What does it take to save the world? Well, according to Heroes Reborn, the answer is sacrifice. That’s the pervading theme that runs through “Project Reborn,” the series finale of this unsuccessful attempt to revive the Heroes franchise. It takes a good half-hour for the episode to really get going, but eventually it finds its metaphorical 30 seconds of fun (whether those 30 seconds of fun make sense is another question entirely) before losing them.
Everything is basically where we left it at the end of last week’s episode. Carlos, Jose and Micah rush Farah to the hospital, and Emily and Ren are still down in the Gateway bunker spying on Erica and Richard. Meanwhile, Tommy is trapped inside his Evernow prison, which takes the shape of a never-ending hallway.
With Tommy trapped inside the game, it’s time for Project Reborn, which is what Erica is calling this grand exodus to the future. A cord appears out of nowhere and connects Tommy to a processor that uses his powers to transport everyone wearing one of the Gateway watches 7,957 years into the future, including Ren and Emily. For some reason, the direction pretends like we haven’t seen the future before, and the sequence of everyone emerging into Future Gateway is filmed as though the the show were showing us this for the first time.
From the beginning of the episode, the show commits to how important sacrifice is to saving the world. First, there’s Luke, who after telling Malina and Quentin to take cover, stands in the middle of present-day Gateway and gives himself to the first solar flare because he’s trying to atone for his sins. As it grows in intensity, Luke starts glowing and ascending toward the flare, which disperses once he hits it, and Luke evaporates with it. Then, there’s Quentin. Darth Phoebe shows up at Gateway and is still devoted to Erica for some unexplained reason and tries to kill Malina. To save Malina, Quentin shoots his sister out the window of the clocktower, and she falls to her death.
WANT MORE? Keep up with all the latest from last night’s television by subscribing to our newsletter. Head here for more details.
Working together, Carlos, Jose, and Micah are able to save Farah. However, their work is far from done. A group of people who were injured in a highway pile-up enter the hospital and ask for help. And, Carlos says yes because he’s finally found his place, which is there helping people. It’s Heroes Reborn‘s way of saying: You don’t need superpowers to be a hero. Furthermore, it’s also the show’s version of “there are no small parts, etc.” Basically, everyone has a role to play in saving the world.
Meanwhile, Tommy starts running around his cyber prison and runs into himself, whom we’ll call Tommy-2. Tommy-2 explains that time is a (flat?) circle and has no meaning there, but memories are timeless, and Tommy needs to use this “time” to remember everything he’s learned in order to save the world once he’s freed. (Tommy-2 also tells Tommy that they can be in two places at the same time, which makes sense?) Eventually, Tommy conveniently remembers practicing saving the world with his sister Malina in that Primatech room.
Outside in the future real world, Ren and Emily are able to free all of the sedated evos, including Otomo and Miko, who, upon awakening, doesn’t know Ren. The disappointed look on Ren’s face was enough to slightly move my cold heart. Otomo gives Ren his hero moment and sends him back into the game to team up with Katana Girl and free the Master of Time and Space. Obviously, Ren succeeds.
NEXT: All roads lead to Claire Bennet
Once Ren removes the sword from the door, he and Tommy materialize in the present and find themselves surrounded by Erica and her men with guns, who have also captured Emily and Anne. Tommy encounters a brief conundrum: If he teleports back to the present and stops the H.E.L.E., everyone in the future dies, and if he doesn’t, Malina dies in the present. But he reveals that he has learned to be in two places at once and has this sitch handled. Does it make sense? Not really, but let’s not linger on that and just go with it and accept that we have two Tommys — or Nathans because he demands to go by that name now. The Nathan who returns to the past is Nathan-1 and the Nathan in the future is Nathan-2.
Nathan-1 teleports to the present and is reunited with his sister. They take each other’s hands — there’s a close-up of their hands, which alludes to “The Creation of Adam” because subtlety, like reason, has be thrown out the window — and try to save the world. Unfortunately, their Wonder Twin powers don’t work. This is where Heroes Reborn takes an even sharper timey-wimey turn. Nathan-1 goes back in time to their training session at Primatech and discovers that they require a third person to stand in between them and act as a conduit, i.e. someone willing to sacrifice themselves. (Are you seeing a pattern?) And, Nathan-1 knows exactly who it’ll be: Noah.
Long story short: Nathan-1 saves Noah, shows him what he has to do, and Noah agrees. So they return to Malina and the present. With Noah acting as a conduit, Malina and Tommy use their powers to shroud the Earth in a blue forcefield that protects Earth from and disrupts the solar flare. At the same time, Nathan-2 hits Erica with some Batman Begins-like justice by removing her watch before teleporting everyone else back to the present.
Noah dies saving the world, and you know the writers wanted this to be an “OMG! ALL THE FEELZ” kind of moment, but it isn’t. In the Heroes Reborn world, dying trying to save the world is the ultimate honor. Actually, sacrifice is this series’ big message. With Luke’s pseudo-apotheosis and Quentin killing his sister, Heroes Reborn is clearly saying that the only way to handle Global Warming is casting aside selfishness and sacrificing for the greater good. It’s the kind of trite message we’ve come to expect from this show, whose theme song is clearly “We Are the World.”
From there, we fast-forward three months. Otomo is training Miko and Ren, and Carlos, Jose, and Farah are a crime-fighting family. Nathan and Emily are still going strong, and Malina is finally being reintegrated into society and is attending Union Wells High School.
And, Quentin? Well, he’s in a jumpsuit — clearly paying for his brief alliance with Erica Kravid because karma — and is being interrogated by suits. These feds want to know which evos saved the world because they don’t believe that anyone would do that and not expect anything in return. Instead of giving up names, Quentin rattles off this speech that basically sums up Heroes Reborn‘s message.
“The only thing extraordinary is that they got a chance to be heroes,” he says, explaining that the evos in question didn’t think about themselves and just did what was right. “You want to know who they [the heroes] are? Look in the mirror; they’re you, they’re me on our best night.” (ASIDE: This is also the moment the shows goes full X-Men with the whole evos are humans, too, and we shouldn’t be prejudiced thing. END ASIDE).
Ever an optimistic series, Heroes Reborn‘s ending sets up its next volume. Both Nathan and Malina receive mysterious Tarot cards, which, according to Angela, is their father’s calling card. These cards mean that he’s coming back for them, and she warns that no one will be able to protect them. But, alas, we’ll probably never see this play out.
Was this a fitting ending? I honestly don’t know. I will say that Heroes Reborn remained true to itself to the end. It began the season with a “Heal the World”/”We’re All in This Together” ethos and never gave that up. Sadly, we’ll have to declare the grander Project Reborn a failure because this is the end of the road for the series.