Company Man (Heroes)
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|Directed by||Allan Arkush|
|Written by||Bryan Fuller|
|Original air date||February 25, 2007|
"Company Man" is the seventeenth episode of the first season of the NBC science fiction drama series Heroes. It is the first Heroes episode that abandons the usual multi-story format and focuses solely on one storyline, a format that would not be repeated until season 3's "1961". As such, many regular cast members do not appear in this episode.
This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (December 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The episode alternates between the hostage story at the Bennet house and flashbacks to Noah Bennet's time working for Primatech.
The first flashback shows Bennet as he begins his cover identity at Primatech Paper Company. Bennet's mysterious boss, Thompson, informs him that each agent is paired with a person with a superhuman power. Bennet's partner is Claude, whose ability is to become invisible at will.
In another flashback, a baby is handed over to Bennet atop the Deveaux building in New York. Bennet, Claude, and Kaito Nakamura converse in Japanese, and Mr. Nakamura says of the baby, "She belongs to us. If she manifests, we take her." A very young Hiro Nakamura sits nearby, absorbed in a handheld video game.
Another flashback takes place outside the Bennet house, where Bennet tells Thompson that his wife is suspicious about his work. Thompson tells Bennet of a child discovered in Haiti who can wipe memories. For the first of many times, Bennet lets the Haitian into his house to erase his wife's suspicions.
In another flashback, Bennet is under orders to kill Claude for breaching security by hiding someone with a power. Claude is unsurprised, as he was in Bennet's office, invisible, when the order was given. As the two men pull over on a bridge, Claude points out that Bennet is doing the same thing by protecting Claire. Bennet shoots Claude, who becomes invisible and Bennet concludes that his body has fallen off the bridge.
In a final flashback, Bennet tries on glasses, asking his daughter Claire for her opinion. Claire wonders if she will need glasses someday too, as both her father and grandfather needed them. Bennet reveals that she was adopted, which upsets her at first. He assures her that they are her real family. "You didn't grow in your mother, you grew in our hearts." Claire gives him a pair of horn-rimmed glasses to try on. When Bennet asks Claire how he looks, she replies, "Like my dad."
The Hostage Story and Aftermath
Matt and Ted want information about Primatech Paper Company and Noah Bennet's involvement in abductions of people with power. Bennet denies involvement and thinks in Japanese to deflect Matt's ability to read his thoughts. When Matt repeats some of Claire's thoughts aloud, Bennet learns that the Haitian did not wipe Claire's memory as instructed, and that she knows a lot more than he thought. Claire, angry with her father over events in the previous episode, informs Matt and Ted that her father is not a paper salesman, and privately confesses to Matt that she, too, has a power.
Bennet retrieves a hidden gun which, after a scuffle, Ted confiscates. An agitated Ted threatens to shoot Claire's mother, Sandra Bennet. Matt defuses the situation by shooting Claire, on the mental instructions of both Claire and her father. Before Ted can witness Claire healing herself, Matt and Bennet take her body upstairs.
Ted suggests that Matt take Bennet to Primatech for evidence while Ted stays behind with Sandra and her son Lyle as hostages. Ted threatens to use his radioactive power to blow up the home if the men do not return in an hour, telling them to "look for the mushroom cloud."
At Primatech, Bennet confronts the Haitian about not erasing Claire's memory. The Haitian breaks his silence and speaks to Bennet for the first time, and explains that he answers to someone else "in [his] daughter's life." Matt convinces them to give Ted what he wants.
At the Bennet house, Claire sneaks downstairs to untie her dumbfounded mother and brother, who thought her dead. Ted discovers them, but Lyle escapes. Sandra witnesses Claire burned by Ted, then healing herself. Ted rebinds his remaining hostages and realizes that Matt knew of Claire's power before he shot her. Betrayed and angry, Ted's hands begin to glow.
Matt and Bennet return with a binder of evidence. Matt manages to soothe Ted, asking whether he wants revenge or the truth. Ted calms down and takes the binder. The Haitian comes in through another door and releases Claire and Sandra. Claire and Sandra exit the house with The Haitian, leaving Ted behind with Matt and Bennet.
Inside the house, Bennet's boss, Thompson, appears. Over Bennet's objections, Thompson shoots Ted, who loses control of his power and begins emitting huge quantities of heat, setting the house on fire. Bennet prepares a tranquilizer, for if Ted is not subdued he will explode with nuclear force. Everyone exits the house but Bennet, who can't get close enough to Ted to use the tranquilizer. Claire returns to the house and convinces her father that only she can survive the inferno long enough to deliver the dose. Matt takes Bennet outside.
When Claire comes out, her skin is blackened ash but begins visibly healing with every step she takes. Neighbors, the police, and Thompson look on. The Bennet family clings together, the camera spinning around them emphasizing their unity. But Noah Bennet sees Thompson watching them and knows that he will have to give up Claire.
At Primatech, Bennet and Thompson discuss the Haitian, who has gone missing. Thompson believes that it was the Haitian, not Bennet, who was hiding Claire all this time. Ted is sedated and strapped to a bed, locked in a cell. Thompson implies that after they put Ted through tests, they will kill him. Matt lies unconscious in another room. Bennet says that Matt was very helpful, and Thompson suggests Matt's power would make him a good partner for Bennet. Thompson asks when Claire will be arriving. Bennet says he will fetch her.
In the car, Claire asks her father where she is going and he replies that he does not know. Bennet stops at the same bridge where he shot Claude. The Haitian is waiting for them. Claire and her father say their tearful goodbyes. Bennet instructs the Haitian to shoot him in the stomach to make it appear that Claire was taken by force, and also to erase from his memory anything that would lead his bosses to finding her. Bennet says, "I love you, Claire Bear," just before the Haitian wipes his memory.
Eric Roberts makes his first appearance as a new character, Thompson, an associate of Mr. Bennet at Primatech. The episode also marks Missy Peregrym's first appearance as Candice Wilmer, although her illusion powers and name isn't revealed until the next episode.
The highway and bridge from this episode were filmed in Big Tujunga Narrows Bridge north of Los Angeles and can be seen . This can be seen on google maps at 34.283239, -118.19665, especially if you drop the little yellow man on street view.
In the 18-49 demographic, "Company Man" earned a 6.4/15 ratings share. This episode was watched by 14.42 million viewers.
Lynette Rice describes the episode as "an episode with a streamlined, single-character focus that is often cited as a model for the jam-packed ensemble show."
Jack Coleman and Greg Grunberg submitted this episode for consideration of their work in the category of "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series" and for the 2007 Emmy Awards, respectively. Similarly, Hayden Panettiere also submitted this episode in the category of "Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series" on her behalf. Recurring guest stars, Ashley Crow and Matthew John Armstrong, also chose this episode for submission in the categories of "Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series" and "Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series" respectively. The episode was not nominated for any Emmy Awards.