Heroes Reborn‘s sprawling story started to contract in tonight’s episode. Several of the plot threads introduced in last week’s two-hour premiere slowly started converging as the characters flocked to Midian, Colorado, for the unveiling of Renautas’ new evo-powered technology. While tonight’s episode shed a bit more light on Renautas’ motives, particularly through the introduction of its CEO, other parts of the story remain frustratingly unexplained. “Under the Mask” just raised more questions instead of providing answers to the already-raised questions from “Brave New World”/”Odessa.”
The Arctic Circle:
In the realm of the still unexplained is whatever’s happening in the icy tundra. Tonight’s episode did tell us whom the young woman we met at the end of “Brave New World” is: Malina. She’s being mentored by an unseen figure who urges her to “think deep” and harness something because the storms will only get worse. It’s not entirely clear if she’s trying to stop them or control them… or what her powers are.
The vague warnings that something is coming are already growing tiresome. Yes, a little mystery is fine, but this show seems to be struggling with the pacing of unraveling its many mysteries. We’re three episodes in and the nature of the heroes’ mission is still not clear. Put another way: Heroes Reborn still hasn’t given us a snappy, viral-friendly, and succinct mission statement like “Save the cheerleader, save the world.”
Speaking of Renautas, “Under the Mask” introduces us to Erica Kravid (Rya Kihlstedt), Renautas’ CEO who is determined to use her company and its resources to solve the world’s problems. With Renautas and Erica, we have a wolf in sheep’s clothing kind of situation. Renautas presents itself as a company that believes “doing good is good business,” but underneath this façade is something more sinister and dangerous. Evidence: Right after she treats investors and partners to her saving the world spiel, her associate Mr. Harris informs her of Miko’s presence several floors below in Yamagato Tower, and she instructs him to capture her, extract information (Who is she? Why does she have Hiro Nakamura’s sword? Where did she come from?) using any means necessary and to then get rid of her.
Soon after Miko is apprehended by Mr. Harris, Erica departs for Midian, with Hiro’s sword in her possession, for the launch of Renautas’ new technology, Epic. Meanwhile, Mr. Harris and Miko have a chat: Apparently, Miko’s father is an evo and Mr. Harris wonders if she shares that power or if she’s just his greatest creation. It’s heavily implied that she died in some accident, but Miko doesn’t remember anything. Mr. Harris is about to go Jack Bauer with butcher’s cleaver to get more answers, but Ren, who infiltrated the building to find her, distracts him long enough for Miko to steal the knife and cut off Mr. Harris’ arm.
Miko and Ren manage to escape. On his way to save her, Ren saw Erica carrying Miko’s sword and overheard that she was heading to Midian, Colorado. So, that’s where they decide to go as we’re left wondering if Miko is a real girl who can enter the world of video games or if she’s a video game character come to life.
Noah and Quentin are tying to get their act together. Quentin’s complaining about his bullet wound, so Noah takes him to the nearest hospital. When they get there, a doctor recognizes Noah because they met on June 13, 2014; the doctor calls the guards on him. Realizing this place may hold answers to his questions, Noah takes a security guard hostage and forces him to show him the security camera footage from a year ago.
The security tape shows Noah in the morgue, but something is off with the time stamp, which leads Noah to deduce that time-traveling and stopping evo Hiro Nakamura was there too. After seeing Claire’s dead body on the slab, Noah is next shown walking Molly Walker out of the hospital. This gives him and Quentin even more reason to travel to Midian for answers. And, hopefully they’ll get some soon (spoiler alert: they don’t in this episode) because having Noah stuck untangling the past isn’t as strong of a narrative as Heroes Reborn hopes.
Meanwhile, Luke and Joanne continue heading west to track down El Vengador. On their journey, Luke discovers he’s an evo. Like Miko, his powers aren’t explained, but it seems as though he can control and emit electromagnetic radiation. He accidentally short circuits their car and turns his rare steak into a well-done one. When he and his wife stop at a motel, Luke rushes behind the buildings and starts to glow and appears to explode. It’s not surprising that Luke has powers because you don’t bring Zachary Levi, the King of Nerds, on a show with a superpowers and not give him some.
