As tonight’s title suggests, Heroes Reborn is done playing games. For most of this season Heroes Reborn has felt like its been working with one hand tied behind its back, never really living up to its potential. But, tonight’s episode, “Game Over,” was all about untying that hand — freeing the Master of Time and Space, Hiro Nakamura — so that the show can finally have some fun. (Also, a game is literally ended in the episode).
The ending of “Game Over” feels like it finally closes the book on the often-incoherent and messy part one and propels us forward into a hopefully more fun and engaging part two Let’s see how we get there.
The opening of “Game Over” jumps between two torture scenes. In Midian, Noah is torturing Mr. Harris in a pool while Quentin and Taylor watch, because torture is a spectator sport. And in California, the land of chill, Carlos loses his chill and uses the Jack Bauer method to force Capt. Dearing to reveal his nephew’s location. Because this is TV, torture works in both instances. Dearing reveals that Jose was taken someplace called Sunstone Manor, and Mr. Harris tells Quentin that Phoebe is on her way back from Canada, promises to take Noah and Quentin to where Hiro Nakamura is being held, and tells Taylor where she can find Francis.
What’s interesting about this opening sequence is how it kind of contradicts Heroes Reborn’s ethos. Prior the series premiere, creator Tim Kring told The Daily Beast. that the original show was a statement on Bush-era politics, which you can tell he was kind of against. So, it’s funny in troubling kind of way to find him using torture as a plot device here to move the story along. But, let’s go with it because the story is actually moving.
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As Noah, Quentin and a subdued Harris make their way to the holding facility, Miko heads inside Evernow and starts traveling toward the in game version of said facility, and Ren provides support from a nearby cafe. Inside the game, an avatar created by Miko’s father informs her that she must free the Master of Time and Space. Unfortunately for her, Richard and his scientists are actively working against her. First, they re-program Evernow so that the fortress is hidden, and then they post a giant guard outside of it just in case Miko somehow manages to find it. A skilled multi-tasker, Richard also takes time to explain to Erica (and the audience) that Miko can’t possibly be Hachiro Otomo’s daughter because she died in a car crash. Which means this Miko is a creation that originated in the game.
Unable to find the fortress in the game, Miko returns to the real world, and she and Ren decide to find the fortress’ real-world analog instead, which just happens to be where Noah, Quentin, and Harris are heading. As Harris helps his captors pass by security unharmed, Miko and Ren take out the big samurai guarding the fortress in the game. Miko has to continue in the game alone because Ren’s laptop dies and he’s forced to infiltrate Renautas on his own.
While all of this is happening, Luke is hanging out on a dock and decides to buy a boat The lumber truck carrying Malina from happens to drop her off right in front of said dock, because fate. Malina arrives just in time to witness Luke’s attempt to commit suicide by strapping on a backpack filled with cinder blocks and jumping into the water. Obviously, she can’t just stand by and watch a fellow evo try to end his life. So, she uses her still undefined, but possibly Storm- and/or Captain Planet-esque powers to save him. To put it another way, Luke’s game of Life is far from over.
[Recap readers: Start listening to “Purpose” from Avenue Q now.]
Once he’s recovered from his near-death experience, Luke explains to Malina that he tried to end his life because he no longer had a purpose for living. Coincidentally, Malina has a lot of purpose — you know, saving the world — and isn’t supposed to share. She tells him she’s worried she won’t be able to complete her mission because it depends on her finding a boy whose picture was in the bloody envelope Farah gave her before dying. As fate would have it, Luke “knows” the boy she’s tasked to find and where he is: It’s Tommy.
NEXT: Midday in Paris
In tonight’s episode, Tommy and Emily’s relationship goes from 0 to 100 “real quick,” as the youths would say. Tommy can’t even with having to save the world. So, in an effort to run away from his problems, he whisks Emily off to Paris. The City of Love starts out fun, but then the real world ruins everything. As they’re about to get in line to for the Eiffel Tower, they notice that soldiers are scanning for evos and aren’t letting them up. Drunk off confidence, Tommy foolishly stays in line, fails the test, and is almost apprehended, but he manages to escape just in time.
