Headscratchers / Heroes Nathan

What exactly is propelling Nathan and Peter when they fly?
The jet trails that follow Nathan would suggest some sort of rocket propulsion, but for some reason I don't think that's the case.
  • I assumed that Nathan has some kind of limited airbending skills. When he flies, he is actually riding a cushion of air.
  • See above. Unless it causes plot holes, it's not fit for Just Bugs Me.
    • WRONG! Anything that bugs you is fit for it.
  • A limited form of tactile psychokinesis, which allows them to propel themselves at incredible speeds while shielding them from the windshear and other such problems. The 'jet' trail is water vapour condensing behind them, as it does with any sonic boom... at least, I think it does. Not a physicist.

Nathan knows about Molly's power.
So why didn't he think to use her to find Peter? I mean, he doesn't know that Peter is alive, but considering they Never Found The Body and he has a simple way to know for sure... Of course, this got shot all to hell when Matt's father did whatever he did to Molly, but what about before that?
  • They do also think that Peter is dead. And he didn't know about Molly's power before meeting Matt.
    • So? Matt and Molly were right there when Peter exploded. How long would it have taken before Nathan met them?
      • Matt and Nathan were a little busy recovering from very bad injuries after the explosion. Nathan in particular in the hospital for months.

Season One, last episode. How did Nathan hear what Claire said?
Peter tells her that there is no other way, and the next moment, Nathan flies in around a couple of buildings, to reply. How could he possibly hear the conversation from several blocks away?
  • He saw Claire pointing a gun at Peter, and then put two and two together, realizing that Claire and Peter figured the only way was for her to kill him.

A Senator running AND being the voice of Pineheart reeks of corruption, conflict of interest and profiteering.
  • To say nothing of the fact that, as a Senator, he should have no legal ability to recruit Marines for anything, much less medical experimentation. Legislators have no direct authority over the military chain of command.
    • However, if he was the ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, he would have the effective rank of a three star general, which can definitely order around some marines. Since he is the up and coming new senator, the President could have arranged for him to be appointed chair of that committee.
    • It seemed like the Marines got there without him having anything to do with it, though. Unless Tracy was representing him, but either way it's pretty clearly some extralegal business. (I would say that Nathan barely counts as a senator, given that we never see him doing anything especially senator-ly, but you have to remember this entire season is taking place over like a week or so, so it's not quite as weird as it might seem).
    • Tracy put on something revealing, went to a base full of young, war-traumatized men, and asked for volunteers to take a week's leave and come someplace private with her. Marines followed. She's a smug bitch, but she's a hot smug bitch.

Seriously. You have a formula that can give anyone any powers you want. . .
. . . and you pick a clearly unstable soldier who is obviously a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder. . . and then you give him superstrength? Really? I mean, no, seriously? W. T. F? Has Nathan officially graduated from Peter Petrelli's School of Dumb or what?
  • Well, presumably an army of Supersoldiers with the ability to talk to animals would be fairly useless for taking over the world spreading peace and democracy to every nation on Earth.
  • Also, Traci (who is not a scientist) was probably being overly optimistic when she said they could control what abilities people got. After all, it seems like they're injecting everyone from the exact same batch of chemical goo.
    • Actually, she said they were WORKING ON being able to choose any power they wanted. At that point in time, it was still random.
  • As for Nathan's credentials, it's more like Peter Petrelli traded his Ph.D in Dumbness from Dumby McDumberson's College of Dumb for Nathan's (ANYONE's, really) common sense.

Nathan's sudden change in motivation...
First he wanted to build a super-powered army to do good in the world, in the sense that sending a bunch of super-powered Marines around to police the world in the name of American interests would be "good". Now, he's devoting himself toward imprisoning every single person he knows has superpowers... even though most of them are devoted toward doing good.
  • I can see a case for Nathan concluding - after three weeks of thought on the matter - that since his plans were monkey-wrenched by three super-powered criminals and his Badass Normal brother - who is now, once again, potentially the most powerful person on the planet - that the dangers of superpowers far outweigh the other evils in the world he wants to correct and that the only solution is locking up everyone he knows could be a threat to his own efforts to save the world.
  • Everyone's sudden changes in motivation this season, especially Sylar. The Television Without Pity of "The Eclipse, part 2" had a good riff on this where for a few paragraphs the only way the recapper could cope was by recapping a scene in the style of Memento.
  • Slightly justified: Nathan tells Simone in S1 that his strategy would be to round every super up and put them in camps if it were up to him. Further, Sylar (though he may have been lying) tells Peter that Nathan had already turned against his own kind by the time he was killed. It could be that S3 was him wanting to avoid that by siding with his father (how are you going to lock everyone up?) and once Peter destroyed that avenue, he decided to go back to his original plan out of spite.

