There probably isn’t a series that has been more highly anticipated then the new season of Heroes, especially with the cliffhanger ending we had at the end of Season Two. The Shanti virus was kept from escaping, just barely. Adam was entombed, and Nathan Petrelli was shot just as he was about to tell humanity about the superpowered beings. So, let’s see where we can go from there, shall we?

Heroes The Second Coming

We start in the future with Peter being held at gunpoint by Claire. Peter says he’s going to go back to fix things so that the camps and experiments and all the rest never happen. Claire seems not to care, and raises the gun to shoot him anyhow, saying “I’m sorry, Peter. I always loved you.” Before he can be shot, however, Peter stops time, takes the gun, and time-travels back to the present, just as Nathan is about to make his announcement. We then see the final scene from last season’s finale, but this time from the point-of-view of the shooter. It’s the future version of Peter who shot Nathan. Future Peter walks off as present-Peter runs after himself. Present-Peter tracks the future Peter into the men’s room, where he finds a hat and coat used by future-Peter to disguise himself.

Claire sees the news report about her real father, Nathan, being shot, and calls Peter, wondering if she can help. Her blood, after all, could be used to save him. Nathan is taken in to an intensive care room while Peter watches helplessly.

Time passes, and eventually the doctors come out of the room. They tell Peter that they’re sorry, but that Nathan died. Peter goes in to see the body of his brother, when unexpectedly Nathan gets back up.

Hiro is in his new office (which used to be his dad’s) playing with the passage of time. Why? Because he’s bored. He saved the world, and now has nothing interesting to do. His boredom is brought to an end by the arrival of Ando, who doesn’t understand why Hiro is unhappy when he has all this wealth and power. Hiro complains that it’s not like destiny is going to knock on his door when suddenly, someone knocks on his door. And who should it be but his family’s lawyer, who brings a DVD to Hiro.

Heroes The Second Coming

Claire, meanwhile, is watching tv and being bored when she decides that she needs to go to see Nathan, regardless of what Peter said. She packs her bag to leave, but as she opens her door, Sylar is there. Sylar lightly banters and intimidates her as he tells her he’s there for her power. Claire attacks him and tries to flee the house, but as she is doing so, Sylar uses his telekinetic abilities to lock her in. Claire grabs a knife and tries to find a place to hide herself, as Sylar stalks her in a scene that could be right out of any high-school slasher flick. After some cat and mouse games, Claire hides herself in a closet.

We then cut away to Maya, who is also hiding by a door as someone tries to break in. She attacks the intruder – who is Mohinder. Mohinder explains that he has gotten Molly off to a safe place, and then tells Maya that his research has led to a dead end, and that he has given up and is returning home. Maya gets upset, and Mohinder almost becomes the latest victim of her death powers. She apologizes and starts to leave, but then he has a brainstorm and starts asking her questions about what triggers her powers. Mohinder finally realizes that it isn’t simply a genetic issue, but that adrenaline is the key.

Hiro plays the DVD from his father, where his dad tells him that he is now the guardian of a great secret. And to be that guardian, all he must do is never open the safe in the office. Hiro, of course, is bummed that his “great destiny” is to simply not open the box, and decides that he must open it anyhow. He ransacks the office until he finds the way to open the safe, and then opens it using his thumbprint, commenting to Ando that his dad must have actually wanted him to open the safe. The safe contains an envelope holding half of a chemical formula, and another DVD from Dad, this one starting with “I told you not to open the safe, but clearly you did anyhow.” His father then explains that there are many people who are willing to do anything to get that formula, and now Hiro must truly protect it.

As Hiro and Ando discuss the formula, someone zips through stealing the formula out of Hiro’s hands. When Hiro stops time, he follows the thief and meets Daphne, the super-speedster thief. Apparently Hiro’s time-stoppage isn’t a complete stop, because Daphne is able to talk to him and interact with him. She knocks him out and zips away, still holding the formula.

