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With 16 hours left before the first wave of solar radiation hits Earth, we learn more about Erica Kravid's backstory

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January 15, 2016 at 03:27 AM EST

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 

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