Heroes Reborn – Season 1 Episode 6
At last, Heroes Reborn decides to progress some of the story threads in ways that feel like the show is actually heading towards something.
Thankfully references to the apocalyptic event are kept at a relative minimum and the focus shifts to the characters with some really great moments as a result. There’s also a real sense of the stories starting to come together in ways that almost make sense as part of the overall story.
The central point that everything revolves around is Renautas and Erica’s reset button plan for humanity. Most obviously Noah and Quentin are key figures in stopping that plan as they’ve been wandering around inside their headquarters for what feels like forever by now. One thing that has helped with is establishing how much Quentin cares about his sister. It was well enough established in earlier episodes that his motivation was entirely connected to Phoebe so any resolution for Quentin would have to involve her in some way.
It’s very difficult to assess how effective this aspect of the show is as a lot of it hinges on the “Dark Matters” prequel webisodes where these characters were central. I do wonder how people who didn’t watch those would feel about this relationship. As someone who did watch them then it’s easy for me to fill in the gaps but anyone who didn’t might struggle to care about these characters. In “Dark Matters” a lot of time is spent building up Phoebe and it was done so well that she was a character I cared about seeing again. Without that Phoebe must seem like a bit of a blank slate with the expectation being to care about the idea of her rather than her as a person. Interestingly watching the “Dark Matters” webisodes set unrealistic expectations for the overall quality of this show as the character focus demonstrated there hasn’t really translated to the series as a whole.
It does turn out that the time spent establishing Quentin’s objective was reasonably well spent as the pay-off completely worked here. Seeing Phoebe kill her brother was a genuinely shocking moment and Aislinn Paul puts across Phoebe’s anguish after realising what she’s done. There’s also a sense of desperation about her as she struggles to convince herself that she’s doing the right thing. There’s lots of potential for Phoebe to go on a redemptive arc at this point so I hope that we get to see that. It is a shame that Quentin is dead but with the journey back in time -more on that later- I imagine we haven’t seen the last of him.
Miko and Ren were heavily involved here and I actually liked how they managed to tie the video game into the Renautas. Hiding things inside a digital environment not easy to access from the outside is a really bizarre thing to incorporate but it does seem to fit somehow. Why do they add their logo to anything in the game though? Seems like a stupid way to keep a secret. Then again, their security is laughable at the best of times so at least Renautas are consistent.
Miko and Ren are intended to be the emotional anchor that makes this concept seem less ridiculous but it doesn’t really work as there is very little emotional depth to them which makes the whole thing feel really superfical. I find the story compelling because there’s a good energy about the characters and their story is a lot more fun than the others.
The reveal that Miko is a computer program created by the designer after his daughter was killed in a car crash isn’t allowed to have the emotional weight that it should because it’s more or less glossed over with everything else that’s going on around it. It should have been a powerful moment when Ren told her that he accepted her no matter where she came from but it fell flat. Heroes Reborn tried to do too much in this episode after meandering for so long that there’s a rushed quality to it. Ripping off the famous “I love you” followed by “I know” moment from The Empire Strikes Back doesn’t help matters either. As above the moment is robbed of anything that would make it powerful by being more concerned with generic referencing rather than let the characters interact. It also robbed her apparent death of what was needed to make the scene work.
Tommy’s scenes were handled in a far more ham fisted manner than I’m used to for this character. There was so much about them that were obvious attempts to prove that the show has something to say but it all completely lacked authenticity. His bold statements to the effect of “leave us alone” when he is refused access to the Eiffel Tower on account of being an Evo were cringe inducing. There was nothing wrong with it on a conceptual level but the execution was horrific.
Emily’s conversation with him where she tells him that those who have powers have a responsibility to use them for good was equally offensive. Again, on a conceptual level it’s fine but there has to be another way to put it that isn’t drawing parallels to Spider-Man by basically stealing his motto verbatim. It turns out that Star Wars wasn’t the only thing being ripped off in this episode.
I do like the idea of Tommy running from this plan that people have for him to help save the world due to a lack of confidence or ability to see the big picture but taking this approach is horribly misguided. Tommy is not Peter Parker and doesn’t have the back story necessary for the words to have their true meaning. They become meaningful to him because the script says so instead of being an organically realised idea that Tommy can commit to.
Hiro (Masi Oka) is back now and it didn’t take them long to screw that up. He initially tells Noah that interfering with the past is too dangerous but is quickly convinced by a few words from Noah and takes him back in time as requested. Hiro should have needed a little more information before deciding to take what Noah said at face value. Again, Heroes Reborn rushes through things that time needs to be spent on.
Luke is still indulging in his pity party in an obvious attempt to make the audience feel sorry for him. That might be possible if he actually regretted what he had done rather than having lost a sense of purpose which puts him off his Evo hunt. His team-up with Malina should be equally tepid as she too hasn’t lived up to her early promise.
Taylor is out for revenge against Erica which we already knew but she eventually discovers that her boyfriend is dead and that she’s pregnant. That’s quite a lot to process in one episode but it does sort of work since Taylor has come across really strongly since she was introduced. I hope that the conflict with her mother gets the treatment it deserves.
Carlos is still around but his part in all of this is meandering and appearing superfluous. It’s hard to find the motivation to care about the vast array of uninteresting characters in this show.
An uneven episode that moves some of the plot along at the expense of the powerful character moments that should be at the centre of everything.
The focus is on the characters in this episode with the Apocalyptic event references kept at a minimum but the episode suffers from the meandering nature of previous outings so comes across as more than a little rushed.
Quentin and Phoebe were the strongest characters in the episode by far. A lot of the audience investment in these characters might come from the “Dark Matters” prequel webisodes. As a viewer of those I’m unsure how people who haven’t seen them would react to those.
Phoebe being responsible for killing her brother was appropriately tragic and sets Phoebe up with the potential to have some form of redemptive arc in the weeks ahead.
Miko and Ren continue to be entertaining but their lack of depth was most obvious in this episode. They are intended to be the emotional anchor that keeps the concept of storing things in a video game more palatable but they have been kept on a very superficial level so it’s difficult to suspend disbelief.
The reveal that Miko is a computer program created by a game designer after his daughter was killed was robbed of any emotional heft as it passed so quickly with so many other things going on around it. Similarly it’s difficult to get invested in her relationship with Ren when the writers choose to rip of Star Wars in a painfully obvious way.
Tommy doesn’t fare very well in this episode with so many cringe inducing scenes involving lots of exposition. The Spider-Man reference felt completely forced and drawing parallels between Tommy and Peter Parker makes no sense when given any degree of thought.
The idea of Tommy running from his apparent value in saving the world isn’t a bad idea and if handled better could have been a solid emotional arc for Tommy to follow. Instead, expositional speeches have meaning to him because the script says so.
Hiro’s return was wasted by how quickly he accepted Noah’s argument for travelling back in time. I was hoping that Hiro would need more information before making such a decision.
Taylor’s discovery that she is pregnant should increase the urgency of her conflict with Erica. There’s a real opportunity to have some excellent drama between these characters that has only been heightened with this discovery.
Luke and Malina’s team-up should be as tepid as the characters have been and the less said about Carlos the better. I’m yet to be convinced that these characters are necessary.