Last week’s two hour premiere of ‘Heroes Reborn’ was an up and down affair with the good (the mystery surrounding Noah Bennett’s lost memories), the bad (Luke and Joanna’s flimsy excuse to kill Evos), and the silly (Miko’s journey into a video game by way of…a sword??). Still, the promise is there. The question remains, will this revisit to the Heroes world catch its balance or trip up on the untied shoelaces?
Things start off with another mysterious lilt when Milenna, AKA ‘Aurora Borealis girl’, who we saw at the end of hour one last week, is back in action in the Arctic Circle. With her invisible mentor at her side, Milenna faces off against another wave. According to her mentor, “the storms will only get worse” and “the world will need [her] power soon.” It’s all we get from the pair, though there are a few visitors, led by Harris and a hit squad, that arrive at the end of the show. But we’ll hit that little nugget later.
After the events at the wasteland that was Primatech, Noah takes Quentin to the hospital for a gunshot wound. During the wait, the crazy conspiracy theorist makes an interesting point about Renautus and Primatech. If the former is in the business of capturing Evos and monetizing their powers, who’s to say Primatech didn’t want the same thing? As Quentin tawdles off to get patched up, Noah runs into a doctor who recognizes him from the Odessa events the previous year and calls security. The man once known as Horned Rimmed Glasses gets the drop on a guard and forces the man to show him surveillance of his last visit to the hospital. The footage puts a few more pieces of the larger picture together—including Hiro Nakamuro’s involvement, a glimpse of his daughter’s body, and his meeting with Moly Walker. True, the video creates even more questions but the one unerring fact is they need to find Molly…
Taking a break from all the stateside fun, we hop across the ocean to Miko’s confrontation with security at Yamagata Towers. The ensuing fight is bad—and not in a good way. The choreography is slow, dull, unoriginal and the one-by-one approach of security harkens back to the old kung-fu movies (which could be a homage to said genre). Miko’s holding her own, though one still has to question her endgame were she to best the small security force, until Harris walks in. He dispatches her, no problem and takes her and the sword to his employer, none other than…
The CEO of Renautus group, she’s the one driving the hunt for Molly Walker. Why? As Noah mentioned, Renautus needs Ms. Molly to run their new application, EPIC. So yes, Molly’s going to be a living, breathing battery for the mystery project. Kravid tells Harris to squeeze Miko for information while she heads back to the States, Midian, CO to be exact. There she readies for the unveiling of EPIC in front of a host of business leaders. The HQ gets pretty crowded as Taylor, with a captive Molly in tow, arrives along with Noah and Quentin. The latter pair end up tracking the handcuffed Molly down but, instead of going with the two, Molly tells Noah “there’s too much at stake” before running in the opposite direction…
And runs headlong into Harris and his goons. But didn’t Kravid leave him in Japan to deal with Miko?
Yes…and no. It appears that this particular Evo can create clones of himself. We first see this when Ren helps break Miko out and the latter chops off Harris’s arm. From that arm grows a clone. Pretty spiffy, I would say, though the special effects of his stumped arm—prior to healing—was pretty bad. But I digress…
When the good scientists of Renautus hook Molly up to their primary machine, EPIC goes live and we discover that Erica Kravid’s end game is simple: use this faux-Cerebro (for the X-Men fans out there) to locate every single Evo across the world. Yes, this is her glorious plan. I wish I was making it up.
On that depressing note, let’s pay a visit to the odd couple, Luke and Joanna. The pair are still in Texas, trying to decide on their next victim. If I didn’t despise Joanna last week, I certainly do now, what with her cracking jokes about the lives she and Luke have senselessly snuffed out. And though he’s far from a good guy, at least Luke is showing a healthy amount of remorse and hesitation in continuing on their path. But that’s not the most interesting of developments, not by half. With Joanna’s hatred of Evos clear, it’s a pretty unique swerve when Luke starts manifesting his own powers—one that seems to involve the absorption of solar energy. The last we see him, Luke’s body seems to overload as the sun beats down on him. “Why is this happening to me?” he screams before erupting in a blaze of light.