How did Nathan get healed at the beginning of Season 3: Villains?
He was dead on the table, shortly after Future Peter shot him. D-E-D dead. And then suddenly he was gasping for life and miraculously healed , shortly before he started seeing a Linderman nobody else could. Linderman turned out to be one of Maury Parkman's illusions. So if that wasn't really a back-from-the-dead, still-has-his-powers-somehow Linderman... how the bloody heck did Nathan get healed?!
  • I thought it was the effect of Claire's blood from season 2, i.e. he still has (had?) Claire's healing power.
    • Except that if he had Claire's power, he should have healed immediately after being shot instead of dying THEN coming back from the dead.
  • I doubt the writers are clever enough to think of this, but it COULD be possible that "Nathan" is a Future-Sylar from a closed-out alternate future (like Season 3's Future Peter was from a closed-out future) who got time-travel powers AND healing, came back, killed Nathan and replaced him before he could become President. Just like the original Dark Future we saw in Season One, only this Sylar could time-travel.
  • I just kind of assumed that Nathan was never actually "dead on the table" - that part was an illusion, courtesy of Maury Parkman, to help mess with everyone's heads, Nathan's included.
    • Hmmm... I'll have to watch the episode again to see if Maury would have had the chance to do that and make sure that Nathan was properly treated before a sudden "turn for the worst" followed by a "miraculous recovery". But that sounds plausable.
  • Unnecessary. The answer is, when Claire's blood is injected into another living host, it's (a) not an instant heal and (b) only good for one saving throw. Er, death. Noah takes quite some hours (in a rather familiar scene) before he rejuvenates from a transfusion of her blood. Also, Noah hasn't become a regenerator just because he has Claire's blood in his system.

Why is Noah working with Nathan?
I'm assuming he agreed to help with running (possibly training) Nathan's black-ops group, partly because Nathan was willing to let Claire stay hidden and partly because it gave him a shot at containing/killing Sylar. But practical as Noah is - and especially given his recent experiences with The Company abusing its self-appointed authority - it just seems to be WAY out of character for him to suddenly decide that throwing all the decent people who didn't abuse their powers (and, in some cases, went out of their way to use them to help people) under the bus is acceptable. After all, he was actively trying to bring down The Company in the end of Season 1 and throughout Season 2 because of all the lives they had ruined. And the only reason he started working for Angela in Season 3 was because his sense of responsibility demanded he do something about the Level 5 escapees.
  • On the other hand, it is possible he's playing double agent and is planning to bring down Nathan's group from within. He definitely didn't look happy about tasering Peter. And playing along for now WOULD allow him to bring together all the people he trusts who have a grudge against Nathan/The Company in a place he controlled.
    • As of Trust and Blood, it looks like this is the case with Noah promising Claire that he'll do what he can to help the people like Matt, Peter and Hiro who were actively trying to help people with their powers and Noah having threatened to out Nathan as a mutant if things get out of control.
  • Apparently the fourth episode will explain this, this troper's money is on 'bringing them down from the inside', although that might be more blind hope than anything else.
    • The fourth episode, Cold Wars, DID explain it. And Noah is definitely working to bring Nathan's group down from the inside now, even if that wasn't his original plan.

