Heroes Reborn - 11:53 to Odessa & Send in the Clones
So, why the double review this week, rather than one per episode as has been the case for the rest of Heroes Reborn? It's mostly because episode 10, '11:53 to Odessa' was thin to say the least. It seems that after weeks of teasing the Event/Threat, now that the renamed HELE (human extinction level event) is known, we're limping towards the finale. It's as if there had been a misunderstanding about the number of episodes and the great reveal was thrust out into the world, but with all the characters in the wrong places to resolve it. So, the narrative has to work extra hard, to bring the players to the game, to interpret fate and predestination, to save the world by Erica's definition or that of our Heroes. So will they pull it together and burn bright, or will it be a bonfire of the vanities?
After the butterfly effect of the time travel, Quentin Frady is now on the side of Renautus and Erica, and reunited with his sister. But, whatever the path he took to get to that point, he is still essentially Quentin. He's not bloodthirsty or evil, he's not blinded with hatred like his sister is. While this does put into question how strong that butterfly effect would be at all, it does give us some additional conflict. His sister Phoebe, long ostracised, long resentful of her useless power, having only the honeyed words of Erica in her ears, has grown bitter and filled with hate. Travelling together with Mr Homunculi, the source of many over-used clone puns and references to poor Matrix sequels, it's Quentin who tries to level the ship. And gets the best lines whilst doing so. Agent Homunculus remains one of the least fleshed out characters of the show, despite his prominence: He's just there as a malevolent force, Erica's right hand(s), her agent provocateur. No reason is ever given, no element of humanity is allowed to issue from him as he continues to butcher himself in her name.
Erica herself manages to continue to chew the scenery, rapidly escalating from misunderstood saviour of humanity to, well, comic-book villain; horrendous threats, nigh-maniacal monologues and all. Nathan/Tommy is manipulated, digital sub-reality hacker Hachiro Otomo has his daughter threatened, and everything's getting a bit feverish and manic.
Fara, ex-soldier and formerly Malina's bodyguard has hooked up with former paramour Carlos; this Cowardly Lion has found first his heart, and now his roar. Once more the un-enhanced hero dons his dark suit of armour who beats up criminals, like the Batman of Mexican wrestling. Chiroptera Libre!
Miko/Katana Girl finally gets a fight worthy of the name, which is long overdue. For so long it's been canon fodder battles or absurd video game fights. But this time, things actually have consequence and pathos.
Heroes Reborn continues to limp along, like a marathon runner who sprained their ankle after 5 miles but is resolute to cross the finish line. By now the creators will have known that they weren't going to be renewed, but they valiantly battle on. I, for one, applaud their battle but wish they were better at it.
Only two more episodes to go!