[photos: Christos Kalohoridis/NBC]
Season 1, episode 11: “Send in the Clones”
Written by Peter Elkoff
Directed by Larysa Kondracki
Welcome back, Heroes Reborn, you just couldn’t stay away, could you?
I’ve said it all before: this show is lousy and I have no idea why anyone would be watching it anymore. But then again, that’s why I’m not a television producer. As much as I hate mid-season breaks, it’s undeniable that they are effective towards raising a show’s ratings, and Heroes Reborn’s numbers are indeed on the rise. Will they stay high for the final two episodes of this miniseries? It doesn’t really matter, as NBC has officially announced that the series will not be renewed for a second season.
I once imagined that news like this would have brought me some sort of joy, knowing that this inept attempt at intriguing storytelling, this collective failure of television was over and done with. But now that it arrives I find myself oddly numb. I’m not overjoyed, I’m not happy, I’m just tired.
I’m tired of waiting and hoping for this show to pull itself together, for the script to finally pick up some speed and the story begin to draw me in, make me care about the characters and worry about how this will all end. I held out as long as I could (I think eleven episodes is a pretty good hold-out) but I am so sick of this show that even if it actually managed to do all that I wished, fix all the problems, I would probably not even notice it. All the elements, the dialogue, the acting, the camerawork, the special effects, the plot, the connective tissue and symbolism, it’s all left such a bad taste in my mouth.
Episode eleven, “Send in the Clones”, highlighted one of the show’s weaknesses that up until now I’ve only touched upon in passing: the acting. Good lord in heaven on high could they not afford any good actors for this show? Was there a contest among the cast to see who could give the most lame-duck performance? I know they’re probably just doing it for the paycheck, but come on guys, at least put in a little effort. You’re in a freaking sci-fi show about time travelers, shape-shifters, regenerators; at least act like you’re having a little fun. It was like every single scene was shot after the actors woke up from naptime. Everyone mumbles and delivers flat insincere dialogue for and hour and the credits role.
Well, that’s unfair. Henry Zebrowski (Quentin) is putting injecting some energy, but he’s partnered up with Cle Bennett (Harris), Aisling Paul (Phoebe), Zachary Levi (Luke), and Danika Yarosh (Melina), all who are vacuums for charisma. The end result is that amid this sea of vapid performances and detached characters poor Henry seems like he’s in the wrong show and is trying desperately to get out.
Did anything important happen this episode? Well, technically yes, but it didn’t feel important. To start with, Harris is officially out of the picture, as Miko killed the original so all the clones are gone as well. How did she kill all the original when Hiro couldn’t even defeat a couple of clones? Well because the original challenges her to single combat. He shoos away a dozen or more clones, all pointing their massive hand cannons at her, so he can prove something.
And that’s all those clones ever do: they walk across a green field, stand in front of a little Japanese girl and then bugger off. The entire episode was named after the clones being sent in to do… something, I’m assuming, and all they do is crumble away into dust when Miko kills this obnoxious albatross around the neck of the show’s plot. And then she techno-glitches away and is also gone. Two characters gone… oh wait, three characters, the priest buddy of Carlos got shot in the back and dies too. What was his name again? I can’t remember, probably not important.
And that’s the problem. Nothing happening feels important. Quentin and Phoebe getting captured and hauled around by Luke and Melina — doesn’t feel important. Micah getting freed and telling the world about Erica’s actions — doesn’t feel important. Carlos and Farah freeing the EVOs imprisoned in Sunstone Manor — doesn’t feel important. Tommy playing along with Erica until the time permits him to foil her plans — doesn’t feel important. Matt kidnapping Taylor to ensure his family’s survival in the future — doesn’t feel important. I have never seen so much plot movement in so many directions that leaves me with so little emotional impact (outside of frustration, but that’s more like a constant ambiance while watching this show rather than a reaction).
Well, at least I can say that it’s almost over. But when it’s finished, when the final credits roll and my blood pressure returns to normal next Thursday evening, what will have been the point? We’ve endured sloppy storytelling complimented by bad special effects and wooden performances, and even if the finale is the slightest bit satisfying, will it have been worth our time?
You know what, you know how I feel by this point, what about you? Have you been watching the show this whole time? Has the show been as much of a slog for you as it was for me? If not, please write a comment and let me know what kept you coming back; I’d genuinely like to know.
We’ve got two more of these to get through folks… to be continued.