Heroes Reborn: June 13th Part Two Review

You'd need superpowers of your own to keep up with the non-step revelations and character connections in Heroes Reborn...

Heroes Reborn Season 1 Episode 8

This Heroes Reborn review contains spoilers.

While last week’s instalment of “June 13th was impressive for the most part, a lot of time was spent putting the events of the series into context and moving the various pieces of the show into position ready for Heroes Reborn’s final act. Anyone expecting part two to be the payoff to last week’s set-up will be left disappointed however, as this week’s outing continues in much the same vein of relentlessly rapid story progression.

Once again, the revelations are non-stop and with time-travel shenanigans at the core of the episode, patching everything together is quite the mental workout. Keeping track of each character connection and timeline alteration after only one viewing would surely require the audience to have superpowers of their own. The problem isn’t that the revelations are unexciting or ill-conceived; the interconnectivity of the plot is actually very impressive; few would’ve guessed that Teleport Tom would not only be Claire Bennet’s son but would also be raised by Hiro Nakamura and watching this all slot into place is a fine reward for those who have stuck with the series through a few patience-trying episodes. But “June 13th” fails to give viewers a chance to process the rapidly incoming information before swiftly moving on to the next reveal, and this is where the episode ultimately suffers most.

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This emphasis on exposition unfortunately leaves little time for spectacle with a notable lack of action sequences this week. Raised guns were about as good as things got in that regard. Infuriatingly, Hiro’s battle with a gang of Agent Harrises was teased toward the end of the episode, with an aging Hiro Nakamura grabbing his swords off the wall and turning to face his many opponents and then… cut to an explanation as to why Tom/Nathan doesn’t remember anything. A huge let-down as “June 13th would have been all the better for a good, old-fashioned punch-up at the end.

One of the reasons behind the quality of Heroes Reborn’s first few episodes was the political subtext; the commentary on prejudice and human rights issues was both timely and relevant. Now that the show’s storyline is moving towards its endgame, these more grounded elements have taken a back seat as more fantastical themes of worldwide destruction and restarting humanity take precedence. Whether this is a benefit or detriment to the show is mostly down to personal opinion. Some will prefer the more real-world approach to superhero storytelling, others will rather the show focused more on entertainment than attempting to be a cerebral experience. What can be said for certain however, is that the earlier episodes’ social commentary distinguished Heroes Reborn from the original Heroes series, whereas now, the two shows feel more than ever like the same entity to the point where Heroes Continued may have been a more appropriate moniker.

Despite this, part two of “June 13th still entertains and intrigue. Masi Oka’s Hiro Nakamura is at the heart of the action once again, providing both the comic and dramatic goods, even if his reaction to the loss of his powers was surprisingly blasé. The Heroes audience is well-accustomed to Hiro in the “warrior of destiny with killer one-liners” role but this week’s episode sees him in unfamiliar territory: family-man mode. Despite not spending much time with it, the father-son relationship between Hiro and his adoptive child is strangely touching and Nakamura Junior being forced to forget the pair’s bond, thanks to the ability of Caspar the friendly plot device, was a proper kick to the feels.

Another Heroes stalwart, Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) makes a welcome, if oddly brief return this week. His single scene managed to perfectly encapsulate the Parkman character: be a twat, look confused while using power, realize was being a twat, redeem self. Where other returning characters have had a pivotal role in Heroes Reborn, the middle aged mind-bender’s cameo appearance seems purely for nostalgic purposes, a disservice to both the character and Grunberg himself. Hopefully Matt will pop up again further down the line but who knows, we’re not mind readers.

The recent influx of returning characters of course means that some of the new additions suffer as a result; most notably, Carlos Gutierrez and Luke and Joanne Collins. Carlos’ story has slowed right down recently and although this episode finally reveals why he was so cagey over his military exploits, the revelations are neither interesting nor surprising. Last we saw Carlos, he was attempting to sneak into a Renautas facility and next week’s episode will need to feature this plot point heavily, as well as quickly involving him in the main story arc, in order to get the ex-soldier back on track. Luke and Joanne on the other hand have not struggled for screen time but have had difficulty in making the audience care about them. Joanne is an intensely unlikeable character even for a villain and whilst Luke fares better in this regard, his relative unimportance to the main story ensures a distinct lack of character development.

Fortunately for everyone, one character that isn’t done a disservice is Quentin Frady, who thanks to Noah trampling on some butterflies, is now alive and well. And evil. After so much exposure during the last two episodes, it’s vital that Heroes Reborn brings in new elements of intrigue and turning Quentin, the show’s funnyman, into a double agent should spice things up nicely. 

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2.5 out of 5