The heroes of Heroes Reborn have 16 hours to save the world. Yes, that’s not a lot of time, but it’s definitely more than what Madonna and Justin Timberlake had. As we approach the finish line, everyone is descending on Odessa, Tex., like it’s San Diego in mid-July — there’s no cosplay, but the same kind of apocalyptic vibe.
“Company Woman,” as the title suggests, tries to do for Erica Kravid what Heroes season 1’s exceptional “Company Man” did for Noah Bennet’s character: reveal his backstory and explain his motives. There was no way tonight’s episode could’ve reached those heights because that was beautiful standalone episode. Because we’re one episode away from the end (the actual end), Heroes Reborn doesn’t have room to take its time with Erica’s past, so it resorts to clichéd plotlines to quickly explain why Erica is the way she is.
When the episode opens, Tommy, against Emily’s wishes, helps Erica transport the first group of people to the Future Gateway. Erica instructs Richard to make sure Tommy stays focused before heading back to her office. After she gets off a heated phone call with the governor, Matt Parkman barges in with Taylor at gunpoint and gives Erica an ultimatum: Either Erica saves him and his family, or he’ll force to Taylor kill herself and the baby in her womb. Erica gives Matt the watches, and he lets Taylor go and runs off.
Naturally, Erica is disgusted to find out that Taylor is carrying Francis’ child. It’s clear Taylor has nothing but disdain for her mother, and Erica says Taylor has no idea what Erica sacrificed for her daughter, which leads us into the first of several flashbacks.
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In the flashbacks, we meet Erica as a teenager who is caring for her ailing father. When her father’s condition worsens beyond the point that medicine can help, her father’s doctor, an evo, offers to use his healing powers to save him, but it comes at a price. The doctor molests Erica, and in the process, impregnates her. Erica decides to keep the child but doesn’t tell the doctor. However, he ends up finding out several years later when Taylor falls ill and Erica needs his help again. After healing Taylor, the doctor decides to take her away because she could be an evo like him and he wants to raise her, but Erica defends her child and kills the doctor to stop him from taking her away. As she’s trying to clean up the body, a young Caspar shows up because he heard about her problems with the doctor, but seeing that she took care of it, he just gives her his Primatech card.
These flashbacks are meant to explain how Erica could be willing to sacrifice billions of people to save the world. As a child, she sacrificed a lot of herself to save the ones closest to her, and for her, it was worth it. This is the same rationale she applies to the H.E.L.E. (Human Level Extinction Event). While it’s necessary for the show to explain why Erica believes what she’s doing is right, resorting to sexual assault isn’t the strongest or smartest way to do so. (To be fair, there is some truth in Erica’s statement that Taylor has no idea what has been sacrificed for her life, which is true of most children. You can’t say that Erica is selfish.)
Back in the present, Taylor holds her mother at gunpoint and demands to be taken to see Francis. Sadly, that’s not possible because Francis is dead. Erica tries to fix things with Taylor, but it’s too late. (Maybe she should’ve tried the “Sorry” dance). Taylor refuses to travel with her mother to the future if it means letting so many die. Erica stands by her decision because she believes it’s worth it. This entire exchange reminded me of last week’s Supergirl, when Kara has to be reminded that heroes always find a way that doesn’t involve killing and that that’s what makes them heroes.
NEXT: Everyone heads back to where it all started
While Erica is having mommy-daughter time, her plan is slowly falling apart. Otomo finally finishes rebuilding Evernow, but Tommy finds out that Erica isn’t planning on saving everyone and peaces out. Erica’s goons try to coerce Tommy into helping by taking his mother hostage, but he stops time to save her.
With the end nearing, his sister nowhere in sight (yet), and the future unchanged, Tommy is uncertain that he’ll be able to stop the H.E.L.E. However, his mom gives him a much needed pep talk, which I actually liked because the show didn’t resort to killing his mom off to make him step up as a hero.
Meanwhile, Luke, Malina, Quentin, and Phoebe arrive in Odessa. Unfortunately, they can’t get into Gateway because guards are checking everyone, so Luke decides they need to go somewhere and get Tommy’s attention and make him come to them. Before that, though, they need to get rid of Quentin and Phoebe. Luke takes them to the old Primatech location but partially bungles whatever plan he has. Phoebe and Quentin manage to break free, but while Phoebe runs off, Quentin decides to stand by Luke because he’s had a last-minute change of heart.
From there, Luke, Malina, and Quentin head to Union Wells High School — a.k.a. Claire Bennett’s old school, a.k.a. where this whole story began — because that’s where many people are seeking refuge from the oncoming solar-radiation storm. There they find a news crew, and Malina decides to show off her powers (with some now-standard terrible CGI) in the hope that Tommy will see the news and come find her.
Tommy almost misses the message and almost does something stupid, but thankfully Micah stops that from happening. When Carlos, Farah, Micah, and Jose stop at a gas station on the way to Odessa, they see Malina’s message. Micah uses his powers to make sure it plays on a loop and is transmitted to every device that can receive a signal so that Tommy can’t possibly miss it. Now, Farah and company start heading to the high school, too. Yes, this episode is slowly starting to take the shape of Heroes season 1’s “Homecoming,” with everyone converging on this cursed high school.
Unfortunately, Joanne shows up where she isn’t wanted and causes chaos because she decided to stay true to herself until the end. At the school, she spots Tommy and tries to shoot him, but Otomo shows up and traps him back into Evernow. Eventually, Luke and Joanne end up in a stand-off, and Luke tries to talk her down, but it’s of no use. Joanne takes a shot at Malina, and it looks like her bullets hit their mark. Luke impulsively burns Joanne to a crisp; however, it’s revealed Farah, while invisible, dove in front of Malina and took the hit.
While all of this is going on, Ren arrives at Gateway and by absurd coincidence runs into Emily. He tells her he’s looking for the Master of Time and Space, who just so happens to be her boyfriend. So, Ren and Emily start going around Gateway to find Tommy. They eventually make it down to the lab area and arrive just in time to see Richard kill Otomo right after he confirms Tommy’s imprisonment inside the game.
Meanwhile, Matt Parkman gets into a car accident while on the phone with his ex-wife and pleading with her to travel with him to Gateway. His car ends up at the bottom of a ravine, and the watches Erica gave him drift away because selfish and unpleasant guys like Matt don’t deserve a happy ending and aren’t heroes.