully, Mohinder isn't answering his phone. And it is then that Matt discovers the key to keeping Sylar under control; booze!
Yes, heavy drinking makes Sylar weaker and as Sylar tries to taunt Parkman further (your wife said "why can't you be more like this all the time?" last night when I was doing her), Matt keeps drinking. And drinking. And realizes Sylar is afraid of dying (who isn't?) and howls in triumph as Sylar passes out, fades away and then Matt falls on the floor.... as his wife returns with the men from the funny farm.
No wait - it's Matt's AA sponsor. He tells Matt they need to start over, Matt agrees, goes into the next room to take a shower... and then Sylar takes over Matt's body completely, saying that Matt drinking himself into a stupor only enabled Sylar to take the driver's seat while Matt was passed out. Which begs the question of why Sylar didn't just do this while Matt was... you know, asleep.
Oh wait... because that wouldn't allow us the illusion of Matt showing basic competence for at least one episode and getting even ONE victory.
NOAH/TRACY/CARNIES/SYLAR'S BODY: Noah is trying to get Jeremy the Healing Kid from last time out of jail. Only problem is the sheriff has a vendetta and is out to see Jeremy swing. Noah calls in Tracy, hoping that "Aunt Tracy" can get the kid sprung where Noah the family friend couldn't.
Tracy has a heart-to-heart with Jeremy about know what it is like to lose control of a power, kill someone and feel guilty about it. Unfortunately, the Cracker Sheriff is still determined not to release the kid because - oh wow - some other teenagers said he killed animals for fun and his notebook is full of emo poetry. Noah points out that's hardly different from what most 17 year olds write but the sheriff refuses to budge.
Out in the street, Samuel shows up and talks with Tracy, somehow magically teleporting her to the carnival and telling her that it's the home she and Jeremy need. This is even lamer than it sounds thanks to some piss poor green screen work.
Samuel shows her around and sends her off with Lydia. Sylar/Nathan shows up and starts insisting that he knows Tracy and that he remembers having sex with her. Samuel insists that the memories he has aren't his, being unusually testy as he does so. Sylar/Nathan asks where his memories are then...
Somehow, Noah finally convinces the hick sheriff to let the kid go. I'm guessing a scene got cut here. He makes arrangements for Jeremy to go live with Tracy, not too far from him. Sadly, there's a violent mob outside the jail waiting as the emo kid is released, one redneck gets through the police to try and grab Jeremy... he dies almost instantly and rather than listen to Noah's pleas to heal the guy and save him, Jeremy goes back into jail with the cops who are pulling guns on him and freaking out.
As an aside, if this type of thing can happen at any time, anywhere, with who knows how many witnesses and the press covering things... how the hell did The Company keep superpowers quiet for so long?
One of the cops takes it upon himself to give Jeremy "the Jasper treatment", which Jeremy doesn't resist. Noah and Tracy find his bloody, dragged to death corpse in the middle of the town square streets an hour later. Tracy tells Noah never to call her again, pulls the compass out of her purse - it spins around to point east and Samuel shows up in town the next day, causing the police station to collapse in on itself as he causes a freak earthquake.
CLAIRE/GRETCHEN: Claire and Gretchen are about to talk about "the kiss", when they are kidnapped by the sorority elders. They are tied up, put in a car trunk and get to have the awkward conversation while in bondage. Somewhere, fan fiction is being written.
They get let loose in a slaughterhouse and are told they have to find some thingy in order to escape from Hell Week rushing. Problem is that the Slaughterhouse does seem to be rigged to be a lot more harmful than it should be and yes, I know that by any decent standard this is highly illegal and that no real sorority would ever do something like this without being shut down immediately.
There is more bonding and more death traps and I die a little more as I realize precious screen time is being wasted on this that could be spent on Hiro rescuing Charlie and messing with the timeline so none of this happened.
Long story short, The Evil Invisible Girl tries to kill Gretchen, Claire stops her but is critically wounded in the process and Claire's powers are revealed to two other sorority girls. Oh, and Evil Invisible Girl runs off after HER powers and identity are revealed.
The Final Verdict: So what did we learn? Don't be an emo teen in small-town Texas. Never join a sorority. And drinking booze will get rid of the evil voices inside your head.
At least the preview promises next episode will be All Hiro.