The old and familiar shines in the new world for Evos. The Thursday, Sept. 24 series premiere of “Heroes Reborn” kicks off “Volume One: Awakening” and offers a look at life five years after Claire revealed her powers to the world and a year after an event pretty much eliminated any thoughts of humans and Evos living in unity.
“Where does it come from this fear, this quest, this need to hide in a simpler past when the future cannot be avoided? It’s coming, and when it does, everything will change. Yet there are those who can stop it. Do we know how?”
Like with “Heroes,” the first two episodes of “Heroes Reborn,” “Brave New World” and “Odessa,” focus on a group of characters – both old and new – clearly destined to cross paths as the season progresses. The mystery behind what truly happened on that fateful June 13 is teased through a glimpse of that day and the discovery by HRG that he’s missing memories. There’s also the promise of a future event that must be stopped, though it isn’t felt in quite the same way the New York one was in season 1 of the original series and seems a bit detached from the rest of the story, perhaps because it seems that thus far, only one person even knows about it, an event that is happening faster than they thought and that Malina can’t control much longer. And once again, there are some characters whose stories are easier to get invested in than others, and it’s no surprise that the one leading the pack is HRG’s (though, perhaps, that may be different for those who haven’t seen “Heroes”).
Therein lies another problem; as much as they may like to bring in new viewers, it just seems so much easier to follow along having the knowledge of the original series. That’s not to say that new fans won’t enjoy it if this is their cup of tea. However, it just doesn’t seem like it will mean the same to them as it does to old fans when things like the “9th Wonders” comics pop up or a certain symbol necklace hangs in HRG’s car and the symbol marks the spot where Miko finds her father’s sword or when HRG runs into the Haitian (and how that ends). Sure, new fans shouldn’t be completely lost, but it’s hard to see events having the same impact as they do on those who sat through any or all of the four seasons of “Heroes.”
While season 1 of “Heroes” was easily the series’ best and the rest fell short in comparison, and while “Heroes Reborn” isn’t going to be anywhere near that or the series that answers those questions still lingering or even necessarily show what happened for all the characters since then, the event series does seem to be promising thus far. Not every character is likeable. While HRG may be back, it feels like there’s something missing without the Petrelli family, and there’s no equivalent to it – which is probably a good thing. (Nathan’s dead, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they revealed that Peter died off-screen; fortunately, Angela will be back at some point, but it’s just not the same.) And as is to be expected, with so many characters and separate storylines this early in, so far only a tease of what’s going on in each story has been revealed in these first two episodes. But focusing on the good and hoping for the best for the not so good, with the promise of more to come, in the form of new characters and returning favorites, in the rest of the season is a good start when looking at this series. But without having “Heroes” as its backstory, does it earn that precious “watch live” slot on a busy Thursday night? That’s another story, one that doesn’t necessarily have a definitive “yes” answer just yet.
A year after June 13, Evos are being hunted and doing what they have to in order to keep their freedom – and to stay alive, with husband/wife assassins Luke and Joanne hunting down and wiping out a support group that Tommy just barely escapes. (And with this comes the introduction of the standout from the new characters, Robbie Kay’s Tommy.) However, the couple tracks him down, and it’s when Joanne points a gun at Tommy’s crush, Emily, that he uses his power and makes the two disappear. At first, Tommy’s ready to have to move again with his mother, but Emily promises to keep his secret, as does her jock boyfriend, Brad, after he sees him use his power and then thinks that he helps him out by making his abusive stepfather disappear.
That’s where the introduction of another new Evo comes in, a man with a briefcase of pennies who’s following Tommy around and essentially cleaning up his messes. He offers the guy who saw Tommy leave the group before the Evos were killed a “penny for his thoughts,” and when a detective comes for his statement, he doesn’t remember Tommy. He pays Brad’s stepfather a visit as well and watches as Brad thanks Tommy.
But where do the people and things that Tommy makes disappear go? As Emily discovers when she finds a flower she asked him to disappear, wherever he’s thinking at the time. Because he worried he was being taken like he was when he was a kid when Luke and Joanne showed up, he sent them to where he was held then: Level 5 of Primatech. While she’s focused on maintaining her resolve in what they’re doing, he notices that there aren’t any light switches and, after shooting out the lights, sees the observation window and breaks them out. They shoot everyone they come across before making their escape in what turns out to be HRG’s car…with a folder full of files on Evos.
Though not yet seen on screen, Mohinder Suresh supposedly claimed responsibility for the attack on June 13 and is also held responsible for the Evos Luke and Joanne killed. When Joanne comments that they’re doing all the hard work and he’s getting the credit, Luke remarks that it’s the second time; once is coincidence, but not twice.
Jack Coleman’s HRG is, of course, one of the main reasons to give this new series a try. Four years after Claire revealed her powers to the world, and father and daughter aren’t exactly talking. In fact, Noah goes to the Odessa Unity Summit with hopes of patching things up with her, but then darkness overtakes the area, and after an explosion, he comes to, grabs his glasses off the ground and yells out for her.