Peter goes back to the storage closet where his future self hid the gun. Matt is there, having already taken the gun, and he questions Peter about what happened and why he did it. Peter reveals that he is actually the future Peter, and that he did it save the future. He then zaps Matt into the future, and goes back out to ensure that Nathan doesn’t talk about the powers again, now that he’s survived.

Heroes The Second Coming

Nathan awakens in his hospital room, fully recovered. He gets dressed and leaves his room, just as his dear brother goes in search of him. As Nathan leaves the hospital, there is a news crew outside talking about his miraculous recovery. They follow him as he walks from the hospital into a chapel, where Nathan begins to talk to the people within about his recent close encounter with the divine.

Nathan tells the people in the church (and the news crew, and Peter) about the fact that he realizes he was sent here to do great things, but that the message comes from God. He says that the message from God is that we are all connected, and must save ourselves. Peter goes to him just as he collapses.

Meanwhile, Mohinder tells Maya that he has now found the source of the superhuman powers, thanks to her. He tells her he figured out a way to give powers to anyone – which is kind of the opposite of what she wanted.

Sylar, meanwhile, continues to taunt and terrify Claire. As he does so, he finds Noah’s files on all the villains kept in Level 5. Sylar clearly looks at this as a wonderful opportunity. While perusing the files, he is distracted enough for Claire to sneak up on him and stab him. Although perhaps mortally wounded, Sylar is still together enough to telekinetically force Claire to a wall where he begins the process of opening her head to get to her brain.

Claire awakens on the table to find Sylar digging through her brain, trying to find the key to her powers before he bleeds to death. Eventually he does find the key to her power, but not before revealing that he does not, in fact, eat people’s brains in order to take their powers. He just has to be able to see and touch that part of the brain. He does so, and then stands and removes the knife, revealing that he now has her power. Sylar leaves, taking Noah’s files with him, but before telling Claire that she is different than the others – she’s special, and can never die. And now, neither can he.

Mohinder’s tests are going well, and he reveals to Maya that he has found the way to give superpowers to everyone. Although Maya tries to tell him that he needs to destroy the research, Mohinder is unconvinced. He is falling into mad scientist territory here, blind to the risk involved with giving superpowers to potentially anyone, and even suggesting he would use himself as the first test subject.

Heroes The Second Coming

In the hospital, the Petrelli brothers have a discussion about Nathan’s new religious beliefs, and whether or not Nathan intends to reveal the existence of their new powers. Nathan reveals that he has no intention of revealing them now, and so Peter leaves, allowing Nathan to live. After Peter is gone, it is revealed exactly how Nathan survived – Linderman enters the room, revealing that he used his powers to bring Nathan back. Of course, the question then becomes how Linderman survived his death during the first season. But we’ll find out more about that later on.

The news of Nathan’s miracle continues to spread, and a Senator is in a nicely furnished apartment watching the news. He comments to his mistress/assistant that he has found someone special, an when she comes into view we see that it is none other than Jessica/Nikki! Again, we thought she was dead, and she seems to be going under a different name now, but a shock regardless.

Parkman awakens from whatever process future-Peter used on him, and finds himself in a vast desert.

Meanwhile, Hiro and Ando are discussing the paper and the formula, and the superspeed thief. Ando suggests that Hiro could go into the past to ask his father, but Hiro says that he will never again go into the past. On the other hand, he could go to the future to try to get information. He does so, and sees his future self confronting Ando over the formula. Future Hiro draws his katana on Ando, when future-Ando blasts him with a burst of energy. Hiro watches then as the entire city begins to collapse around him, and before anything too bad can happen, he returns to the present – to see the present version of his closest friend, who he knows might kill him in the future.

Time travel is a pain in the butt to deal with, huh?

Mohinder takes the formula to the docks, possibly contemplating Maya’s suggestion that he destroy it. Of course, he does no such thing, but instead injects himself with the formula. The formula makes him collapse to the ground in pain.

