All season, Erica Kravid (Rya Kihlstedt) has been a mustache-twirling, one-dimensional villain convinced that her plan to rescue a chosen few from the End of the World™ is morally justifiable.
I’ve gotten used to that.
But instead of using the show’s penultimate episode to show how our heroes gather to save the world, Erica’s backstory takes center stage. In a callback to one of the original series’ best episodes, “Company Man,” this one is called “Company Woman.”
All the callback to “Company Man” did was remind me how good the first season of Heroes was and how meandering this miniseries has been.
In short flashbacks, we glimpse young Erica (Caitlin Carver) desperate to save her father. Help comes in the form of an Evo Doctor (Tom Melissis). He cures her dad, but she pays the price as the Doctor rapes her.
Later, when the Doctor comes back to save the life of his and Erica’s daughter, Taylor (Eve Harlow), he threatens to take her away. Erica murders him with a pair of well-placed scissors, and Penny-Man shows up to make Taylor forget the violent incident.
That’s certainly tragic enough for Erica to have conceived a hatred of all Evos, but without a real foundation this late in the series, it all seems random. If Erica, in any of her interactions with her daughter, had warned that it wasn't possible for Evos to have free will—if this has been foreshadowed even the tiniest bit—it might have had some impact.
Even worse, the flashbacks exposed a problem of epidemic proportion with Heroes Reborn—sloppy plotting. Little Taylor is dying of some diseases caused by coal in the air when her rapist father arrives to save her. If Taylor’s that sick, why didn’t Erica take her to a hospital before calling in rapist Dad? Why does all this coal in the air never affect Erica, who apparently never leaves that house? Taylor might as well have had consumption. It makes as much sense as anything else.
Alright, Erica has a hatred of Evos because of this rapist, and thus, didn’t want to use them to save the world. So, she sets up this whole future society instead of doing what seems much easier—helping Tommy (Robbie Kay) and Malina (Danika Yarosh) save the world as foretold by powers that Erica knows work.
Except, Erica does use Evos in her plan. She needs Otomo (Kiki Sukezane), she needed Hiro (Masi Oka), she needed Phoebe (Aislinn Paul), and she had Harris (Clé Bennett) and Matt (Greg Grunberg) on her payroll.
The only reason Erica wants to let the world burn and save her chosen few is because the plot requires her to do so. The series requires an antagonist. No wonder the actress playing Erica seems so uptight all the time. She must be thinking, “What is my motivation for genocide?” and coming up with no good answer.
The real meat of the episode is what happens as the End of the World™ gets closer and closer. (We know it’s getting closer because the big clock tower in Odessa displays the hours until disaster in giant digital letters.)
The public now knows that this great disaster is coming, which I would think would create vast swaths of panic. So far, it only seems to have lead to the creation of a bunch of shelters, a lot of abandoned cars by the side of the road, and empty stores. Maybe they’re relieved to know that Evos aren’t dangerous? Either that, or everyone decided that Netflix and chill is a good way to go out.
Not chilling are Malina and Luke (Zachary Levi). After Phoebe escapes and Quentin (Henry Zebrowski) come back to the light side, the trio decides it’s going to be easier to bring Tommy to them than search for him. They send up a big “We’re here!” balloon via Malina showing off her powers on broadcast television.
Micah sees the broadcast and enhances the signal so it’s sent everywhere around the world—and it works! Props for that one nice piece of plotting.
Tommy pops over to his mom’s (Krista Bridges) old high school in Texas, where Malina and Luke have taken refuge.
Aside: Malina sees an old photo of her cheerleader Mom, Claire, at the school. First appearance of Hayden Panettiere in the show.
Why Tommy had to pop into the hallway rather than the gymnasium where Malina demonstrated her powers is one of those “the plot required-it moments” that makes me gnash my teeth.
Malina, Luke, and Quentin show up in response to the broadcast, as does Joanne (Judith Shekoni). Otomo is there, too, and Carlos (Ryan Guzman) and Farah (Nazneen Contractor) rush in—though how they got there so fast while the world is melting down is a mystery.
In the best sequence of the episode, Otomo captures Tommy digitally, trapping him in Evernow like Hiro; Quentin tackles Malina to save her from Joanne; Joanne seems to shoot Malina anyway; and Luke burns Joanne to ashes.
But, Joanne didn’t shoot Malina. An invisible Farah took the bullets for Malina. Carlos rushes off to find medical care for the dying Farah, leaving Malina, Luke, and Quentin alone, without Tommy, and with Luke in emotional agony after killing his ex-wife.
None of that bodes well for the upcoming world-saving.
Don’t worry, kids! Tommy’s mom, now hidden up in the clock tower, tells her son that “he’ll know what to do when the time comes” and she “has faith in him.”
Not helpful, Mom!
Maybe the unlikely team-up of Ren (Toru Uchikado) and Emily (Gatlin Green), Tommy’s girlfriend, will rescue him from the video game. One hopes, or the end of the story will be a serious bummer.
As for Matt and all his worry for his family? Karma comes back to bite him.
Everything Matt does in this episode is part of the sloppy plotting I complained about with Erica’s tale. If all Matt wanted was three watches, why didn’t he just make one of the guards give him them when he reached the facility, instead of holding Taylor hostage? He’s an uber-powerful telepath, remember? Also, why not just force Erica to give the watches to him telepathically once he reaches her?
Maybe the answer is that Matt is dumb.
He proves that by crashing his car on the way to his family, and ending up in a creek, crying and laughing as the watches are washed away.
Let this be a lesson: if you want to save your estranged family from the end of the world, don’t talk and drive.
One more episode to go. Whew!
I hope it takes a cue from Blacklist, which used the Johnny Cash song “The Man Comes Around” during an epic montage of Red questioning people and then killing them.
Johnny Cash singing over the End of the World™ might make this whole meandering series worth it.
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.