Quick cuts between multiple plotlines seems to be one of the trends in episodic television, the theory being that viewers might forgot about one of the main cast members if they’re ignored for an episode or two. Or perhaps they’re worried viewers might tune out if the episode doesn’t focus on their favorite.
What’s lost is the ability to dig deeper into a character. Lost did this so well, memorably with the episode focused on Locke in season one, perhaps one of the best episodes of network television ever.
That’s the problem Heroes Reborn had for me last night. I was most invested in Noah, Quentin and Taylor’s attempt to confront Erica and Erica’s plans to commit genocide but that’s primarily because I’m invested in Noah from the previous incarnation of Heroes. Part of the reason I’m so invested is Noah? Because he received one of those spotlight episodes early on in that series.
For instance, take our Jedi and Padawan. The fact that I have to keep looking up their names (Farah and Malina) and instead refer to them as their function is a clue that they’re not fully realized characters. They’re plot devices with clichéd dialogue to toss out to the audience, like “When the moment comes, you will be ready, I promise.”
Once that line was said, I turned to my husband and said, “Well, that’s it. The mentor’s gone this episode.” And, of course, the pair was separated, with Farah’s fate in doubt, though the padawan has a mysterious letter with instructions about said saving of the world. Why these instructions couldn’t have been passed along during the trek in the Northwest woods is not made clear.
The show has to do much better than this to invest me in her fate.
On the other hand, our Natural Born Killers couple, Luke and Joanne, has received a lot of screen time and most of it has made me actively dislike them. This episode, Luke returns home and burns it down. Zachery Levi plays Luke’s desperation and sadness well, but the character as a stone cold murderer and I don’t care about him. However, if he’s going to atone by trying to help the families of the people he’s murdered, that might be interesting. But I wish some of his screen time had been given to the character with the self-proclaimed “destiny” instead.
So, if some characters don’t have me invested, does the overall plot?
There, yes. Mostly. Kinda. The extinction event is cliché but I’m curious about the Renautus technology to transport food stuffs and other vital supplies. I liked this glimpse into Renautus’ version of Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems.
Teleportation is cool, as are the hints that our original Heroes are working behind the scenes to help this current generation of Evos save the world. (Though it’s still not clear what saving the world actually means beyond some idea that the Northern Lights are bad.)
Speaking of genocide, if Erica wants to get away with it, she needs to invest in better security. Security cams don’t exist inside her house or anywhere inside the Renautus facility? Apparently not, else Miko and Ren wouldn’t be able to sneak inside Renautus and Noah wouldn’t be able to sneak inside Erica’s home. I suppose I’ll just hand-wave that one as Noah knowing some way to turn off all the cameras because, hey, he’s Batman.
The lousy security does allow Miko to grab the sword away from Multiple Man Harris and vanish into the video game to save her father. Ren looked ready to sit down and do his gameplay in the woods outside Erica’s house, so I hope he has a strong signal. My house is in the woods and my signal outside is iffy at best. I’d hate to see Miko lose in her quest to find her father because Ren’s game was still buffering.
This episode does check into two other plotlines and I enjoyed both of those glimpses.
The first had Tommy struggling with his “destiny” to also save the world but it was saved by his confusion, his rescue by his mysterious guardian, who I’ve dubbed the Fairy Oddparent, and the fact that his adopted last name is Clark because his mother’s real last name is Clark. I see you there, Martha (Anne) Clark (Kent). I also like Tommy’s friend calm advice that, hey, being adopted isn’t the worst thing in the world. Chill, dude, and go save the world.
The show also teases other heroes when it focuses on a screenshot of “Most Wanted Evos” in the background of Tommy’s interrogation scene. I paused to study the names and faces but, alas, my Hero foo is weak because I only recognized Mohinder Suresh.
Carlos as El Vengador is growing on me, even if his suit is reminiscent of Iron Man. He goes after the crooked cop hunting Evos only to have to rescue his enemy, who’s been outed as an Evo by his fellow crooked cops. “Really?” says the crooked cop when our costumed hero rescues him. “Really,” says Carlos. This is a great touch and the show needs more of this.
Overall, the plot is moving at a quick pace as Renautus’ big plan to commit genocide for the greater good is coming into focus and, hopefully, it’s leading to most of the cast joining forces to accept their destiny, save the world, and figure out the lingering plot questions:
Why Erica is so driven? Why is Harris is Renautus’ only competent security guide? And why didn’t Luke worry about the houses next door when he burned his house down? (I know from Chicago Fire’s episode this week that fire can jump from one home to another when they’re close. I’m pretty sure that’s a completely accurate version of a fire from a television soap opera, right?)
Next episode: Hiro returns! Luke looks sad! El Vengador finds his nephew, the Fairy Oddparent hands out more pennies, Malina pulls out a few splinters, and Noah finally realizes Quentin hasn’t been any help for the past two episodes.
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.