“Memories are funny things. The good ones fill your life with meaning, with context, with clarity, while other memories can deceive, the ones that make you believe you know the truth. They’re the dangerous ones, the ones that hold you hostage. When you look back on all the decisions you made in your life, the one thing you don’t want to feel is regret. Am I right?” HRG asks one year later…as he tries to sell a car. Noah Bennet is now Ted Barnes, has a new woman in his life…and is being followed by someone who has files on Mohinder Suresh and Angela Petrelli.
So who’s following Noah? That would be Quentin, who wants answers as to what really happened on June 13. While he may have worked at Renautas, he didn’t work for them, he insists, and he knows HRG worked for Primatech and he wasn’t selling paper. Suresh was just a patsy, he says, wondering how Noah doesn’t know that. He has the manuscript Suresh was going to publish, citing that the number of Evos is increasing, and Quentin thinks it’s to save them from whatever Renautas is planning. As Quentin is arrested, HRG insists that Jun 13 isn’t something he just forgets, not since his daughter died that day.
However, later that night, HRG goes through his planner, finds the page for June 13 blank and a business card for Lumiere Ophthalmology (relocated from Odessa to Dallas), with “See More Clearly” written on the back. And when he goes to Lumiere, who else does he find there but the Haitian? After meeting him across the street, René surprises him by giving him the glasses he left the last time he saw him and then trying to kill him. HRG fights back and ends up shooting him and when he asks his friend why he was trying to kill him, René tells him, “You told me to. You made the perfect plan.” He needed to forget something. All René says before he dies is “it’s coming.”
After HRG bails Quentin out of jail, Quentin tells him he was hired at Renautas to scan and digitize everything from Primatech, which HRG left after the summit. Quentin is sure Renautas is responsible, but the question is, why is Suresh running? Why is Renautas disappearing Evos? HRG needs his files, and he needs Molly Walker for her power, and so they head to Primatech, where a piece of paper lists Claire’s location as “Unknown” and “N/A” under “Last Seen On.” All HRG remembers is arriving the morning of the summit, and everything else he knows is what the rest of the world does. He assumed Claire died there, so what really happened? It’s at this point that HRG pretty much scares the truth out of Quentin, that his sister was taken, he’s trying to find her and he thought HRG was involved. Though the official story is she died on June 13, things he found don’t add up.
When HRG hears gunshots below (Luke and Joanne), he goes down to Level 5 to check it out and finds Stevens the only one still alive long enough to clue him in. They had found a way to use the Evos to save the world, and the launch can’t happen without Molly Walker. The monitor reads “Data Lost” next to her name. Renautas is using powers to create a new technology, and the product, Epic, is being launched tomorrow. HRG and Quentin have a new mission: to get to Midian to save Molly.
Meanwhile in East Los Angeles, Carlos gives a motivational speech at his nephew’s school about being a hero…as he pours a drink into a soda can. His nephew goes on about how anyone can be an Evo (the obvious sign that Jose himself is, in fact, one) and someone’s taking Evos and El Vengador, a vigilante in a wrestling mask, is the only one taking care of the neighborhood. His father basically shuts him down, which all but confirms that he is El Vengador, as Carlos discovers when he later finds his brother bleeding out after getting shot when trying to save someone. Oscar only has enough time to tell him that if he puts on the mas, he’s a hero and for Carlos to start talking about how everything they say about him, the medal…before he dies. Carlos predictably starts looking into what’s going on in LA, goes after a cop that set up the vigilante and gets a name before helping out with the underground railroad network his brother had set up to help Evos get to a safe place in Canada. Therein lies the problem with Carlos’ story; it’s a bit too predictable, at least so far, making it the least interesting of the new characters’.
Elsewhere, in a No-Evos casino in New York, Zoey gets close to a guy on a too-lucky winning streak, and when they attract attention, joins him for a drink in his room. She calls him out on his streak and his powers and offers a deal: give her his money and she won’t turn him in. He uses his powers to try to stop her, but she manages to escape with the help of some people in the hallway at the right time – but without the money. As she explains to Taylor, a woman who just so happened to be watching her earlier and to show up as she got away from the guy, she needed the money to disappear. Taylor, of course, ends up drugging Zoey and bringing her back to her boyfriend, who then calls someone to report that they have Molly Walker. Yes, “Zoey” is Molly.
The final storyline introduced in the premiere takes place in Tokyo, Japan, where a video game, Evernow, leads Ren to Miko, a.k.a the Katana Girl from the game. In the game, the Katana Girl swore vengeance on those who kidnapped her father, and the sword hidden in the floor is the key, transforming her into a deadly warrior. Miko finds the sword under the floor with a note, “Save me… The sword is the key,” and when she unsheathes it, she is transported into the game, and so begins her search for her father. Ren helps her by playing the game, and she ultimately heads to Yamagato Tower, where they were taking her father in the game. In the game, it’s a trap, and so she sheathes her sword to bring her back to reality…right where she was in the game, in the middle of Yamagato Tower.
“Heroes Reborn” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on NBC. What did you think of the premiere?