The first season of the original Heroes rightly became a phenomenon. It contained a cast full of appealing and multi-cultural characters, a central mystery, a freaky villain, and a wonderful finale that tied up all the disparate plot threads.
Alas, Season 2 arrived and instead of a continuation, it was more like a reset, as characters who’d grown instead reverted to where they were at the start of Season 1. I bailed at the end of this season with a sad sigh.
But I’m totally on board with a reboot that might fulfill the promise of the wonderful first season.
Does Heroes Reborn do that?
Magic 8-ball says “reply hazy, try again,” or, in this case, keep watching.
The show begins with a literal bang, as a bomb destroys a conference meant to unite Humans and Evos (aka those with powers). We know it’s the end of things as they were before because the camera frames a butterfly landing on an apple just before the conference is blown up.
A homage to the Butterfly Effect and Adam and Eve? Perhaps. It’s probably a little much to hope that the butterfly was one of our heroes in disguise. From there, we jump in time to check in the multiple plotlines, in a world that blames Mohinder Suresh (the brains in the original Heroes) as the evo terrorist responsible for the destruction.
Like the original series, the revival weaves numerous plot threads, which will hopefully come together at the end, especially since everyone is searching for Molly, who can locate those with powers or “evos” without difficulty. (Molly has herself evolved from a child to hot redhead.)
The two best plot threads are the ones following Noah Bennet (Jack Coleman), our HRG (horn-rimmed glasses) normal human who used to spend his time hunting and kidnapping people with powers until he went to the other side out of love for his adopted daughter, Claire. (The cheerleader evolved and is now a country star on Nashville.) Noah has a new life as a car salesman and a new fiancée but is dragged back into the game by a ‘truther’ who believes that the public hasn’t been given the truth about June 13, the day the bomb blew up and evos became the enemy.
The truther, Quentin Frady, (comedian Henry Zebrowski), provides much needed fun to the grimness and it was good to see he was driven by more than craziness. For those who want more of him, check out the prequel episdoes on the official NBC site.
I suspect the future Mrs. Bennett is going to have to cancel her wedding plans while Quentin and Noah go road trippin.’
The plot that could easily be my favorite concerns a mysterious girl, Miko, (Kiki Sukezane) in Japan who must rescue her father by drawing a katana and literally entering the virtual world of a popular game.
Her father was the game’s developer and the sword has the power to teleport Miko back and forth between realities. Ren, an expert gamer, assists her inside the game but she’s on her own outside of it. The game sequences are original and fascinating, and it appears that Miko can carry over her fighting skills from the game to real life. I suspect the hand of Hiro Nakamora from the original series is in here somewhere. Then again, there was a ‘hero’ who became an artificial intelligence that lived inside machines.
Another major plotline focuses on a teenage evo, Tommy, (Robbie Kay) with a strange power to make anything/person disappear or teleport, he’s not sure which it is.
I initially groaned at this one, as shy guys finding their untapped potential is one of my least favorite tropes, especially when it involves a bully and the bully’s cute girlfriend who flirts with the shy boy. Yet, after a fitful start, this became interesting, as the bully is revealed to be an abused kid desperate to be rid of his abusive stepfather. The girl needs work, to be more than pretty and supportive, but I’m not groaning any longer.
There’s also Carlos Gutierrez (Ryan Guzman), a war hero who feels he’s not a true hero, and how he’s drawn into his brother’s secret role as El Vengador, a costumed hero who fights for the downtrodden and has a secret underground ‘railroad’ to help evos get to safety in Canada. So far, he has no powers but his nephew does, and I hope this delves into the real world politics of East Los Angeles.
Aside: hey, the Canadians are still nice in this world. Go Canada.
The least interesting pair to me were Luke (Zachery Levi) and Joanne Collins (Judith Shekoni), whose son died at Odessa and so they now work for someone who wants to kill all evos because, vengeance and those people are just too dangerous to live. They carry out the executions under orders from someone, though we don’t know who yet. They’re just out and out murderers, and I don’t feel their pain.
Overall, it seems like there are several ‘players’ in this “Brave New World,” as the second episode is called.
There’s the group that employs Luke and Joanne that wants to eliminate the evos. There’s another group that might be the brains formerly behind Primatech, the evil not-really-a-paper company from the original series, who want to ‘monetize’ the evos. Primatech’s successor is publicly called Renautas, a name with likely means something. No, spelling it backwards doesn’t provide a clue. I tried.
And there’s the most mysterious player of all, a fedora-wearing man (Pruitt Taylor Vince) who literally trades pennies for thoughts. He’s the one who got rid of the bully’s abusive stepfather, so it’s possible he’s benevolent or he may simply possess a great deal of patience before making a move. Vince played a similarly mysterious and all-knowing character on The Mentalist.
Noah and his new sidekick Quentin, have to find Molly, now-hot redhead, to find the evos, and that will likely lead them to some of our new heroes. Unfortunately, Luke and Joanne Collins now have boxes of information on the evos, including Molly’s location, and Noah doesn’t. Even more unfortunately, Molly’s been captured by a mysterious pair who seem to be part of the group wanting to monetize the evos.
All this seems to revolve around a big, glowing ball thingee with dark at its center, the series’ MacGuffin. (I’m sure it’s no relation to the giant red ball of death that showed up in J.J. Abrams’ Alias and his initial Star Trek reboot.)
Will they stop the thing? Should they stop the thing? Who’s our memory-wiper? Why can’t Noah remember what happened in Odessa and why did he tell the Haitian to kill him? Can our evos protect their loved ones?
And the big question: how come a guy who can literally defy gravity and fly has to cut off his hand to escape?
The success or failure of this revival rests on how well it answers those questions. So far, despite the disjointed storytelling, it’s off to a better than expected start.
Corrina Lawson is a writer, mom, geek and superhero, though not always all four on the same day. She is a senior editor of the GeekMom blog at Wired and the author of a superhero romance series and an alternate history series featuring Romans and Vikings in ancient North America. She has been a comic book geek all her life and often dreamed of growing up to be Lois Lane.