Episode 1 “Brave New World”
Episode 2 “Odessa”
Heroes: Reborn opens, in traditional Heroes fashion, with multiple storylines, tangentially connected, scattered across the globe. Whereas the first season of the show’s original run kicked off the story by the eclipse, this time it is a horrible explosion at a summit at the site of the old Primatech building in Odessa, Texas on June 13th. Get used to hearing those words: The Summit, Odessa, and June 13th, they’re the calling cards of disaster in this season.
The season premiered by airing the first two episodes, “Brave New World” and “Odessa” back-to-back. Let’s take a look. (warning: snarky captions now eminent)
Plot 1: Remember Noah Bennett (Jack Coleman)? It’s been four years since his daughter, Claire, revealed herself and other EVOs to the world. Afterwards they had a falling out. He had hoped to reconcile with her at the Summit, but the explosion supposedly killed her. A year later he has relocated, gotten newly engaged, and set himself up with a new identity as a car salesman. This is thwarted when he is confronted by Quentin (Henry Zebrowski): a conspiracy theorist who believes Noah is the key to uncovering the actual events of June 13th, but that the company called Renautas did something to wipe his memory. Initially Noah dismisses him, but looks through his records of that fateful day, and realizes that his day planner for June 13th is missing, and in its place is a card for an eye-care clinic.
Noah visits it and it turns out it is run by his old partner from Primatech: Rene the Hatian (Jimmy Jean-Louis), who tells Noah to meet him on the bench across the street. Noah meets Rene at the bench, where he hands Noah his old pair of glasses, and then proceeds to strangle Noah with a wire chord. Noah fights him off and in the scuffle he shoots Rene. As his friend lays dying Noah questions him as to why he tried to hill him. Rene simply responds, “You told me to. You’re plan was perfect.” And he dies.
Noah, now convinced that his memories of June 13th have indeed been tampered with, joins up with Quentin and they head back to Odessa, to find the location of Molly Walker, the girl who can find anyone. The destruction of the summit now lies over the remains of the company’s main building, but Noah says that the real business took place in the basement levels, and all the bad stuff was down on level five. He and Quentin go down and discover a filing closet. Quentin uncovers a document that indicates that Claire was not even at the summit on that day. They take a stack of files on EVOs when there is a commotion. Noah goes to investigate. He sees that an elevator has been used. He takes it down to level five, where he sees a functioning office space full of worker has just been shot up, and he recognizes one of the victims. It turns out the company has found a way to monetize the EVOs. Noah sees that Molly’s whereabouts are unknown.
Plot 2: Luke and Joanne (Zachary Levi and Judi Shekoni) were at the summit with their son, Dennis, when the explosion happened. This awoke a hatred for EVOs in both of them, and they have been going around killing as many of them as they can. We join Luke as he is visiting what appears to be a secret support group for EVOs in a church, late at night. It turns out it may be the roots of an underground EVO resistance movement, one of many that are springing up. One of the EVOs present, a boy calling himself Tommy (Robbie Kay), is called away before Luke and Joanne shoot and kill everyone present at the meeting. They then set the place on fire. They regret not being able to kill Tommy too, but Luke reveals that Tommy dropped a business card for an ice cram parlor, and they use it as a clue to begin hunting him.
They arrive and wait. Tommy, having heard about the explosion, but not aware of Luke and Joanne’s intentions, recognizes Luke and approaches him in friendship, seeking to learn how he got out before the place burned down. Luke and Joanne escort Tommy out at gunpoint. They take him to a back alley, but they are followed by Tommy’s friend Emma (Gatlin Green). Joanne takes aim at Emma so Tommy uses his power and teleports Luke and Joanne away.
They find themselves in a strange room decorated with children’s toys and no exit. They are trapped there for some time before Luke notices an oddity about the room: there are no light switches, a child’s room with no light switches. He shoots out the lights, and it is revealed that what appeared to be a mirror on the wall is actually a one-way window. They smash it and leave through the corridor, seeing dozens of other rooms, decorated as classrooms, playrooms, bedrooms: it is the fifth level of the old Primatech building.
Suddenly they encounter an office worker; they take him at gunpoint and come across the rest of the workers. They open fire on them, killing them all. They proceed to the upper levels, ignorantly evading Noah, shooting and wounding Quentin, and stealing Noah’s car, with the files on all the EVOs in it.
Plot 3: In Chicago: the boy called Tommy has been on the run for years. When he was a little boy he remembered people had taken him away and locked him in a room with no exit, to study him. He and his mother have been moving from place to place, constantly changing their names. They tried to escape to Canada, but were thwarted at the border. He goes to the secret meeting and sees that his high school gym teacher is also there, himself being an EVO who can control fire. Tommy is called away by a mysterious text. As he leaves the building (about to be burned down by Luke and Joanne) he bumps into a passing biker, and is observed by a fat man with a briefcase and fedora. The biker later comes forward to the police as having witnessed Tommy leave the church building just before it burned down. But the fat man shows up and interview the witness. He opens his briefcase and it is revealed to be full of pennies. He hands one to the witness saying, “Penny for your thoughts,” and leaves. When a cop enters the biker says he can’t remember anything about the burning building.
