NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of Heroes Reborn, including a major character death, are present in this review
Oh, Heroes Reborn. How far you fell this week… Again. After a handful of decent episodes over the past few weeks, between the two-part “June 13th”, and the quite decent “Game Over” beforehand, “Sundae, Bloody Sundae” cannonballed right back into the series’ usual, frustrating flaws. The dogged pacing was back. The myriad plot holes are back. The continuity errors are back. Joanne Collins is back. Even worse than all that though, this episode tells a story so apathetic, so poorly explained, and so far stuck up its own rear end, that it’s easy to get the sense that Heroes Reborn has given up. It’s like the showrunners have realized that the miniseries will never live up to an acceptable standard in its conclusion, so they just threw up their hands, and decided to go for batshit insanity.
Where do I even begin with this mess? I suppose I should start with Luke and Malina. Luke has completely done a one-eighty as a character, and is now buddying up to Malina. The two drive about for a bit, bond over Evo stuff, and, for most of the episode, it seems like their arc is just filler. Seems annoying, but benign, but believe me, it gets worse. At least some of these scenes are a little charming, even if Luke’s character has never been more inconsistent than how he was initially portrayed.
The bulk of the episode however, and subsequently the biggest insult in it, seems to deal with Carlos Gutierrez. Finally, at long last, picking up with Carlos and Dearing reaching Sunstone Manor, we get an inside look at how some Evos are captured, or, more likely, lured someplace of their own will. Carlos manages to skulk around, after tricking the Evo sensor with Dearing’s potion (which did turn out to be legitimate), and knocking out his escort. He finds his family members, but sees that they’re refusing to leave, and seem to inhabit a mental world of illusion. Carlos is then captured, as is Dearing, when a, “New protocol” conveniently outs Dearing as an Evo. Bad timing, that.
The two-pronged insult that follows comes from how the next scenes play out. First, after all of this hullabaloo, all of this big operation to sneak through Sunstone Manor and liberate Carlos’ family, Carlos as a character, still serves absolutely no purpose in the plot! Seriously, it’s just getting sad now. We’ve now hit nine episodes, and Carlos has accomplished nothing, even now. He’s still just taking up space! No matter how much the show wants us to sympathize with him, or suspect him, or whatever, nothing is registering. He’s still a complete waste of a character.
The second prong however is the worse of the two. Guess who runs Sunstone Manor? Guess who the high-ranking Renautas director of this operation is? Matt Parkman. Matt bloody Parkman, from the veteran Heroes cast. Why? The show doesn’t say. Of course. Instead, Parkman somehow appears to trick Dearing into killing himself, before playing some very pointless mind games for information about Carlos’ connection to Farrah, which he could have just automatically extracted, rendering the entire sequence of Carlos’ war flashbacks, completely pointless. Why has Parkman gone this bad? How did he rise through the ranks of Renautas? Do his wife and child even exist anymore? Heroes Reborn conveniently glosses over all of these questions. Moreover, the suspense around who the director of Sunstone Manor is, is completely pointless! Veteran Heroes fans will easily recognize Matt’s voice, and anyone who isn’t a veteran Heroes fan will have no idea why he’s significant. As if that weren’t enough, Matt already showed up during the “June 13th” episodes, so we already know that he’s in league with Renautas. Heroes Reborn couldn’t have botched this reveal any more if it tried!
Anyway, Taylor Kravid also got quite a lot of focus this week, as she finally made contact with the Hero Truther resistance. After being snatched, and having her loyalty tested by a shapeshifter masquerading as her mother (in one of this episode’s only truly good scenes), Taylor learns that Renautas is holding the group’s leader hostage. The leader also happens to be another veteran Heroes character, Micah Sanders, who is finally coming into the series in its final stretch… Apparently. He’s merely mentioned here, which feels like a cheat. Still, at least Taylor is finally being given some direction for the final run of episodes.
