Trapped in the nightmarish solitude of his own mind, Sylar is in his apartment, lined with books and surrounded by the trappings of former life. Suddenly, he hears a noise and rushes out to the street to find Peter. Peter claims he's come to the rescue, but Sylar insists there's no leaving; it's been three years, he's tried. Peter knows that it hasn't even been three hours. That's when Sylar begins to think his mind is playing tricks on him -- it's all part of his punishment. Screaming at Peter to stay away from him or else, Sylar runs back to the sanctuary of his apartment.
Sylar picks up a hammer when Peter busts into his apartment, explaining that it was Matt who inserted him into this nightmare. Peter wants to know the last thing Sylar remembers. Sylar recalls wanting to change his life, fearful that he would spend eternity alone. Now that he has Matt's ability, Peter wants to bring Sylar back to save Emma before she helps kill thousands, as in his dream. Sylar invites Peter to try escaping. Peter lays his hands on Sylar's shoulder, but nothing happens, confirming Sylar's belief that they're trapped forever.
Eli holds Samuel's trailer shut as Claire kicks and screams inside. Samuel tells Claire that H.R.G. is safe, which is more than he deserves after shooting innocent people. Claire knows her father didn't shoot anyone, but Samuel insists that she's blinded by devotion. Saying it's time to open her eyes, he escorts Claire to the Hall of Mirrors, where H.R.G. is tied to a chair. Samuel explains that Damien will reveal H.R.G.'s memories, which is fairly painless if he doesn't fight it. H.R.G. begs Samuel to let Claire go, but he nods to Damien, who brings forth images from H.R.G.'s memory to play in the Hall of Mirrors.
Los Angeles, 1985. H.R.G. is working as a used car salesman, but somehow, he lacks the killer instinct necessary for the job. His wife Kate surprises him at work; she wishes he were home writing plays and living on love. Still, someone has to pay the rent, especially since surprise! She's pregnant! H.R.G. is overjoyed. Back in the present, Claire is hurt, but still concedes that it's her father's life, and if he wanted her to know about the past, he would have told her. Refusing to let either Claire or H.R.G. go, Samuel leaves them to continue their journey into the past with Damien.
Back in 1985, H.R.G. and Kate are smooching while awaiting Chinese take-out delivery. When Richard knocks on the door, H.R.G. is surprised. Where's their regular delivery guy? Richard demands H.R.G.'s wallet, and TKs him against a wall. Stunned, H.R.G. and Kate can't figure out what's happening. H.R.G. tells Kate to give Richard her purse, but when he only finds $10, he TKs her across the room. Kate smashes through a glass coffee table, impaled on one of its wrought-iron legs, killing her instantly.
Sylar finds Peter contemplating the deserted downtown cityscape from a rooftop. Sylar's impressed that Peter has gone a month without talking to him, but there's never going to be anyone else out there. He gives Peter a copy of "9th Wonders," which Peter throws over the side of the roof, claiming they need to stop messing around and focus. When Sylar can't remember the name of the woman they're supposed to go save, Peter punches him in the head. Sylar thinks it's time Peter faces reality. Emma is gone and if she was supposed to kill thousands, then they're dead, too. The only real thing is the two of them.
Sylar continues the conversation in an alley. If this is all a dream, how could there be books -- how could he know all the words to "The Pillars of the Earth"? It all gets too confusing when Sylar admits he never read "9th Wonders," even though Peter did. That's when Peter realizes that Sylar doesn't really want to leave. Sylar admits this may be true -- maybe he deserves this solitude. When Sylar finally says he'll help, the guys turn to behold a brick wall closing off the end of the alley. Peter recognizes it as the same wall from Matt's basement. This must be the way out. Now what do they have to do to break on through?
Lauren sneaks through the Carnival, making her way to the medical tent to grab some supplies. Emma comes up behind her and insists on cleaning out the bullet hole in her shoulder. Claiming she doesn't want to get Emma in trouble, Lauren identifies herself, warning that Samuel is responsible for the attack. Emma can't believe that Samuel would shoot his own people. At that moment, Samuel enters, so Lauren ducks behind a screen. Realizing that someone's there, Samuel signs to Emma: there are no secrets at the Carnival. Dubious, Emma gives up Lauren's location and leaves the tent.
In the Hall of Mirrors, H.R.G. tells Claire that the person he used to be died the night Kate was killed, and apologizes for not telling her. Claire realizes Kate's murder inspired H.R.G. to join the Company and doesn't want to see any more, but Damien prevails. Flash back to 1986, H.R.G. has begun tracking specials, identifying a guy who should lead him to Richard. When H.R.G. accosts the guy, things quickly get out of hand, and H.R.G. winds up inadvertently shooting him dead. Grabbing a rag, H.R.G. wipes his prints off his gun, and leaves it with the corpse.
H.R.G. claims it was all an accident, but Claire knows this was his first kill. Still she wants to know what happens next. In the past, H.R.G. is still selling used cars, but now the killer instinct is in full flower. This isn't lost on the Company, as Thompson shows up to recruit Noah. They've been watching him, they know that he killed the special, and they're impressed. Does H.R.G. want a job? If he works for the Company, they'll help him find the man who killed his wife.