Tommy now attends Pinehearst High School in Illinois. He likes a girl named Emma, but her boyfriend, Brad (Jake Manley), is very possessive. However, Emma is kind, and offers the shy Tommy a chance to accept an opening as an ice cream scooper at the parlor where she works (she knows he’s been in there a lot, it was the first place they saw each other). He takes the offer and goes in for a quick interview and gets the job. He then spots Luke from the secret meeting… and of course the scene plays out as previously described, Emma having now witnessed his power. However, she doesn’t run, she’s fascinated by it. They begin meeting in secret, in a gardening shed on school campus, where he demonstrates his ability by making a flower in her hand disappear; he says he doesn’t know where it all goes.
Brad sees all this through a window and he confronts Tommy, saying he will turn him in to the police unless Tommy does something for him: he asks Tommy to make his abusive stepfather disappear. They go to the Brad’s house, and Tommy is left alone with the stepfather, but runs away, too afraid to use his power. After he leaves, the fat man in the hat knocks on the door. The stepfather answers it and is handed a penny. Brad later encounters Tommy and gives him a big hug and thanks: his stepfather is indeed gone.
Emma finds it odd that Tommy and Brad are now chummy. At the ice cream parlor they open an ice cream tub and discover the flower from earlier embedded in the ice cream. Apparently Tommy’s powers are his ability to teleport things to wherever he envisions them; when he teleported the flower he was thinking about the first time he’d seen Emma, and when he teleported Luke and Joanne he’d been thinking of where he’d been held as a child, at Primatech.
Plot 4: In Los Angeles: Carlos (Ryan Guzman) is a veteran speaking to a crowd of school children, his nephew Jose (Lucias Hoyos) among them. They hang out afterward, going by Jose’s father, Oscar’s (Marco Grazzini), mechanic shop. They are discussing a masked EVO vigilante called El Vengador. Carlos visits his brother’s shop one day and discovers a blood trail, leading to an underground lair. Oscar was the vigilante, and he’s been shot in a police ambush. Oscar tells Carlos that Jose has always looked up to him, and to step up and be a hero. He then dies. After Oscar’s funeral the priest talks with Carlos, telling him that Oscar died to serve the underdog. Carlos has taken Jose under his wing, but Jose does not reveal to Carlos what he had wanted to tell his father, he is an EVO with the ability to morph through objects.
Carlos later revisits his brother’s lair and sees that Oscar was putting together a conspiracy theory about the local police force, and had a significant lead. He follows it, and learns that the person responsible for taking down his brother is the local police captain. Carlos takes this information to the priest, who reveals that Oscar was running an underground railroad for EVOs to get away to Canada. The priest is also an EVO with the ability to turn his body into smoke. Carlos takes up the duties of his brother, and helps a mother and her son get out of the city.
Plot 5: In Tokyo: A gamer named Ren Shimosawa follows an address he was given by reaching a certain level in a videogame. He arrives and sees a young girl, Miko (Kiki Sukezane). When he mentions the game, Evernow, she panics and tells him to leave, but there is clearly something about the encounter that evokes a strange reaction in her towards a certain room in her apartment. Ren returns, convinced that he’s figured out the mystery: somehow, Miko is the unlockable character in Evernow, Katana Girl. Again, he is ushered out, but he leaves behind a game manual, and Miko reads the name of the game’s creator: Hatchiro Otomo, her father.
She ponders the mysterious room, eventually going in. She finds a secret panel in the floor, in which there are a katana and a note that reads: “Save me, the sword is the key.” Miko picks up the sword. As she draws it she is suddenly transformed into pixels and disappears, reforming inside the Evernow game. She fights her way through samurai in a ruined city, reminiscent of Tokyo. One of the samurai tells her, “You will never save him.” With Ren’s help, joining in the game as his own player (a heavily modded one with a silly looking cat head), Miko makes her way deeper into the game. She sheathes the sword and reappears in her room.
She resolves that her father is being held in a tall tower in Tokyo, and that if she can get there in the game she can get there in real life. She goes back into the game, reaching the tower and sheathing the sword. She reappears in the real tower in Tokyo and fights off the security guards with similar skills to the ones she exhibited in the video game.