Tommy teleports them onto a boat floating on the Seine. Emily’s pissed about what just happened, but Tommy calms her down by explaining that he’s upset because of his conversation with Pruitt Taylor Vince at the hospital. It’s at this point that Emily becomes plot device meant to turn this reluctant hero into a willing hero. Along the bank of the river, they find old copies of comic books, specifically a rare issue of Ninth Wonders, which Emily uses to explain that Tommy’s powers come with responsibilities and it’s time he steps up and enters the game.
With renewed confidence, he teleports her back to her room. Before leaving to start his heroic journey, Emily kisses him, which leads to them making out. Aww, they found love in hopeless place.
In California, things aren’t going too well for Carlos. In order to enter Sunstone Manor, Carlos and Dearing need to switch places so it looks like Carlos is Dearing’s prisoner. At the gate, Carlos will be scanned to make sure he’s an evo, so Dearing gives him a vial of blood to insure he gets a false positive. Carlos’ reacts negatively to the blood, and he collapses, which appears to have been part of Dearing’s plan all along.
Meanwhile, Miko rematerializes inside of Renautas’ holding facility and runs into Harris, Noah, and Quentin. In the confusion, Harris manages to escape; however, Noah and Miko realize they share an enemy and a common goal and decide to team up. Together, they find Richard’s lab, where he and his team are teleporting things into the future using Hiro Nakamura’s powers. To prevent Hiro from using his powers to break free, Renautas imprisoned him inside Evernow, a place without space and time.
Miko re-enters the game but encounters another obstacle, an evil version of herself. Unable to win, she returns to the real world once again. At this point, Richard drops one more truth bomb: Miko must sacrifice herself in the game to free Hiro. Ready to make that sacrifice, Miko tries returning to Evernow but can’t because Harris returns with reinforcements, which include several clones of himself and Phoebe, whose shadows prevent evos from using their powers. (ASIDE: This revelation actually makes sense when you remember that a solar eclipse took evo powers in the third season of Heroes. END ASIDE).
Quentin tackles his sister to the ground and tries to reason with her. Unfortunately, Phoebe has sipped way too much of Erica Kravid’s mass-murder-flavored Kool-Aid and is too far gone. She uses her powers to kill her brother. Noah knocks her out, but he’s too late, and Quentin dies. With Phoebe out of commission, Miko jumps back into the game, decapitates her evil twin, and uses her katana to unlock the prisoner’s cell, which gives us our literal “game over.”
Back in the real world, Harris and guards corner Noah and open fire, but something happens. Time freezes, and Noah’s able to casually push the bullet aside. It’s the Flash! It’s a Clockstopper! No, it’s a newly freed Hiro Nakamura. Noah and Hiro exchange some pleasantries, but then they get down to business. Noah convinces Hiro to take him back to June 13, 2014, to stop Erica.
- Hiro’s return to the show means a lot. One of the problems in the original series is that every season, the writers had to contrive ridiculous reasons to keep Hiro away from the main action because he was so powerful and could solve whatever problem by squeezing his eyes together. Hopefully, introducing him midway through the season means the show will manage to avoid this pitfall.
- Unfortunately, Taylor doesn’t find Francis. However, she does find a copy of Mohinder Suresh’s manuscript and discovers that she’s pregnant with Francis’ child. In the ultimate act of rebellion, she reaches out to Hero Truther.
- Also, Ren tells Miko he loves her before she dies.
- Tommy and Emily’s conversation about superheroes being everywhere before Claire outed herself to the world was uncomfortably meta.
- The CGI used in the scene where Malina saves Luke was awful. Perhaps Heroes Reborn should reach out to The Flash‘s VFX team for pointers on how to do a superhero show on a budget.
- “She’s definitely not a LARPer,” Quentin says, in one of the funniest moment in tonight’s episode, after meeting Miko.
- “Wait a minute, you guys built a time machine?” —Quentin’s inner geek briefly gets the best of him.