Heroes Reborn – Season 1 Episode 10
“11:53 to Odessa”
Heroes Reborn gives audiences the final episode until January with further teases about Erica’s endgame and more meandering stories involving the massive cast of characters.
As with any season of this show’s predecessor Heroes, the characters all start to come together in a common cause as the end of the season approaches. In theory it’s a good formula as it allows the characters to develop on their own before changing up the dynamic by seeing how they work together.
In practice the results are largely mixed. In the case of Heroes Reborn there are a lot of contrivances attached to bringing these characters together and most of them aren’t enhanced by being in the presence of the others.
Such is the case with Farah and Carlos. They weren’t all that interesting to begin with and giving them a shared backstory that more or less comes out of nowhere doesn’t help either of them feel more worthwhile in the context of the show. Matt Parkman’s torture of Carlos in the last episode was an effective scene but not because of any investment in Carlos as a character. This also applies to him doing the same to Farah this week.
I actually really liked the torture scenes because of the sinister performance from Greg Grunberg as he relentlessly pursues the information he needs while Farah is uncooperative. Farah’s strength against Matt’s interrogation is admirable but the whole thing only serves as a reminder that Farah is practically a blank slate at this point. These scenes would have resonated much more if some time had been spent developing her.
The most glaring example of her lack of development is the recent revelation of her prior relationship with Carlos. Since it came out of nowhere it’s hard for it to have the same emotional hook that the episode really needed it to. The lack of prior development meant that Matt threatening to kill him if she didn’t reveal the information lacked any real tension.
When Matt was reintroduced I had some trouble with him going along with Erica’s plan and seeming to enjoy it so much but this episode actually helps give some context around his decision to help her. His motivation is focused around saving his wife and son from the coming Apocalypse so it makes perfect sense for him to compromise the principles that he once had in order to make sure that his family is safe. It doesn’t quite explain why there isn’t more reluctance to do morally questionable things but it definitely shows that his decision came from a relatable emotional place rather than the writers simply needing a cool reveal and having a known character switch sides being a cheap and easy way for them to do that.
Taylor and her team’s connection to this part of the story was pretty underwhelming. I feel that it only exists to get those characters in the same place as the others so that the final episodes can have input from everyone. The one good thing that did come out of it is Harris making a quick decision to shoot one of the Matts. At least he’s a consistent character.
Tommy -or Nathan, not sure which at this point- is starting to learn more about his role in this whole situation. Before this point it was clear how Malina could be useful but Tommy’s role wasn’t as easy to figure out. It turns out that he’s important to Erica’s plan to save the world. It turns out that she built a bridge to the future using Hiro’s power and has built a colony there so that some of humanity can be taken there to start again from scratch. With Hiro gone and Tommy assuming his power it means that Erica needs him to bridge the gap between the present and future so that she can complete her plan in time.
It works fine from a story point of view but there’s very little character development for Tommy who seems to sleepwalk through this whole part of the story. He seems to accept Erica’s attempt to steal his power and generally goes along with what she says with very few questions. I have no problem with him accepting that this might be the only way to save humanity but there should be more doubt and compassion from him. He is also clearly being lied to at some points but fails to pick up on it.
Predictably Quentin is starting to have doubts about his involvement in Erica’s plan. I feel that he should never have been involved in the first place and his doubts feel out of place at this point. Despite that I liked his conversation with Phoebe where she points out that she has come too far and can’t come back. She has always felt that her power is a negative one but she seems slightly glad that Erica at least found a use for it. There’s also the suggestion that she is beginning to regret agreeing to work with Erica so I dare say this will result in a betrayal sometime soon.
Erica cares more about humanity than humans and sees this as being the only way to make sure that humanity endures. It’s a compelling argument and she may well be right but there isn’t enough time spent to really discuss the issue and present an alternative point of view. Maybe this will come when the show returns in January. I would think that Noah would be the perfect voice for the alternative point of view especially since he has faith in his granddaughter to stop the solar event.
