Episode 3 “Under the Mask”
Heroes Reborn episode 4: “The Needs of the Many” is not a good place for this show to be at. What is even there to recap? What is the point? What of substance even happens? I’ve been saying since episode one that this show needs to get its act together, but I thought that was just a rocky start. I had no idea that this show had literally no idea where it was going and would waste so much of my time.
I have never seen an episode of a long-form story that took so much time to draw out so little of the non-existent plot. It’s kind of fascinating, in that it’s fascinating to see how far a show can fall.
When the show initially was taken off the air after season four it was the right idea; they had fallen from grace and it was time to pull the plug, and most of the cast members have gone onto other things. So, when NBC decided they were going to revive the series, wouldn’t it make sense that they had a good story, an interesting angle, unique characters, or something substantial to deserve its return? You’d think so, but apparently not, since four episodes into a thirteen episode miniseries we have yet to get any explanation of what is going on or why we should care.
You know what, I’m ranting already and I haven’t even talked about the episode. Let’s dive into
In the last episode we saw Tommy get into a car accident. Tommy’s okay, but his mom was on the receiving end of the accident and loses consciousness, so Tommy teleports her to a hospital. He shows up at the hospital later to check on her and there’s a problem: his mother needs a blood transfusion and hospital doesn’t have the type of blood they need. And even Tommy’s not a positive match so he teleports to a facility where they do have the blood she needs. But, when he gets there and gets them the blood the police are waiting to take him in.
Meanwhile, while all that is going on Carlos is looking to make himself even more like Batman, by adding mechanical enhancements to his suit and planning to bulletproof his hot rod. He decides to take the hot rod out for a spin, and while he’s gone Jose, discovers the underground lair. He shows the mask to the priest, who we know is already aware of it, and then proceeds to demonstrate his power to morph through objects. Unfortunately the evil cop who is trying to route the underground railroad is suddenly there and witnesses the whole thing. And I mean suddenly. Is this guy a teleporter? Because Jose and the priest are standing in the middle of the garage with the door wide open, with their faces to the open world, and Jose demonstrates his power and never once notices the cop walking up to them. And when we see him he’s right in the middle of the door.
Anyway, Jose runs but gets caught by another one of the thugs, as evidenced by what is obviously an off-screen line dubbed in during post-production because they apparently couldn’t be bothered to film Jose getting caught. Did the original script not include Jose getting caught but it was featured in the next episode and nobody caught it until it got to the editing room? And can’t Jose morph through stuff? How can the cops even grab a hold of him?
Also, the priest gets tazed. He tries to turn to smoke and get away, but for some reason, unlike every other time we’ve seen him use this power, it starts at the fingers and works its way to the body. Up until now he’s been able to instantly transform himself and other people to smoke at the drop of a hat, even in stressful circumstances, so it’s not on account of being unprepared or something like that because the cop gives him plenty of time to do it before zapping him.
Luke is apparently feeling really guilty about killing so many people. He’s avoiding direct sunlight because he absorbs the energy and starts burning up. Joanne, on the other hand, is positively giddy at the prospect of another murder spree (what is wrong with this person?), and decides to go start going it alone. The two of them are driving down a highway (in broad daylight, I might add, and Luke is clearly being touched by the sunlight and he’s not burning up now; is it really too much to ask for a little consistency?) when Luke finally comes out and says he doesn’t want to chase down people to kill them anymore and uses his heat powers to burn the list of EVOs they obtained. Joanne pulls a gun on him but can’t bring herself to shoot him. Instead she just gets out of the car and walks away while scowling hard.
Miko and Ren get into a cab, get into a plane, and then walk to the Renautus building in Colorado. And nothing else significant happens with them. Moving on!
