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Episode:The Fifth Stage

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The Fifth Stage
Season: Four
Episode number: 411
First aired: November 30, 2009
The Fifth Stage.jpg
Written by: Tim Kring
Directed by: Kevin Dowling
Previous episode: Thanksgiving
Next episode: Upon This Rock
Heroes Interactive transcript


Story Development

Eli · Cloning · Burly guy



At the Sullivan Bros. Carnival, Lydia goes to see Samuel and tell him that she knows the truth. However, she admits that she has to look after her daughter Amanda so his secret is safe with her. Eli arrives in response to Samuel's summons as Lydia and leaves, and asks what Samuel wants. Samuel looks at the newspaper he's reading and notes that it's filled with bad news, and he wonders if they are the last generation. He then asks Eli to serve as his right-hand man. Eli multiples himself once over and agrees. Samuel tells him to go to Noah Bennet's apartment and get the content of a box marked "Primatech". When Eli asks if he can use his "friends" and summons more of himself, Samuel says they'll do nicely.

Noah is considering the board where he has newspaper articles on the compass pinned up. Lauren Gilmore arrives and he invites her in, and she says she's there to pick him up for their movie date. Noah admits it's been a long time since he dated. She notices the clippings and Noah admits that he's had trouble assembling resources since Primatech folded. He realizes the compass is missing and Claire took it. He leaves a voice mail for her and tells her just to stop because it's more dangerous than she knows. Lauren figures they're not going to the movies, and offers to use her CIA resources to track Claire's cell phone. Noah says he owes her and Lauren assures him that they'll find Claire.

Claire and Gretchen arrive at the carnival and prepare to go in.

Angela goes to the hospital to see Peter. She tells him to move on to the acceptance stage of grief and admit that Nathan is dead and Sylar has taken over. Peter believes that Nathan is still inside of him and loads his bag with sedatives. When Angela wonders how Peter is going to stop Sylar with all the powers he has, he says he plans to take them away and goes over to greet René as he arrives. René says that helping is the least he can do as Peter replicates his power with a touch. Angela warns that there may not be a Nathan to get back and Peter says that he'll settle for revenge.

Claire begins to have second thoughts and worries that Rebecca may try to kill Gretchen again. Gretchen insists she'll support Claire and she's been on the road to the carnival all of her life, so she should check it out. Samuel comes out to greet them and brings them in. He gives them free passes and says the whole night is on him. Claire reiterates that they're just looking, but wonders what she is supposed to be seeing. Samuel insists the carnival is more normal than it appears, and they go from town to town until they find a more permanent way to live. He offers them popcorn and insists it's the best in the world, and invites them to meet his family. When they're done with the popcorn, he'll walk them back to their car.

Peter nails Sylar with a nail gun, attempting to bring out Nathan.

The two girls look around and go by an exhibit for "the Replicating Man" and then come to Lydia's tent. They go inside and Lydia explains that Claire should take her hand and then she'll show her what she needs to see. Claire takes her hand, asks, "Am I supposed to be here?" and an image of herself wearing the banner of "the Indestructible Girl" appears on Lydia's back. Lydia informs her that it's her desire. Gretchen takes Claire and leaves.

Peter is in the elevator at the hospital when Nurse Hammer enters. She stares at him intently for a moment and then lifts him in the air by his throat. When the elevator arrives at the next floor, she takes the bag of sedatives, throws Peter into the wall and emerges, transforming into Sylar. He informs Peter that he shouldn't have. Peter runs off into the construction area on the floor and Sylar goes after him. As he walks through the floor, he taunts Peter, noting that his plan to syringe him in the neck wouldn't have worked a second time. Peter comes up behind him and hits him with a board. When Sylar tries to use his powers, Peter negates them. He explains what he did and then starts beating Sylar, and demands Nathan back. Sylar fights back and boasts that Nathan is dead, but Peter insists that he's still there. Peter gets the upper hand and grabs a nail gun. He nails Sylar's hands to a wood panel and points out that Sylar no longer has his healing power. Peter offers to let him heal if he gives Nathan back. Sylar points out it's a one-sided deal and Peter agrees, and then nails his foot to the board. Sylar laughs and tells him he'll need a lot more nails. Peter throws the nail gun away and punches him repeatedly, and then uses René's ability to erase everything that is Sylar. Sylar dares him to do it and Peter begins, and Sylar shape shifts into Nathan.

