Following a very astute and entertaining two-hour premiere, the third episode of Heroes Reborn almost feels speedy and particularly brisk, but that’s not really the case. The show brandishes the caution flag at bit in terms of plotting, however that doesn’t mean things totally slow down, there’s just a little more nuance and breathing room to the storytelling. Ensemble shows can be tricky in that regard. The modern trendsetter, Lost, had the savvy character-centric episode formula that rotated the focus to one or more players, allowing a member or portion of the cast to soak in some screen time then be regulated to the bench for a small stretch. While Heroes borrowed from that show, some would claim liberally, it always took a more balanced approach. It appears Reborn is following a similar path in that it introducing a load of disparate players who maybe/probably will unite to combat a singular threat. That’s conjecture, everything is still pretty cloudy. Literally. “Under the Mask” opens in the Arctic and formally introduces Malina, our hooded Evo from last episode, and an invisible (again, literally) compatriot. We don’t get much detail on what Malina can do or what her purpose is but it appears she is something of a weather (or light) manipulator and is repelling a high-caliber portentous happening. Over the next hour we see how this prelude links up to the mainline plot through Noah Bennett/HRG and Quentin Frady and their quest to find the secret behind tech company Renautus. Following their discovery of a power-harvesting facility in the bombed-out Odessa, Texas the pair travel to a hospital to patch Quentin’s freshly acquired bullet wound. It’s there Noah discovers that on June 13th, the date Odessa was mysteriously bombed, he had a freak-out and injured a guard. In reviewing the security tapes from that day Noah also learns that his daughter, the rapid-healing cheerleader Claire, died in the hospital (despite her healing powers), the Evo-finder Molly Walker was with him on that date, and there is evidence someone there was manipulating time. Can I get a “Yatta!”? Even though I’m paying close attention the mystery surrounding June 13th is pretty dang confusing and requires some mental gymnastics to accept. It has been explained that HRG had his memory wiped and previously he believed he was present for the event, and that Claire had died because of it, but didn’t questions the specifics. Now it’s implied that much, much more was going on. I guess in many ways this is the central mystery but it’s built in a foggy way that ‘s a tad too playful with the facts. The episode digresses when fleshing out the other characters but does a nice job in roping many of them into the core. At the end of last episode freelance Evo-hunters Luke and Joanne Collins stole HRG’s car which held voluminous material on the identity and locations of their prey. Joanne is absolutely giddy, and it’s apparent she channels the grief of her murdered child through vengeance. Diametrically, Luke seems to be losing drive in the now year-long vendetta, and this softening is immediately preceded by a life-altering revelation: the discovery of his powers. Let’s be straight, this is not a shocking twist. I saw many people throughout Internet Land predict that one of the Collins would gain powers then have to cope with their actions and manage their spouse, so I don’t exactly think this a highly inspired move. Still, the lack of ingenuity does not sap any narrative potential from it, especially because the writers chose to spring this development so early in the series. Seeing how Joanne responds to Luke’s heat-based powers and how the man himself will justify the hate for his own kind should serve up some tasty drama. The biggest “free agent” in the show, that is the character most isolated, is El Vengador aka Carlos Gutierrez, the California based non-powered vigilante on a revenge bender. In taking up the mantle of the luchador mask vacated by his murdered brother Carlos tasks himself with tracking down the dirty cops who committed the deed. The police are systemically hunting down Evos, perhaps on the behalf of Renautus, it’s not clear, and when the main po-po (Dylan Bruce) locates a Evo safe house El Vengador shows up to help them escape. Then subsequently gets his ass beat. In a great reversal of expectation Carlos goes headlong into a fistfight with the officer only to discover the guy has super strength. It’s probably one of the most brutal action scenes in the show’s history and extremely satisfying in consideration of the show’s history of avoiding similar set pieces. El Vengador is thrown through several solid structures and is bleeding profusely before barely escaping. We’ve seen this type of slow ascension of the urban hero in shows like Arrow and Daredevil so, again, there’s