In Review: Heroes Reborn, Episodes 1 & 2

Don't think too much about the story and you'll have a good time.

Heroes Reborn, Episode 1 “Brave New World” and Episode 2 “Odessa” Broadcast September 24, 2015

Written by Tim Kring, Episode 1, and Peter Elkoff, Episode 2

Directed by Matt Shakman, Episode 1, and Greg Beeman, Episode 2

NOTE: Both episodes were shown back-to-back, so my comments will be based on them as one show.

A butterfly flits across a green park before landing on a bench occupied by Noah Bennet. He sees the insect, smiles, picks up an apple, and takes a huge bite. A phone message he left for his daughter Claire begins to play as walks away. He’s in Odessa, Texas. The message he leaves for the famous cheerleader states he realizes he hasn’t spoken to her in a few years and he doesn’t know if she’s mad at him, but he misses her. As his message continues, he makes his way to the Evos & Humans United Fair, where powered individuals mingle with normal humans. Religious protestors are outside the gates. As he passes other evos, his message states he hopes she has no regrets, and that he hopes to see her soon. The same butterfly flies through the crowd and returns to the park. A shadow falls over the greenery and moves to the fair, resulting in an explosion that destroys the event. Bennet has survived and he walks among the rubble. His iconic glasses are gone. It’s June 13, one year ago. Other survivors emerge, but Bennet is yelling for Claire. The scene transitions to Saint-Felicien, Quebec, where a shirtless man runs down a street at night, pursued by several cars. This is nine months ago. The runner evades the cars by leaving the road to go to a river. Men emerge from the vehicles with rifles and dogs. He splashes water on himself and as his pursuers get closer, he runs off at super speed into the river, leaping to dive under its surface, but he turns invisible before he even touches the water. The scene moves again: Vanquing, China. A man is walking on a frozen lake to an immense wall. He’s dragging a weight that’s attached to his right wrist. This is four months ago. Two snow sleds speed after him accompanied by a large military vehicle. Seeing them, he pulls a knife from his belt and saws off his hand. The manacle hits the bloody ground and he flies into the sky, leaving a familiar sonic boom in his wake. It is now seven weeks ago at the Canadian border. Armed guards prowl the cars seeking entrance. In a vehicle, Tommy asks his mom if they shoot people “like us.” She replies, “It’s Canada, not North Korea. You’re gonna be safe.” He’s extremely nervous, and not helping is seeing a girl getting swabbed and then running off, only to be shot down by the guards. Tommy’s mom panics and bumps into cars before and behind her to escape. She makes a U-turn and heads back into the United States. In Chicago, Illinois, it’s June 13 — today. Luke Collins gets out of his car and looks at the one word written on the note he carries: cockroach. He puts on a duffle bag and walks across the street. A man follows him, who is followed by Tommy. The teen sees the man’s face and says, “Coach Lewis?” The coach looks at the student and growls, “Ya’ gotta be kidding me,” be he leaves to follow Luke. The boy enters the rundown building the pair entered. He’s asked for the password at the door. “Cockroach.” The inside looks like the interior of a cliché AA meeting. Those present are watching a broadcast retrospective of the disaster in Odessa from a year ago. An evo terrorist, Mohinder Suresh claimed responsibility one hour after the attacks. Lewis calls this “All lies” and shuts off the set. The nine individuals discuss hiding, fighting back, the public’s fear, government registration of powers, and the things in the shadows that are coming for them. Tommy says he came to the meeting because he needs tips in controlling his abilities. The silence of the others is broken with “You came to the wrong place, kid.” A text from his mom spurs him to leave. The boy drops a business card before rushing out to catch the bus home. He apologizes as he causes a bicyclist to fall over, but he makes his ride as a stout man in a hat watches. Close by, a woman jumps a chain link fence to continue chasing a man. She pulls a gun, but he keeps running, all the way into the meeting in the building. Within the gathering, several evos have rallied themselves to join the resistance, but Luke’s comments have them silenced. The fleeing man bursts in and things happen. Cue first commercial break.

