When the news first broke that NBC was venturing into the superhero territory again with the revival of Heroes (Heroes Reborn), the excitement was halted by the trauma of the end with the let down of the original. What started as a complimentary union of comic superhero fantasy and primetime gold later derailed into a jumbled mess that even had loyal fans screaming to make it stop. So after a five-year hiatus and a boon of comic book culture in popular media, creator Tim Kring and the Heroes crew returned to the damaged good to bring it back to its former glory with Heroes Reborn. With its latest episode, Under the Mask, the series seems to be falling into the same problem that made its predecessor difficul to maintain viewership.
Though the series’ two-hour premiere performed moderately well with a seven million viewership in the first half-hour, the numbers steadily diminished to a mediocre 5.5 million with an overall viewer rating of 2.1 between the 18-49 age demographic. These numbers could also reflect the lack of marketing, NFL game on CBS, and premieres of ABC’s heavyweights Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy stealing the viewership. Considering that the story of the new, and old, Heroes‘ characters followed the same trend of making little-to-no sense and the progression of the story left viewers more confused than its beginning.
With Heroes Reborn: Under the Mask, viewers received some answers but many were still left with the feeling of “wtf?!” Picking up right where the premiere left off, Heroes Reborn’s odd couple HRG (Noah Bennet) and Quentin continue their search for the truth. The Memento-esque storyline led the two to a hospital in Texas where one of the doctors immediately recognized HRG. It seems that HRG visited the hospital on the fateful June 13, 2014, and even had interactions with Molly Walker and Hiro Nakamura.
What Under the Mask may have answered is that, yes, his formerly-immortal daughter Claire (played by Hayden Panettiere) was indeed dead. How a girl, who could never die, was killed is still a mystery to viewers and Heroes Reborn characters alike. Since the security footage of Noah’s visit last year had a time glitch in it, Noah knew that Hiro may have had something to do with it. The two narrowly escaped the hospital and Noah decided to pay Hiro a visit to clear up more of the mystery.
Meanwhile, the two vigilantes Luke and Joan Collins continued their hunt for more EVO’s (evolved humans). Joan continues to slip into homicidal madness while Luke is developing a conscious and some remorse for the countless innocent lives they have taken. The Heroes Reborn character’s storyline slowly progressed into the monotonous until Luke began to develop radioactive powers. It will be interesting to see how he can keep these powers a secret from his wife as they hunt down others like him, however, it is kind of repetitive to see this ability because it was such an overexposed power in the original.
On the other side of the world, ninja/katana girl Miko was delivering a nice whooping to the security guards of the Japanese headquarters of Renautes (new villainess corporation). Her mission was going smoothly until it ended seconds later as New Heroes Reborn villain Harris (Prime) showed up and easily took down the young ninja warrior.
After Harris took the sword, he brought the item to a trippy boardroom where Renautes CEO Erica Kravid was discussing just how E.P.I.C. (Google glasses tracking device for evolved humans) her latest project was. The meeting ended shortly after Harris arrived to deliver the good news to the clear villain. The two discussed Miko and how unfathomable it would be that she is the daughter of the game creator.
Meanwhile as Harris and Erica were leaving, Ren was in the lobby planning a mini-rescue mission. The self-proclaimed gaming master conveniently overheard the new Heroes Reborn villains chatting about torturing Miko to get the truth and easily made his way to save her. For a major, global corporation it seems that security is severely lacking. Busting into the Inception-esque boardroom that she was being held in, the young hero distracted Harris long enough for Miko to get away and chop off his hand before he could “interrogate” her. The escape was made for dummies, but it gave viewers a chance to see that Harris has a similar ability to Claire’s, but on crack (rapid healing/self-replication from a lost limb).
What was also interesting about Harris’ power is the fact that he did not bleed out when his hand was chopped off. In place of blood, bone, and ligament was a blueish and black material. Whether this was bad CGI or something more sinister is yet to be revealed. Considering that Renautes has been working on digitizing EVO’s powers, the theory could be that Claire is being used as an app to power Harris’ ability to heal and self-replicate. Although no solid evidence has been placed to back this theory, it would explain why Claire has gone missing and, reportedly, dead.
The rest of the episode caught viewers up on storylines that seemed too convoluted and jumbled to even make sense so far in the series. One of them being the journey of Carlos and his brother’s underground railroad for EVOs. Seeking revenge on his murdered brother, Carlos tracks down the corrupt cops that killed him and eventually ends up in a duel with them. To viewers surprise, one of the EVO-hating cops turns out to be a powered individual himself. Again, fans are left with several unanswered questions and little explanation to the series of events taking place.
One theory could be that the corrupt cops are in some mass downtown Los Angeles conspiracy to wipe out any powered individuals so they could take over the streets. Or the crooked cops are just being paid by an unseen villain to keep EVO numbers down in the area. Whichever the case may be, the story is becoming a bit of a bore so early in Heroes Reborn, Carlos’ redemption story.
One of the most frustrating things about Heroes Reborn is also one of its most intriguing thus far due to the fact that it keeps viewers guessing. Already three episodes into the series and there are so many questions left unanswered and twists that are interjected into each character’s plot line and episode. One thing that is making it hard to stay captivated in Heroes Reborn is the lack of action sequences and use of new abilities with each character. So far, many abilities have already been recycled and there does not seem to be much reason why certain characters have their abilities like the original Heroes series seem to explain better. It could be the result of a lack in budget or creative writing. Although Heroes Reborn seems to be taking off slowly, Under the Mask showed a slight progression into interesting territory and may have viewers hooked to see what happens next.
Opinion By Tyler Cole
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