[This is a review of Heroes Reborn season 1, episode 10. There will be SPOILERS.]
Last week's episode of Heroes Reborn managed to tie each of its various plot lines together for the first time all season. Nathan struggled to deal with the weight of the destiny that was suddenly put on his shoulders, only to end up captured by Erica (the one person who doesn't want him to fulfill his destiny). Meanwhile, Carlos and Dearing learned the secrets of Sunstone Manor, its director and the facility's ties to Renautas. 'Sundae, Bloody Sundae' propelled multiple characters forward while also connecting them all to the larger story.
This week, however, '11:53 to Odessa' doesn't manage to have as much focus as last week, and falls more in line with previous episodes this season that attempted to feature too many storylines that ultimately felt too separated. In this episode Tommy/Nathan is swayed to Erica's side (then rescued), Malina and Noah are stopped in their journey to find Tommy by a storm, Carlos and Farah are reunited, Ren is sent in search of Miko, and Matt fears Erica has betrayed him. Unfortunately, with so much going on, '11:53 to Odessa' takes on the feeling of an episode checking off a list of characters and plot points rather than an exciting midseason finale.
At the forefront this week are the goings-on at Sunstone Manor and Erica's new civilization in the future: a city she has named Gateway. Picking up from where last week left off, Miko is outside the city. She ventures inside searching for her father, but what she finds is a room full of Evos hooked up to Renatuas' machines that steal their powers -- and the real Miko is among them. Hachiro shows up and explains that Renautas kept Miko alive after the accident that had presumably killed her, and used her to keep Hachiro in line. He then sends Miko on another mission -- essentially the same mission -- to free the Master of Time and Space.
Elsewhere, Nathan awakes at Erica's house with a scar on the back of his neck and unaware of what happened after he arrived. When Erica enters the room, she very quickly sets to work manipulating Nathan over to her side by reminding him of the lies his family told him and bending the facts of the cataclysmic event that is predicted to wipe out humankind. As an added tactic, Erica brings Nathan to Gateway in the future and shows him the desolate earth, with the lone city as a beacon of hope amidst all the death. Naturally, with a campaign as thorough and manipulative as Erica's -- she even explains that the scar is from her people attempting to steal his powers, though it didn't work, proving that she's willing to tell him the truth -- she wins Tommy over to her side. He's willing to do what she wants as long as she agrees to save the people he cares about.
The entire interaction between Erica and Nathan is one-sided, with Erica very obviously in charge and leaving little doubt about whether she'll win him over. We're even reminded, through Phoebe, that Erica is capable of completely wrapping people around her finger to the point that their own family won't even recognize them -- exemplified through Phoebe's fight with Quentin in which she accuses him of not understanding her as well as Erica. While this may be interesting to watch, it's voided by the end of the episode when Miko shows up, tells Tommy she's meant to free the Master of Time and Space, and he uses his powers to teleport them both out of Gateway.
Back in the present, the episode picks up after the events of last week with Noah and Malina walking away from the scene at the ice cream shop. Luke shows up and introduces himself to Noah, asking if he can help them find Nathan. However, Noah and Malina are distrustful of him because of his connection to Joanne. Throughout the episode, Luke follows Noah and Malina, admitting his past misdeeds and harm of Evos because of his and Joanne's misguided vengeance, before he eventually gains Malina's trust by saving her from a group of people to which she exposed her powers. Presumably this storyline is meant to redeem Luke in the eyes of Malina, but with Noah demonstrating more mistrust than Malina, it feels misplaced.
At Sunstone Manor it's revealed that Farah is alive and healing from the gunshot wound she suffered while trying to get Malina to safety. She's being held captive by Matt Parkman, who is trying to get information about Malina's location out of her. Realizing the connection between Farah and Carlos, Matt uses him to sway Farah, and she breaks under Matt's threat to kill Carlos. Later, Carlos breaks out of his room and rescues Farah, calling back to her words when she told him to be brave, finalizing his transformation from coward to hero.
Taylor and the members of HeroTruther are also at Sunstone Manor and she manages to infiltrate the facility with the Evo that's capable of transforming into anyone. However, when they come face to face with Matt -- who can read minds, remember -- they're quickly found out, though they overpower him and go in search of Micah. Taylor comes across Carlos and Farah in their attempt to escape and convinces them that they want the same thing. The episode leaves the characters facing an army of Harris' and fleeing across the grounds of the manor. Elsewhere, Micah is revealed to be hooked up to one of Renautas' machines that steal Evos' powers; Matt forces him to look up whether he's on Erica's list of Evos that will make it to the future.
Although certain episodes in this season of Heroes Reborn have been successful in crafting fast-paced storylines that drive the series forward, '11:53 to Odessa' has too much to cover to keep everything connected. Additionally, with character arcs that don't necessarily make sense or seem to be rendered moot by the end of the episode, the smaller character moments aren't able to shine through the convoluted plot. With this episode it's unclear how '11:53 to Odessa' works to drive the story forward aside from introducing Gateway and revealing the fate of Micah, as well as the real Miko.
Of course, to the show's credit, with so many characters and separate plots, it's difficult to keep everything tied to the same central storyline. Whereas previous episodes focused more on one or two characters, '11:53 to Odessa' seemed to suffer by trying to tackle too much, a recurring problem throughout Heroes Reborn. Now, with only three more episodes of the season left - and a little more than a month's wait before they air - it's unclear whether Heroes Reborn will deliver more fast-paced action when it returns leading up to the finale.
Heroes Reborn returns January 7th at 8pm on NBC. Check out a preview below:
Photos: Christos Kalohoridis & Steve Wilkie/NBC