Last week I polled you guys about whether I should keep punishing myself and the world by continuing to watch Heroes. And you voted for punishment. Which is exactly what the episode "Exposed" was.

I kept asking myself what exactly it was that got exposed in this episode. Matt's freakishly orange tan? Claire's desire to kiss while being asphyxiated by an amphibious dude who eats sandwiches in her closet? The Bush presidency's evil plan to expand the Patriot Act (because apparently Bush is president in the Heroesverse)? No, it wasn't any of that. It was actually my brain catching wind after this mommy trauma scene with Sylar made my skull explode.

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I mean, c'mon people: How much mommy trauma can one special little geek boy have? Fer chrissake, in the first season, Sylar killed his step-mommy, the snow globe-collecting ripoff of the mom from Carrie who always undermined her little boy's steps towards freedom. Then in the next season there was his endless revenge on Mama Petrelli, who pretended to be Mommy Sylar and kept stroking his hair and doing that weird dry-mouth voice on him. And now he's FINALLY going to meet his real daddy, with his pouty new boyfriend in tow, and he at last unburies his traumatic memory of what daddy did to him. What is it? More goddamn mommy trauma! Turns out daddy Sylar sold little Sylar to a nice couple in a diner, then murdered mommy Sylar with the old "slash across the forehead" trick. Only cylons have more family dysfunction than this.

Unfortunately, Sylar's pouty mommy face set to the Fleetwood Mac soundtrack was the best part of this episode. Well, that and the part where he squashed boyfriend's face into the wall for saying that all parents suck. Because MOMMIES DON'T SUCK, OK?

Even Claire's mommy didn't suck. After she discovers that Claire is hiding a superpowered water-breathing boy in her closet to protect him from HRG, but not to have sex with him, she decides to help. Using a superpower she learned when she was a teenager trying to sneak into Def Leppard concerts, she helps water boy create a fake ID and gives him a new hoodie so he'll fool "facial recognition technology." Ooohh, good plan!

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The other part of mommy Claire's plan seems to involve going to the movies while Claire and water boy run away from the Hunter's guys who are spying on them (but not very well). There is a vague and inexplicable chase scene, which culminates in Claire and water boy making out underwater where he can breathe but she has to drown. So it was like waterotic asphyxiation, which is actually pretty awesome when I put it that way.

Everything else in the episode was a blur of Nathan arguing with The Hunter over whether the Government is really behind the Secret Patriot Act Thing they are doing with the mutants. Following a tip from Rebel, Matt and Peter break into the government building where HRG, Nathan, and Hunter hang out watching Windows GUIs in order to stop mutant terrorism. Supposedly our guys are looking for Speedy Daphne, but they get sidetracked when they discover some footage on one of the computers that shows all the mutants being rounded up and dressed in orange.

Peter downloads the footage onto a handy USB drive he just happens to have lying around, and then zooms off, leaving Matt attempting to mind-control everybody into submission. Turns out that Matt has a weakness we didn't know about, though: When he's mind-controlling, he's vulnerable to loud noises (huh?). So Hunter just uses flashy lights and loud noises to stop the mind control, drug Matt up, and cover him with bombs before dumping him in front of the Washington Monument. He wants to be sure that everybody thinks the mutants are terrorists, so he's engineered this whole scene with Matt and the bombs.

A scene that Matt has already painted with his new psychic comic book painty powers! Dum dum dum! Will Washington, D.C. burn to the ground? Will Matt burn up?

It's hard to say for sure, but we do know that Mama Petrelli has seen the future and the "game is about to change." At least, that's what she tells Nathan before whispering ickily in his ear. Are she and Peter playing Nathan, trying to get him out of the picture so the government will have one less anti-mutant toady? Or is Nathan about to go back to the good side now that he has that cute new haircut? Maybe it won't matter, because Peter has released the video of the orange prisoners to the media, who act all disapproving about warrantless arrests. Once again, this proves Heroes is out of step because he doesn't put it on YouTube and people who aren't bloggers pay attention to it.

I couldn't focus on that for too long, though, because in the most boring plot twist imaginable, the puppet master guy who tortured Claire and her mom shows up at Claire's house and steals her microwave popcorn. Then he shows her a message he got on his cell phone from "rebel," saying that Claire will save him. Will Claire save him, even though he still calls her Barbie?

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All I want is for Sylar to get his snotty boyfriend back so they can have scintillating conversations about how parents suck and the world is all pain. Honestly, somebody needs to write some slash fiction about those two right now. And then I need to beg that person to write the next episode of Heroes. Help me, fanfic community, you are my only hope.