|First aired:||January 18, 2010|
|Written by:||Oliver Grigsby|
|Directed by:||Michael Nankin|
|Previous episode:||Close to You|
|Next episode:||The Art of Deception|
- Sylar tries to make a connection with Claire.
- Ando is desperate to revive Hiro, whose health has taken a turn for the worse.
- Hiro's virtues are put on trial.
- Samuel woos Vanessa.
|Dr. Puljos · Emergency room nurse · Tammy|
At Arlington University, Claire is having breakfast in the cafeteria with Gretchen. Gretchen suggests that her friend might want to talk, but Claire says she needs to figure it out on her own. Gretchen takes her hand but Claire pulls away so she can go to her next class. Sylar comes up and asks Gretchen if her seat is taken.
At Noah's apartment, Ando worries that Hiro isn't looking too good. As he drinks a glass of water, Hiro watches as Mohinder builds a new compass and warns Noah that it only will work in the hands of a special. Noah asks if he'll help, but Mohinder says that he broke a promise to a girl and needs to make amends. He bows to Hiro and leaves, then Hiro collapses.
When Hiro wakes up, he finds himself sitting in the Burnt Toast Diner. Adam Monroe is dressed in a suit and seated at a table. When Hiro wonders if he's dead, Adam says that's up to the judge to decide. Hiro looks to the judge's bench and sees his father Kaito Nakamura being seated there. Adam announces that the case is the World vs. Hiro Nakamura, and Kaito informs him that if he's found guilty, he'll be put to death.
Claire goes to her class and finds Sylar waiting for her. He's written her name on the board and says that he's there to learn.
At the Sullivan Bros. Carnival, Samuel is shaving outside as Vanessa wakes up in his trailer. When she comes out and accuses him of kidnapping her, Samuel apologizes and reminds her of a time when he broke her record player when they were children. When he invites her to breakfast and then say she can leave, Vanessa points out that it always starts that way and then things go on, and Samuel says that he ends up fixing things. Vanessa agrees to eat something and then tells Samuel to take her home.
Ando takes Hiro to the hospital and tells the doctor that Hiro has a brain tumor.
In Hiro's imaginary courtroom, Adam says that Hiro violated the laws of time and space for his own personal gain and with no regard for the consequences. Kaito asks Hiro how he pleads but Hiro initially refuses. He finally pleads not guilty and asks for a lawyer. Ando appears at Hiro's table and warns that it doesn't look good. Meanwhile, Adam calls a young Kimiko and Ando as his first witnesses.
Sylar acknowledges that Claire must hate him, but claims that he's off his game and asks Claire to help him. He reveals the tattoo of her on his arm and insists that it's destiny: he needs a friend so he can make a connection and not be alone any more, and somehow, Claire is supposed to help him. When Claire says she wouldn’t help him if her life depended on it, he says that it's not her life she has to worry about. Claire notices Gretchen's backpack nearby and she reluctantly tells him to get it over with. Sylar promises that Gretchen will be reunited with Claire once Claire answers his questions. He begins writing on the chalkboard, noting that they were both adopted and raised by parents who didn't understand them. As Sylar adds that neither of them can be killed, and both of their fathers are cold-blooded killers, Claire slips a pencil up her sleeve. Sylar explains that despite their shared formative experiences, they somehow ended up different. Claire gets up and tells him he's a psychopath. When she tries to walk away, Sylar telekinetically slams her down and says if she doesn't help, he'll slice Gretchen apart. He tells her he'll use Lydia's duplicated power to see in the depths of Claire's soul and get the answers he needs. Sylar touches her head and then kisses her.
Samuel takes Vanessa to O'Mallory's Ice Cream Parlor for breakfast and orders her a strawberry milkshake: her favorite. Vanessa says it's been a long time, and Samuel mentions the time he crashed in her dorm room. He describes how she once described her dream home, a quiet cottage surrounded by nature. Vanessa says that she admires him for being a romantic, but they'll never have that cottage. When Samuel wonders if she ever thinks back about their time together with fondness, she admits she does, just a little. They share the milkshake.
Ando stands outside as the doctors examine the unconscious Hiro.
