Last week’s two-hour premiere of Heroes Reborn showed promised, but as any reasonably cynical person once burned by the original run on the show may point out: beginnings are easy, sustaining the momentum is hard. “Under the Mask” offered another mixed bag with some compelling story directions for some of the characters, and infuriatingly cryptic hints about possible story directions with the rest. As opposed to previous, longer seasons of Heroes though, the show seems to be getting to the point a lot faster with fewer diversions and less filler. But having said that, there’s still more than enough reason to be concerned that this flight of Heroes will crash and burn.
For instance, the story is starting to get needlessly complicated. Carlos, one of the more interesting characters introduced in last week’s premiere, begins his mission to avenge his brother, a powered person running an underground railroad and protecting his East L.A. neighborhood as a masked vigilante. It seemed as though corrupt cops killed his brother for trying to stop them from simply killing so-called evos, but this week it turns out that at least one of the cops is an evo himself. So what’s the deal? Why is an evo helping to eliminate other evos? On the other hand, Carlos’ first day as a costumed superhero went about as well Dave Lizewski’s in Kick-Ass, but the bone crunching fight scene was brilliantly tense, and ambitiously staged.
It’s too bad the same can’t be said for the episode’s trips to the Arctic Circle and the malfunctioning(?) Aurora Borealis which was horribly rendered in CGI. It’s supposed to do with the coming calamity that’s repeatedly reference in hushed tones, and apparently that’s connected in some way to Tommy, the other new character that was introduced with skill and appeal in episodes one and two. Tommy evidently has an important role that his mom knows about, and she kind of freaks out when she finds Pruitt Taylor Vince‘s Protector keeping an eye on Tommy at a house party. Naturally, there is no real progress in getting answers on either of these mysteries, and the cliffhanger conveniently makes sure that it will be at least two more episodes till we get some.
Speaking of lingering mysteries, Noah Bennet dug only a little deeper into his own mysterious past this week. A trip to the hospital to treat Quentin’s gunshot wound reveals that HRG made a bit of a scene when he was there one year earlier on – wait for it – June 13. More than that, he saw the body of his dead daughter – you know, the invincible one (hint, hint) – met with Molly Walker, spoke to someone else he didn’t see, and apparently lost a couple of seconds in the hospital morgue, perhaps due to an evo with time skipping powers (hint, hint).
Speaking of Hiro, the Japanese girl with his sword, Miko, really stepped in it this week when the dark tower where her father is being held in the video game is HQ for the Renautas Corporation in real life. Why is this bad? Renautas is the eviler inheritor of Primatech in the collection and exploitation of powered people. Nothing happens to Miko, but she does lose Hiro’s sword before she’s saved by fanboy Ren, who somehow became James Bond and able to infiltrate a high-security building undetected. Determined to get the sword back, she and Ren decide to follow Renautas head Erica Kravid (Rya Kihlstedt) back to Colorado. Coincidentally, there’s where Molly Walker was taken, and that’s where Noah and Quentin show up in time to see the unveiling of Epic.
So remember in X-Men: Days of Future Past, when Trask wanted to use Mystique’s powers to program the Sentinels to find other mutants? Well, Tim Kring totally didn’t see that, because where else would he get the idea. Renautas wanted Molly Walker so they could “digitize” her power to find other people with powers, except instead of putting that tech into a killer robot, they put it into a crappy pair of sunglasses that look like the version of Cyclops’ visor you might get in a Happy Meal. And it’s called… Epic. Short for Epic Fail, I presume. What’s the endgame for Renautas with all this spying? That answer’s for next week too probably.
Going deeper into Renautas did give us one interesting development. You may remember actor Clé Bennett as the first Ash on Lost Girl, but on Heroes Reborn he plays Calvin, the show’s version of the Multiple Man. Admittedly, when Miko cut off his hand, I full expected it to grow back, but when his severed hand grew a second body that kind of took me by surprise. Bennett is menacing enough on his own, but to have potentially a whole army of Calvins out there is truly a frightening prospect. We also learned this week that Father Mauricio has a power. It looks like he teleports, but he can actually turn himself and others he touches into a steam or dust and then disperse. Handy when one of your flock is being chased by guys with guns.
The other dangling thread from this week is Luke and Joanne, who seem to be a part of an entirely different show. Not only is their mission to kill all evos completely too dark, but this week we also get these pop-up, black-and-white flashbacks of Luke playing with his now dead son, which seems more The Leftovers than Heroes. On top of it all, it seems that Luke is, you guessed it, an evo! He’s got some kind of energy powers, and while the implications aren’t explored this week, you better believe that there’s a tenser moment in Luke and Joanne’s already tense, and already you can tell that Luke just isn’t down with killing folk anymore. Anyone what to lay odds that Luke’s power had something to do with the Odessa tragedy.
So Heroes Reborn hasn’t done anything yet that will turn you right off, and while the show has admittedly picked up the pace in terms of tying all the various threads together, its going to have take another great leap forward in laying out what the overarching plan is next week. From all appearances, Heroes problems have not gone away with time, and unfortunately for the show, it can’t skate on charm anymore now that its one of several superhero shows. Are we heading for new heights, or is there an inevitable all to Earth coming? Too soon to tell.