The Luke/Malina arc soon after ends up colliding with the Nathan/Emily arc, or, should I go back to calling Nathan, “Tommy”, since he’s once again forgotten his identity? Oh, I don’t care. I’m calling him Nathan. Anyway, Nathan leaves Emily to visit his mother, just in time for Emily to meet Caspar, and for the two to both get held hostage by Joanne. Why is Joanne holding the two hostage? Who knows. Something about killing Nathan because he got away before, because she has a death wish, and/or is dumber than a sack of hammers. Joanne’s character is a trainwreck at this point, and it seems like even the show no longer cares about her motivations.
What follows is one of the most laughably incompetent scenes in this entire episode, and that’s saying a lot. Emily pointlessly signals Caspar for… Something, and this leads to Joanne not picking up the penny that Caspar would have used to erase her memories. Because the scene needs to be longer. Luke and Malina then, by the mother of all coincidences, end up right outside the same ice cream place, and Luke somehow senses that Joanne is inside because he hears the ruckus (I guess his Evo power comes with Spider-Sense?), entering, telling Joanne that he only went along with the Evo-killing rampage because Joanne wanted it (are you shitting me?! Who the hell just goes along with a killing spree because their spouse suggests it?!), then Nathan comes back, just in time for a bunch of shit to hit the fan.
Caspar decides to throw his briefcase in the air, for literally no reason, beyond it being just a cheap excuse to kill him off, since he predictably scared Joanne into shooting him, which is the second-stupidest thing he’s ever done in this miniseries, after erasing Nathan’s memories on impulse. Yes, Caspar gets a bullet in the head, and by some physics miracle that can only be attributed to bad writing, none of the forgetting pennies touch Joanne, despite a whole sea of them bursting from the case. So, Caspar is dead now. The show doesn’t even seem to care, so why should the audience? Anyway, Joanne decides that she now wants to kill Emily instead of Nathan, because she’s Joanne and who even cares at this point? She shoots for Emily, Luke shoots for Joanne, and Nathan picks this exact moment to learn how to stop time. After moving the bullet and the solar blast (how is he able to touch the solar blast?!), while not absorbing Luke’s power, or Malina’s power, since she’s also nearby, Nathan warps away with Emily, and Joanne, Luke and Malina just run away for… Reasons.
In the aftermath, Joanne gets snatched up by Harris, Luke ends up alone (did he just forget about Malina?), and Malina somehow hangs out in the ice cream shop until nightfall, so she can be picked up by Noah after the next scene, whom she somehow recognizes immediately, for some reason, which is theoretically possible, but the show doesn’t explain it well. Nathan also announces the news that Caspar died, which even Noah and his mother meet with a shrug, and Nathan realizes his powers don’t work. Phoebe and Quentin corner both Noah and Nathan, with the two taking Nathan away, and stashing him with Erica, who is going to tell him all about how he’s going to save the world. Yes, the show is still not addressing the enormous plot hole of Quentin no longer having motivation to ally with Noah in the present, now that he’s found his sister in the past. Oh, and there’s an outro with Miko, who exists several thousand years in an arid future for some reason. Maybe this will be explained later, but for now, it’s meaningless, and a very unsatisfying way to end a pretty lousy episode.
What a farce. Heroes Reborn was actually getting better, but the sheer amount of lazy writing and incompetent direction in “Sundae, Bloody Sundae” is legitimately astounding. Maybe this is just a particularly bad stumble before a more improved climax, but it’s incredibly frustrating to see Heroes Reborn undo all of its efforts and goodwill from the past few weeks in one spectacular swoop. There’s one episode left before the miniseries wraps its 2015 run, and leaves its remaining three episodes for January, and hopefully, hopefully, that episode turns out to be at least… Competent. The show did not achieve that standard this week.
Despite a few weeks of improvement, Heroes Reborn really fell apart, and immediately regressed into old habits after the return to the present day, presenting a very sub-par episode that was riddled with lazy, frustrating plotting.
THE GOOD STUFF
Taylor's meeting with Hero Truther
Luke/Malina scenes are occasionally charming
THE NOT-SO-GOOD STUFF
Aggressively contrived plotting
Plot holes aplenty, especially with Matt Parkman
Joanne and Carlos remain awful characters, yet again