Heroes Reborn, Season 1, Episode 6, “Game Over”
Written by Nevin Densham
Directed by Gideon Raff
Airs on Thursdays at 8pm (ET) on NBC
It would appear Heroes Reborn is only capable of improving in half-steps. “Game Over” is far and away the best episode since the premiere, but only half of the episode is responsible for the uptick in quality. It’s fascinating, really, to see the show move at such incredibly different paces across its stories. HRG is getting shit done, but Luke is buying a grief boat. Those aren’t synonymous tasks! Sure, they’re both motivated by the lost of a child, but the fact that Heroes Reborn thinks it makes sense to have HRG drowning and shooting people paralleled with Luke, and this can’t be stressed enough, buying a grief boat is ridiculous.
Here’s a complete rundown of what happens at Renautas: Miko and Ren team up with HRG and Quentin; HRG learns that the company has harnessed Hiro’s time powers to send supplies to the future; Miko learns she’s an Evernow character; Quentin’s sister shows up, is one of those shadow people, and kills him; Miko frees Hiro and sacrifices herself; HRG and Hiro go back to June 13th.
And here’s a rundown of everything else that happens in the episode: Malina runs into Luke; Luke buys a grief boat; Erica’s daughter makes a truther video; Tommy makes dumb decisions in Paris; Emily becomes a walking cliché machine; Carlos makes a dumb decision on the way to rescue his nephew.
Because Heroes feels compelled to tell its stories by moving between tangentially related plots, some segments each week are naturally going to be sub-par compared to others. But this is the first time this season that an episode didn’t feel like a cohesive unit, in as much as Heroes Reborn is capable of being cohesive. If this series were to take a note from, say, The Leftovers and dedicate an entire episode to one specific story or POV, then “Game Over” could have been great. A straight up caper where the good guys kick ass and get answers and one of them is killed by his own sister and a favorite character arrives to save the day? Where does the line start? But this is Heroes, so all that exciting action is intercut with awkward characters brooding while the world around them keeps shouting at them how special they are.
If the whole purpose of intercutting storylines is to make each story stronger, Heroes Reborn is doing a bad job of it, is the point. Just look at how many romantic pairings the show has to play with. Luke’s marriage is basically over, Taylor’s boyfriend is probably dead and she’s pregnant, Tommy/Emily and Miko/Ren are starting to get serious—assuming you believe Miko isn’t dead, which you probably should—and these stories don’t bring anything out of each other. The courtships don’t rhyme with each other. No parallels are given between HRG’s fiance and Luke, two people whose loves have abandoned them for a mission. So why in the world are we doing this? If you’re not going to either tell half-a-dozen individually compelling stories or use those stories to highlight nuances in each other, you’re just trying to distract people from your terrible stories, Heroes.
All hope is not lost, though. The scenes at Renautas are really good action television, at least on the Heroes curve, HRG continues to be a delight, Harris is a great henchman, and Hiro is back. These are good developments. Much of the cast has converged with each other; Carlos is the only character who doesn’t have a clear path to everyone else at this point. The housekeeping appears to be done, so Heroes Reborn should be able to breeze on through to its conclusion. Whether that’s a conclusion worth getting to is yet to be seen, but at least characters should be done buying grief boats.