Plot 6: In New York: A young woman named Zoe (Francesca Eastwood) sits at a bar in a Chinatown casino. She spots a gambler who seems to have incredible luck at dice, suspiciously so. She accompanies him back to his hotel room. He accuses him of being an EVO, he denies it, and she throws a knife at him, which he stops just inches from his face using levitation. She blackmails him to give her all the money he’s won or she’ll tell on him. He attacks her and chokes her, but she is rescued by other hotel patrons, and a girl named Taylor (Eve Harlow), who takes her back to the bar.
They share a drink and Zoe says that she is on the run, needing to disappear. Taylor offers to give Zoe some money, claiming that as a trust fund baby she has more than she needs and admires Zoe’s ability to live life on the edge. But Zoe’s drink was drugged, and she awakens, tied up, back in the gambler’s apartment. He and Taylor were in on it together. They get on the phone and say to someone on the other line, “We found her.” Zoe’s real name is Molly Walker.
Plot 7: While this is all going on, Melina (Danika Yarosh) tells an unseen figure that she “can’t control it much longer,” as she raises her hands and makes the Northern Lights dance around a forming dark ball in the sky.
So that’s everything that happened in the first two episodes of Heroes: Reborn.
My thoughts: Right out of the gate this show is really confusing. The plot threads are barely connected, and so far I can’t see where any of this is supposed to be going. If this recap felt cohesive and easy to follow, then understand that I have been laying out entire plotlines without intercutting them, like the show does; we never stay with any one story for very long: we’ll have a few minutes with Noah and then it’s a quick scene with Tommy, then a minute with Luke and Joanne, and then it’s over to Tokyo with Miko, but (with a few exceptions) nothing thematically motivates these scene shifts. The result is that I can’t really tell what happened in this episode. Stuff happened. Just stuff. What’s coming up in the next episode? More stuff, I guess.
Obviously there’s going to be a bad thing and to avoid the bad thing the special people have to do the amazing thing before it’s too late or the bad thing will destroy the world, right? Right. Typical Heroes fashion. The problem is that unlike other seasons of Heroes, where we became aware of what the disaster was early on in the arch (a bomb, a virus, an assassination, an evil law passing, an earthquake), this disaster is still unknown; which wouldn’t be so bad if the audience didn’t have to already be worried about it. Since the bad thing is still unnamed it’s hard to attach any sense of dread to what is going on, or how it connects everyone.
Some people are linked: Noah and Quentin investigating Renautas and looking for Molly Walker are clearly what could be considered the “A” plot, and they cross paths with Luke and Joanne; but characters like Carlos, Miko, and Tommy don’t seem to be connected to any of it, and their involvement in any overall plot is still unknown.
To contrast this with the pilot episode of the show’s original run, their the plot threads also were barely connected too, but they all had a running theme: people discovering incredible powers in different environments and dealing with them in different ways: a teenager trying to fit in, an office bee with dreams of grandeur, a nurse trying to find a greater purpose in his life, an artist struggling with addiction, a scientist seeking answers to his father’s research, and a cop with a strained marriage. Their stories all grew from the same place so it all still felt like it belonged in the same show. Plus they all shared a moment that synched up their story archs: the eclipse (nothing like that in this season).
Eventually those different plotlines began to connect, the themes were expanded upon, and we grew attached to all the characters’ stories in a balanced fashion. This season is all over the place thematically. We’ve got a conspiracy theorist, an underground railroad, a girl looking for her father, a boy trying to hide his identity, a couple of psychos on a killing spree, and a girl on the run. What do any of these stories have to do with one another?
Clearly Renautas is evil and is behind the bad thing, as usual, and we’ll see the different heroes coming together through circumstance and happenstance, as usual, and it will all go down exactly as foreseen, but somehow differently than anyone predicted, I’m assuming. This definitely feels like Heroes, but unfortunately it feels a bit too much like season 3 of Heroes, where everything got convoluted and messy.
Also, it’s worth pointing out that the video game sequences look ugly as hell and were not as fun to watch as I’m assuming they were intended (I really doubt they set out to make it look dumb). Thus far Heroes: Reborn is head-scratching and unfocused. I hope the writers will manage to pull it together soon and give us something more cohesive, because let’s face it they don’t have a lot of time to get it together. Eleven more episodes guys. Good luck.
What am I looking forward to? I am looking forward to seeing the plotlines converge on each other. Noah’s broken memories offer a lot of intrigue for future episodes, and Jack Coleman and Henry Zebrowski have really good chemistry. I am also really curious as to what the deal is with the fat guy with the pennies.
I’m hoping the characters of Luke and Joanne improve, because they were both pretty unlikable, and what I assume were attempts at making them sympathetic fell short. Also I’m looking forward to seeing more of Molly because… Francesca Eastwood is really hot. I know it’s kind of awful for me to judge her strictly on her looks, but, give me a break, she had maybe five minutes of screen time, I work with what I’m given. Who knew the “man with no name” could make such good looking kids (I kinda hope Clint Eastwood never reads this recap)?