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‘Heroes Reborn’ Leaps Into Uncertain Future (SPOILERS)

“Heroes” started great back in 2006, before gradually (and in hindsight, rather precipitously) skidding off the rails. “Heroes Reborn” started out as something of a mess, before becoming more interesting upon finally disgorging its plot, without as yet becoming fully comprehensible.

The so-called “fall finale” (everything in TV is about creating inflection points these days) seemed like a good time to take inventory of NBC’s revival, which has benefited by bringing in former players from the original, while being handcuffed by the absence of many of them. In a way, whether someone from the first “Heroes” was available this time around seems like as good a career referendum as any.

The main problem, frankly, is that virtually none of the program’s new additions have particularly popped, with the exception of Miko (Kiki Sukezane), who spends much of her time plunging into a virtual game world, where she becomes a sword-wielding heroine. How odd that the character billed as a “construct” is one of the few to exhibit much of a pulse.

In addition, the larger plot – which, yes, once again hinges on a teenager (OK, this time a pair of wonder twins) playing a fundamental role in helping “Save the world” – has been at best convoluted, with a relatively weak villain and vague sense of the exact threat, which finally crystalized these last few chapters.

Then again, event-changing time travel is always a dicey proposition, a wrinkle that also plagued “Heroes” in its earlier incarnation. That might have peaked, frankly, earlier in the season when Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman) essentially ran into himself.

With all that as backdrop and baggage, Thursday’s episode (and SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t watched) had to do a good deal of business to carry the show through its holiday break with any kind of momentum. The bottom line is that the bad gal, Erica (Rya Kihlstedt), is determined to establish a colony 7,957 years in the future (give or take), hoping to keep humanity alive after an apocalyptic event. OK, so billions of us won’t make it, at least big-brained bipeds will continue to roam the Earth. (By the way, the future – with a barren desert surrounded by some garish buildings – looks a whole lot like Las Vegas, but never mind.)

Thursday’s episode didn’t provide much closure, leaving a number of cliffhangers until the “event series” returns in January with its remaining three episodes. Granted, the show has gotten better since some of the parallel plots began to intersect, but the bottom line is with all the super-powered people now populating primetime, “Heroes” needed to come armed with a better bag of tricks than this.

In hindsight, the wisest move would have probably been to offer a more condensed version of “Heroes” – on the order of what Fox is trying in January with “The X-Files” – that might have not only run over consecutive weeks but made it possible to assemble more of the original cast members. Alas, unlike the show’s fictional world, TV doesn’t have the luxury of going back in time to fix a mistake.

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