On a truer path, Carlos continues investigating those responsible for his brother’s death. He tails another detective and his cronies to a factory where they’re interrogating an Evo on the location of the underground railroad. She escapes when they toss her out of the window and she flies away. No worries, the detective says, as he’s bugged her. All they need to do is follow the tracker. Predictably, Carlos gives away his own position and is only saved when Father Maurice appears and transforms the two of them to smoke. Carlos isn’t too grateful for the save but he does head for the Evo hideout later, disguised as El Vengador, moments before the true detective breaks down the door. The early warning allows the Evos to escape and Carlos begins his beat down of the detective…
Only the tables are quickly turned when the baddie himself is a super strong Evo. He throws an overmatched Carlos through walls and pillars, and the latter only escapes by hurling himself out the window and down three stories.
And finally is our youngest of Evos (not counting Jose Guiterrez) Tommy. He’s found his niche in life with friends Emily and her semi-jerk of a boyfriend Brett. But mommy dearest is still a bit gun shy in letting him out of the house. He ignores her and leaves for a party anyway. On the way out with Emily by his side, he sees the tail-end of his mother’s confrontation with the Penny Man, who tells her that not only is he keeping a promise but Tommy’s an important part in saving the world. It’s not what she wants to here and she whisks Tommy away and before they know it, mother and son are cartwheeling through the air after getting viciously sideswiped.
All the while, Erica Kravid addresses her crowd as to the hit teams being deployed across the world to fight this Evo infestation.
It’s a difficult task for even the most thought out of structures to mesh so many characters and plotlines together as ‘Heroes Reborn’ is trying to do. To achieve this in only 13 episodes (where the great season one has 20+) is even more difficult. “Under the Mask” suffers a great deal from this problem, offering bumpy transitions and uneven jumps in time to mesh several of the story veins. The jump from Japan to Colorado with Kravid/Harris is jarring but, surprisingly, not as head scratching as Noah & Quentin arriving just as Molly Walker is driven into the complex. Sure, it may be a little thing but is glaringly sloppy. A few other points of poor storytelling/execution include:
- The refugee Evos just leaving the laptop on the desk when Carlos comes in. It’s not like there would be anything the bad guys could use on it.
- Speaking of Carlos, for a non-Evo, he takes a beating no one on Earth could withstand. And that’s not including his dive out the window.
- For a guy who’s been an agent of some sort for years, Noah Bennett’s gun discipline was horrid. Finger inside the trigger guard the entire time. Don’t we know not to do this by now, folks?
- Worth mentioning once more, Kravid’s nefarious scheme, as it stands now, was extremely disappointing. Her master plan may be more than what was given this week but, as it stands, the entire plotline has too much of the X-Men’s plight and Marvel’s Civil War in it.
With that said, in the interest of fairness, there were a few interesting developments. Milenna’s introduction and the lack of explanation of her purpose is a welcome mystery, one I am extremely excited to discover. Tommy’s rather obvious part of world-saver is interesting because I wonder if his powers are directly tied to his imagination or places he’s already visited. Let’s not forget Taylor, the woman responsible for Molly’s capture, is Erica Kravid’s daughter. Based on their short discussion, it’s only a matter of time before the two split, especially if Taylor’s Evo beau Francis gets shafted (as it’s most likely he has been). Finally, the best turn involves Luke. Already having second (and from the looks of it, third and fourth) thoughts of his crusade with psycho-wife Joanna, he discovers his own burgeoning powers. What will the wifey do when she discovers her hubby’s new Evo status and, more importantly, how will Luke’s new powers become integral in the fight to save this world?
Though Chapter III in this new saga was a bit of a disappointment, there were enough snippets of goodness for me to come back for a third week with the hopes that, as things progress, some of the early stumbles will be ironed out. I do not expect Heroes Reborn to come close to the excellence of the original series’ first season but if it can fly past those last three, I’d call it a resounding success.