Heroes traveling through time to save the world from destruction! Go!
No, not the premiere of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
I’m talking about the finale of the Heroes Reborn miniseries, which aired in the same time slot as DC’s newest superhero show. There has been a lot of hype about Legends and little about Heroes Reborn, which may explain why there are no plans for another season of the Heroes reboot. In the real world, Project Reborn has been a failure.
And yet, despite the show’s flaws—the uneven pacing, the shallow villain, the numerous plot holes—the show brought home the ending in style. That was one enjoyable hour of television.
To answer the obvious question:
Yes, Tommy/Nathan and Malina did save the world.
But, how they did it had unexpected twists and turns that made the ending especially poignant.
The first big death—our reformed murderer, Luke (Zachary Levi). He went out like a mensch, saving the entire world by using his power to stop the first solar flare, buying time for Nathan (Robbie Kay) to arrive and help Malina (Danika Yarosh) stop the second. Luke was forced to help because Tommy/Nathan was stuck in Evernow powering the time portal that allowed Erica (Rya Kihlstedt) to transport her chosen few to the future.
Bad move to include Ren (Toru Uchikado) and Emily (Gatlin Green) among those chosen few because the pair freed Otomo (Hiro Kanagawa) and his actual daughter. Otomo then sent Ren into the game for one last team-up with Katana Girl (Kiki Sukezane). They freed the Master of Time and Space. Good timing because Nathan finally regained all his memories and realized he possessed Hiro’s power, squared.
Once free, Nathan split himself into two people. One stayed in the future to transport all of Erica’s chosen back to the present. Everyone, that is, except Erica—stuck all alone in the future. Excellent choice, Nathan.
In the meantime, Phoebe (Aislinn Paul) wants to kill Malina and Quentin (Henry Zebrowski) has to kill his sister. Poor Quentin. Not a good fate for the comic relief, but he seemed to have come to peace with the realization that his sister was, well, evil in the end.
The biggest surprise, and the moment that added the poignancy, was the fate of Noah Bennett (Jack Coleman). We learn through a series of flashbacks that Nathan and Malina can’t simply join hands and save the world. Instead, they need a human conduit between them—a conduit who will die as a result.
Which brings us back to the mysteriously vanished Noah. It was Nathan who saved him from being crushed by the car a few episodes ago.
You see where this is going.
Noah has to sacrifice himself to save the world, and Nathan has to let him. It’s a great sequence because Nathan clearly hates asking, and all he does is lay out the problem to Noah. No demands, nothing—just desperation and a request.
Noah, being a hero, insists on this as his fate.
Under the clock tower in Odessa, the twins join hands with Noah. Their energy surges through him and they save the world. Noah dies, but not before telling the twins how proud he was of them. Aww…dammit, HRG! You were my favorite. But that was an epic and fitting death.
As for our other heroes, Carlos (Ryan Guzman), Jose (Lucius Hoyos), and Micah (Noah Gray-Cabey) rush the injured Farah (Nazneen Contractor) to an abandoned hospital. Carlos treats her wound while Jose pulls the bullet out via his phantom power—a cool moment. (I shall amuse myself by believing the writers took this trick from one of my own novels, where the heroine does just this for the hero, but I’m sure it’s been done before that.)
Farah lives! Accident victims arrive at the hospital and Carlos and Micah decide to stay and help. Excellent.
So, in the end, the world is saved by the sacrifice of Luke and then Noah; Nathan and Malina fulfill their destiny; Carlos and Farah receive a happy ending as crime-fighting superheroes; and the twins become high school students once more.
Quentin, now in custody of the Feds who still distrust the Evos, provides the coda to the series with a great speech about how the Evos who saved the world are heroes and “just like you and me,” rather than people to be feared.
There is a small teaser, setting up a possible second season, that indicates the twins’ father is a very bad guy. But, given that it’s been announced there will not be another season, that doesn’t matter.
On the bad side, the ending still showcased the sloppy plotting that will drive most viewers nuts. There’s no setup for the twins needing a human conduit. It’s simply dropped in at the last minute, out of nowhere—just like Nathan’s ability to split into two people and Luke’s ability to stop a solar flare.
Another issue—Phoebe’s character was a cardboard plot device that never made sense. Erica tricked her into being a mass murderer, a choice that could have provided some good storytelling but was never explored. Similarly, they never really explored Harris’s (Clé Bennett) loyalty to Erica either.
It’s also never explained why Erica handpicked this certain batch of people to save. A game of one potato, two potato? She should have been more discerning, especially when several of the choices were actively working against her.
Then there’s Erica herself. She hates Evos because she was raped, and she created the Odessa tragedy—but then she used Evos to save her chosen few. Why not just work to save the world with both plans and without all the killing? I have no idea and neither did the show.
In the end, I’m glad I watched it, but it’s not essential viewing—even for Heroes fans.
Corrina Lawson is a writer, mom, geek and superhero, though not always all four on the same day. She is a senior editor of the GeekMom blog at Wired and the author of a superhero romance series and an alternate history series featuring Romans and Vikings in ancient North America. She has been a comic book geek all her life and often dreamed of growing up to be Lois Lane.