Heroes Reborn – Season 1 Episode 8
“June 13th – Part Two”
After a solid outing last week, Heroes Reborn returns to the mediocrity and frustration that it has unfortunately become associated with since the beginning of the series.
This episode actually opens really well with an explanation of how Claire was able to die. It turns out that Nathan -or Tommy as we all know him- absorbs the abilities of other evos that he comes into contact with. Claire died because he absorbed her healing ability which allowed her to die during childbirth. It’s a solid explanation that works within the rules set by this show.
There are further complications when Hiro finds himself stuck in 1999 after baby Nathan absorbs his ability to time travel. Angela Petrelli tells him that because Nathan is a Petrelli then it makes sense for his power to be built around absorbing the abilities of others. I was less on board with this explanation as specific abilities being inherited has never really been an aspect of this show. The original Nathan Petrelli didn’t have that ability and neither does Claire -who is also technically a Petrelli- so that doesn’t really stack up. Malina has a completely different ability as well so this whole family inheritance explanation is just nonsense. Having Angela say things as if she’s the voice of knowledge but have the information be wrong just makes it look as if everything she says is completely worthless.
For some reason it is decided that Malina and Nathan should be separated in case he absorbs her ability but I’m confused as to why that would be a problem. If he takes her ability then surely he could use it to do whatever needs to be done to save the world. It’s actually quite embarrassing to see how poorly thought out this all seems to be.
When we see Nathan again he has been raised by his mother as well as Hiro and has been trained to be an expert in using his stolen abilities. Whatever is coming he is completely ready for so I don’t buy the rationale for erasing his memory and have him be the blank slate that audiences were introduced to back in the first episode. With plans like that the “heroes” deserve to lose to Erica because they should be punished for their rampant stupidity. If Nathan was ready and they needed to wait a year before the world could be saved then why couldn’t he use his ability to time travel to remove him from the dangers around in that timeline and move to a point where he could be useful? The answer as far as I can tell is that Nathan’s ability to absorb the powers of other evos is a more recent invention. When he was first introduced his power was teleportation so I think the absorption ability idea came much later.
Another thing that didn’t work about this is that Hiro was so casual about abandoning his adopted son just so he could have a pointless fight with Harris and his separation from Nathan’s adopted mother Anne coming down to no more than a platonic looking hug really doesn’t scream “long term relationship”. The writers on this show seem to have consistent difficulty writing real human emotion and interactions which makes the whole thing really suffer. It’s very difficult to get invested in the characters when they don’t really act like human beings.
Nathan has none of the likeable character traits that made him such a strong presence in previous episodes. He embodies the bland “chosen one” trope rather than actually having anything worthwhile to contribute. The writers must have felt that there was no point developing Nathan because he would have his memory erased anyway.
Noah’s behaviour was a little confusing in this episode as well. I liked that he met himself and understood that he would need to forget this experience in order to protect the twins as well as create the circumstances that would have him sent back in time in the first place. After all the chat around not stepping on butterflies it makes sense that Noah would work to engineer the events that have Nathan and Malina sent back in time. What doesn’t make sense is that things were changed as a result of Noah’s intervention. Using time travel to change events has been used before on this show but having things actually change in this instance doesn’t work since such a big deal was made out of not altering the timeline.
It also potentially undoes all of the major deaths in the series such as René -also known as “The Haitian- and Molly. Her sacrifice is foreshadowed here but she only gets caught by Renautus because she ran away from Noah due to a terrible thing he how hasn’t done so in theory she could be alive and well in the present day. It would be a good thing as she’s a well put together character but it would also completely downplay her powerful sacrifice. It looks like Farah might not be dead either and Quentin definitely isn’t so if all of those deaths are undone then it makes any sacrifice that happens meaningless.
Having Noah erase his memory so Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) can’t forcibly extract the information from him is a good move on Noah’s part but the scene wasn’t handled very well. Matt Parkman was so terribly underused that bringing back the character was almost pointless. The exposition dump to explain why he came to work for Renautus wasn’t the least bit organic and it feels like a departure from the character to have him be so uncaring about what happens to other Evos. I always liked Matt in Heroes so to see his character betrayed like this really doesn’t work for me.
Speaking of character betrayal, the same thing happened to Quentin this week. After a short conversation with his sister he decides to join Erica and Renautus which makes absolutely no sense given everything we know about Quentin. He has always been a reasonable person who is motivated by saving his sister but he never seemed like the sort of person who would betray his principles and put up with the way she has been treated. Maybe he is working with Erica to later betray her but there’s no real indication of that.
