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Couch Baron: B | Grade It Now!
Hinky and the Brain

Claire and Meredith must have been driving for hours, given how long it's been since we've seen them. Apparently Meredith's pretty picky about where she does her fireboarding. She leads Claire from what looks like a loading area into a cargo container, I think. After the door is shut, she ignites her hand and asks Claire if she's sure she wants to do this. Claire, being a teenager, says yes, and nice work from Jessalyn Gilsig here as you can see her manner become a little colder, like she's temporarily forgetting that Claire is her daughter. She says that they'll start at the beginning -- survival -- which gets a typically teenaged "I'm immortal, duh" response from Claire. "I need to learn how to fight." Eyes wide, Meredith tells her there are things she can't fight, and ups her flame level as Claire already looks like she regrets mouthing off. There's a reason Bennet left Meredith to protect you, Claire: She's a badass.

Knox and Jesse are looking like they're about ready to kill Bennet when he tells them his partner is standing behind them. They turn to see Sylar, who reaches one hand out to immobilize Knox. Jesse starts to yell, but Sylar reaches the other out and cuts off Jesse's wind. He adds, "Shhhh," which cracks me up. Flint then gets to his feet and prepares to serve up some Sylar flambé, but Bennet shoots him in the shoulder in time. He yells that he told Sylar to stay put, but Sylar's been doing some thinking: "You told me that to make sure I wouldn't, didn't you?" Bennet favors Sylar with a wry smile, and it looks for the moment like an unlikely alliance is born.

Claire's starting to sweat as Meredith holds the flame close, but puts a brave face on as she asks what the demonstration is supposed to prove, since she's indestructible and can't feel pain. Meredith asks if she's ever suffocated, "'cause I would imagine the air is getting pretty thin in here!" Hmm -- does Meredith herself not need to breathe? I always thought she was impervious to her own fire, but this seems like something else. Maybe as an elemental creature, though, it makes sense -- at any rate, if she survived that big fire, that means not only did she not get burned, but she didn't suffer smoke inhalation or suffocation or whatever. And now you'll have to excuse me while I call my Overthinkers Anonymous sponsor. Claire, now starting to pant, asks why Meredith is doing this, and Meredith, by way of answering, asks why Claire wants to stop bad guys. She claims again that she wants to help people, but Meredith doesn't believe her, and asks if she knows what waterboarding is. Claire says she doesn't, which is the part I find hard to believe, so Meredith explains how it works, and how it induces feelings of panic. It's a nice irony that it's Claire's power that makes her uniquely vulnerable in this particular variation -- a normal person would simply actually suffocate. As if to prove Meredith's words, we see a flash of images from Sylar's attack, and Meredith keeps the flame burning as she asks if what she's feeling now is what she felt then. "You're indestructible, but you couldn't get away, right? That must have made you feel trapped! Helpless!" Claire begs for mercy, so Meredith asks again: Why does she want to stop bad guys? Claire finally gives it up: "To hurt him, okay? To hurt him for what he did!" Meredith extinguishes the flame, and as Claire staggers for the door, Meredith looks remorseful. Hey, torturing your own flesh and blood takes some getting used to. Effective scene, though.

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