Heroes Reborn: ‘Under the Mask’

Posted by Cristina Melo & filed under Superheroes, Television.

Credit: tvline.com
Credit: tvline.com

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The sprawling narratives introduced in the premiere of Heroes Reborn began to converge in tonight’s episode as the characters flocked to Midian, Colorado for the unveiling of Renautas’ new technology, Epic. Although the episode shed some light on Renautas’ motives through the introduction of its CEO, Erica Kravid, and the launch of Epic, “Under the Mask” raised more questions than it answered.

The episode opens and closes where last week’s two-hour premiere ended, in the Arctic Circle. We learn that the young woman is Malina and that she is being mentored by an unseen figure who urges her to harness something because “the storms will only get worse”.

While the danger of these storms is still looming (and extremely vague), “Under the Mask” focuses on the imminent threat of Renautas. We are introduced to Erica Kravid, Renautas’ CEO who operates the company with the motto “doing good is good business”; however, underneath this guise is the dark reality of their plans to harness the abilities of evos and digitize them. It is through Renautus that we have the first meaningful point of convergence of plot threads. Noah’s searching for Molly Walker, Renautas CEO Eric Kravid’s daughter Taylor was the one who abducted her, and Miko and Ren were led into the heart of Renautus before migrating to Colorado in order to reclaim Miko’s sword from Erica.

In Midian, Colorado, we learn that the evos’ powers are being used as the “processors” for technology that will help police and government hunt down the evos. Renautas, who took over Primatech’s mission of rounding up the evos, is using Molly Walker to construct Epic, a device that will be able to locate every evo in the world, allowing for easy hunting and eradication of the evolved humans.

The contrast between the righteousness in Erica’s speech during the Epic launch and Molly’s screams as she is “plugged in” to the machine that will extract her powers for utilization in the device is stark.

One interesting idea presented in the episode is of evos working against other evos. Mr. Harris, Erica’s associate, is revealed to be a regenerating evos capable of cloning, the dirty cop Carlos Gutierrez spends the hour tailing is another evolved human intent on finding and killing those with abilities. Luke Collins also falls into this category, however unintentionally. As he and his wife make their way across the country to Los Angeles in hopes of killing El Vengador, Luke discovers that he’s an evo. Although his powers aren’t explained, it seems as though he can control and emit electromagnetic currents. He accidentally short circuits their car and conducts heat through his knife, turning his rare steak well-done.

Other than Luke’s evo reveal, the important plot threads in “Under the Mask” all come to a head at the Epic launch; however, elsewhere in the hour, Carlos dons the El Vengador costume in order to save a group of evos, and Tommy and his mother get into a car crash.

My biggest complaint about the Heroes Reborn premiere was the lack of character development, and that didn’t change in episode three. There has been no time to see characters reacting to their new realities or living their daily lives while adapting to these new scenarios. There seems to be no time for such storytelling as the show presses forward at a breakneck pace.

There was so much happening in “Under the Mask” that no single story had enough time for the climactic moments, such as Luke having his evo power meltdown in the sun, to mean much. However, while it seems clear that Heroes Reborn is prioritizing conspiracy over character, the conspiracies themselves remain shrouded in mystery. The vague warnings that something is coming are already becoming tiresome. Three out of eight episodes of the series’ run have already aired and the nature of the heroes’ mission is still not clear.

The unifying of several plot threads around Renautas as well as the reveals regarding the company’s plans made this episode more productive and stronger than the opening two hours of the series. However, there are many aspects of the mythology that need to be cleared up and if audiences are expected to care about the evos purpose/mission, we should really know what the mission is.

Overall, this was a more interesting episode than both “Brave New World” and “Odessa”, and I remain optimistic that as the storylines continue to narrow and intersect, there will be more room to focus on character development and plot clarity. Hopefully the series can keep rolling out episodes that are better than the previous one.

 

Heroes Reborn airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.

 

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