By Kenneth Shipp
If you read my lukewarm reception to the Heroes: Reborn announcement, you’ll know I was concerned about another entry into this series. Especially given the rather crappy wrap up with the last two seasons. However, what we get in the premiere episode is an interesting setup for what could be a great season. Mild spoilers below, proceed at your own risk. Although I don’t believe this gives away too much.
The first 10 minutes don’t have much weight or gravity to them. That’s not to say that nothing happens: there’s a human/mutant summit and the attack that occurs on it setups up the entire episode and will drive the conflict this season. The way they connect Noah Bennett to this attack is great and I’m glad that he will be the key player throughout. But his attempt to reconnect with his daughter Claire, the mutant or “evo” as they call them now leading the summit is a bit old. They continue to use the sometimes fractured or frayed relationship between them to drive the story forward. And here we are again using this same old plot device.
Once we get past the opening pleasantries and confusing timeline in the first 5 minutes, we really get rolling. Noah Bennett tries to discover the truth about the explosion and attack on the summit while we get glimpses at other story lines occurring and starting to interact. The two other storylines I didn’t entirely hate followed Carlos, a ex-solider who discovers his brother’s secret identity and is wrestling with taking up the mantle after he dies. Tommy, a young high schooler who can transport matter to different locations, has been living with his mother from place to place trying to live a normal life, but the new town they arrive at poses problems with the arrival of Zachary Levi’s character Luke and his wife Joanne, a grief stricken couple dead set on killing as many evolved humans as they can.
While I really liked every scene with Bennett, I liked the Tommy and Carlos story lines as well, even if they were a bit melodramatic. The negative of their scenes and with this whole episode is that we are not spending enough time with these 3 characters. For a show that prided itself in the past with excellent handling of a large cast, they failed in making that work in the first 2 hours. I can handle multiple scenes happening and the episode pivoting to those, but it has to be done well. If you only get one of them right, you’ll only make me hate the bad ones more. Every time I’ll be thinking about why we are not following the more interesting characters instead.
So while I like the Tommy story arc, the killer duo he runs into don’t exactly wow me. Why are they trying to kill all of the evos? Did I miss something? I get that they are hurt from the death of their son, but they don’t compose themselves as people unhinged enough to be doing these horrendous acts. The writers want you to think they are off kilter by telling us without actually showing us why. Yeah, we get that they can fight and shoot, and are effective arsonists, but why are they doing these things? It just feels like they are stretching the motivations for these two a bit thin. Again, this may be shown later in the season, but right now, they just seem like murderous idiots who get into random firefights for no reason (Yeah, there’s this one point where they just start blasting up a room without seeing what the heck was going on first….real class acts)
The Miko story line is absolutely ridiculous. I can’t believe we are talking about humans being transferred into a computer to go rescue their crazy smart computer genius dad so soon into the season, but here we are. Again, I’m sure this will be cleared up later, but I have no concern or worry for her character since the build up time for her was ridiculously short. If they want us to be attached to Miko’s story, I need a bit more to work with that also doesn’t come off amazing goofy.
Overall, there are 3 story arcs that may end up saving this season, but we will have to wait and see how the other less complete ones play out this year. If they don’t pan out, it’ll be because of the messy foundation in these first two episodes.
Episode 1: “Brave New World” 7/10
Episode 2: “Odessa” 7.5/10