Other elements of the episode were similarly mediocre. Seeing Luke and Joanne kill their first Evo precisely as described was fine as executed but didn’t add anything to either character. As a starting point for their relentless quest to kill Evos it doesn’t work and pretty much confirms that we’ll have to put up with these bland characters for a while once the show returns to the present.
Carlos and Farah was a connection that really didn’t need to be made and seeing Carlos’ history didn’t add anything to the character. He is still as pointless as he has ever been and the lack of worthwhile screen time for him over the course of the season doesn’t make his history something that I want to find out about.
I enjoyed seeing Miko created by Otomo as it showed the emotional bond that Otomo has for the video game character that he brought to life. His daughter was killed in an accident so having her brought back in some way is comforting for him. It’s a nice touch that she doesn’t understand things like hunger because she has never had to deal with it before but on the flip side of that having her left alone mere hours after that makes it very unlikely that she would be able to fend for herself. Heroes Reborn giveth, Heroes Reborn taketh away.
A vastly underwhelming episode of Heroes Reborn that ruins a lot of the good faith established by the previous episode and leaves things in a troubling place for the rest of the season.
The explanation of Claire being able to die because baby Nathan -or Tommy as the audience knows him- absorbed her healing ability meaning that her death was possible works really well within the established rules of the show.
Hiro finds himself stuck in 1999 after Nathan absorbs his ability so elects to raise him and train him to be able to save the world. It is decided that Nathan and Malina should be separated in case Nathan absorbs her ability. I don’t see what the problem with that is as surely Nathan could simply use her ability instead of her if the need arose. The explanation that Nathan has the absorption ability because he’s a Petrelli and it seems to be some sort of hereditary power for that family doesn’t work at all because the original Nathan didn’t have it, neither did Claire -who is technically a Petrelli- and Malina. Having Angela Petrelli portrayed as being the voice of knowledge when all she spouts is nonsense is actually quite embarrassing to watch.
I was really confused by the decision to erase Nathan’s memory of all the training he was given from Hiro so that he could remain hidden for the year that he has to wait. If he has the ability to time travel then surely he could have skipped ahead a year to the point he would be needed. It feels like the ability to absorb powers is a more recent invention that hadn’t been thought of when he was introduced.
It didn’t work to have Hiro abandon his adopted son so casually just to have a rematch with Harris and the long term relationship that he supposedly has with Anne is ended with a really platonic looking hug. The writers have consistent difficulty writing characters who behave like human beings and this is a huge example of that.
Nathan has none of the likeable character traits that he would have as Tommy. He embodies the boring chosen one trope and has no real depth behind that. The writers must have felt that there was no point developing a character who would have his memory erased.
Noah’s behaviour was really confusing here as well. I like that he met himself and needed those memories to be erased in order to give him motivation to travel back in time to create the time look that allows for Nathan and Malina to travel back to 1999. It doesn’t make sense for the timeline to be changed after all the discussion of butterflies.
This potentially undoes the deaths of Molly, René -aka the Haitian- and Farah with Quentin’s death definitely being undone. Undoing these deaths is lazy storytelling and renders any character sacrifice in this show completely meaningless.
Noah having his memory erased so that Matt Parkman couldn’t extract information from him was a good move on his part but having Matt in the episode was a wasted opportunity. He acted nothing like the character that he was in Heroes and the exposition dump that explains why he was working for Renautus was really clumsy.
Quentin’s character was similarly betrayed. His decision to work with Erica after a short meeting with his sister made no sense for his character as he has consistently been a reasonable person with clear motivations. The fact that he would allow Erica to use Phoebe and work with her isn’t something that the Quentin as established would do. He might be acting as a mole to betray her at some point but I somehow doubt it.
Other elements of the episode were similarly mediocre such as Luke and Joanne killing their first evo exactly as described. It adds nothing to either of those characters and cements that we’re stuck with the bland characterisation for the rest of the series. Carlos and Farah feel pointless as well. Knowing Carlos’ history doesn’t make him any more compelling a character and the show would be better off without him in it as all he does is slow the pacing down.
I enjoyed seeing the creation of Miko by Otomo who has an emotional bond with her due to the loss of his daughter in an accident. I liked that she didn’t understand what hunger was as she had never experienced it but having her left on her own mere hours after that really strains credibility.