Heroes The Second Coming

And in Nathan’s hospital room, mother Petrelli looks over her wounded son. She goes outside and confronts “Peter” starting off by asking what he did to Peter. She tells the future Peter that he screwed everything up, and she repeats the question again asking what he did to her son. Future Peter says he put him “someplace safe”.

That “someplace safe” seems to be Level 5, where the Company has it’s most dangerous powered individuals trapped, including a bald man screaming “I’m Peter Petrelli.” We see a few other superpowered people, and also see that Noah Bennet is trapped in there.

A monologue by Mohinder begins as we get a montage of Claire being at home when her mother comes home, Linderman standing over Nathan, Matt finding a painting of a shattered world as he wanders the desert, and finally a group of thugs find Mohinder’s unconscious form. They draw a gun on him, but Mohinder then dispatches them using newfound superhuman strength. As he stares down at his hands, with the power they contain, we again see the painting of the shattered world behind him.

Normally, this would be the end of the recap. But tonight the good folks at NBC aired the second episode, The Butterfly Effect, directly after The Second Coming. So, let’s keep going.

Claire is comforted by her mother in the aftermath of Sylar’s “visit”, where Claire tells her mom that Sylar got what he came for. Her mom thinks that Sylar sexually assaulted her, not realizing that the violation was much worse. Claire cuts herself while they’re talking, and realizes that she doesn’t actually feel any pain from the wound, which is a change. Previously her powers let her heal, but it still hurt. And now it makes Claire wonder if she’s even human any more.

Angela Petrelli, meanwhile has a vision of level 5, where the captives have all escaped, led by Jessica/Nikki, and they have killed the ‘Heroes’. As she stares the villains down, Sylar comes up behind her. Angela goes and finds future-Peter and tells him that she had another apocalyptic vision, and blames it all on his presence in the past. Although he says that he’s saving the world, she in turn says that he’s making it worse. And explains the ‘Butterfly Effect’ principle. She asks if he spoke to Claire, and when he confirms it, she reveals that if he hadn’t kept her away from Nathan, “something terrible” (meaning being found by Sylar) wouldn’t have happened to her.

Heroes The Second Coming

Maya goes back to Mohinder’s loft where she finds him experimenting with his newfound physical prowess. He tells her that he gained superhuman prowess (strength, senses, agility), and shows her just how insane he is actually becoming. He then lures her to stay with him by explaining that if he can perfect this process, he can eventually find the way to remove the powers. He then sexually comes on to her in an act that isn’t quite rape, because she’s certainly willing, but is far too aggressive to qualify as seduction.

Parkman continues to wander through the wasteland he was transported to, finding no signs of life other than buzzards, lizards and turtles. Eventually the heat is too much for him and he passes out.

Back in the present, Sylar is found by a couple of the Company’s agents, who shoot and taze the villain. However, newly empowered by Claire’s abilities, he easily kills them. We then see that we’re watching the encounter through a video being shown to Elle by Bob. Bob tells Elle that this is her fault, and that she is off the case. Elle departs, offended.

At Nakamura Industries, Hiro and Ando are using a private investigation team to track down Daphne. She may be superhumanly fast, but she still has ordinary fingerprints. Given her address, Hiro prepares to teleport to her. The tension between Hiro and Ando, over Ando’s future actions, is already showing, and initially Hiro plans to confront Daphne without Ando, but at the last moment, he takes Ando with him.

Meanwhile, the Jessica doppleganger, Tracy Strauss, is speaking to Governor Malden about the plan to make Nathan Petrelli the newly appointed Senator. It takes some persuasion on Tracy’s part, but she convinces the Governor to appoint him. As she leaves to go meet with Nathan, she is confronted by a reporter who found evidence of Nikki’s life, and wonders how two women could be so identical but be different women. Tracy completely denies having any knowledge of this other woman as she drives off.

Hiro and Ando teleport into Daphne’s apartment, where they see that the world’s fastest thief has quite a collection of artifacts, including the Mona Lisa.

