It’s been about five years since Heroes last aired on NBC. The show had slowly been on the decline ever since the writer’s strike hampered much of the unique show’s second season. Things ultimately came to a head by the end of the heavily divisive final season in 2010, when the downward spiral of a plot pushed audiences away. I was always upset by this. Heroes always had a lot of promise, but never managed to meet it’s full potential. You still have to admire the ambitions the show reached for, though. There was always something special about seemingly ordinary people gifted with superhuman abilities.
Fast forward to 2015. In a lot of ways, we’ve already crossed over the peak of popularity for the superhero genre. As much of a fan as I am of superheroes, there are plenty of people out there fatigued by the constant movies and TV shows devoted to them. I’m not sure this was necessarily the best time for Tim Kring to bring Heroes back, but I don’t really know of any time better, either. Honestly, I’m surprised I get to write about Heroes at all. I’m meandering pretty hard here, so let me get to the nitty gritty of it all.
WARNING: This analysis contains some spoilers for the premiere of Heroes Reborn, and it’s web exclusive prequel miniseries Dark Matters. Scroll down to “final thoughts” for a brief summation.
Last time we left off with Heroes, Samuel Sullivan’s grand scheme of imploding the human race (because reasons) came to an abrupt halt and everyone lived happily ever after. Except for one thing. In spite of having plenty of warnings about the future, and seeing what humanity does when faced with people with powers, Claire Bennet stupidly decided to unveil her abilities to the entire world. That pretty much leads us up until now.
Turns out, people didn’t take kindly to the notion that there were dangerous superhumans mucking about every corner (go figure)! It’s revealed that Noah Bennet (often referred to as HRG) and Claire had a falling out after her big stunt, and the two hadn’t been on speaking terms for four years. Noah is willing to bury the hatchet once he realizes that there may in fact be a hope for some peace between humans and Evos (short for ‘evolved’), so he heads back to Odessa where she’s apparently leading a huge peace rally.
Things obviously go awry. For a brief moment, darkness looms over the crowd. In the next instant, everyone is wiped out by an immense explosion, setting into motion the current events and setting of the show. Noah miraculously survives the impact, but his daughter is nowhere in sight. Humanity is now at odds with the Evos, as evolved humans are being forced to register with the government, and are heavily segregated in their communities. Interestingly enough, it’s none other than Mohinder Suresh that is facing the blunt of the accusations for the bombing, as words like ‘terrorist’ are thrown around the media. I feel like they were almost a little too on the nose there with the reference they’re trying to make with what’s going on lately, but that’s neither here nor there.
One family affected by recent events are the Clarkes, whose central character Tommy (or whatever his real name is) just wants a normal life. He’s had to move quickly from place to place for years trying to avoid the authorities. Just about a few feet from the Canadian border, Tommy and his mother are once again forced to retreat back into hiding in fear of being persecuted by humanity. Desperate and with little options, they seek refuge in a nearby town, and Tommy begins attending the local school.
Seeking some sort of solace for his current predicament, Tommy ends up attending a late night superhuman support group, where a few characters introduced in an earlier segment are airing out there grievances about what humanity is blaming them for. For the most part (almost unanimously), it seems that Evos are sick and tired of being pushed around by normal humans. There’s even talk of rebellion and uprising. Luckily for Tommy, he receives a text from his mother (or perhaps a guardian angel) asking where he his. Tommy ends up leaving the meeting early, bumping into a random pedestrian on the way out. This is when we catch our first glimpse of Casper Abraham (or the penny man, if that is easier to remember), who is intently watching the events around the building unfold. He seems particularly interested in Tommy, but we as of yet don’t know why.
Back inside the meeting, Luke Collins (Zachary Levi) reveals that he and his family were in attendance at the tragedy that took place at Odessa. His family were once avid supporters of peace among humans and Evos, but their positive outlook was quickly quelled once their son died in the ensuing blast. Suddenly, a woman we learn to be Luke’s wife Joanne storms through the door, and they open fire on the entire room. The Evos put up a fight, but are quickly gunned down and set on fire. I’m still unsure what the Collins’ role is in all of this. I don’t think they’re working with The Company, but it seems their motives rest purely with killing any Evo they can find as some sort of revenge for their son. Tommy unfortunately left a clue behind showing where he would be next, so the Collins stay in town to meet up with him.