nothing novel about the idea but it’s a good incorporation into the mythos. With Carlos’ mechanical and military background I’m looking for some cool gadgetry to be utilized in the coming weeks. Another segment of the story seems to be on an autonomous path is teen teleporter Tommy. The awkward melodrama is still a focus but the Tommy scenes mainly set up a mysterious character who has apparently been following Tommy for quite some time. This psychic-ish Evo, I call him Penny Man, is quickly identified by Tommy’s mother, and through their interaction it’s implied that he’s an agent of good and has shepherded her son for his future importance. This causes Tommy’s ma to freak out and try to flee town, and in the episode’s closing moments the duo get in a car accident. A bit underwhelming but at least it’s moving forward. The rest of the characters cohere very well over the remaining bits of the episode. First, we get some connective tissue to the previously insular Miko/Ren storyline when shown Renautas is headquartered, or at least partially operates, out of Japan, specifically the Yamagoto Building, which is the company that Hiro (and friend Ando) worked. We also find out that the sword that transports Miko into a video game (and may help her teleport, that aside is a little iffy) formally belonged to Hiro, as revealed by Renautas enforcer, Harris. As one of the more intriguing new characters Harris is a steely Evo in the vein of Marvel’s Jamie Madrox , his power being the ability create duplicates of himself by severing limbs. We discover this after Miko, the Katana Girl, escapes a possibly violent interrogation where it’s subtly related that she may be artificial in some way. She and Ren head to Colorado to follow Renautas head honcho Erica Kravid (Rya Kihlstedt) in order to retrieve the katana, and the hopefully locate the girl’s father. Though it was clear last week the couple who abducted Molly Walker were working for Renautas we get a lot more context in that regard. Francis is an Evo with telekinesis and his partner, in more than one sense, is Taylor, apparent human and confirmed daughter of Erica Kravid. Molly, in a bit of psyche-out game, tries to convince Taylor that her beau Francis is in immediate danger, making it clear that Renautas harvests Evo power sets in order to develop new technologies. The idea is taken to its extreme in the episode’s final moments, and provides a nice “ticking time-bomb” for the miniseries (in addition to whatever the hell is happening near the Arctic). HRG and Quentin arrive at the Colorado facility just as Molly Walker is brought in by Taylor. They free the girl only for her to be so scared and distraught by Noah’s sudden appearance that she knowingly refuses his help and practically turns herself into one of Harris’ duplicates. The subsequent scene details the agenda of Erica and her organization. After plugging Molly in to some type of machine Erica, channeling her inner Steve Jobs, unveils a new piece of tech that can locate, track and indentify every Evo on the planet. Concurrent to this action we are shown teams of agents being deployed to the Arctic to apparently find Malina or to address the those crazy lights in the sky. Tell me what I’m looking at, show! Vetted fans, or even vetted haters, of Heroes know the plotlines are pretty similar to classic X-Men tropes and this one is no different. There’s a mix of X2 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine in the idea that a satellite tracking system and nifty pair of glasses can now “out” any powered individual. Again, I don’t give Heroes Reborn many black marks for its lack of freshness because it’s happening early in the series and can go many different directions at this point. In fact, I thought the sequence framed very well and the chilling vibe put off by Erica Kravid portrays the whole concept as shadowy, unjust and dystopian. Commentary on national security is rife in modern superhero fiction and the tradition continues in Heroes Reborn. I liked the premiere and even though I thought this episode a little lax in momentum it seemed a touch better. I’d like for some of the secretive aspects to gain a lot more clarity in coming weeks, or plainly — I reeaaally hope the writers do no rely on mysteries to propel viewer interest. At this point there may be two to four secret subgroups working their own agenda, but then again it might all be one conspiracy running through Renautas (which still hasn’t truly defined its relationship to Primatech). I’m engaged. Up to this point show hasn’t done anything profound but the characters are fun and their situations are crammed with drama. So far, so good, but there is a long way to go. Heroes Reborn 1.03 "Under the Mask"Jamil's Rating3.5Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.