Nathan took his soldiers to task for trying to capture Sylar and not killing him. Given that he's going out of his way to spare Claire, isn't that the pot calling the kettle black?
Granting that he's not quite enough of a bad guy to kill his own daughter, you'd think he'd realize that Claire can't be bribed, threatened or silenced by now. Bribery and emotional appeals didn't work in the first season when he and Angela offered her the blood family she always wanted. As Claire herself pointed out (in a scene I did enjoy), Nathan has nothing to threaten her with. Physically, she's immune to torture and most if not all of her loved ones (we haven't seen Sandra or Lyle so far this season - could they have been killed in the last three months?) are either already imprisoned or signed-on with Nathan's team. And ironically the only thing that saves Nathan from Claire going to the press and blowing the lid off of the whole "government kidnapping innocent people" scandal in the making is Claire's unwillingness to stand idly by while her uncle and allies are being sent God Knows Where, where God Knows What might happen.
  • I'm not sure what you're trying to say, exactly. First, Claire's not a serial killer. Second, are you implying someone on the strike force had a reason to spare Sylar? Third, someone finally got enough savvy to just shoot Sylar, which is awesome. What REALLY bugs me is that for some reason, the strike force decided to ignore Nathan's orders about taking care of a ridiculously dangerous serial killer, and use tasers instead of bullets, and...why? WHY would they do that? WHAT POSSIBLE REASON?! The only real answer is Joker Immunity.
    • My point is that Nathan dresses his men down for trying to take Sylar alive because he is an enemy that can't be subdued or negotiated with. And yet Nathan is blind to the fact that Claire is just as much of a threat to his plans as Sylar. She isn't a killer but he knew her well enough to try and hide his plans from her, knowing that her first reaction would be to play Paul Revere and tip off all the other Heroes she knew how to contact.
    • And after Nathan's Nazis take Claire when they take Matt Parkman and he finds out that - sure enough - Claire tried to do what he was afraid she would, what is his reaction? Get rid of whatever they're pumping her with that's keeping her subdued, stick her in a car and tell her to just forget she saw anything. Even after Claire points out that there's not a damn thing he can do to stop her from telling the world The Truth if she's allowed to go free, Nathan avoids doing the smart thing, which is to either throw Claire on the plane with everyone else or shoot her in the back of the head.
    • As for Nathan's Nazi's deciding to use less-lethal measures on Sylar, I'm willing to write that off as Marine Grunt arrogance in accordance with Rule 46 of The Evil Overlord List in action (a.k.a. "He is but one man! What can he do?") or that nobody knew Sylar had killed Elle, thus gaining her electrical resistance.
      • But Elle didn't have electrical resistance. In season 2, Noah managed to disable her by putting her into a circuit so that any electricity she tried to channel would rebound and hurt her instead, as well as claiming that over-testing of her powers when she was a kid is something that caused her brain to be wired... a little funny. In season 3, lack of control over her powers had her charged up near-constantly, which was causing her constant pain as well. Another good question is how Sylar actually managed to stay standing with that many taser darts on him... I'm going to call it a combination of TK shielding and his healing ability.

Actually, forget Noah. Why is Angela working with Nathan after he betrayed her?
Even after Arthur tried to have him killed twice (one when Nathan was investigating Linderman and once when he warned Samedi that Nathan was going to Haiti) and mind-raped Angela (once when Nathan was investigating Linderman and once when he trapped Angela inside her own mind), and after Angela told everyone about her visions that The Synthetic Superpower Formula would cause the end of the world... Nathan still joined forces with his father. And yet, three months down the line, Angela is readily aiding her treacherous son in going much further in ruining the lives of innocent people in the name of maintaining order than she ever did with The Company, even to the point of allowing her loyal (and supposed favorite) son Peter to be "contained".
  • Of course, this is rather a moot point now that Angela told Nathan to go fudge himself and clean up his own mess when he called her to ask for her support in Trust and Blood, after Nathan realized that his field commander is a trigger-happy psychopath and that Noah Bennet is ready, willing and able to out Nathan as a mutant the minute he thinks things are getting out of control.

