Seven Minutes To Midnight

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Wing Chun: B- | Grade It Now!
The Ballad Of Charlie And Hiro

...um, anyway, the next shot finds Eden walking through some kind of rehab-centre-looking common room, in which Isaac's paintings are propped up against every available surface. Apocalypse, Hiro and Ando, exploding car, menaced teenager...diner waitress? As Eden squints at it, there's a ding...

...and then we cut to that very waitress, grabbing a couple of plates because the ding indicated that her orders were up. We're at the Burnt Toast Diner (awesome name and I would totally eat there) in Midland, Texas -- well known as the birthplace of America's current First Lady, and less well known as the place where she once ran a stop sign and totally killed a guy. The waitress -- Charlie -- sets her plates down in front of a couple of cops, obviously regulars. She asks if they need anything else, and the older cop, studying a folded-over newspaper section, glumly requests "a gun to shoot Will Shortz." Charlie sunnily asks what's hanging him up -- the clue is "'Gandhi burial ground,' eleven letters": "Something 'Ganges,' maybe?" "Kanyakumari," says Charlie confidently. "How the hell did you know that, Charlie?" asks the younger cop, way too angrily, like he's about to accuse her of blowing Will Shortz for crossword answers. "That one of the stops on your trip?" asks the older cop (let's call him Officer Grey) expositorily. Charlie cheerfully says that a trip around the world is pricey; right now she only has enough money saved to get to Oklahoma City. "Who won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1981?" challenges the younger cop (Officer Black). Damn, give her something hard; that shit's easy enough to come up at your average pub quiz. Also, Oscar trivia? Homo. "Henry Fonda, On Golden Pond," Charlie answers effortlessly, adding that she preferred Dudley Moore in Arthur: "But if you really want to test me, you oughta ask if I remember your credit-card numbers." She slaps down their bill and perks off. Hee. She could so easily be annoying, but the actress isn't playing up the Kewpie shit too much and manages to be quite winning.

As Charlie checks with her other tables, we pan over to a booth containing Ando and Hiro. Ando is saying it's no wonder Americans are all so fat, given that their diet is so heavy in waffles and French fries: "I've gained four kilos from French fries." The French fry really is one of nature's cruelest gifts: so delicious, but with such evil plans for your organs. Hiro says that they need their strength, and then hits the expository high points: meet Peter Petrelli, save the cheerleader, fulfill their mission. At this point, Charlie approaches: "Anything look good, guys?" "Everything good-looking," Hiro enunciates in English. Charlie giggles, "You're a long way from home; we don't get a lot of tourists out here." And you're not going to attract many more, with all the First Ladies totally running people down in the street all the time. "How you know we touristo?" asks Hiro. Charlie says it was just a guess, and then indicates some Japanese characters on Hiro's windbreaker, asking him what it says. Before he can answer, she reads the words in Japanese and translates, "That means 'I don't belong here,' right?" "You know Japanese!" says Hiro, pleasantly surprised. Charlie explains that she recently read a Japanese phrase book that she received as a gift for her birthday six months ago; demonstrating, she carefully recites, in Japanese, "One Bento box with shrimp, please." Hiro goes nuts at finding his tongue in her mouth (yeah I said it), and she continues, in Japanese: "I'm still learning. Tokyo is going to be the third stop on my trip someday." Ando, in English, marvels that Charlie learned all that from a book in one week. "Very! Good! Memoly!" exclaims Hiro. Charlie supers, "Yeah, I remember lots and lots. It's just something that my brain started doing lately, whether I want it to or not." She gives her head a quick shake and then asks what she should bring them. "You! Peeck!" yelps Hiro. "Somesing delissus for me" -- Ando grins, turning from Charlie to Hiro -- "and for my friend, he need food for fatto fatto." Ando's grin falls so fast that his ears actually droop. Charlie giggles: Hiro's getting the chilaquiles, and Ando will be rocking a cottage-cheese plate. What's Japanese for "cock block"?

As Charlie takes off with Hiro's and Ando's orders, we switch to the angle on the restaurant as seen by the mysterious Sylar in the corner; he's been watching Charlie with Hiro and Ando. Sylar opens his fingers, and the steaming cup of coffee at the edge of his table slides into his hand. Ooooo...ooh? Sylar has the power to accomplish meaningless tasks without moving his forearms? DAMN YOU, EVOLUTION!!!!!

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