NEXT: With great power comes a lot of cheap beer
Erica arrives in Midian shortly after her daughter, Taylor, shows up with Molly Walker. Heroes Reborn, like its predecessor, seems very interested in family dynamics, and we see here that mom and daughter don’t have the strongest relationship. Erica’s hatred of evos leads her to disregard Taylor’s feelings for her evo partner and boyfriend. ” ‘One of us, one of them’ doesn’t mean in the bed, Taylor,” Erica cruelly says. Clearly, Renautas is basically Primatech 2.0. They’ve kept Primatech’s “one of us, one of them” rule and have added their own humanitarian spin to it.
Noah and Quentin manage to infiltrate the event, and Quentin can’t resist making a Star Wars reference. They find Molly, but she refuses to go with Noah for some reason; and, as she tries to escape, Molly is recaptured by one of Mr. Harris’ clones. She’s then plugged into a Matrix-looking machine, which means it’s time for the show to begin.
Erica heads out onstage to present Epic to a filled auditorium. Powered by Molly Walker, Epic is able to located every evo on the planet and can even scan to determine potential evos. It’s basically a sinister, portable version of Cerebro from the X-Men comics. It just so happens that it’s being used right at the moment in the Arctic Circle to track down Malina. Noah becomes determined to destroy the technology because he’s worried what might happen if they’re able to harness the power of other evos, like Hiro Nakamura’s time-travel abilities. With Ren and Miko en route to Midian, he’ll probably have some help.
East Los Angeles, California:
Tonight, Carlos learns there’s more to being a hero than simply wearing a mask. His quest for vengeance gets off to a rough start. First, the corrupt, evo-hunting cops, led by Captain Dearing (Orphan Black‘s Dylan Bruce), almost catch him when he tails them to a warehouse where they’re keeping a female evo. Then later that night, he dons the El Vengador costume and goes after the cops again. He follows them to an evo hideout they plan on raiding and arrives in time to warn the evos to run while he holds off Dearing.
In the ensuing brawl, Dearing reveals he’s an evo with super strength. Carlos is no match, and he’s forced to flee again and barely makes it out of there alive.
Over in teen concerns, Tommy heads out to his first high school party — against his mother’s wishes (she’s worried that he’s been receiving texts from an unknown number). Still in his rebellious teenager phase, Tommy uses his powers to go to Brad’s to get his drink on anyway.
Tommy shows up to the party with cheap beer and is everyone’s hero. Well, except for Emily, who is a bit put off by Tommy’s newfound popularity. When she decides to leave early, Tommy smoothly offers to walk her home. Unfortunately, what little game Tommy has is ruined by his mother, who he sees accosting Pruitt Taylor Vince, a.k.a. Mysterious Penny Man with a gun. Mysterious Penny Man tells Tommy’s mother that he’s merely keeping an eye on Tommy because the world will need him soon, but she won’t hear it. (ASIDE: So, Penny Man probably works for Renautas?)
From this little incident, Tommy knows his mother will make them pack up their things and move, which is the last thing he wants since he’s finally found love. Unfortunately, their argument on the way home will have to wait because their car is T-boned by another vehicle. Will they survive the crash? Probably.
- By the way, Mr. Harris is an evo who can clone himself. Miko chops his hand with the meat cleaver, and a new Mr. Harris is formed from that severed limb.
- Can we talk about how Erica Kravid and Taylor’s whole thing is just a rehash of Bob (Stephen Tobolowsky) and Elle Bishop (Kristen Bell) from Heroes season 2? Heroes Reborn seems to like recycling.
- Is Pruitt Taylor Vince’s character Tommy’s real father or is he just a Renautas crony? Or, does he work for another company entirely? We know that Angela Petrelli will also show up this season. Maybe he works with her?
- Erica knows who Hiro Nakamura is. Could she have already caught him and been working on technology to monetize his powers?