And speaking of Abby Collins...Why in God's name did Nathan keep trying to change her mind verbally? By now, with all the surveillance his group is doing, there must be miles of tape he can show anyone who doubts the existence of powers. He could have shown her whatever he showed the president. He could have made one of the prisoners give her a demonstration. Hell, he could have given her one himself. Instead, he just urged her to trust him without giving her any evidence — why did he think she would?
  • Ignoring all the dangers in letting up for a moment so one of their powered-prisoners COULD use their powers, what reason would any of the prisoners have to cooperate by 'giving a demonstration'? If they just sit there and do nothing - what can Nathan do? Threaten them further in front of the woman who is convinced he's nuts for insisting that the frog in a top hat sings and dances when nobody else is watching?
  • Besides - thanks to the air-strike on the plane - the only prisoners they had were Tracy (who wasn't about to cooperate) and Daphne (who was too doped up to cooperate AND would be able to escape easily if they freed her to show off her superspeed).
    • C'mon, you're not being creative. I can think of lots of ways to do it. Simplest method: exactly what Danko did, just without the "lying to your own guys" part. Allow Daphne (who's less dangerous) to wake up alone with her hands and legs tied. First thing she'll do is use her speed to get free. Surprise! The room's still locked, the walls are impenetrable, the vent just started leaking knockout gas, and we got it all on camera. Don't trust that method? Use blackmail — tell Daphne you have Matt and you'll kill him unless she does something speedy with her one free hand, the rest of her being securely chained up. Or use her reflexes against her: pretend to shoot her or something, and watch her dodge Matrix-style. This is cake.
      • Ignoring for a moment that allowing these people the freedom to use their powers flies in the face of everything that Danko and his men have been recruited to do and that filming a speedster in a locked room would be one of the easiest things for a video editing wizard to fake (speed up the video while changing the clock to be slower than it really is)... Okay. Let's get creative. As you say, you COULD pretend to shoot the speedster. And then she could, instead of just dodging the bullet, walk around the bullet and beat your face in with hundreds of punches in the span of a second, caving in your skull. Or she could turn out to be so fast that she can vibrate the atoms of her body to phase through solid matter and lift your brain out of your head before you could give the order to drop the knock-out gas. Or maybe you'd be lucky and she'd just vibrate through the wall and escape. Even if you left her only one hand free, she MIGHT be able still whip up enough speed waving her fingers to generate a small whirlwind which would certainly be capable of bashing you to death against the walls of the room. But wait - someone asks rhetorically - we don't know that Daphne can do all those The Flash tricks. And they're right... but we don't know she CAN'T do that. And neither do Danko and his men. And they're unlikely to do such a thing knowing that their life would be on the line. The only reason Danko even pulled it with Tracy in the first place was out of desperation and the knowledge that it wasn't his life or the lives of his men that was likely to be placed in danger.
      • You realise that Daphne did, in fact, get shot in the first place, right? For all her speed, she's never been seen to dodge any bullets at all. As for "hundreds of punches in the span of a second"... remember the fight scene between Future!Daphne and Future!Peter? She dashed around dodging, and that was all well and good, but even a Daphne that had been training for years longer than the one we have would still pull out of speed-up before hitting someone. And don't even get me started on your "vibration" tricks. If she was that level, she wouldn't need Ando's supercharge to break the speed of light.
  • And Nathan IS the kind of jackass who would think that "I'm a politician who is trying to help this country." would be all the word anyone else would need - even if he is a duplicitous asshole.

Why is Nathan bothering to keep his powers a secret, from his team or from the government? It's not like that would suddenly make him untrustworthy — all of this was his idea.
  • Simple paranoia and cynicism. Nathan's big fear, since Season One, has been that the world at large would find out that super powers are real and that something like this would happen to the people with powers. Why? Because "it's what I would do." Because he's afraid that people in general would be terrified at the revelation of superpowers instead of excited by the possibilities, Nathan has proceeded only way he can with his cynical viewpoint on human nature. By enacting the dark plan himself, he can try to control things so that most of the people with superpowers are cured instead of being killed outright... which is what people like Danko would doubtlessly want to happen.
    • I get why Nathan isn't telling the public. But he's making things harder for himself by not telling his team or his superiors (except the president — I think there's a fifty-fifty chance Nathan told him everything). There are problems with letting them know, but the problems with not telling them seem worse to me.
      • With Danko having made it clear from the very beginning that he's a mutant-hating sociopath who sees the people he hunts as targets on a shooting gallery instead of human beings AND that he doesn't much like taking orders from a politician, things were tense enough between Nathan and Danko at the start. Throw in the power-struggle/dick-waving contest with Noah and the mutant daughter (Claire) that Danko isn't allowed to go after and you have one big powder keg. Nathan is smart enough to realize that revealing his powers to Danko - even in the interest of full-disclosure - is more likely to get him shot or imprisoned than to earn respect for being honest. So it all comes back to paranoia and cynicism again.