Two years later, Noah meets with Thompson at a restaurant for a performance review. How's the "one of us, one of them" thing working for him? Noah admits it's a little odd, since Claude can turn invisible whenever he wants; sometimes he's sure he's being watched. Citing three deaths in Noah's last 17 cases, Thompson claims it's time to make a change: Noah should take a wife and start a family, put his life in balance. The waitress who brought their sandwiches would be a fine choice. Noah looks up to see Sandra for the very first time.
H.R.G. insists he married Sandra for love, but Claire knows that the Company made a lot of his decisions for him. When H.R.G. claims all that was in the past, Damien brings up memories of the weekend after Thanksgiving. H.R.G. waits for Gretchen in Claire's dorm room, demanding to know Claire's whereabouts, even though he knows she's probably at the Carnival. Gretchen knows that Claire needs to be with others like her; H.R.G. should trust his daughter. H.R.G. just wants Claire to be happy -- which she is -- living with Gretchen and going to college. When the Haitian enters, H.R.G. claims that he won't erase Gretchen's memory... as long as she does what he asks. Furious, Claire stalks out of the Hall of Mirrors.
Peter repeatedly sledgehammers the brick wall, with no result. Sylar tries to get him to stop and eat, but Peter claims he doesn't need anything, and he's going to keep at it as long as it takes. Sylar knows the determined look on Peter's face, but this memory belongs to Nathan, infuriating Peter. When Sylar apologizes for killing Nathan, Peter insists that apologies don't change anything. Unable to take it anymore, Sylar picks up a sledgehammer. Although it looks like he's swinging for Peter, he starts pounding on the wall.
Lauren tells Samuel to turn himself in to protect his family. Samuel scoffs; alongside his family, he's strong enough to take what's rightfully theirs. Lauren insists he has no right to take anything, nor hurt people along the way. Why not just continue living at the Carnival the way they always have? Samuel's years at the Carnival have been wasted -- he could be so much more. When he asks if Lauren knows about him, she remains silent, and he powers up from her fear, wondering if it's as Joseph believed, that he can move mountains and change the world. Lauren hopes never to find out, asking Samuel what the world did to make him this way. Samuel allows that the world should have treated him better.
Eli interrupts to inform Samuel that Claire left the Hall of Mirrors. Instructing Eli to tell the family to pack for bigger and better things, Samuel asks him to take care of Lauren and leaves to find Claire, crying. Claire pulls herself together, then lays into Samuel. Why didn't he show her H.R.G.'s memory of killing Lydia? Samuel obfuscates; maybe H.R.G. didn't pull the trigger last night, but does that negate all the times he has? Claire can't believe that Samuel thinks she'd ever turn on her father. It's probably because no one ever really loved him, and now his family fears him. She's leaving the Carnival, and taking H.R.G. with her.
Samuel apologizes, but Claire's too important to let go. When he told his new friend Lauren about his plans, she looked very scared. Samuel wants to see that look a thousand times over. The Carnival is going to Central Park to show the world how powerful they can be. Lives will be lost, but fear and respect will be earned. When Claire claims she'll never be convinced, Samuel tells her that she can find her father in the souvenirs trailer. Claire runs to find her father tied to a pole, and is struggling to free him, when the ground starts shaking.
Outside the souvenirs trailer, Samuel holds his hand up, causing the ground to shake. The earth cracks apart and swallows the trailer as Eli runs up to report that Lauren got away. Does Samuel want him to go find her? Claiming that he's finally ready to go to New York City, Samuel has other loose ends for Eli to tie up; Lauren will have to join them later. Before she died, Lydia spoke of a few people who want to interfere with his plans, and Eli needs to stop them. Permanently.
It's nighttime in the alley. Peter tosses Sylar a copy of "The Pillars of the Earth," wrapped in newspaper -- happy birthday. He knows that Sylar wore out his last copy, and this gift is in appreciation of his patience, for keeping Peter sane. When Peter picks up his sledgehammer, Sylar confesses that he always thinks Peter is going to hit him with it, really hard. Peter admits that he has the same feeling; he wishes that he could accept Sylar's apologies for killing Nathan, but if he does, it's as if he's not doing right by him. Peter's afraid that if he loses his anger, he'll lose Nathan for good.
Sylar points out that they've been trapped in his nightmare for years now, and he's repented; he's changed. He's never going to hurt anyone ever again. All this time, Peter has been afraid to let him out. Peter admits that Sylar has changed, taking his sledgehammer to the wall once again. This time, a brick breaks off. The guys look at each other amazed and begin busting down the wall, until finally a bright light shines through from the other side.
Peter wakes up, sitting against the wall in Matt's basement. He puts his ear to the wall and then backs away, as the bricks blow out, revealing Sylar. Peter checks his watch; they've only been gone half a day, when it felt like decades. But does that make it any less real? The guys turn to leave the basement and go save Emma, where they're stopped by Eli, who's come to make sure that doesn't happen. Meanwhile, Claire and H.R.G. try to get their bearings. Claire uses the light from her Blackberry to find a lantern. H.R.G. figures they're about fifty feet underground. Will their cries for help go unheard?