Heroes Reborn 1.03: “Under the Mask”

Noah (Jack Coleman) and Molly (Francesca Eastwood).

If the two-episode premiere was mostly setup, the third episode took those seemingly random plotlines and turned up the pressure. In the process, the show has started to overcome the problems that plagued the original series: cohesion and lack of forward momentum.

And this episode did it well enough to overcome the “people with powers hunted even though they didn’t do anything” trope. If the rest of the season retains this quality, I’ll be impressed and pleased.

I’ve been familiar with the above trope since I started reading X-Men comics in 1980 and mostly it bores me. Yet by the end of last night’s episode, I was at the edge of my seat, horrified by what happened to Molly Walker.  Kudos to Francesca Eastwood for making me care. (And, yes, she’s the daughter of Clint Eastwood and Frances Fischer.)

Molly’s fate made me so invested in the story that I could hand-wave some horrible plotting, such as Noah (Jack Coleman) and his sidekick, Quentin (Henry Zebrowski), being able to sneak into the corporation on the evening of the big unveiling or that a hospital would keep video from a year past available for easy access or that Ren (Toru Uchikado) could randomly walk into a big corporate headquarters, overhear where Miko (Kiki Sukezane) is, and find her.

I’m even hopeful that with events moving this fast, we’ll move past the people being hunted plot and get to the event that’s being teased by a weird version of the Northern Lights. So far, only the show’s Yoda and Luke at the Artic Circle are worried about the Big Oncoming Disaster. ™

Once again, Noah’s quest for answers is the tentpole that connects the dots for most of the episode. He and Quentin are in search of Molly and head for the Lion’s Den, aka the headquarters of Renautus. But a pit stop at the hospital to treat Quentin’s bullet wound ends with Noah being hunted by the hospital’s security guards, for what happened a year ago, the aftermath of June 13.

Noah watches the security videos from a year ago and they tease both him and the viewer. Somehow, Hiro Nakamora’s (Masi Oka) ability to control time is involved and Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere) might have died in the hospital, rather than the June 13 bombing.

I don’t believe Claire’s dead, especially with her brain intact, as glimpsed through the videos.  My theory? Noah had his memory wiped because Claire is alive and he did it so he could protect this secret and not be used to locate her. The poor Haitian (Jimmy Jean-Louis), killed for following Noah’s orders and keeping his secrets.

But everything comes to a head when Noah and Quentin sneak into Renautus, attempt to rescue Molly, and Molly rejects their help. Instead, she’s recaptured and plugged into Epic, the program making it possible for Evos to be hunted. I worried this horrible sequence spelled the end of Molly and her magically non-ripping green outfit, but it appears she’ll be freed at some point this season, perhaps by the daughter of the C.E.O., who’s beginning to doubt her mother’s good intentions. Ya think? This continues the Heroes tradition of horrible parents.

Noah and Quentin, meanwhile, are free to sneak around Renautus without being noticed. Epic can identify an Evo who snuck into the big opening but the rest of the security is pretty darn lax.

Also headed to Renautus is the mysterious Miko. She took down what seemed like legions of security guards at the Japanese headquarters of Renautus but was stopped by another Evo, Harris (Cle Bennett). During interrogation, Harris implies Miko might be a construct of some sort and that her father was using an alias (Hiro?). But he loses the upper hand, literally, when Ren rushes in, distracting Harris, and Miko grabs a meat cleaver and chops off Harris’ hand.


Why leave sharp implements around a woman who wields a sword with such effectiveness? Harris does, in another of the show’s handwaving moments. But, like the Tenth Doctor, Harris quickly regenerates an entire body from the hand, so now there’s two of him. O_o! Paging Jamie Madrox/Multiple Man.

The show checks in on three other plotlines. Luke (Zachary Levi) and Joanne (Judith Shekoni), our murderous Bonnie and Clyde of this new world have run into car trouble and, instead of carrying out their plan to use Noah’s file to start another murder spree, stop and eat dinner. Except it wasn’t car trouble at all, it’s Luke manifesting an Evo ability. Oops. That’s going to make things awkward with the wife.

Tommy (Robbie Kay)

Tommy (Robbie Kay) is the only one having fun in this episode, as he finally has a social life and friends. But Mom finds out the mysterious man who’s been trailing him, and it’s hinted that she knows more than she’s telling. But, oops, too late, they’re being hunted already. Hey, kid, use your teleportation ability to get out of there and, next time, skip the car.

And in East L.A., Carlos (Ryan Guzman) has taken on his brother’s secret superhero identity, but only after trying and failing to kill his brother’s murderer. It’s revealed that murderer is also an Evo, one paid to hunt them down. But Carlos is just a guy, and gets his ass kicked. Where’s that dust-creating Catholic priest when you really need him? Aside: I love the priest. I wish he were the main character of this plotline, as his perspective brings a fresher angle to the revenge plot.

If these first three episodes are any indication, there are several competing interests: Renautus, the agency paying or controlling those hunting down and killing Evos but also employs them, and a third group, perhaps a resistance group of Evos, who are focused on preventing this upcoming great disaster.

Next up: Will Molly ever change clothes? Is Miko a real person or something more? Is Tommy’s mother dead? And what happens if you chop off Harris’ head? (Maybe I’m the only one curious about that.)

Perhaps we’ll also find out why Renautus is so eager to control Evos beyond wanting to make a boatload of money.

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.

Read all posts by Corrina Lawson for Criminal Element.

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