Remember that invisible person Melina’s been talking to in the middle of the Arctic? Her name is Farah. Farah comes across the dead body of that stupid butterfly from the last episode. Yeah, remember I joked about the freaking butterfly; well, it’s apparently supposed to be a running theme that there are butterflies who are, um, I don’t know, attracted to Melina? Whatever. Anyway, Melina apparently has the same weird teleporting power as the evil cop since she’s suddenly behind Farah. How many people in this show are teleporters? I thought the show already had a teleporter! AARGH! Sorry, rant over (for now).
So Farah climbs the top of a hill and sees a whole field of dead butterflies. Good lord, it’s a massacre, a bloody insect holocaust. It’s almost as though BUTTERFLIES CAN’T LIVE IN THE ARCTIC CIRCLE! But don’t worry because Melina lifts her hands and they all come back to life and fly away, not doubt to die of the frost and cold in about five minutes because as I oh-so-calmly pointed out before BUTTERFLIES CAN’T LIVE IN THE ARCTIC CIRCLE!
Melina says that now she’s ready for whatever. And apparently they weren’t that far into the Arctic Circle, since they take a short walk and they’re surrounded by trees again, and Melina uses her power to make a tree grow out of nothing. Then some random hiker is suddenly there; yeah, you guessed it, he just pops out of nowhere with the same weird editing teleportation that every character seems to have in this show. Farah punches him in the face and tells Melina, “Training is over.”
Training? What training? They’ve been walking around in the snow reviving butterflies who forgot to ask for directions and occasionally adding trees to the forest. What is Melina’s power exactly? What connects controlling an aurora borealis, reviving butterflies, and making fully formed trees spring up out of nowhere? Is it the power of plot convenience? Is it literally the power of deus ex machina? What? Tell me!
Noah and Quentin are at the Renautus building. They kidnap Taylor and tell her to break them into the building to find Molly “angel of my soul” Walker. Taylor acts cool at first until they point out that she has no idea what they’re doing to Molly, what they are doing with any EVOs, or what Renautus’ plans are; her mother won’t even give her a hint. Apparently that’s enough to convince Taylor and she breaks them into the facility where they see a whole bunch of EVOs anesthetized and hooked up to glowy scifi chairs that digitize their powers. Quentin searches the room for his sister Phoebe and Taylor finds her boyfriend Francis.
Noah spots Molly amongst the crowd. He undoes her bonds and she grabs his gun, threatening that he wasn’t supposed to find her. Molly then points the gun at her head and has what I have to admit is a genuinely touching scene where she bemoans how everyone has used her for their own ends since she was a child. Noah tries to talk her down calmly, begging her to tell him what happened a year ago. She refuses, instead talking about how she managed to hide something from Renautas. Noah asks what she’s talking about, saying she’s not making any sense, and he’s right. And then Molly blows her brains out. What?
Bad play, Heroes Reborn. You brought this character back for no reason other than to have her get kidnapped multiple times, get dragged around, be tortured and imprisoned, and kill herself a third of the way into the series. You removed all agency from this character that you completely objectified.
In the original run of Heroes Molly was a little girl, constantly pulled and controlled by everyone. She clung to Matt Parkman for help after he’d rescued her. She was helpless, constantly used to further the agendas of other people; sometimes this was forced on her, other times it was consensual, but regardless she was always a means to an end, never an active player with any stakes other than for people to stop using her as a tool.
Now, here we are: a new series and the character is now a young woman, fully grown and mature, capable of making her own decisions, supposedly independent and smart, certainly clever enough to evade the company for so many years. And what does the show do? The exact same thing it did before. She was used, kidnapped multiple times, spent most of her screen time in some sort of restraints, and when she’d served her necessary function to the plot the writers killed her off.
What a waste. This is compounded by the fact that Francesca Eastwood was one of the few actors on the show capable of acting past the weak script she’d been handed and managed to make a likable character out of Molly Walker.
I don’t know how this show is supposed to get any better when they won’t let the audience in on the plot, drag out storylines way past their worth in airtime, and eliminate some of their strongest players in an ever-weakening story. We have nine more episodes to go, people, and Heroes Reborn has a long way to go yet.