You surely heard the news yesterday that Heroes Reborn would not be returning for a second season. This is not surprising, because while it’s hard enough for the Heroes brand to stand apart in an age when there are actual superhero shows on TV, Reborn couldn’t even live up to the expectations of Heroes season one. I’ve enjoyed following some of the characters, but really the show has been kind of a slog to get through as creator Tim Kring seems hopeless determined to write this series as if it were still 2006. How else do you explain that now, in the endgame, he takes time out to give us the incredibly blasé motivations of Erica Kravid.
Erica has been kind of a sphinx this whole time. Sure, she’s the head of Renautas and leading the “do anything to save the world charge,” but why? Why fearlessly exploit evos the same way that McDonalds exploits a field full of cows? I’ve found Erica’s characterization one of the most problematic of the series, Heroes Reborn has wanted her to be the villain, but they’ve held her back from doing anything truly despicable to humanize her, even though it’s been implied that she’s done some damn despicable things. It’s probably all in the name of some kind of redemption later, but it wasn’t helped that Kring and Co. waited till the penultimate episode to do some explaining.
What else didn’t help? Learning the actual reason why Erica hates evos. In the inappropriately timed flashback we see Erica as a teenager, and when her father becomes deathly ill, an evo doctor promises he can heal him in return for some, um, sexual favours. These favours, naturally, result in baby Taylor, and when the doctor comes back, he tries to kidnap Taylor, which results in him getting stabbed in the back of the neck with scissors. So Erica was violated by a raping evo that exploited her and tried to take her baby. Not to mitigate the trauma of real-life sexual assault, but if there was a more prosaic rationale for Erica to hate evos, I can’t think of it. One evo was evil and assaulted her ergo all evos are evil and deserve to be exploited. With that kind of logic, Erica should be running for the Republican nomination to be President.
Erica’s revelations come at a pivotal moment in her and Taylor’s relationship. Taylor, pregnant with Francis’ child, wants her baby daddy freed, but Taylor fears the worst: that Francis is dead and that her mother had him killed. It’s possible he’s still in the Renautas basement, in storage, waiting to have his super-power exploited, but that was’t confirmed or denied. Instead, after hearing her mother’s story, Taylor simply tells her “I’d rather die than live in an empty world with you.” No matter what else happens, I hope that’s the last we hear from Taylor because when it comes to confronting your megalomaniac mother, that’s a pretty sweet mic drop.
As for Taylor’s kidnapper Matt Parkman, can there be any redemption for him? Like Erica, we’re just supposed to accept the fact that the former Hero is now one of the bad guys, Why? Because he accepted the inevitability of the H.E.L.E. and sold out to Erica in attempt to save the family he’s evidently estranged from. Matt gets his ticket to ride, but he’s then mysteriously run off the road on his way to pick up his family, his car going over a bridge, down a ravine and into the river. Parkman’s pathetic gasps as his precious smart watches float away down river would have surely been more satisfying if we knew what happened to Matt between the end of Heroes and the start of Heroes Reborn.
One welcome face returning this week was Ren. He too has made his way to Odessa, and paradoxically he’s on the Renautas list for a trip to the future and salvation from the end of the world. How’s that? No idea, but a good guess might be that Miko is still operating on some plain and got Ren a pass so that he can be useful in the ongoing mission. What is Ren’s mission? Find the master of time and space, and help him. Good thing then he happens to run into the master of time and space’s girlfriend. Ren and Emily seemed to have an instant rapport, which makes one regret this series even more because if some cast members were able to establish chemistry this easily, why did they wait till the second last episode to exploit it?
Another welcome development is that the show did away with Joanne, who, predictably, was eager to get into a fight with her ex-Luke and his new superhero sidekink Malina. Now it was fairly obvious that since the two broke up that the show was going to build up to one, final marital fight (but with super-powers), but that finale was pathetically short-lived. Basically Joanne tried to shoot Malina and Luke set her on fire. Done. Talk about wasted potential. Why not confront Joanne with the idea that her hate has made her work for the woman responsible for all her pain? Maybe Luke could have explained why he suddenly decided that killing with his wasn’t worth it? Maybe they could have taken a break so that Malina could explain that she and her twin brother are slated to save the world? Nope, burn her. Done deal.
In other anticlimactic news, Farah turns invisible and gets in front of Joanne’s bullets to save Malina. I hope that’s not the only reason they brought Farah back, and I hope that’s not the only reason she, Carlos and Micah made the long journey to Odessa, but there is so much left dangling at the end of the hour its concerning that the show’s might not be able to cover it all. On top of all the action these past two weeks, there’s still the matter of the missing Noah, who I’m still convinced was saved by Hiro, another character who got an unceremonious and dissatisfying send off if he were to not appear on the series again. On the other hand, it might be a good thing that there’s only one episode left as there are only so many times that Quentin can switch sides and still be relevant.