There will be some Season 2 spoilers in here, so avert your eyes if you gave up early in the season. Personally I think that Powerless was the great mid-season finale I was looking for and I didn't mind the slow exposition/build-up to it. (I forgot to watch it on Monday due to some brain misfiring and part 2 of Tin Man, so I watched a DivX copy on my Xbox 360. So thanks to the Dashboard Fall Update I was able to watch Heroes in HD on my nice 32" screen, which I can't normally do (due to lack of tuner/HD service).)
So to fill some of the void until Heroes Volume 3 (Villains) I've been watching Volume 1 in HD-DVD with my brother. What's interesting about that is that I roped my brother into watching Heroes about four or five episodes in and he never really saw the early episodes in Volume 1. One of the questions that came up was "Why did Chandra Suresh start with Gabriel (soon to be Sylar)?"
In thinking about it from after Volume 2 I think a pretty simple picture is developed. Chandra ("Papa") Suresh was seeking his "Patient Zero", the first known appearance of the hero genetic markers. In Volume 2 we have a much better idea of who the real Patient Zero currently alive is: Adam Monroe. It makes a lot of sense that Adam Monroe himself, and also The Company that Adam Monroe helped found, would be interested in obfuscating any and all information about Adam Monroe. Interestingly enough, Chandra's research (via the Human Genome Project, which is presumably controlled by The Company) wasn't entirely off the mark: Adam Monroe was indeed in New York, just locked up in The Company's New York facility. So the question is, why would The Company, and I think it was obviously the lugubrious company at that point, send Chandra to Gabriel of all of the people with the genetic markers in New York City?
I think it was deemed at the time that Gabriel was "harmless". He had not at the time manifested any known powers and so it made sense to send Chandra Suresh to him. I think that the Company may have hoped that powerless, at the time, Gabriel may frustrate Chandra's research and potentially send him packing back to India. That almost happened. They may have even sent Chandra in (observed by Eve) to see if Chandra might even manage to help Gabriel discover/unlock his powers, after The Company itself had already failed to do so. What The Company failed to foresee was the way that Chandra's "disappointed father" attitude and evolutionary beliefs would interact with Gabriel to unlock the twisted dormant psychotic Sylar.
Unfortunately, Chandra Suresh underestimated how long the genetic markers have been in the gene pool and failed to question why his Patient Zero had never actually manifested any powers, much less seemed to have any real contact with Humanity...