Last week’s episode of Heroes: Reborn laid out the full stakes of what’s the end game is going to look like, albeit with some needless complications thrown in for good measure. This week, some of those complications persist, but “11:53 to Odessa” was definitely a more direct, and streamlined effort. The post-flashback momentum continued as the series now races towards its conclusion, but the question remains if the show can tie up all those dangling plot threads. More importantly, can the show stick the landing in a way that the original Heroes never could, even in its highly vaunted first season.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about Matt Parkman, the once upstanding police officer that has since become a head gamer at the beck and call of Erica and Renautas. It’s yet to be full explained why the once affable Parkman would throw in with Evil Incorporated, except that he was promised transport to the future with the rest of Erica’s selected saved, but really? An original Hero is so obsessed with his own survival that he’s sold out all the other evos? And did it really never occur to him just how expendable he was until Harris shot the Parkman double with a laissez-faire attitude of having a 50/50 chance of getting it right? (That was an awesome scene by the way.)
Erica for her part spent the week occupied with future concerns, and we mean that literally. Looking to get Tommy’s unfettered support, Erica proposes to show Tommy Gateway City in the mid 80th century, the place that humanity will re-launch, and not coincidentally the place where Miko arrived as seen in last week’s episode. Tommy notes the one flaw in Erica’s plan from his point of view, the city can’t hold all seven billion people on the Earth, so that becomes his price for helping Erica, her promise that she will save as many as possible and not just those on her list.
That’s profoundly naive of Tommy, of course, throwing his lot in with the woman that everyone’s been hiding him from for all of his life. I don’t credit Tommy with the tenacity to think that he was maybe pulling a fast one on Erica, and I sincerely hope that he wasn’t stupid enough to want to help her, especially after the revelation that she tried and failed to hook him up to a machine to harness his power. I suspect Tommy just wanted to get away, and as fate would have it, a certain Japanese girl would arrive suddenly to give him just the out he needed.
What was perhaps unnecessary though was making Miko’s story even more complicated. When she arrives at Gateway, Miko not only finds her “father” Otomo, but her “real” self, Otomo’s actual daughter who didn’t die but was taken to the future for some unknown reason. Meanwhile in the present, Ren crosses paths with a shogun and follows him to a dojo where the shogun reveals himself as a projection of Otomo. Like Miko, Ren has one last mission, to get to Odessa, ground zero for the coming calamity. That’s all well and good, and it’s nice that Miko and Ren get to continue to be part of the show, but seriously, what the hell is going on here?!
Regardless of the convoluted nature of the existence of our Japanese friends, at least there’s a clarity of purpose with them. Quentin this weeks starts expressing doubts about just how deep he and Phoebe are in with the Renautas’ final solution, which is not a total 180, but at least a 90 degree twist from the bad ass Quentin of last week who threatened to bust a cap in Tommy’s dome if Noah didn’t comply. The series, it seems, is setting up Quentin’s second death, likely at the hands of Phoebe, who has little doubt that her shadow casting is being used for the exact purpose it was meant for.
Speaking of Noah, he and Malina got to know each other as they set off for Odessa, with poor, old Luke Collins following along in a second car like a little lost puppy. Suddenly it’s not enough that Luke basically has nothing better to do other than give a girl a lift as gratitude for saving his life, but he now sees the signs and realize it’s his destiny to help Malina save the world. Fortunately, Noah knows better than to accept Luke’s help, even if it takes Luke a while to confess that he’s a mass murderer no matter how reluctant. As predicted, there’s no redemption here for Luke. There’s really no sympathy for the man either, and his conversion seems really simplistic and quite sudden. If it wasn’t for Joanne Collins, Luke would go down as the worst new character introduced in Heroes: Reborn.
Malina, meanwhile, remains something of a cipher. Her importance to the mission and the nominal resemblance to her mother Claire Bennett seems to be the only two ways the writers seem to be able to engender her to us, which is too bad considering the care they took to build Tommy up in comparison with his struggles with the school bully, his oh-so cute crush on Emily, and the mysterious fate before him. Malina got her big hero moment this week, stopping some terrible Day After Tomorrow storm, an altruistic act that blows back on her when the rednecks in the crowd are less than thankful. It was a very X-Men moment to be sure, but still kind of false in terms of timing. She did just save them from a storm that was flinging cars around.
As this is the fall finale, the episode ended on a cliffhanger. Carlos, reunited with a not-dead Farah, broke out of Sunstone Manor with the help of Taylor and Hero Truther, only to be surrounded by an army of Harrises. They start running, and that’s where the episode ends. Until January. Not much of a cliffhanger, I have to say. And while we’re at it, why is NBC prolonging our suffering? We really have to wait until January to see these last three episodes? Are the tenuous plot points laid out compelling enough to make us come back in a month and a half? I mean, obviously I will be – it’s my job – but I seriously wouldn’t blame anyone for forgetting that there’s still three more weeks of this.
The more obvious cliffhanger would have been to have a full reveal of Hiro. That was him that zapped Noah away before bring crushed by a car,right? Another one would have been to have Micah Sanders do something more interesting that being exploited as an internet bubble boy by Matt Parkman, like he had some kind of plan in the works like the true rebel hackivist he’s supposed to be. Instead Heroes: Reborn wraps for the year in the same way it began, with a lot of well-meaning promises and hint that it’s not going to add up to much. They have three more episodes to prove us wrong.