Adam questions Ando and Kimiko, who describe the slushy incident. They identify Hiro as the person who interfered with the timeline and brought them together. Ando objects, insisting that Hiro helping two people to fall in love was a harmless act, and no one was harmed. Hiro agrees, but Adam asks if he considers it okay as long as no one gets hurt. Hiro agrees, and Adam summons his next witness: Sylar.
After absorbing her feelings, Sylar notes that Claire does the same thing he does: use her gift to build walls and refuse to connect with other people, including Gretchen. He talks about reading Gretchen's memories when he tied her up in the dorm room, and realizing that all the pauses between her and Claire were significant. Claire insists he doesn't know what he's talking about, but Sylar describes her as the invulnerable girl who won't leave herself vulnerable to someone else. Claire manages to grab the pencil and drive it into Sylar's eye, and then leaves to find Gretchen.
In Hiro's imagination, Sylar boasts that he's killed hundreds of people, and Hiro let him do it in return for saving Charlie. Hiro objects, insisting he tried to save Charlie without changing the timeline. Jackie Wilcox, the cheerleader whom Sylar killed, appears in court to demonstrate how Hiro's actions got her killed. Sylar starts to recite the names of people he's killed, but Hiro insists that Charlie was a good person and the world was better off with her in it. Adam calls Charlie as a witness, but she's lost in time and can't attend. Adam asks Hiro how it happened, and Hiro admits that Samuel double-crossed him, and Adam rests his case.
Back at the carnival, Samuel recalls Vanessa's fantasy home and notes that she described it in such detail that she made it seem real. Vanessa remembers the same cottage and Samuel shows her a drawing he made of it. She wonders how he manages to get past her defenses every time, and then leans forward to kiss him. They then go into the valley, now covered in plant life, and shows her the dream cottage he's built for her. Samuel invites her to stay with him there, away from everything. Vanessa is astonished but says that she can't live there, and never believed he would do it. Samuel says he did it all for her, but Vanessa says it's his fantasy, not hers. Samuel realizes he's gone too far and pulls away as she tries to kiss him.
Claire runs to her dorm room and frees Gretchen. The lights flicker and Claire warns that it's not over. The windows shatter inward and Claire figures that Sylar is trying to flush them out. They take refuge in a closet and Claire apologizes for pulling away from her at breakfast, admitting that she's afraid of being hurt and has built walls around herself. Gretchen says it's okay, but Claire realizes that Sylar was right about how they both want to avoid being alone, and neither one knows how to fix it. She describes how she hides behind her power, which is only one aspect of herself, and closes herself off to everything else. Gretchen suggests that for Sylar to become human again, he might have to get rid of his powers. "Gretchen" then transforms into Sylar. He explains that Gretchen is back at the cafeteria, and Claire realizes he never took her. He gets up and leaves. Claire runs to the cafeteria and finds Gretchen. She embraces her friend and says she's lucky to have her, and apologizes for pulling away in the morning. Claire says she wants to be more impulsive like Gretchen and then takes her hand. When Gretchen says people will start talking, Claire says she doesn't care and asks Gretchen to talk with her. As they go, Sylar watches them from a table.
Kaito tells Ando to call his first witness. Ando finally calls Hiro to the stand, admitting there's nobody else to testify. Hiro testifies that he has always wanted to be a hero, and that he used his powers only for good. So far he has saved the world without breaking his code, and refused to save his father. Ando asks what has changed, and Hiro explains that he wanted to create a meaningful legacy, and strove to put right what was wrong. He admits he made poor decisions, but it was to make the world a better place. For family, friendship, and love. Hiro admits that he may very well be guilty. Kaito declares him guilty…
In the operating room, the doctors try to revive Hiro.
In his imagination, Hiro gets off the operating room table as Ando, Kaito, and the others come in. Hiro bows to them and then walks past them down a long white corridor ending in a bright light. Hiro turns and says he wishes to change his plea to guilty so that he can go out with honor, as a hero. Kaito tells him to go, and the Kensei sword appears in Hiro's hand. Kaito tells him to fight, and Adam steps forward, similarly armed. The two men fight.