Noah, now in his trademark glasses, is shown at this new job where he sees a car that stands out for the wrong reasons. Something is said by a woman that hits him hard. The scene then shifts from Texas to East Los Angeles. Lisa and Carlos Gutierrez are making out in a closet at Linderman Junior High, where he gives a speech to the kids about his winning the Medal of Honor. One student is impressed by his final words, “You all have the ability to be heroes.” At Pinehurst High School in Carbondale, Illinois, Tommy sees a girl in the halls getting treated badly by her boyfriend. With her gone, the jock comes over and knocks him down, making Tommy raise his hand threateningly, but he stops his action. A crying teacher then rushes by him: a staff member has been found dead. In a police precinct in Chicago, the stout man with the hat makes his way through the offices to enter a room where the bicyclist is waiting to give a statement on what happened last night. Things take an interesting spin there. Back in Texas, a visit from a close acquaintance of Noah’s takes a back seat to the car, still lurking outside his work. In Tokyo, Japan, a young man goes to an apartment where the door is unlocked. Loud music leads him to find Miko Otomo. He introduces himself to her as Ren Shimosawa. He says he was playing a videogame and solved a difficult level that revealed the address of this apartment. She kicks him out, but not before he sees a door that’s similar to the videogame he played. She’s worried about what Ren’s appearance means. Cue first commercial break.

I love the first season of Heroes, was somewhat bored by the second, left at the start of the third, and returned to watch the fourth only because Ray Park was in the cast, though left after his character exited. I gave this back-to-back premiere a chance based on my nostalgia for the first season. I wasn’t expecting much. I was pleased. This wasn’t perfect, but it was enough to get me return next week. If one isn’t familiar with the previous four seasons, there’s enough done to bring one up to speed. Only one character appears toward the end of “Odessa” that might create some confusion. I like that the “evos” are part of the world consciousness and they’re on the run, at least in the United States. I really enjoy Jack Coleman as Noah, and it was great to see him again. I like the mystery he’s involved in, and it’s obvious that he’s going to have a devastating cathartic moment later, which will cause him some major anguish. I was thinking I wouldn’t enjoy another super-powered teen, but I was won over by Tommy, played by Robbie Kay. He was believable and his power was really cool, though I wish it hadn’t been explained so soon. Gatlin Green is also good as Emily. She’s a good companion for him. I’m not liking anything about East Los Angeles, though. Everything there is horribly predictable, with the closing of the second episode making it practically unbearable to watch. I don’t blame the actors, but their story is just awful. It was neat to return to Tokyo, with a nice twist on someone’s abilities, albeit owing a lot to Tron. I’m looking forward to seeing Miko’s father appear. The second episode focused on a character from the previous series, and she was great. I love her encounter with both the male and female characters, and how both went south quickly. Quentin Frady functions as a mouthpiece for much backstory, but Henry Zebrowski is doing a fun job with him. Quentin’s scenes with Noah are good. Zachary Levi and Judith Shekoi have great motivations for their characters and I like how they seem to have come to a disagreement in what they’re doing. How they meet with another pair of characters did stretch credulity, but, okay, I’ll roll with it to move the story forward. I’m looking forward to more.

The good: Jack Coleman, Robbie Kay, Henry Zebrowski, Gatlin Green, Zachary Levi, Judith Shekoi, a really solid variety of effects for the many powers that were on display, the globe trotting which makes the story more epic, how the US has become uncomfortable for the evos, Noah’s trip of discovery, and Tommy Clarke.

Fun lines: “For Dennis,” “Evernow,” “Don’t trust anyone,” “What did they do to you?”, “Somethin’ big is coming!”, “We all have our secrets,” “You’re a hero,” “Save me…The sword is the key,” “I’m not exactly prison material,” LEEROY JENKINS!”, and “Save the world.”

The bad: Everything that occurs in East Los Angeles and most of the second episode: what’s left in Odessa (Really?), the change up on someone bugging Tommy (Overdone in stories), how four individuals cross paths in Odessa, and what a pair take from Odessa.

The final line: Fun story with great effects. Don’t think too much about the story and you’ll have a good time. Overall grade: B-

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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