After a healthy break Heroes Reborn comes back to close out the franchise’s revival miniseries… and truthfully I’m having a hard time paying attention.
It was almost a relief not to have to watch this show over the last several weeks. Enduring an episode is a peculiar mixture of leisure and chore. While this is somewhat likely the show’s best season, any value is extremely blotted by the shining supernova that is modern day TV. When Heroes first dropped a decade ago it was truly unlike anything else out there (save Lost), it bordered on groundbreaking, but now it’s just another comic-affiliated drama that amongst a galaxy of shows that do both comic and drama much, much better.
Whereas Heroes Volume One concerned itself with a human bomb aiming to wipe out NYC this first Volume is all about a sun bomb destined to wipe out all humans. The first of the duel solar flares makes is big debut in the episode’s final shot, an ominous sign that things be about to, ehr, heat up.
The show started with many characters in disparage places and it was pretty apparent the structure would mimic that of the initial Volume One where the splintered cast eventually rendezvous to battle the season’s big bad. There’s nothing wrong with borrowing from the past, it worked for The Force Awakens, but outside of the nostalgia the central tension is mostly lost. A lot of this hour really concerned itself with making up reasons for everyone to go to Odessa, Texas, the location of hazy salvation event perpetrated by the twin offspring of Claire Bennett, Tommy and Malina.
The episode begins with Malina and Luke the Nuke cruising through the Midwest as they discern their next move. As one might remember Noah Bennett, Malina’s grandfather, mysteriously teleported away in the midst of a giant, violent storm (which are apparently happening all over the globe due to the solar flares…or magnetism, I’m not even sure). They decide to try to rescue Tommy from Erica Kravid in Midian, Colorado, however they are incepted by Phoebe the Shadow, her brother Quentin and a couple of Harris clones.
This “trio” of villains have defined themselves by merely existing, indicative of the despotic and underwhelming Kravid. Quentin’s role, still played well by Henry Zebrowski, was basically sacrificed for a pretty good twist that didn’t pay off thoroughly. He seems to be back on the redemption path as his sister is portrayed as just plain ruthless, some weak conflation of an alternative teen. Harris…well, we’ll get to him.
After running through a cornfield in an escape attempt Luke saves Malina and they discover that Tommy is now in Odessa. Whew! They almost wasted a whole trip driving to the Rockies when they should have been Lone Star bound. Contingent #1 is en route.
Tommy’s (aka Nathan’s) story has taken an interesting turn in the last few hours. Following his discovery that he’s the son of a regenerative cheerleader and the step-son of the Master of Time and Space he begins an uneasy alliance with Kravid that is predicated on her manipulative claims that she is trying to save humanity in the face of no other options. And one can’t really blame Tommy, a scorched landscape 8000 years in the future is pretty damning empirical evidence something bad has happened to the generally lush Earth.
Meanwhile Katana Girl, a digital ‘construct” of a video game character based on comatose girl named Miko, is now in the future city of Gateway, a commune set up by Kravid for the refugees of the past, and tries to rescue Tommy. I use “try” because the idea that this character, who’s power is that she’s proficient with a sword, is going to save a person who can transcend the 4th dimension is absurd, but let’s roll with it.
Through the plot device comic book, 9th Wonders, Tommy discerns that Katana Girl is part of the grand plan and he sends her back in time to defeat her greatest enemy, Harris, because they’ve fought a few times and I guess that would constitute the most meaningful relationship of her existence.
She arrives at Sunstone Manor, locale of other important happenings, and fights Harris Prime in a one-on-one battle. The fight itself it a bunch of quick cuts and telegraphed choreography, there are some cool elements, like Harris wielding an axe, but the action piece is a bunch of whatever. It ultimately it ends in Katana Girl shoving a sword through her chest to kill Harris which causes his clones to disappear.
It’s more than a bit of letdown that Harris was nothing more than a decent way to produce unlimited henchmen. Holy Ben Reilly was that idea poorly executed. First, why the hell would Harris Prime fight Katana Girl alone? If I had dude’s powers you’d never see me, I’d be holed up in a penthouse somewhere playing video games and eating sugary snacks as my duplicates did all the dangerous stuff. Second, the character itself was so incredibly hollow it’s insulting. What was this guy’s motivation to work for the anti-Evo Kravid? Why did Harris die by beheading when previously his powers were activated by splitting his body parts off? We’ll probably never know, and I guess it doesn’t matter.
This battle between digital good and cloned evil allows the Sunstone Manor patient-prisoners to escape with some help from Carlos/El Vengador, Farah, Renee the Haitian and Taylor. The quartet decide to split up to achieve their various ends which are basically: save Carlos’s nephew and priest friend, and also locate Micah Saunders, the technopath who’s leads the underground group HeroTruther.
The Haitian and Taylor Kravid don’t fare too well in trying to release Micah from his glass prison. They confront Matt Parkman, operating (and mind) manager of the facility, and while the Haitian is able to null his powers for a bit but all it takes is a bullet to the ear for him to break his focus and let Parkman take control. In the midst of this scene Parkman’s face-heel turn is addressed, flimsily, by explaining he has broke bad due to his family leaving him. His alliance with Taylor’s mom is a ploy to prove his value to them again, but in realizing Erica is a scumbag he takes Taylor hostage as a leveraging point and heads to Odessa. Contingent #2 en route.
El Vengador and Farah rekindle their romance as they scuttle through Sunstone Manor. They eventually find Carlos and Father Mauricio who then lead them to Micah. In one of those prototypical Heroes moves El Padre is murdered by a gunshot even though his power is to turn to smoke. That gives the phrase “senseless death” a whole new meaning.
Micah , 400% less annoying now that he’s a grown (buff as hell) dude, is released and drops the big one: the planet is basically 24 hours away from an extinction-level event. Risking global panic Micah addresses the whole world via video and exposes Erica and her company Renautas’ lying, scandalous ways (which begs the question: why the hell is there a blooper reel of the faux-Suresh’s terrorist video?). Micah, Carlos and Farah then all travel to Odessa. Contingent #3 en route.
Some Kravid-centric things close out the episode. Erica has Tommy transport back to the Gateway community in present-day where he finds Emily, his crush, and his mom who I forgot was still alive. Kravid then hooks Tommy up to a creepy looking machine that will widen the scope of powers to move the Gateway residences en masse to the future. Shortly after, through Katana Girl’s appearance at Sunstone, she realizes that Tommy is playing both sides. She summons the presence of the almost-forgotten Joanne, estranged wife of Luke, and tasks the bloodthirsty maiden with hunting down Malina. Wild card en route.
Another insipid installment of a floundering show. Even as a critic and a lover of contemporary TV I can’t quite put my finger on what is lacking in Heroes Reborn when contrasted with other quality programming. There’s a narrative glue that is almost shunned; the writers reason each successive scene through poor and turbid justifications. This isn’t always a killer (The Flash is a show that occasionally forgoes logic) but considering the quality of characters, often the most important piece in any species of fiction, the prospects of a rectifying final two episodes is a long shot. However, the show has done some ridiculous things, some of which have worked, so a lot is to be determined. Bring on the future, I guess.