I knew Monday night's episode of Heroes was going to be good from the instant that the "story so far" clips showed Claire's lesbian kiss with hot roomie Gretchen, King Jeremy's dead parents, and Head Sylar going apeshit. Spoilers ahead!
Also the episode had the greatest title ever: "Strange Attractors."
Before we could get to Claire's lesbian subsubsubplot, which is actually getting genuinely good because it's showing us a smart, competent side of Claire we never saw before, we had to endure the crappy King Jeremy the Wicked subsubsubplot. Remember that last week, HRG went out to find a healer kid named Jeremy he'd once "bagged and tagged." But it turned out that Jeremy had grown a flippy power, where his touch could heal or kill. And he'd accidentally killed his parents.
This little Jeremy detour was inserted into the story so HRG could try unsuccessfully to assuage his guilt for ruining so many mutants' lives. Turns out Jeremy is an unpopular kid in town, and that the cops want to hold him because he's so different and writes about death and other emo things in his journal. HRG argues with these close-minded cops who are in fact correct that Jeremy murdered his parents. Then he calls icy Tracy, who pretends to be Jeremy's aunt and pulls political strings to get him released (how her NYC connections would help in a rural Southern town is never explained). But then boo hoo! Jeremy feels so bad about being a murderer that he decides to do the old murder-hands on somebody who is mean to him as he's leaving jail.
So Jeremy is put back in jail, HRG feels guilty some more, and Tracy storms off in a huff. But not before Samuel the dirt power man can appear and whisk Tracy to the carnival (thus adding "carnival whisking" to his improbable dirt powers list). He tells her that she should bring Jeremy to the carnival, which is "home" and will allow him to be with "family." Tracy scoffs at the idea that being a carnie is a good fate for King Jeremy the Wicked, but takes a compass from Samuel anyway. Boy does she feel bad about turning down Samuel the carnie whisker when she comes back and finds out that two of the corrupt cops have chained Jeremy to the back of a truck and dragged him through town until his face is a road-eaten skull. It seems like Jeremy basically wanted to die, since he has a chance to kill the guys who are about to turn him into red asphalt but doesn't do it.
HRG has another emo notch in his glasses now that he's learned Some People Can't Be Saved Even When You Pull Strings.
In one of those Sprint-sponsored minisubsubsubplots about Hot Tattoo at the carnival, we also learn that the carnival can be easily found when you mail people geotagged photographs of the carnival from your cell phone. Carnies, beware. The geotags will give you away every time! So don't geotag. Thank you for this sponsored message.
But let's catch up with psychic Matt and his Head Sylar, shall we? There is an essentially flawless scene of utterly mad cheesiness where Sylar takes over Matt's body and humps wifey (see above). Then he munches an apple and talks about forbidden fruit. Insane with jealousy that Head Sylar is making it with his lady, Matt spills the beans to wifey and says he has somebody trapped in his head and she has to take their kid and leave. While wifey is gone, Matt discovers that guzzling alcohol makes Head Sylar weak, then disappear.
We get this long, goofily disturbing scene where Matt is muttering "make those voices go away" while swigging shots of tequila. As bad as that was, at least he wasn't seeing rainbows, right? But THEN the real switcheroo happens, because (as Sylar says proudly to Matt) "while you blacked out, I slipped right in." So the whole drunk thing was a ruse to totally take over Matt's body! Now Sylar has a Head Matt. And wifey thinks Matt is all better but it's really Sylar who is controlling him.
There is also some really bad quippery thrown in where Sylar says stuff to Matt like, "Why don't you accept your power?" Is this really the issue, here? Let's just stick with "I hate you because you sucked me out of my own brain and I want my body back." Isn't that enough of a conflict? Do the writers have to add in this bogus, X-Men ripoff conflict of "I embrace my powers but you don't"?
Luckily, Claire is starting to rock my world, and I'm not being entirely sarcastic when I say that. First of all, the show isn't taking the easy way out with her budding lesbo relationship. She doesn't reject girl-lovin roomie Gretchen out of hand - carefully saying she "doesn't know" what to do. And then there's a scene where she goes seriously lesbotastic with Gretchen in their dark dorm beds. That's right - she asks Gretchen to PROCESS FEELINGS with her. Nothing is hotter than lesbian relationship processing. Unfortunately, the psycho sorority girls bust into their room just as the processing is getting really carnal. They're being kidnapped for "hell week," forced to look for "treasures" in a creepy slaughterhouse while wearing skimpy pajamas.
Of course it's all part of the invisible sorority girl's scheme to kill Gretchen and isolate Claire just the way "Uncle Samuel" wants. And that's where things get cool, because Claire is anti-useless and figures out that a mutant is stalking them and trying to kill Gretchen. And she ALSO figures out that she "needs" Gretchen after she admits to being a virgin.
That's right, if this were Battlestar Galactica that revelation would have been followed by a Quiznos commercial where a voice would intone, "IT HAS BEEN REVEALED - CLAIRE IS A VIRGIN." And then somebody would take a giant bite of a really drippy sandwich with lots of curly sprouts on it.
After all that, I figured Heroes would do the usual TV thing and kill of Gretchen. Just as Claire is all "yes I want you to munch my sprout sandwich," invisible girl would gouge her lungs out with a meathook or something. But no! She tries to do it, but Claire gets invisigirl with a hook first! You know what this means, right? Claire is going to lose her virginity to a girl!!!! Despite the drunken Matt and the "sliding in" Sylar stuff, this Claire-the-competent-bisexual subsubsubplot made this one of the best episodes of Heroes all season. And not just because of the scene where Claire and Gretchen are stuffed in the trunk of a car after the sorority "kidnapping" and almost kiss. It's because I like seeing Claire be an action hero instead of a whiny kid or daddy's "Claire Bear."
There was even a cool dirt power moment that made sense. Samuel visits Jeremy's home town and converts the courthouse and jail to dust in revenge for the whole red asphalt thing.
So, to sum up, here were the plusses in this episode:
1. Emo kid eliminated
2. Head Sylar slides into a blacked-out Matt
3. Lesbian processing
4. Dirt powers that made sense almost erased the badness of "carnival whisking" power
5. Lesbian bonding
6. Invisible sorority meathook fights
7. I got to take Tuesday off which is why I didn't have to post this recap until today
8. Geotagging can reveal the location of mutant carnivals which is why Sprint phones suck
9. HRG asks Tracy if they can have closety mutant sex and she says no because it would be better if they could just be themselves openly
10. I totally made #9 up sort of