Heroes The Second Coming

And Claire, in an effort to prove that she is still human, makes a tape of attempt number seven on her own life. In this attempt, she tries to let herself be hit by a train, but before she can be struck by the train, Nathan flies in and saves her. Claire tries to explain what happened to her after Sylar opened up her head, and future-Nathan realizes that Angela was right, and something terrible did happen to Claire because of what he told her to do. Peter also realizes that Sylar now has their regenerative powers. As they argue, Claire also comments on the fact that she needs to learn how to fight – not just to heal, but to actually defend herself and fight against the villains. Nathan, trying to avoid further contaminating the timeline, refuses to help her and teleports away.

With his newfound belief that the superhuman powers come from God, Nathan is in his hospital room, praying, when Tracy finds him. After some initial confusion over her identity, (Nathan thinks she is Nikki, the woman he had the affair with all those years ago) she offers the Senate seat to him. She leaves, not paying any notice to Linderman who is standing by the door. Linderman makes the comment that perhaps there is a reason that such a familiar looking woman is offering him a Senate seat, when he could have been in Congress. Nathan tells Linderman to leave as he considers the offer.

Elle returns to Bob’s office to say that she knows what Sylar is going to do next – he’ll come to Level 5 for the “all you can eat buffet”. Bob’s chair is to her, and when she spins it around, she sees that Sylar has already been here. She rushes to Level 5, where the prisoners are in an uprorar, including the guy who Peter is trapped inside of. Elle goes to Noah’s cell where she tosses him a gun, explaining that Sylar is in the building. Elle and Noah go out to confront Sylar, and Noah shoots Sylar repeatedly. He watches as Sylar regenerates from the damage and gets back to his feet, saying that he got that power from Claire. Before Noah can shoot him again, Sylar telekinetically tosses him across the room. Sylar shows Elle what Bob’s power was, as he transmutes Noah’s gun to gold. He then prepares to open her head to take her electrical powers, but as he cuts her she explodes like an electrical dynamo, blasting him off his feet. The discharge may have taken out Sylar, but it freed all of the prisoners on Level 5. Noah restrains Sylar, but the other prisoners flee.

Ando and Hiro are ransacking Daphne’s apartment, when Hiro finally explains to Ando why he’s been treating him so meanly. Hiro decides that the only way to get the formula back is to set a trap for Daphne. Finally he finds the one treasure in the room that Daphne might have a personal connection to – a first place medal she won in high school for running.

Heroes The Second Coming

Again we return to Nathan’s hospital room, where Peter asks Nathan how he is doing. Nathan tells Peter about the offer for the senate seat. Nathan is conflicted, but Peter tells him that things are different and that perhaps he should take the offer. Peter then reveals to Nathan that he is actually his future self, and that he is the one who shot him. Peter explains that the announcement Nathan was going to make led to superpowered people being tested on and hunted for years. Peter wants Nathan’s forgiveness, but obviously Nathan doesn’t know how to react to the news. Peter is unable to advise Nathan about whether or not to accept the offer, but suggests that he probably should. Nathan then calls Tracy and accepts the offer, but with the condition that he wants Strauss on his staff.

Tracy is confronted, once again, by the reporter who found the information about Nikki. He shows her a video of Nikki and Congressman Petrelli in their memorable Las Vegas night, and again threatens to run the story, with or without her comment. Tracy turns on the reporter and seizes him, freezing him to ice – to her own shock. So, this really isn’t Nikki/Jessica, or if it is, then her revival under a new name changed her powers from super-strength to cold-manipulation powers. Appropriate for all the times (just in one episode) that she’s referred to as an “ice queen”.

Elle is having a bad day. While she may have stopped Sylar, she also freed all of the other prisoners in Level 5. And the new head of the Company, Angela Petrelli, lets her know that she’s fired. After all, Elle has proven to be a loose cannon. She was only kept around because of Bob, and now that he’s dead, the Company doesn’t want Elle around.

