Yeah sure, Heroes X-Men blah blah blah, but wait, there’s more. I’m getting a distinct vibe from the latest episode that has less to do with mutants than with good TV. This makes me very happy, all the more because I didn’t pick up on it until the third-to-last ep of the season. Of course, that could be just a lack of recent J. Michael Straczynski in my life.

Warning: the remainder of this post contains spoilers for Heroes through episode 1.21 “The Hard Part.” Also, if you haven’t seen Babylon 5 and Memento, or at least have some working knowledge of the two, you probably won’t be able to make head or tail of it. (God knows I can’t, and I wrote the darn thing.) The more background, the better.

Okay, so Linderman, a Vorlon, a Shadow, and Leonard the amnesiac dude from Memento walk into a casino. Two of them can agree that the problem with manipulating people to fight your battles for you is a Risky Proposition, for the simple reason that they are people, not chess pieces. Leonard agrees but can’t remember later that he did, because Linderman confiscated his tattoo stuff. And Linderman himself is sitting grinning and thinks the godlike beings are just so tragically wrong.

(Drinks arrive.)

VORLON: This plot has always been here.

LINDERMAN: Well, of course it has. Do you think we’d leave this all to chance? We only crib from the best.

LEONARD: Um, guys, my money disappeared. I think John G. took it.

(CANDACE walks by, tries to morph into a VORLON, and gets a richly deserved psychic bitchslap.)

CANDACE: (from the floor) Ow.

SHADOW: Mr. LINDERMAN, what do you want anyway?

LINDERMAN: Isn’t it obvious? You’re the godlike aliens, after all. We’re just mildly special, but we can play around with all sorts of fun toys. Like people’s minds.

VORLON: Reflection. Surprise. Terror. That’s your future.

LEONARD: Who are you people, anyway? And why am I drunk?

LINDERMAN: Mr. Kosh, I’m sure you’re mistaken. I’ve seen the historical documents, and while I’m quite impressed, you’re overlooking the fact that I’m—we’re—not attempting to fight a war here. We’re only trying to reach the…nexus, if you will. Thereby throwing a hydrospanner into the proverbial gears.

SYLAR: I can fix that.

SHADOW: Oh, hi there Gabriel. Having fun being our emissary?

THE PROPHETS: Wrong show, dorkwad.

SHADOW: My bad. Still, we’re winning. (blows a raspberry at the VORLON)

(VORLON is shaken, and its voices appear to be muttering layers of “dumbass” and “shit-for-brains.”)

VORLON: Impudence. Hiro and Mohinder remain to us. And Parkman and the Bennets are not lost.

LINDERMAN: (chuckling) Oh, you’ll see. They’ll all fall in line easily enough. Why do you think I and my associates have let so many of them realize they were being manipulated? Because they’re so adorably predictable when their trust is betrayed. You really should read the Widmore report, it’s marvelously entertaining. Believe me, no amount of time travel is going to change people’s gut reactions.

LEONARD: (reading off a legal pad smeared with paint) Okay, so…what, you shoved Meredith at Nathan and then shoved Bennet at Meredith, knowing how she’d react, so you could force Claire’s expression of the gene. So what’d you do it for and how’d you get Molly?

SHADOW: A better question would be, is there anything—

LEONARD: (brightly) Worth living for?

SHADOW: (sighing) Wrong tattoo. Anything you didn’t account for.

LINDERMAN: I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.

CANDACE: Wow, it really is hard to hold a Vorlon form with so many people watching. (passes out)

SYLAR: Oh goody, lunch.

LINDERMAN: Not on the casino floor, Gabriel. Why don’t you visit one of our many fine restaurants?

VORLON: You start the avalanche, but you do not know how all the pebbles will vote.

LEONARD: Yeah, what he said. Or she said. Whatever. Hey, do you guys know if I finally did it?

SYLAR: No, I’m the one who does it. Kaboom. Good-bye, Nyuu Yooku.

LINDERMAN: Wait, you ate Hiro? That’s not in my script.

VORLON: And so it begins.

ANGELA PETRELLI: There’s a new draft, hon. Page 606. (hands LINDERMAN a script with the word balloons filled in)

LEONARD: So you’re just making up your own truth? I think somebody’s going to lose a Post-It sooner or later here.

LINDERMAN: Nonsense. Mohinder is seeing to that. We won’t even need computers of dubious origin and purpose to find all the mutants, which is a good thing since I’m really not going to be happy with how perceptive Micah’s turned out.

SHADOW: (throwing up a few appendages in surrender) Okay, you don’t want to listen to the ones who’ve been there. We get that. Just don’t come crying to us when your boom tomorrow isn’t the one you wanted.

LINDERMAN: Fine. Go ahead back to the future, the past isn’t what it used to be. (glances at SYLAR, who is eyeing CANDACE) Oh for God’s sake, Gabriel, get a doggie bag, you’re going to die at the end of the season.

(There is the faint sound of FANGIRLS wailing. It’s loud enough for SYLAR to wince.)

VORLON: You are so not ready for immortality.

ANGELA PETRELLI: That’s why we have kids, stupid. LINDERMAN just adopts, that’s all.

LEONARD: Receipt, please.

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