Synopsis of 5×11: Showdown in a cornfield; Miko Marty McFlies; basically everyone storms Sunstone Manor for a whole episode.

Rating: ?????

It is said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. But that cliché was not made with Heroes Reborn in mind. Whoever came up with that little ditty couldn’t possibly have conceived of the horrendous morbidity of Heroes Reborn. I do not believe there is any amount of time you could place between my brain and Heroes Reborn that would allow for the development of fondness.

Heroes Reborn could have promised to marry me after the war and come back from a five year tour of duty a conquering hero and I still wouldn’t be in love. I certainly wouldn’t be waiting by any cliffsides with any candle, I can tell you that much.

They're coming back...
They’re coming back…

As much as we barricaded the doors and prayed this day would never come, Heroes Reborn has returned, after taking a break a few months back to completely do away with any build-up it was engineering for its last three episodes. All our goat sacrifices were for naught. Heroes Reborn has stormed back into our lives with another episode with a preposterously jokey title to plague us with the poorly CGI’d black spectral tendrils of poor plotting for but another three weeks until we never have to speak of this mess again. Unless NBC renews it. Which it very well might. God help us all.

Heroes Reborn returned with a renewed zeal. Despite still being terrible, there’s a sense of confidence to the proceedings that is undeserved but helpful. Humans respond to confidence. We’re wired to. Our brain says, “I’m lost, but this guy—THIS GUY—knows what’s going on.” Heroes Reborn has not gotten better, but it has gotten less tedious. As the proceedings speed toward its baffling climax, there is no more room for airlessness. Pointlessness, sure, but the fat has been trimmed. And that’s as welcome a change as any.

"You can't stop a glock."
“You can’t stop a glock.”

Finally, here at the very end, the audience finally has a sense of what this inevitable worldwide calamity actually is. The weirdly swoll Micah Saunders lays it out for us clear as day: Tomorrow, at 11:18, a solar flare will wipe out North America. At 11:53, a second one will take down the last of humanity. It’s dumb, but it’s concrete. A Heroes Reborn viewer is begging for scraps at this point (remember, this is the show that sent me on a mental breakdown, then made me question why we even make television).

But how exactly are all of these Evos going to band together to stop a solar flare? Mooluna is the only one with weather-based powers. What is Carlos’ robot punching power going to do against the power of the sun? Or Tommy’s teleporting power? Where is he going to teleport to? Mars? The Sun? That second one might actually be a good plan. The Sun would never attack the Sun.

RIP Harris. You won't have to fear the Sun where you're going.
RIP Harris. You won’t have to fear the Sun where you’re going.

What seems most curious of all is how Heroes Reborn has leaned away from Noah in its back three. Noah Bennet has been the central member of the ensemble for Heroes Reborn so far, and easily its most solid non-Japanese element. “June 13th – Part 1,” the only decent episode the show has managed to conjure up, was basically a character piece for Noah. And now, at the turn of the tide, in what is likely to be the last three episodes of Heroes ever produced, Noah is MIA.

It would be foolhardy to expect Heroes Reborn to behave with a modicum of competency, but no one has ever specifically referred to me as being “unfoolhardy.” This break in airtime was a big period of soul searching for your humble reviewer, and I decided that maybe Heroes Reborn deserved another chance.

Nope. Uh-uh. Bad decision. Bad show.

Pictured: Something that isn't <a style= stupid at all.” width=”470″ height=”313″ /> Pictured: Something that isn’t stupid at all.

“Send in the Clones” wasn’t a total wash. It was mostly a wash, but not all the way one. It kept two little pieces of competency in its backpack to break out during its run. Two elements of surprising power that I’d like to talk about before wrapping things up. To keep things from getting too positive, the following expressions of praise will be interspersed with blurbs of pure negativity. Like so:

The Smoke Priest’s death made me laugh. A lot. It had a Kiss Kiss Bang Bang level of perfection in surprise death timing. At first, because of the similarity in visual effects, I was wondering if the Smoke Priest wasn’t a Harris clone having weaponized its ashy state, but then I realized what was going on and it was beautiful.

He survived the Starkiller for this?
He survived the Starkiller for this?

Matt Parkman’s turnaround in this episode was strangely emotionally affecting, despite being written and shot remarkably poorly. So poorly it almost undoes the whole affair. Seriously, the scene where Matt reveals his rationale to Rene and Taylor is underwritten by its determination to frame Matt from the perspective of a man’s belt buckle. It’s a worm’s eye view taken to its most ridiculous extreme that doesn’t reflect the scene at hand. It suggests Matt has power over his interrogators, which he most certainly does not at that moment.

No! This is the positivity section! Enough can’t be said about the acting performance of The Force Awakens’ own Greg Grunberg as Matt. He brings to the character the same humanity and warmth that he did at the beginning, even as he preposterously has a mind control effect over an entire colony. On my podcast 9th Blunders, we’re going over Heroes from the very beginning and Grunberg has made Parkman indispensable from the very beginning. Winning back a character I’ve had an affection for since 2006 helped raise “Send in the Clones” up a whole half a star.

Give that girl a comic book. Girls love comic books.
Give that girl a comic book. Girls love comic books.

9th Wonders really has selective panel presentation. Tommy pulls out an issue to show Miko the very scene they are currently in but then is surprised what happens later in the scene even though it’s probably on the page and God I hate this show…

Heroes Reborn has no understanding of tone. Take the scene where Matt talks two Harris clones into killing themselves at the same time in front of him. And it’s played like a cool action beat. Where both Harrises play it very cool during the whole thing. Did no one think a forced suicide could possibly be disturbing, dispensable clone or no?

Heroes Reborn duels for competency.
Heroes Reborn duels for competency.

The second of tonight’s two successes is Miko, who owns the living hell out of her action-packed plotline. A few strained deliveries aside (“I’ve been looking… forward to this.”), this showdown is the second greatest thing Heroes Reborn will ever do. It is a showdown between two developed characters with actual consequences. Harris faced down Katana Girl with an wood axe because when you’re a stunt coordinator and you have a chance to give a character an axe YOU DO IT.

And Miko beheads the living daylights out of him. In what is possibly her final action, she has removed the series’ most frustratingly omnipresent villain. He’s gone. The mothership has been destroyed and every Harris across the ‘verse has been disintegrated. There was something about a “real you” before she Marty McFlew out of existence, but I’m going to ignore that for now and bask in some actual competence on this show. Just for a second. Let me have this.

Those nose plug power-dampeners are next level stupid. Transcendently dumb. It’s like Erica Kravid outsourced the project to Fisher-Price. They’re also nose plugs, when they should have literally been anything else.

If you want to hear me talk more about Heroes, you can listen to my podcast 9th Blunders here and here.

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