This is one things start to go all over the place. We’re introduced to Carlos Guiterrez, and his family who live in East Los Angeles. Carlos is known in many circles as a “hero” of a recent war, but he clearly doesn’t seem to agree with this. His brother Oscar is still sour that Carlos left, abandoning his nephew Jose to the perils of youth (or something like that). It’s a little difficult to suddenly try and care about some of these people as they barely have any time to be introduced. Oscar is secretly an Evo smuggler and gang crimefighter known simply as El Vengador (the Avenger), choosing to don the garb of a luchador while beating down baddies. Unfortunately, Oscar is gunned down, but he lives long enough to reveal his secret to Carlos, and implore him to take up the mantle and step up for what is right and to watch over his son…yadda, yadda, yadda. It’s practically an age old tale by now, and a little too by the numbers for me. So far, the Guiterrez arc is the weakest by a large margin.
We’re also introduced to Miko Otomo and Ren Shimosawa in Japan. Ren is an avid gamer, and fan of the hack and slash epic Evernow. Ren managed to get farther in the game than anyone, and was provided with a secret code, which just so happened to be Miko’s home address. Miko herself seems either very absent minded, or even aloof. She seems to not know what the hell is going on, and if she does, she refuses to let on. Ren informs her of the story of the game that her father developed, and that the game mentions that he has a sword hidden under the floorboards of his study. I’m not sure what’s going on at this point. Was Miko just sitting there waiting for Ren to tell her all of this? Did she not know her father was missing until she finally peeked into the study? I don’t know. Hopefully they address that. In any event, Miko finds the Kensei sword hidden under the floorboards and pulls it from its sheath. Abruptly, she is transported to the video game world of Evernow, as she is forced to slice and dice her way through waves of enemies in the hopes of finding her father. The fight sequences are meant to look like you’re run-of-the-mill 3D video game, but they must not have had a very good budget. The graphics look way outdated and cheesy, and will not hold up even a year from now. I’m not sure what they wanted to accomplish with these sequences. The concept is sort of cool. The power to traverse a video game universe. The end result just looked pretty silly and unsatisfying. I’m interested to find out how exactly Hiro’s sword came into the Otomo family’s possession, and how exactly it grants Miko with these powers. For now, I only have a passing interest, though. I hope they avoid these video game sequences as much as possible. I’d much rather see her kicking ass in real time.
Most of the episode centered around Noah Bennet, which I’m very thankful for. I’m glad he’s returned to the show, as he had always been my favorite character on Heroes. A badass normal guy going toe to toe with people with godlike abilities. Noah’s the man.
He’s trying to leave all of that behind, though. He’s living the boring life of a car salesman when we see him next. A car salesman with a new name, and a new fiancé to boot. He feels immense guilt for what he believes went down in Odessa, so he attempts to put all of his past life behind him to start anew. It’s not long until he realizes that’s not possible, though. He begins to notice somebody poorly tailing him wherever he goes. When the mysterious guy in the car shows up outside Noah’s house, Bennet has finally had enough.
He confronts the would-be looky lou and that’s when all of The Company conspiracies start. This funny and odd guy, Quentin Frady has gathered a bunch of documents from his employer Renautus, who seem to be behind the covered up Odessa tragedy. He believes they are an extension of Primatech, and are planning something even more sinister and clandestine in the very near future. Quentin’s taken into custody before revealing more, but this prompts Noah into doing a little digging of his own, even though he’s fairly reluctant to do so. Somehow, he gets a tip to go to an opthalmologist to find out more about this new company. He is surprisingly greeted by his former partner René (better known as The Haitian), who gives him a little bit of information before handing him a new pair of horn-rimmed glasses, and trying to kill Noah without warning. There is a brief struggle, but Noah ends up mortally wounding his old friend. Angry and confused, Noah tries to get more info out of the Haitian before he dies. That’s when it’s revealed that Noah himself had already been to see René, and had ordered him to kill Noah should he come back seeking answers. René briefly promises that something terrible is coming, and then promptly dies at Noah’s feet.