Hiro and Ando wait for Daphne to return to her apartment, where they have laid the trap for her. Daphne tries to speed her way to Hiro when he reveals he has the medal, but he keeps teleporting out of her way. Hiro sends Ando to make the trade, but as expected, Daphne speeds to Ando to take the medal without trading the formula. Hiro stops time again (although of course this means that Daphne can still move at normal speed) and sees that Daphne has a knife to Ando’s throat. Daphne tells Hiro that he can’t stop her without letting Ando die, and so Hiro lets time revert to it’s normal rate as Daphne zips away. Ando, of course, is puzzled and upset at the fact that he was cut while the two superpowered individuals had their fight, and wonders if Hiro did that to him. Hiro then reveals that he put a tracker on the medallion, without informing Ando of that part of the plan. Hiro’s tracker shows Daphne’s new location, and Hiro and Ando teleport away to her.

Mohinder, meanwhile, is starting to discover the reason we don’t inject strange formulae into ourselves. He awakens in bed with Maya, to find that he is molting, and that his eyes are overly sensitive to light.

Parkman has finally collapsed in the desert, when he begins hearing the mental voice of a turtle, who tells him how to survive. Parkman listens to the turtle and grabs a plant that had water within it, and as he thanks the turtle, he hears the voice of his actual rescuer. The man who saved him lets Parkman know that they’re in Africa, and he tells Parkman that before he can return to America, he must spirit-walk. He knows Matt’s name, and says that Matt’s presence here means that the future will not be the way that he painted it. It seems that he has similar powers to those of Isaac Mendez.

Heroes The Second Coming

In the Bennet house, Claire comes downstairs to find that Noah is there, although he won’t be staying for long. He came back only to check on them, and then to go back out and try to recapture the prisoners from Level 5.

Meanwhile, Nathan is discussing his choice to take the Senate seat with Linderman. Linderman praises his choice, although Nathan says this time he won’t be manipulated. A nurse enters the room to tell him to get to bed, and it is revealed that she can’t see Linderman. Linderman tells Nathan that no one can see him, except for him. So now the audience gets to wonder if Linderman is a ghost, a presence in Nathan’s mind, or just a hallucination. Although if he is a hallucination, the question of how Nathan survived the gunshot is once again opened.

Noah tells Claire about the villains who escaped from Level 5. The first is a black man named Knox, who absorbs other people’s fear and turns it into super strength. Then we see the blonde flamethrower. Next up is the german, a man with control over metal. Finally we see Jesse, which is the body that Peter is currently trapped in. Bennet doesn’t tell us what Jesse’s power is, instead telling Claire “you don’t wanna know.” (Although of course the audience really does.) Although Claire tries to convince Noah to take her with him, to let her be his partner and to let her learn to fight, he refuses. But he does reveal that he isn’t leaving her without a protector. He and her mother have brought Claire’s fire controlling birth-mother in to the house to serve as a guardian.

We go to Level 5, where Peter has teleported to check in on his present-day self. He finds that Sylar has been captured, and that all of the prisoners escaped – including the guy who Peter is trapped inside. Angella explains to future-Peter that this is his fault, because of his meddling with time, and that he needs to find Peter and then get back to the future hell he came from.

As for Peter/Jesse, he tries to call his brother in order to explain what happened. He gets Nathan’s voice mail, but before he can leave much of a message, he is ushered off by the other freed villains. Peter/Jesse sees some of the carnage caused by the other escapees, and is horrified as he sees what kind of people they are. To his dismay, he goes away with them, rather then be captured by the police.

Finally, we come down to Level 5 where Angela is talking to Sylar, explaining that her sons were such a disappointment. She offers to give him what all sons want from their mothers, inspiration, acceptance and so on, and she calls him by his real name, Gabriel. When he responds that his name is Sylar, and that she isn’t his mother, she replies “But I am.” And as the audience is left to ponder, the episode comes to an end.

That was one heck of a night of superpowered excitement. So, where do we go from here? Do we find out what’s happening to Mohinder? Will Peter ever get back to being himself? Will Claire become the dark future version of herself? You’ll just have to come back in seven when One of Us, One of Them airs to get the answers to these questions and more.