Presently, Peter Patreli poses a peck of power problems. Four years in the future he has been branded a terrorist, given a sweet scar and a reservoir full of brylcream, and the ability to:
Read minds, fly, go nuclear, be invisible, walk through walls, control time, teleport, blue flamehands, paint the future, dream the future, that shouty-thing, ultra-fast, indescructible, immortal, turn fear into strength, and anything else I may be forgetting or that he may have run across in the time between present-day Peter and future Peter.
In short, Peter Patrelli controls time, space, and matter, knows the future, and cannot be killed. He is a God. This is because Peter Patrelli has the power to absorb all other powers simply by coming into brief contact with the possessor of the power. Stand next to him in the subway? He'll getcher power. You were his waitress? He's gotcher power. Power power power power power power power. Peter Patrelli.
So, Peter Patrelli presents a potent pickle, plotwise. To wit: How do you create tension when your main character is God?
Answer? Make him as dumb as a stale crouton. And not one of them fancy herbed croutons, neither. Those things are just loaded with flavor, no way he can compete with that kind of crouton.
Here is the story of Season three, so far, and I'll leave out all the ways that it flatly contradicts things we know about previous seasons. There is a formula which gives people powers that the Evil Parent Holding Company knows about and keeps laminated in two pieces, rather than destroying. The formula allows anybody to have powers. Mix formula, inject, done, you got powers. This gets out because Hiro is as dumb as bacon bits, everybody is going to get powers, as a result the world's population, unable to handle the new abilities, gets unstable and eventually splits the entire planet in half.
A scientist named Mohinder developed a version of the formula independently, and immediately tested it on himself, because he is as dumb as the rest of the salad. It gave him the power to be spider man for a day, then it gave him the power to have sex once, then it gave him the power to be a dick, and then it gave him the power to be Gollum. Join us next week for That's Our Mohinder! Wa, wa wa.
It's all drawn on rocks by a guy in Africa with a Universal Studios t-shirt on. He's read Carl Jung, but he's dumb enough to think that somebody would know Brittney Spears just because they were from the United States. Fun.
So here's what Peter does when he is confronted with the knowledge that the planet is doomed, doooooooomed! He goes back and time and tries to fix it. So far, so good. That's what you'd expect a guy with limitless power to do. But the problem is, Peter is as dumb as a crouton, so he keeps messing up. This is (we suppose) what makes him public enemy number one in the future. His final act is to go back in time to try to stop his brother from spilling the beans about super powers, which he as a person with godlike powers does by shooting him with a gun.
A crouton, folks. A stale one.
So, realizing that he has terrible judgment, Peter decides to get help. Somebody who will make better decisions than him. He goes and gets . . . himself. I would like to repeat this as though my name were Joe Biden. Peter Patreli realizes he has made awful mistakes in the past, so he passes the mission on to his past self. Who is the one person he KNOWS will make awful mistakes. Past Peter is also dumb as a stale crouton, but at least unlike Future Peter, he doesn't have the first clue what's going on!
The last thing that Future Scarred Peter tells Past Side-part Peter before getting gunned down is that the only way to stop what is coming is to visit Sylar and get his powers.
Now . . .Sylar's power is to absorb people's power. Just like Peter. The only difference is that Sylar does it by poking around in people's brains, while Peter does it just by standing next to you for a second. Not only that, but Peter has been in proximity with Sylar before, and thus already HAS Sylar's powers. It just hasn't mattered, because Sylar's power is the same as Peter's except scarier and grosser and, you know worse. Suckier. A suckier version of the exact same power. Like Window Vista. Of course, this is Future Peter's grand scheme.
In other words, the only thing that taking Sylar's power will give Peter is to make him a psycho. Which, of course, makes it more likely that HE is the one to blow up the world again. This is just a matter of record, my friends. And in this dangerous story, we need to look at record, not rhetoric.
So Peter goes to a rehabilitated future Sylar, who is doting on his son with an unspecified mother (I'm guessing it is Mohinder). But this week, we are pretending that Peter has to ACTIVELY absorb a power, and that people have a choice as to whether or not to give it to him, though we've seen this isn't the case in, oh, I don't know, every other episode.
Then the bad (good) guys -- that would be Claire and Speedy Gonz-crosseye and Fear Dude, show up to stop the good (bad) guys -- that would be Crouton and the Brain, and they have a showdown, which would be VERY dramatic if it weren't for the fact that Peter CAN CONTROL TIME HE CAN CONTROL TIME HE CAN STOP TIME HE IS INDESTRUCTIBLE AND SO IS SYLAR THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO EITHER OF THEM OH MY GOD OH MY GOD MY BRAIN IT HURTS SSXXXXXBGGGLEZZZZZ.
Luckily for the story, Peter forgets he can do this. Sylar's kid is killed. And Sylar goes nuclear. This does not kill Claire or Peter, because, you know, they are immortal, which makes me wonder yet again why Claire keeps pointing a gun and Unca Pete. The blast kills millions and convinces the population that super-powers are a menace. The government decides that the answer to the super power menace is to give a whole ARMY of people super powers, because NOBODY is more stupid than the U.S. government. This is the most realistic moment in the episode.
Poor Peter Patreli, punk'd by painted prescience.
Other notes as I soak my brain in ice water:
* Cool nuclear blast! Seriously. That rocked the casbah.
* The scene where Nathan flies up and catches ForgetHerNameIceLady is the worst-looking special effect the series has ever done.
* No way Future Peter is dead. They just have to dig the bullets out of him. I'd assume everybody knows that but, then, this is "Heroes."
* So now we know. Hiro actually is mentally challenged and operating at a high-functioning ten-year-old level, and Ando is in fact his hired nurse, whose main job is to keep him from swallowing his own tongue. Hiro just dug up Kinsei/Adam to get the key he needed, and let him out, despite the fact that (at the risk of sounding like a broken record) HE CONTROLS TIME AND THUS CAN DIG HIM UP AND GET THE KEY AND BURY HIM AGAIN MY GOD HOW STUPID IS THIS GOING TO GET?
* So, Adam is free again. I guess he'll be continuing his horrifying campaign of not dying.
* The scene between Future Peter and Past Peter. Wow, I never realized it before, but these are the two worst actors in the show.
* Ha, Parkman fell asleep and while he was out, his new African friend painted on his face. I had friends like that in college too. He's just lucky he doesn't have a big FAG written across his cheek in Sharpie.
* How does Future Parkman get to stay in Mohinder's dad's apartment, anyway? Why would he? Doesn't his speedster lady make decent kwan as a superhero government operative? Where is his wife? Where is his unborn baby?
As in last night's debates, common sense and sobriety are the true losers.