Guys like Danko might refuse to work for him, sure; so don't hire guys like Danko.
  • That decision appears to be out of Nathan's hands. According to Cold Wars, Nathan originally wanted Noah to head up his team of Cape Busters... but things changed so that he apparently had to put Danko's squad in charge, leaving Noah as middle-management... AGAIN.
    • Yeah, so the question becomes whether the higher-ups would still have brought in this hardcore super-hater if they'd known Nathan was one himself.
    • Presumably the President knows, as it's hard to imagine Nathan could've possibly sold his story about "real comic book superpowers" to the commander-in-chief, without also demonstrating his own flying ability. Whether anyone else in the government knows is questionable, though.

And the advantages are obvious: No more questions from higher-ups. If they doubt, take 'em for a ride. Nathan being able to use his powers in front of his team could easily save operations that would otherwise fail. If Peter tried to fly off, for instance, Nathan could probably bring him down.
  • Nathan's too busy with his Senator duties to play superhero. The only reason he was there to have a hand in things during Cold Wars was because Danko pulled him out of a State dinner saying it was urgent. And Danko made it clear what his opinions are on having powered people on the team in Cold Wars, mocking Noah's "One of Us, One Of Them" approach to team-building. Given that Danko apparently has enough pull that Nathan can't just fire him, that also eliminates any possibility of Nathan discretely outing himself to only a few team leaders and Danko.

And most important, it would deny the rebels a huge weapon against him. How the hell does Nathan plan to keep his secret? What'll stop Peter or Mohinder or Matt the goddamn telepath from giving it away? How has he been keeping Tracy quiet? It's all just so unnecessary. Why is Nathan making his own situation precarious?
  • See the above sub-entry on Secret Black-Ops unit chasing you all over the world? Trying to ship you to Parts Unknown? for the details as to why Matt, Peter and Mohinder just can't out Nathan. The short version is that none of them are really credible witnesses, even if they could get the media or a different government authority to take them seriously without freaking out about "Oh my God! Mutants!"
  • As for how Nathan is keeping Tracy quiet - locking a person up in solitary confinement underground with a bag over their head, surrounded by trusted guards who are under strict orders to ignore the rantings of any prisoners does wonders in keeping the media and public ignorant.
    • And yes, the prisoners can't tell the public, but they could spill the beans to the team any time, as could the rebels as soon as they're captured. (Tracy passed up two perfect chances.) Nathan could take precautions like not letting them speak, but he isn't.
      • Actually, Tracy TRIED that after she was recaptured. Remember when Nathan went to visit her before they put her under the heat lamps at the end of Trust and Blood? ("You're one of us, Nathan! You're one of us!")
      • Also, I'm no expert on the penal system or police procedure but it is my understanding that prison guards are generally trained to ignore anything a prisoner says if not outright ordered to do so specifically. So even if Danko's team weren't made up entirely of baby-killing black-ops mutant-haters, odds are they wouldn't want to listen to a word Tracy had to say anyway. By the time Abby Collins came around, Tracy had probably given up any chance of being able to talk reason into anyone... especially after Abby Collins left her to go get the paperwork to shut Nathan down instead of ordering Tracy freed right that minute.
      • My point here doesn't apply immediately; sure, no one should believe Tracy. But if Nathan successfully captures Peter's group, there'll be a whole bunch of different prisoners all claiming he can fly. That's bound to make the guards and especially Danko wonder.
      • And if that just gets Nathan chained to a chair next to Tracy? Better the Jerk Ass you know than the Knight Templar you don't. She only resorted to trying to out Nathan when desperation overrode her political savvy.

