Heroes Reborn Recap: Too Many Butterflies

Photo: NBC
Heroes Reborn
Episode Title
June 13th – Part One
Editor’s Rating

I might be jumping the gun here, but at last I have a little faith so I’ll take my chances: Last week was not a fluke. Heroes Reborn is actually getting better. Like, a lot better. This week’s episode, the first of a two-parter, proved (or at least fooled us into thinking) that the writers' room for this “event mini-series” had their affairs in order from the beginning, starting from the end (as any good suspense show’s creators ought to, coughcough) and working their way back to the beginning, paying close attention to and respecting the space-time continuum as strictly as possible, especially given all the teleporting and time-traveling and literal world-shifting going on in a show like this. Sure, there’s a hole or two, but I’m more than willing to forgive them for a plot that actually makes me feel things.

Hiro and Noah have gone back to June 13, 2014, the day of the Summit and the bombing. There were six bombs, Noah says, and they all detonated simultaneously at 11:14 a.m.; he’s all for calling in a bomb threat to evacuate the area, but Hiro — being the only person with any sense in this show’s universe — insists they need to find a plan with the least impact on the fewest people, because the space-time continuum is fragile as hell, and who knows what worse thing they could cause? Future Noah is told by an event employee (who thinks he’s Past Noah) that Claire is at the Summit. He and Future Hiro search for her in vain, ending up in Noah’s old office, just in time to hide and witness Erica imprisoning Past Noah to keep him from screwing up her terrorist plot. In the most specific indictment we’ve heard of Erica, Past Noah says, “You sound like a bigot,” which, dude, is that the best you can do? How about, “Hey, boss, you’re a genocidal maniac who makes Hitler look like a mean kid with a magnifying glass”? Anyway, luckily Pennyman (“Caspar”) is around to spring him under false pretenses.

We get a guest-star twofer this week: Mohinder Suresh apparently takes a cab to the middle of nowhere outside Odessa, because he meets Angela Petrelli in her SUV. She confesses several things: one, she sold Primatech (which she’s owned for a long time, remember) to Renautas, back when she didn’t know Erica was demonspawn, because she actually believed Erica wanted to save everyone and not just people she likes. Angela thought she could convince or even trick Erica into doing the right thing, presenting alternatives to her insane plot, but it was to no avail.

Two, Erica funded Mohinder’s research — which showed how evos could save the entire planet from this solar flare — as a cover, basically, so she could develop her evil time-machine plan while claiming she wants to save everyone. And three, because Angela’s power is dream-prophecies, she knows that Erica has already killed Mohinder's research team in the Arctic and will kill him, too, now that her plan is a go. He of course has no reason to trust this woman, given her bad judgment and terrible lying habits, so he blows her off, only to find her predictions were true. Long story short, he dies in the explosion. Good thing he handed off the sole copy of his crucial manuscript outside of Renautas to Molly Walker first. (Note: In an earlier recap I implied that bad cop James Dearing’s super-strength was unique. It’s not — Mohinder, after having lived as a freaky Alien-style cocoon monster for a minute, retained his super-strength from the original series.)

Erica is like the evil queen in Snow White: making children suffer brings her vitality. In addition to hunting Claire and her babies (!), she essentially locks Phoebe in a basement and coerces her into developing her (quite painful to use) umbrakinesis to black out the entire Summit (and neutralize the powers of attending evos), by threatening to leave her brother Quentin behind to die in the solar storm. The irony, given last week’s events, is just too tragic. (Love the girl’s terrifying theme music, though.)

Past Hiro, who, lest we forget, is still both the CEO of Yamagato Industries and a huge nerd, has a meeting with Hichiro Otomo, who is still alive, to talk about new games he’s building. Basically Otomo begs Hiro to help Erica, but when Hiro reminds him (and us) that he and Erica are business partners and he does not work for her, Otomo digitizes him and puts him in the Evernow Fortress! Rude! Is Erica coercing Otomo with threats, too? Does she somehow have the “real” Miko? Why is this video-game plotline happening?

Unfortunately, as Future Hiro tries to free Mohinder from a handful of Harris clones who each have one of the six bombs strapped to their torsos (one-time-use bodies, apparently?), he discovers that stopping the bombing would be “too many butterflies” — in other words, too many worse things would happen as a result of the attack not going off. In other words, “fate is fate.”

In the meantime, Angela has tracked down what she believes to be Past Noah to tell him Claire’s in the hospital. Claire, if you hadn’t heard by now, is dead — she died in childbirth before they get there — but her twin newborns aren’t! Gonna pat myself on the back for that Wonder Twins joke last week, because it turns out Tommy (real name Nathan, after his dead grandfather, awww) and Malina are brother and sister. They’re the twins, grown up after Angela and Future Hiro take them back to 1999 to be raised in the past, so that they’re teenagers and “disguised” when Erica comes looking for infants, presumably to feed on their blood. (This is also what Noah made René help him forget, in order to properly hide them.) Pretty fancy temporal footwork, I gotta say, so props to episode writers Adam Lash and Cori Uchida.

Before they take the kiddies back, a nurse teaches a really adorable future Hiro how to bottle-feed an infant, and Angela, after realizing that this Noah and Hiro are from the future, explains that Erica’s plan is to send only the people and things she wants in the New World — including Malina and Nathan, because Malina can re-greenify the sun-scorched planet after they let the solar storm wipe out the rest of life on earth. (It’s not clear what Nathan is for yet.)

Anyway, the bombs do detonate, a bunch of people die, and within minutes Erica is on the news, speaking those sweet, sweet fascist absolutes about evil and villainy and evos. She really is capitalism incarnate, huh? Suddenly Future Noah, left alone at the 2014 hospital once Angela and Hiro go back in time, sees Erica waltzing through the hospital for god knows what. In a fit of rage and probably remembering what Hiro said about keeping influence to a minimum, he follows her into the back with his handgun and a silencer. He would have shot her if Past Noah hadn’t seen himself walking past and followed him, lunging to stop his future self from killing Erica. And that’s the cliffhanger!

Questions that remain:

  • What exactly is Erica’s deal? Was her dad Patrick Bateman or something? Nobody becomes this bloodthirsty without a backstory. Will we ever get a glimpse into the twisted past that made her this way?
  • So Luke and Joanne’s kid has/had an extreme case of solar urticaria, which is a real skin disorder (but is nowhere that extreme in real life). But was he actually an evo? And does anyone care about their story anymore?
  • Wait, about that scene with Tommy/Nathan and his mom watching the bombing fallout on his laptop: By saying “I’m ready,” does Tommy/Nathan mean he grew up knowing he would have to save the world? This is new.
  • How does one erase all traces of just-born babies without also destroying their mother’s obviously postpartum corpse? Has Law & Order: SVU taught us nothing?
  • Why is it possible for Claire to die of cardiac arrest? Isn’t her health perpetually flawless by design?
  • How has Homeland Security not caught wind of all this corporate-sponsored terrorism?