As they walk down the midway, Gretchen wonders about Claire's secret desires. Claire notes that it's amazing that all of the carnival folk figured out a way to live openly. Gretchen points out they're conning people, but Claire notes that it's better than being hunted by the government. They come to a booth where a burly guy is participating in a baseball pitch game. A little girl objects, saying that he's had his turn. The burly man keeps missing and Claire points out that the game operator is using a power to redirect the ball. The little girl steps up and she wins thanks to the game operator using telekinesis. The girls finish off their popcorn and Samuel arrives. He offers to show them the backstage where they live and Gretchen objects, but Claire agrees. Samuel tells Gretchen that she's welcome to join them and they don't exclude anyone. Claire goes with him and Gretchen follows after a minute.

Noah narrows Claire's location to southern Ohio while Lauren looks through his old Primatech files. She cross-references them with the CIA database and tells Noah to overlook the fact that Claire lied to him. He blames himself and admits that he reaps what he sows. Lauren tells him to unload and he admits that he's driven everyone away with his suffocating need to control: Sandra, Claire and Lauren. She's surprised and he explains they had something together and ate breakfast together for months. Noah explains that she had her memories erased because they both knew it would end badly. Lauren wonders if he thought he could reignite the flame, but before he can answer, someone knocks at the door. As Lauren shuts down the computer, Noah answers the door and finds Eli there. Eli introduces himself as an emissary from the Sullivan Bros. Carnival. Another Eli appears behind Lauren, and more start appearing. They say that they don't want anyone to get hurt. Noah gives Lauren a signal and attacks one of the clones, while Lauren knocks over the table and tosses Noah a hidden gun. He shoots one of the clones and tells Lauren to get to the bathroom, while another Eli disarms him. Noah and Lauren get to the bathroom where Noah removes another hidden gun. He explains that one of the Elis is the Prime and that shooting him will get rid of the rest. They go back out, but Eli has left and taken the Primatech files with him.

Backstage, Samuel tells a fairy tale about an ogre to the carnival children while Claire and Gretchen watch. Claire insists it isn't so creepy behind the scenes, but Gretchen points out that they're exploiting their abilities. Doyle comes over, wearing carnival garb, and admits that Samuel found him and everything changed. Now he can be completely himself. Doyle wants to talk to her later and Claire assures him that she'll be there for a while. Once he leaves, Claire explains that Doyle kidnapped her once and she had to get her mother to shoot her. Samuel asks Claire to tell the children one more story before bedtime. She tells a story about a frog while Gretchen asks Samuel what he's up to. She warns him that Claire is emotionally vulnerable, but Samuel insists that the one thing his family can offer in great abundance is love.

Nathan tells Peter that he's tired from all of his efforts to get out and warns that he can't do it any more. Peter assures him that he can and tells him to come with him and get some air.

Claire shows a man her ability.

Claire finishes her story with a "happily ever after" and Samuel sends the children off to bed. One of them hugs Claire before going and Samuel assures her that the children love her. The burly man comes back and demands to see Samuel. He insists that they stole his money and Samuel denies it. He tries to talk him down but the man punches Samuel repeatedly. Samuel refuses to fight back and finally Claire intervenes. The man smashes a bottle and cuts Claire across the face. She glares at him and the man watches in shock as the wound heals. She tells him that he can't hurt them, and he runs off in fear.

Peter takes Nathan up to a rooftop and talks about the last time they were there. Nathan remembers how they were there talking about their dad's depression and wondering if he could fly. Peter reminds him that he denied it and Nathan admits that it was an election year and denial was the go-to. He reminds Peter that the body is Sylar's, but Peter insists that it really is his big brother and that he needs to keep fighting. Nathan warns that Sylar is killing him and he can't hold on anymore. Peter says that Nathan came to him for help, but Nathan begins to revert and talks of wanting to crucify Peter in Times Square. Peter embraces Nathan, telling him to fight, and Nathan manages to regain control. He apologizes and then throws himself over the edge. Peter manages to grab him and begs him to pull himself up. Nathan tells him to accept that he's gone and that he'll have to carry on for the both of them. When Peter says he can't do it without his brother, Nathan says he can do anything and says one final "I love you". Peter says it back and Nathan lets go, dropping onto a car below. Nathan shape shifts back into Sylar then gets up, heals, waves goodbye to Peter and walks away.

