Sunday, 17 January 2016

HEROES REBORN, episode 12 - 'Company Woman'

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Below is my weekly HEROES REBORN vidcap'd recap, looking at penultimate episode "Company Woman"...

Firstly, oh that's how you spell it. I thought it was "heelie" or perhaps "heely", but it's actually an acronym: H.E.L.E. Now we just have to work out what it stands for. Calling it a 'super solar flare' might've been easier.

In time honoured Heroes tradition, all of our disparate characters are converging on a single location for the finale. This time: destination Odessa, Texas.

Despite having learned that he's been fed lies about the EVO's criminal role in the Odessa attack last year, time-traveller Nathan (Robbie A. Kay) is prepared to overlook all that because he's convinced his destiny lies with helping evacuate VIPs to the future before the Heely H.E.L.E hits the earth. I'm not entirely sure why he needs to be wired up to a Total Recall-style chair, because evacuees could just walk past him and touch his hand... but, hey, it guess it looks cooler to put him in a Stargate-esque hangar.

Aggrieved Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) storms into Eric Kravid's (Rya Kilhstedt) office, threatening the life of her daughter Taylor (Eve Harlow) and dropping the bombshell that she's pregnant. All he wants is some wrist bands to get his family into the future, which Erica duly provides. I have no idea why Erica didn't foresee this kind of issue with Matt earlier, really. Are those wrist bands so exclusive? Surely you'd provide a few for someone who's been a key part of your plan!

It's flashback time! Here, we belated learned about Erica's background and why she's come to hate EVOs. It turns out that she once knew an EVO as a teenager (a middle-aged doctor who could bring dead things back to life), who saved her sick father's life. Unfortunately, in exchange for this kindness the man wanted sexual favours in return.

Of all the characters who feel the most redundant right now, I think Ren (Toru Uchikado) is top of my list. I barely remember what he's doing, because his story was so tied into Katana Girl that I'm just surprised he's still floating around.

Nathan proves to his mother that, despite Erica's lies in some respects, the bleak future is very real and he must continue to help her save mankind.

Another flashback to teenage Erica, where it was revealed she became pregnant with the EVO rapist's child. It gets worse and worse. Not the best of reasons for someone to hate an entire subspecies of people, but OK.

In the present, the acting highlight of the episode was the confrontation between Erica and her daughter, with Taylor unable to pull the trigger to end everything that's happening. She still loves her mom, but in a nice twist Taylor reveals she won't allow herself to be evacuated to safety. Erica faces being successful in her plot to save the world and re-start human existence without any EVOs around, but having to live without the one person she did all this for.

Again in the past, young Erica's daughter has been born and gets special visits from her EVO dad (who's admittedly handy whenever little Taylor's feeling unwell). Unfortunately, daddy knows the child is really his and wants full custody, which prompts Erica to stab him to death.

In Odessa at last, Luke (Zachary Levi) and Malina (Danika Yarosh) go to her mother Claire's old high school, which is currently full of people worried about the recent freak weather and H.E.L.E that's approaching the planet. Malina uses her powers to draw the attention of a local camera crew, in the hope she'll be seen by Nathan on TV and unite with him as prophesied.

Close by, Farah (Nazneen Contractor) and Micah Sanders (Noah Gray-Cabey) see Malina on television and Micah uses his power to heavily circulate the footage to all electrical devices to ensure Nathan sees it.

It's everyone's favourite character: Joanne Collins (Judith Shekoni) She's been sent to the Odessa high school by Erica to kill Luke and Malina, because she doesn't know the meaning of the phrase 'character rehabilitation'.

Oh. Luke incinerates Joanne. I mean: WHAT? Luke callously torched his beloved wife, to save Malina after she was shot twice. That was a big moment for Luke's character (voluntarily killing his spouse, effectively erasing his once happy family entirely), but it registered very low. RIP Joanne.

Um, Ren's charm fits an elevator to make it work.

Are we supposed to take delight in the fact Matt Parkman crashed his car and lost his wrist bands, while on his way home to grab his family and evacuate them to safety? I don't think this season really knew where to put our sympathies with Matt; once a regular character and core 'hero' during the show's original run, now on conflicted mid-level villain duties for Reborn. I can see why Grunberg would've been pleased to get something very different to play, however.

In the final flashback, Erica is recruited into Primatech and it appears that her first partner was youngish memory-stealer Caspar Abraham.

And this week's big cliffhanger to lead us into the finale? Nathan has been imprisoned inside the virtual Evernow just like Hiro was, now that he's served his purpose. I'm not entirely sure why, because he was okay with everything and transporting people into the future of his own free will. Now, if he escapes or is released, he's definitely going to be anti-Kravid. Good work, Erica! Oh, and Ren witnessed Otomo's murder, which presumably means his mission will take a diversion into springing Nathan out of virtual-prison.

Final Thoughts:

This was entertaining enough, but a slight disappointment considering "Company Woman" was the penultimate episode. It set a few things up fairly well, but it feels like Heroes Reborn could have easily reached a conclusion four episodes ago and has been coasting a little. Or my interest has dipped because of that ridiculous, momentum-sapping winter hiatus.

Also, naming the episode "Company Woman" didn't help. Intentionally evoking memories of "Company Man" (a first season classic; one of the best hours Heroes ever produced) was a huge risk, and the quality of material here wasn't on par. And while it was great to get some backstory to Erica and learn more about her motives, isn't a bit late to toss that in now?

It's the finale next week, and most likely the last ever episode of Heroes. For reals this time. NBC announced they're not going to ask Tim Kring for more, so it feels like the end of a very long and incredibly winding road. I daresay bringing the show back, again, would risk Kring making the exact same mistakes as before. Heroes only really has one good idea, about strangers realising they have super-powers and slowly uniting to stop a common enemy, and you simply can't repeat that every single year. It only works once every five seasons. Sadly, other types of stories just aren't as compelling in the Heroes milieu, as it's difficult to service such a large ensemble without a central story that isn't on a world-saving scale.