Heroes Reborn, Season 1, Episode 8, “June 13th – Part Two”
Written by Raven Metzner
Directed by Allan Arkush
Airs Thursdays at 8pm (ET) on NBC
Betrayal is the wrong word. Betrayal presupposes a condition of trust. No one in their right mind would have trusted Heroes Reborn up to this point, so no one could technically have been betrayed by the events of “June 13th – Part Two”. But just because one isn’t betrayed doesn’t mean one can’t be frustrated by watching this episode, or at least the parts of the episodes seen between eye rolls. It’s an accomplishment, in its own subpar way, because this episode has everything: time travel, inexplicable character changes, formal incompetence, and out of place pop culture references.
Let’s start with the formal incompetence: “Part Two” begins by replaying the events from the end of part one from different perspectives. This time we watch as past-HRG follows his future self through the hospital as he plans to kill Erica. The first time we watched these events play out, Erica turned left next to a TV playing a local news report covering the explosion to go down the empty hallway where future-HRG tries to shoot her. This week, however, Suresh’s supposed confession is playing throughout the hospital. That in and of itself is fine; the confession wasn’t important to the story last week so there was no need to play it until this week. But the confession is playing on every TV shown in the hospital, so this time when Erica turns left down that hallway, in what looks like a different part of the hospital set, the TV to her right is playing Suresh’s confession. Continuity errors are one thing, but glaring continuity errors in a sequence that is supposed to be the exact mirror of one the show has already shown, only from a different perspective, are flat-out unacceptable and lazy. Heroes Reborn clearly doesn’t have a high opinion of its audience if it assumes they’ll be totally cool with that TV shenanigan, or with pasting Quentin into the background of a scene he wasn’t in last week, even though that scene is played exactly the same way. This also explains all the horrendous ADR, like when Hiro’s back is to the camera as he grabs his swords: NBC and Tim Kring are just throwing this show together and hoping no one notices.
Then there’s the havoc this episode wreaks with various characters. Time travel is complicated, and when there is this much hand-wringing about not “stepping on butterflies”, it’s clear something is going to fundamentally change about the show. But Quentin’s heel turn is the only character change that kind of makes sense. Because HRG shot Erica, Quentin saves Erica where he hadn’t before, which means Erica takes him to see his sister, which means his sister convinces him to join Renautas and help Erica burn the world up. And because Erica saw the two HRGs and Harris and Parkman—which, ugh—learned about Claire’s pregnancy, Erica knows to be on the lookout for HRG in the future. But that doesn’t explain how Erica would know that Quentin and HRG would pair up in the future, or why this new Erica would think it would be a good idea to let this schlub be HRG’s tail, or even why Erica would trust Quentin with anything important. Heroes Reborn turns Quentin bad because it would be “shocking” and it adds conflict to the show. But it makes so little sense, even for a time travel plot, that whatever shock the audience should feel is completely drained.
Tommy—who will continue to be called Tommy here for the sake of sanity—fairs even worse. He isn’t just a teleporter, he has Hiro’s time powers because he’s a Petrelli! And also Hiro is his dad! And his mom fell in love with Hiro! And Hiro just somehow happened to find the woman who would adopt him in the non-evil Quentin timeline! And Tommy can speak Japanese! Why do this? Why do anything? This gets back to the issue from last week: This is the point in time where the show should’ve started. If we knew from the beginning that Tommy was raised by Hiro and has time powers and can absorb powers and has a mystery twin somewhere, all that waiting around in teenybopperland (remember when that bully wanted Tommy to make his dad disappear?) would’ve had some weight to it because it would be part of a journey for Tommy to rediscover his identity. Instead, because the show is so in love with its Chosen One narratives, Tommy gets to be a real angsty kid that is retconned into Hiro’s kid with seemingly never-ending power. On Heroes, no one is a character: Everyone is a plot device.
This doesn’t even include the nonsense with Carlos being in a relationship with the woman who ends up protecting Malina, or Joanne becoming a slasher villain and killing an evo in her hotel room, or the fact that Angela basically says that Tommy is going to have to sacrifice Malina to save the world. It’s all so maddening, because this episode actually has one good storyline: Otomo and Miko. Here is a man who has done a horrible thing and seeks to redeem himself, so he creates a warrior to help him with his quest. That warrior becomes a surrogate for the daughter he lost, and then he must sacrifice himself in order to protect her, so that she may restore honor to his memory; at least she was able to bring a smile to his face before Harris killed him. That’s a good story! That’s a story with stakes that makes sense! If Heroes Reborn knew what it was doing, it would rally around this story and use it to strengthen the various other family reunions that happen in this episode. But the series doesn’t it care about its stories making logical or thematic sense; it’s just hoping you don’t notice what’s playing on the TVs in the hospital.