Heroes Reborn Is Just Lifting Lines from Star Wars at This Point
Spoilers for this week's Heroes Reborn ahead!
Let's not mince words: Heroes Reborn is terrible. The dialogue is a series of cliches, the attempts at social commentary are clumsy at best, and worst of all, it's just boring. Last night's episode, "Game Over," was actually more watchable than usual, mostly because the storylines finally started to converge, but the show constantly makes basic narrative mistakes that make it impossible to care about the characters or what happens to them.
Take Miko's storyline, for example. It's bad enough that her plotline is just an echo of dumb anime cliches of "being stuck in a video game," and that the visuals of the video game itself are so ugly and plasticine it's damn near unwatchable, but the writers don't even bother to try to get the audience to care about her. I'm guessing her sacrifice this week was supposed to be tragic, but it fell completely and utterly flat. The episode revealed in rapid-fire that Miko, as many fans suspected, is not human, but an avatar of the Evernow developer's dead daughter. You would think that after finding out your entire existence is a fabrication, Miko would have an existential crisis or two. But instead, she doesn't seem to have any emotional reaction at all, even when she finds out she will die while completing her mission. How are we supposed to care about Miko's death if she doesn't?
This is just a symptom of the real illness, which is that Miko hasn't been developed enough as a character for her death to hold much weight, even if she did have an emotional reaction. The relationship between her and Ren is charming at times, and that could have been an avenue by which they could have gotten viewers invested in her sacrifice. But instead of coming up with their own lines that might reveal something about the characters and their relationship, they literally just lifted lines from The Empire Strikes Back. Miko is about to go back into the video game to sacrifice herself, Ren finally confesses his love for her, and she says, "I know," and goes to her probable death.
And herein lies the problem with Heroes Reborn: every part of it is derivative. In addition to the anime pandering, the premise of Heroes Reborn in general is extremely similar to X-Men, especially that blatant Cerebro rip-off, Carlos is basically Green Arrow/Batman/every other costumed vigilante, Noah's plotline rises and falls with references to the original show, and Tommy's arc is just Spider-Man with different superpowers.
This last derivation is made explicit in this episode as well, as Emily tells Tommy that his "powers come with responsibilities," a line that gives us all PTSD flashbacks after watching ten thousand Spider-Man origin stories. This isn't nearly as annoying as the Star Wars reference, however, because Emily and Tommy are looking at old comic books at the time, so it makes sense that she would deliberately quote them.
This conversation also leads to my favorite part of the episode, in which Emily recalls that before Claire revealed her powers to the world "everybody was really into superheroes." But then, when the world found out they were real, they turned on them in a hurry. In our superhero-saturated popular culture, I wonder what would actually happen if we found out that superpowered humans existed. Most likely, Heroes Reborn is right, and we would ostracize and persecute them. This is a relatively insightful scene on Heroes Reborn's part, but they're too few and far between. Besides, they're not saying anything that the X-Men comics haven't been saying for decades.