In the operating room, Hiro's life signs fluctuate as he fights for his life.
Adam tries to back Hiro back into the light. Hiro finally drives forward and kills Adam. His mother Ishi appears in the light and says that she's proud of him for what he's learned. Hiro admits that he couldn't fight the tumor, and he's ready to go. He steps forward, but she tells him that some things are more powerful than science, and he has a destiny to fulfill. She steps forward and kisses him on the brow, and uses her power to heal him.
In the operating room, Hiro comes back to life as Ando looks on in satisfaction.
At O'Mallory's, Samuel plays Vanessa's song on the jukebox and shoves the milkshake away. When the waitress comes over, Samuel asks if he looks scary. He advances on her and wonders if she holds him in contempt, and says that he will no longer try to fit into the world and play by its rules. He concentrates and the entire diner shakes.
The earthquake shakes the carnival as well. Everyone goes to the valley and watches as it sinks into the ground.
Samuel returns to the carnival, walking past everyone to his trailer and going inside.
Vanessa rides home, smelling the flower that Samuel gave her.
Claire and Gretchen talk.
Ando sits at Hiro's bedside.
Janice tends to Matt Jr. and hears a knock on the door. She answers it and finds Sylar there. He introduces himself as Gabriel, a friend of Matt's from the precinct, and asks where he can find Matt. Janice looks at Sylar curiously, and asks if they've met before.
"Objection, your honor, he's reciting the opening to Quantum Leap."
"He's had me trying to figure out what his issues are."
"Seriously? How'd that go?"
"Pencil in the eye."
"I like to think of myself as just a girl who happens to have powers. And it's just one thing in a list of attributes—loyal, friendly, regenerative, good skin, you know."
"You do have good skin."
"How many people have I killed... hundreds I suppose."
"And all of this because of an agreement you made with the defendant?"
"And as long as you saved his girlfriend you could kill some more, willy nilly."
- This episode had the least viewers of the entire series.
- The "courtroom" scenes are reminiscent of the video game series Ace Attorney, including the shouting of "Igi ari!" (the "Objection!" in the Japanese version of the series) by both Hiro and Ando. This goes with Hiro's "gamer/otaku" characterization.
- Similarly, the duel with Adam is reminiscent of the final battle of Final Fantasy VII, a swordfight between Cloud and Sephiroth in the former's mind for his life.
- In a list of her attributes, Claire mentions that she has nice skin, and Gretchen agrees. Hayden Panettiere is a spokesperson for Neutrogena's skiniD.
- Despite being a former series regular returning in a supporting capacity, David Anders was not credited as a Special Guest Star. Several other former regulars, including Leonard Roberts, Kristen Bell, Noah Gray-Cabey, and Anders himself, have been in the past. However, Santiago Cabrera was also just a guest star in Once Upon a Time in Texas, but he only appeared in stock footage.
- The song Samuel plays on the jukebox in O'Mallory's Ice Cream Parlor is "Lonesome Town" by Ricky Nelson.
- While Sylar was previously shown as being left-handed (and Zachary Quinto is left-handed as well), he uses his right hand to write on the board in this episode.
- "Bapst Hall" is a reference to a library in Boston College, which Oliver Grigsby attended.
- According to a blog post by writer Oliver Grigsby, all the jury and gallery members are actually extras who have been used in previous episodes to populate the Burnt Toast Diner.
- When Sylar is revealed in Hiro's dream courtroom, he is sitting in his "usual" spot, as seen in both Seven Minutes to Midnight and Once Upon a Time in Texas.
- According to Ollie Grigsby's blog, when Hiro is talking to Ando in the recovery room, the camera used to continue to pan down. It was revealed that the Kensei sword was under the bed. However, this extra scene was cut.
- The montage scene at the end of the episode shows Claire and Gretchen sharing a moment of laughter together. According to Ollie Grigsby, this was originally supposed to be a scene of Claire crying as she opens up to Gretchen. However, some footage was shot of Hayden Panettiere and Madeline Zima just being themselves, talking and laughing. It was decided to use this footage in place of the footage of Claire crying.
- This is the 44th and final appearance of the Symbol in the series.