Noah and Malina had some of the best scenes in the episode as they do some overdue familial bonding. The scene in the car where Noah tells her how much she reminds him of Claire is appropriately sweet. Jack Coleman and Danica Yarosh really sell the developing bond between these two characters in a way that feels very natural. Scenes like this made the fact that all they were doing is traveling around more palatable. I like when this show allows the characters to just behave like people.
One problem I had with Malina is that she seems to have accepted that Tommy is her brother without actually having reacted to it. I can only assume that Noah -or someone- told her between episodes which means that there is a massive chunk of emotional development missing that would have been quite nice to see. Malina is only just starting to develop so it’s a shame that this was missed out.
Luke is also attached to this story and it’s actually the best he has been. His desire to help seems genuine and his affection for Malina is really believable. Considering she saved him when he was at his lowest point it makes a lot of sense that he would feel indebted to her. None of this really forgives the horrible things that he has done across the season so far but he feels a bit more like a person at this point.
Miko’s scenes in the future were pretty cool but haven’t quite got to the point of being interesting as yet. I was also very distracted by the awful CGI in the Renautus future installation. I know that budgets are limited but I’m sure that they could have done better than that.
Some of the revelations about the nature of the constructs are interesting and sort of work within the framework of the show. It does provide another way for death to be meaningless as Hachiri Otomo’s death was undone by revealing that the Hachiri Otomo we saw die was only a construct. It’s forgiven as Miko’s reunion with her father was really well done but I am concerned with how far the construct idea will be taken. Are we about to find out that this whole season was all a Matrix style construct? If so then you heard it here first. It would certainly explain the terrible CGI in the future scenes.
No more Heroes Reborn until January now, it would have made sense for it to be finished before Christmas but never mind. I’ll see all you Heroes Reborn fans in the New Year for more frustration.
An uneven episode that does some things really well but creates more frustration on some very important plot points.
Carlos and Farah’s recently revealed shared backstory still fails to make them any more interesting than they were before. Matt Parkman’s mental torture of Carlos last week was effective because of the way it was done rather than any investment in Carlos as a character and the same applies here. Greg Grunberg gives an appropriately sinister performance as he probes Farah’s mind for the information he wants. Farah is no more interesting than she ever has been so it doesn’t quite land as the show needs it to.
A solid character based reason for Matt switching sides is given here as it is revealed that he only wants to make sure his wife and son are saved from the Apocalypse. This is a motivation that is easily relatable but still doesn’t explain why Matt enjoys being sadistic so much.
It turns out that Tommy’s role in the situation backs up Erica’s plan of starting humanity again in the future. Since she lost Hiro and Tommy took his power she needs Tommy to be the bridge between the present and future. This is fine but the show lacks any real development from Tommy who seems to sleepwalk through the situation. I have no problem with him seeing this as the only way but he goes along with it with very few questions and seems to accept Erica’s attempt to steal his power.
Quentin’s doubts about his role in Erica’s plan are very predictable but I still feel that it is out of character for him to go along with it in the first place. I liked his scene with Phoebe where she points out that she can’t go back now and is somewhat glad that Erica found a use for her destructive power. I feel that there’s a betrayal coming soon once Phoebe has a chance to think things over.
Erica cares more about humanity than humans and sees her plan to rebuild in the far future as being the only option. It’s a compelling argument and I would like to see that explored with alternative points of view being considered. The logical choice for this is Noah as he is convinced that Malina can save the world.
Noah and Malina have the best scenes as they start forging a familial bond. The scene where Noah tells her that she reminds him of Claire is appropriately sweet and there seems to be a very natural connection forming there. It’s a shame that Malina learns that Tommy is her brother off screen and reacts to it without the audience having seen it.
Luke is used a lot better this week as he seems to genuinely want to help as well as his affection for Malina being believable. It doesn’t forgive the horrible things he has done before this point but he does feel a lot more like a person than he ever has.
Miko in the future brings some interesting revelations. Her tearful reunion with her father is really well done but I’m concerned about the fact that death can become meaningless with the ease of these realistic constructs being created. I hope this season isn’t all a Matrix style simulation. If it is then you heard it here first.
See you all in January for more Heroes Reborn based frustration.