Tommy’s powers are eventually revealed, when he comes in contact once again with the Collins at an ice cream parlor. Tommy is there to put his mack on a girl from school that he’s sweet on, and for a little after school work on the side. He gets more than he bargained for when Luke and Joanne attempt to abduct him and Emily (the girl he likes). Once outside, the two Collins draw their guns, but tommy is quick on the defense. He reaches out and sucks them up into a wormhole. So then we have the drama of the young teen who shares a secret with a girl he crushes on, and then her boyfriend finds out, and he asks him to “disappear his stepdad,” then Tommy gets cold feet, and then the penny guy steps in and helps him out and it all becomes a big thing. Basically, Tommy is struggling to deal with powers, puberty, and persecution all at the same time. Pimpin ain’t easy, or so they say.
Left with little options, Noah busts Quentin out of jail in the hopes that he will help him find some leads. The two of them travel together back to Odessa to find some answers at the ruins of the old Primatech building. At first, they find nothing there. But when gunfire roars through the building Noah takes an elevator all of the way down. It turns out that Tommy had been brought in and experimented on at Primatech as a boy, and his power transports things to whatever he’s thinking about at the time. Luke and Joanne just so happened to be teleported to Primatech, where they end up gunning down everyone in sight and taking as much Evo info as they could get their hands on. They even put a bullet in Quentin and steal Noah’s car for good measure. The journey isn’t a total waste, though, as Noah discovers from a dying former colleague that Renautus is planning something big called Epic, and Molly Walker just so happens to be the key to it all.
Molly herself is also revealed on the show, and she’s turned into a grown ass woman on the lamb. She tries to swindle an Evo swindler for his gambling funds, but ends up getting herself abducted. Nice job, Molly. Parkman raised you well. So it looks like she’ll have to be rescued by Noah and Quentin, but i don’t know if they’re fully up to the task. Hopefully some more of these characters will converge soon so the show doesn’t seem so damn all over the place. I’m hoping for a tighter story this coming Thursday, because this one stumbled a little bit to find it’s bearings.
Surprisingly, it is the web exclusive prequel series Dark Matters that I have so far found most impressive. I actually didn’t even know it existed until today, but it so far has the most solid story of the newest Heroes material. It chronicles the story of Quentin and his Evo sister as her powers raise, and culminates with the events of the Odessa tragedy. Everything seems more real and organic, as the conspiracies and prejudice towards Evos develops in a natural way over time. It greatly adds some context to Heroes Reborn, and I think all of you interested in the show should watch it. There’s even a special appearance from one of the OG cast that you may find interesting. I was personally pleasantly surprised. Try to watch this prequel first, as it may give you more reason to keep watching the show. Quentin’s a cool character, and I’m interested to see how his and Noah’s relationship plays out through he rest of this series.
Heroes Reborn’s premiere stumbles a bit out of the gate, struggling as it tries to juggle all of these new characters while keeping a cohesive plot that hugely changes things in this universe. It would likely have been easier to keep most of the original cast, but I can obviously see why some of them couldn’t or wouldn’t participate. Confusingly, Kring made this new series mostly for old Heroes fans and not really for anybody else. I have a feeling that if you’ve never watched Heroes, you’ll have no idea what the hell is going on. There’s just so many references to past events and characters that a layman would not even begin to follow all of the information. Still, it was a fairly entertaining episode. I’m not fully invested yet, but I’m interested to see what’s in store for us with the rest of the season. Heroes is finally back — hopefully Tim Kring has something clever and enjoyable up his sleeve.
What’s good: Kensei sword, Noah freaking Bennet, interesting premise so far
What’s not-so-good: A few seemingly pointless characters bog the story down and overpack it, awkward pacing, special effects still manage to look like they’re from the mid-90s
What were your thoughts on the premier of Heroes Reborn? Do you have faith that Tim Kring can make this once awesome show relevant in a time when we’re oversaturated with superheroes? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!