Team-ups and ties that bind dominated “One Of Us, One Of Them,” as the episode stirred the pot with enough questions answered before heading toward the next set of plot points.
Stirring things up the most was, as ever, Mrs. Petrelli, as she uses “motherly” persuasion to maneuver Sylar into being Mr. Bennet's new Company partner, citing a need for “structure” so he can rehab and kick that pesky dome-slicing habit. His first day at school, er, work, is a mixed bag: young Gabriel gets a nice new suit and saves Noah from fear-fueled Knox, flame-throwing Flint and sonic-powered Jesse (freshly separated from Peter), but – naughty, naughty! -- Gabe can't help but help himself to Jesse's power, landing him back in his room at Level 5. For now.
In California, Claire's biological mother, pyrokinetic Meredith uses harsher methods to get her point across. While “training” Claire: Hot Mom uses her powers to choke Claire into admitting she wants to be a heroine mostly to get revenge on Sylar for upending her nerve endings during last week's premiere. Possibly out of shame, Claire subsequently runs away with a stack of Company files. Will she ask Daddy Noah or Actual Daddy Nathan to be her sempai?
In New Orleans, Tracy “What the hell is a Niki Sanders?” Strauss ditches working with Nathan to meet up with Micah, who confirms that Niki is a dead ringer for Tracy – literally; Niki is, quite creepily, still in a coffin in the living room. After being incredibly okay with this doppelganger of his mom showing up, Micah uses his ability to suss out that Niki and Tracy share a birthday, a birthplace and a delivering doctor, Dr. Zimmerman (Ronald Guttman) who, even more creepily, tells Tracy he “created” her. Yeah, because clones help every story.
Speaking of dissolving partnerships, Ando and Hiro continue to bicker. This time their disagreements, prodded along by Daphne the speedster costing them their half of Nakamura-sama's formula and landing them in the Company's clutches after a run-in with her benefactor, the Haitian. We learn the Haitian has been acting as a courier for Mama P, while Daphne, who seems more amused than intimidated by her Japanese “nemeses,” is acting as a freelancer. Will Hiro's lecture about using her powers responsibly force her to choose a side?
Parkman's “spirit walk” seems to steer him toward being proactive, as he discovers he's been the subject of a series of paintings by Usutu. After non-descript musings about The Future Not Being Set and all that, Parkman loses himself in a hypnotic trance similar to Isaac Mendez's after Usutu ... let's him listen to his Discman. Is he listening to Mohinder's voice-overs? Heavy, man! Overall, not a bad set of character moments, as the chess pieces start moving around the board, and other gaming metaphors.
Next Week: * Evil Sexy ClaireBear returns! * Peter & Peter: which one's the bullet-eater? * Suresh screws everything up – again! * Sylar ... cooking?
The Racialicious Scorecard: Knox: The defacto leader of the Level 5 escapees goes all Dog Day Afternoon specifically to kill Mr. Bennet for locking him up. Timely interference by present-day Peter Petrelli (trapped in Jesse's body) and Sylar stops him, but the murder of Jesse and his own re-capture give the erstwhile Ben Washington more than enough impetus for another shot at HRG.
Hiro & Ando: Like a pro-wrestling tag-team, miscommunication and continued losses are putting the strain on their partnership, and each of them is at fault this week. Ando gets sweet-talked by Daphne, but Hiro can't leave things alone after Ando's ad-lib briefly wins them the formula. Their combined wussiness lands them on Level 5 – and near Sylar and the Villains. Uh oh.
D.L: Still dead.
Micah: How plot-convenient, uh, nice is this kid? A stranger identical to his dead mom – who's in a casket in the house -- shows up and he not only doesn't freak out, he points her at the doctor who delivered or “created” both of them. And then he hugs her. No sign of Monica, which is annoying, given that she was, y'know, a semi-major character just last season.
Maya & Mohinder: Spider-Dope and La Llorona weren't featured this week, aside from Mohinder's weekly voice-overs. But don't worry: next week we get to see how Suresh screwed the pooch with his super-serum. If “Kill Mohinder, Save The World” is this season's clarion call, count me in.
Usutu: Even for a Mystical African character, Usutu makes the Haitian look like a motor-mouth. We learn he's been doing a This Is Your Life portrait series on Parkman, but not why. We get another glimpse of his precognitive powers, but no explanation for them (or why he couldn't use them to, say, move to a city) other than the hint that they're triggered by what he's listening to on his Discman.
Bridget Bailey: Such a nothing character there's not even an actress listed for her on imdb, but she is a woman of color, so we'll show her some respect. Bridget is a product of the show's online supplements. But all we need to know is: her power is to read the psychic “history” of an object ... until she gets literally fed to Sylar by Mrs. Petrelli. Nice knowing ya, Bridg.
The Haitian: Picks up the latest Doomsday Formula from Daphne on behalf of the Company and rebounds from a sucker-punch by Ando to (presumably) pimp-slap them into custody. Nice buddy moment between himself and Mr. Bennet to close the episode: “Am I being replaced?,” the Haitian asks. “Only for the moment,” HRG answers, eyeing Sylar like a shark would a tourist. Awww, Noah ...
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