Claire tends to Samuel's wounds and asks why he let the man beat him up. Samuel explains that he made the choice to preserve the family's well being. He admits he could have defended himself, but the path of least resistance was the wisest in this case. Samuel points out they're both learning about themselves and seeking out ways to live their lives on their own terms. Claire points out that Samuel and his people can live out in the open, but he notes that he's been treated like a second-class citizen and now he wonders if there's another way. He insists there must be a way to move beyond the carnival and says that Claire can help them. He tells her she needs to do some soul-searching and invites her to stay there to do it.

Samuel gives a speech to his fellow carnies.

As Claire and Gretchen leave, Claire tells her friend that she's going to stay for a couple of more days. Gretchen understands that Claire has found a place where she belongs. The two girls embrace while Samuel and Lydia arrive. Samuel tells Lydia that he'll soon make sense of everything that has happened. Lydia warns that Claire is innocent and may not serve his purpose, but Samuel says that he's not after Claire. As Gretchen drives away, the carnival disappears behind her. She drives by the burly man's truck, unaware that his dead body is in the back.

Peter goes home and Angela embraces him.

At Joseph's grave, Samuel talks to the carnival folk and in the crowd, Claire nods in agreement:

My brother Joseph had the right idea. He believed that alone this family would be safe. And that idea has worked for us for years. How long can we live like this? Wandering in the desert without a home? Times change and we need to change with them. We need to stop running; stop living in the shadows; we should be stronger. The problem is, there are simply too few of us to make a stand. If we are truly to be great, we need to grow our ranks; bring in new members. And the newest among us can not be shackled with the same burden we've born; wandering like nomads. They deserve a home, the promised land. Now, I've thought a lot about exactly where this homeland should be, and I keep coming back to this very spot. Here we will plant roots, and build a life, a community. Here, we will be oppressed no longer. Here, we will live our lives on our own terms; but none of that can happen until we have gathered the rest. And when we have done that, we will return to this place; we will wander no longer; we will finally be home.

Memorable Quotes

"It's just... it's been a long time since I dated. You know, I, uh, kind of skipped right over the Sexual Revolution."

"Who said anything about sex?"

- Noah, Lauren

"Working for the CIA has a few benefits, like waterboarding terrorists and pretty decent bagels, and the ability to triangulate cell phone calls."

- Lauren

"He kidnapped me once and tried to make my mother shoot me. I got over it."

- Claire (to Gretchen about a memory of Eric Doyle)

"Once upon a time... there was a frog. And the frog lived in a far away land with Mom, Dad, Brother and a tadpole named Mr. Muggles. And the frog always wanted to be special."

- Claire

"You were standing on that edge right there. Like an idiot. Asking me about Dad's depression. Asking me if I could fly."

"Remember what you said?"

"I said we could both fly."

"No, no, no. Before that. You denied it."

"It was an election year. Denial was the go-to."

- Nathan, Peter

"You need to accept that I'm gone."

"I need you... to help me. Now pull yourself up, please."

"You're going to have to carry on for the both of us, Pete. Okay? You tell Mom I love her. You take care of Claire. Fight the good fight. You've always been everything that's good in the world, Pete."


"And I got a feelin' the world ain't seen nothin' yet."

"I can't do this without you."

"You can do anything, Pete. Anything. Remember that. I love you."

"Nathan... I love you, Nathan."

- Nathan, Peter

Character Appearances



  • The symbol can be seen on Nathan's hand just before he wipes it clean.
  • In a rare occurrence, the title card appears alone on a black screen. So far, this has been used at least once per volume, but never more than twice. Other occurrences of this include Hiros, Four Months Later... and Four Months Ago..., One of Us, One of Them, and Trust and Blood.
  • In this episode the closing narration is done by Samuel rather then Mohinder.
  • The episode title is a reference to the Kübler-Ross model, which describes the emotions and reactions to death, grief, or any significant change that an individual experiences. The fifth stage of this model is acceptance.

See Also

previous: Thanksgiving The Fifth Stage next: Upon This Rock
Season Four
Volume Five: Redemption

Orientation / Jump, Push, FallInkAcceptanceHysterical BlindnessTabula RasaStrange AttractorsOnce Upon a Time in TexasShadowboxingBrother's KeeperThanksgivingThe Fifth StageUpon This RockLet It BleedClose to YouPass/FailThe Art of DeceptionThe WallBrave New World

See Also: Volume One EpisodesVolume Two EpisodesVolume Three EpisodesVolume Four EpisodesVolume Five EpisodesHeroes Reborn EpisodesAll Episodes