Your first point is well taken, though; paranoia goes a long way in explaining irrational actions, and I like how that whole paragraph could be about Tony Stark without missing a beat.
  • No problem. I took the liberty of breaking your original posts up so that it was easier to track. In the future, it might be best to save those big paragraph questions for the discussion page rather than the main page or break your points up into individual WMGs entries.
    • Fair enough; I wasn't really expecting point-by-point replies.

What's this Nathan's saying about the "one" that they actually have?
I know he's talking about Tracy. But, logically speaking, they would have more than just Tracy. Claire mentioned at least one other: the dude who somehow managed to fill his house up with seawater. The clear implication is that the operation had been running for a little bit already before attacking Tracy, picking up people offscreen. Even if he was just referring to Tracy as the only one in that facility, the way he was talking made it sound like they didn't have any other facilities at that point anyway. He was specifically trying to talk that woman into giving him more funding so that they would.
  • Claire just mentioned reading the story about sea-water mysteriously manifesting in a house somewhere and the person who owned the house disappearing. It is possible that person went on the run and hadn't been captured yet at that point.
    • Alternatively, the one with the seawater powers (along with everyone else they had captured at that point) could have died when Danko called in an air-strike on the downed plane, killing everyone who hadn't gotten loose at that point. Or they could have been one of those who fell out of the plane as it was coming down...
      • Well, the sea-water guy specifically is probably dead, as that was a reference to a graphic novel where said water-guy was attacked by some agents of Nathan's, only to be sprayed with something that caused him to lose control and dissolve, then his remains were dumped into the Mississippi.
  • When the plane crashed, it was headed... somewhere. And that somewhere hasn't gone away. Nathan might be talking about the "one" he's holding locally, in contrast to however many people are being stored off-site. As to why Nathan might be keeping her around... he may have his reasons.
    • This seems to be true; the promo for next week has Danko showing Mohinder a room full of sedated people and saying that they're all "armed and dangerous".
      • Those people were all in Building 26, as it turned out.

Nathan's plan to reveal himself to The President in An Invisible Thread?
Nathan's plan basically boils down to telling The President the truth about his own powers and hoping that will give him the goodwill he needs to shut down Building 26 and the empowered-human hunting program. So if The President doesn't know the truth now, why did Nathan feel the need to go on the run to Mexico?
  • For that matter, see How did Danko get in charge to begin with? above and wonder just how the hell Danko wound up in charge of Building 26 again if he DIDN'T out Nathan to The President!

Why did peter and nathan think flight vs electricty would be a good match up?
HONESTLY I know that the Petrelli Bros were dumb, but seriously a human missle tattic in an enclosed space against a guy with a shitload of other powers that can stop you in your tracks and two hands so he can after you at the same time. an what was with the whole "the president can only be saved by people like us" speech when they don't have an offensive power in their body?
  • Maybe they were just rushing him to give Peter a chance to grab one of Sylar's powers.
    • That was the point; they explicitly stated as much. I didn't buy into the speech, myself, but that had more to do with honestly thinking that fight would have gone a lot smoother with a healthy dosage of heavily-trained agents with assorted guns on the Petrellis' side.
      • Peter doesn't have super-healing and it's a bad idea to be trying to grab a guy who's being shot at by multiple people.
      • True. However, they could still lead the charge, soften him up (if only for a crucial few seconds) and then scatter for the big superpowered heroes. Then again, they might not have had any appropriate "hunters" on hand at the time, but shutting them out completely feels irrational.
  • Problem is - even if the Hunters were still willing to listen to Nathan at this point - what could they do against Sylar? Peter and Nathan both know Sylar has a healing factor. Even if they didn't know that Sylar had shifted his weak-spot (which Nathan had a decent chance of figuring out) they would have known that regular bullets wouldn't hurt Sylar anyway and that all an army of armed agents could accomplish was getting killed and getting in the way while they were trying to accomplish the primary objective (i.e. get Peter close enough to leech off Sylar).
    • It could be wishful thinking, but it looked to me like those darts were actually hurting him — just in little, easily-healed doses, thanks in part to Danko's poor planning. Against a team that actually knew what they were up against this time, rather than half a dozen agents who still caught him by surprise a couple times... well, that's not to say it would have necessarily gone better if their goal was only to bring Peter in range, but it's not as if they had a bad track record against supers. Nathan's speech just bugs me.