After burying itself into a hole so deep it took 5 years for it to climb out, Heroes returns with Heroes: Reborn, but has creator Tim Kring learned anything in his time in the black hole that was the plot?
Heroes Reborn, like the common comic plot device, resurrects itself to the screen with a new series set in a world of evolved humans, or evos. About 10 years after we see Claire Bennet jump off a ferris wheel for a national stage, the world itself has changed greatly. Even more powered people have appeared and after an expected struggle with equal rights and tolerance, we find Noah and Primatech about to embark on an Evo-Human-Unity conference to unite the world in peace and harmony.
Of course, like a dark cloud that rains on peace, a literal darkness shrouds the conference, leaving all in ruins in an apparent terrorism attack leaving many dead. For the next year, powered people are hunted down, captured, and killed by scared humans. Powered registration is being pushed as the world attempts to track all those who aren’t like them, and secret undergrounds have formed to help smuggle powered people to safer lands like Canada.
If this sounds familiar to the many X-men storylines, superhuman registration acts, and the like, you aren’t alone. The entire plot of the show heavily copies those common themes almost to the letter. It’s not to say that the meta-human registration act isn’t a commonly used trope, especially in several decades worth of debate of immigration reform. It’s just that the whole idea of meta-human registration feels so heavy handed in today’s world.
Like the original, Heroes: Reborn follows the story arcs of a number of different groups. In the first group, we have Noah Bennet. A year after the Odessa attack, we find a regret filled and memory wiped Noah (Jack Coleman) selling cars. Local conspiracy theorist Quentin Frady (Henry Zobrowski) gets caught following Noah around, only to drive him to dig into a secret safe he kept in his own house (but seemingly didn’t remember until Noah pushed him). One clue after another leads him to Dallas to find his old friend Rene, the Haitian that manipulates minds followed by a trip back to Odessa to find files on Molly Walker who can help him track down all the powered people and get answers to what is coming.
Noah’s arc is pretty confusing and his bought of amnesia are highly convenient at times. As the main story arc for the show, I’m not sure where they are going with it as the aimlessness of it so far is disappointing. How was Quentin able to piece together so much around Noah and Primatech and the new shadowy Renautas corporation? Why have they kept Noah out of the loop all this time, under his own orders? How is that Noah conveniently remembers people as he sees them? How convenient and inexplicable is it that assassins Luke and Joanne just happen to run in and murder all the worker bees without any explanation?
Speaking of Luke and Joanne (Zach Levi and Judi Shekioni), we need to go into major arc two, the story of awkward teen Tommy Clarke (Robbie Kay). Tommy is just a kid with the power to teleport objects and people from one place to another. Having moved around to multiple states in the last several years every time his secret is discovered, Tommy is at the end of his rope trying to fit into a normal life. Narrowly escaping certain death to our assassins Luke and Joanne who infiltrate a meta-human support group, Tommy finds himself in the clutches of our assassins. Thanks to his will to save school crush Emily (Gatlin Green) from getting caught up in certain death, Tommy quickly ends up showing off his powers to the girl, because that’s exactly what you do as an awkward teen with a pretty girl interested in your gift.
This is the biggest problem with Tommy’s arc. In the midst of this major threat to his safety, his powers just get him out of jail for free, leaving us with plenty of time for this angsty teen melodrama that brings any momentum of the series to a halt. Rather than explore his character, we just get a scattered vignette of a teen with a crush on a girl doing a horrible job at keeping his secret. It’s no wonder he’s had to move so many times.
Going back to Luke and Joanne, in the short two hour arc we get multiple radically different characters. At the start, we have Luke and Joanne, vengeful assassins out to murder every single powered person in the world, and with the opening body count, it seems they are very good at their goals. But a big question that doesn’t make sense is their motivation, the death of their child in Odessa. While it’s a horrific thing to have your child die in your arms, did they not notice that everyone around them had died, powered and unpowered alike? For someone who was at ground zero of the carnage, you would imagine they’d have more empathy towards the powered people as opposed to a murderous rampage.
What really doesn’t make sense though is the sudden change of character in Luke after his encounter with Tommy. Surely he has come across kids he’s had to murder before, why is Tommy different? What about sitting at an ice-cream shop waiting for him that starts to make him wonder if he’s doing the right thing? There’s no real catalyst for the change. To be fair, he does drag him off to murder him anyways, but his murderous intent is nothing compared to his wife Joanne. She is the real enigma of the pair with her unhinged and seemingly psychotic will to kill all powered people, including normal human kid witnesses in broad daylight.
After getting transported to the secret lab Tommy was stuck in at Primatech, Luke seems to gain even more perspective at his killing ways while Joanne seems to get even more unhinged, inexplicably gunning down an entire room of staff during their escape. I just can’t even understand what person in their right mind would do that, especially if they were working their way to escape. Gunning them down was the least subtle thing they could have done, especially when it was relatively clear they were in some kind of observation facility for powered people. If their mission was to eliminate all powered people, stealing information from here would have been a great move.
Instead, by sheer dumb luck, they instead steal Noah’s car and get all his files on all the last known specials, literally having the information fall into their lap.
In the other even more insane arc, we have Miko Otomo and Ren Shimosawa (Kiki Sukezane and Toru Uchikado). Ren is a high level gamer that somehow solves a secret in Evernow, a computer game featuring a katana wielding heroine. Following the information, he finds Miko in her inexplicably unlocked apartment and a spitting image of the video game character created by her lost father. Immediately questions abound, such as, why is such a “Last Star-fighter” secret embedded this way? What is it’s purpose? Also, if her father was a major game creator, how has Miko not realized or ever seen any of his work or seen that the character is based on her?
How has she never entered her father’s office in all this time? Why is Ren such a creepy guy that keeps getting inside her apartment over and over again trying to convince her she is Katana Girl? What possibly could motivate him to be so persistent?
And most importantly, how can Heroes: Reborn think they can get away with what is the most ridiculous concept of having someone sucked into a video game world to fight to save her now obviously captured father? How did her father get captured before? If he knew enough about getting captured to make a game, and leave a sword for his daughter to find, why didn’t he just..not get captured? Even then, I can’t see the point of the video game world, that by the way, seem like it was made in 2006?
Going back to a more sensical arc, we have the story of Carlos, “hero” of the desert wars though he has some unknown shame that led to his hero status. Brooding and alcoholic, his conflict with his brother Oscar and the revelation that Oscar was the murdered masked powered vigilante “El Vengador” leads him on the path to redemption for his secret. Considering his brother, and nephew, are powered, I can only assume his secret has to do with uncontrolled power he has, leading to the probable death of his team and the enemy in combat.
In the final short arc, we find Molly Walker (Francesca Eastwood) all grown up trying to stay hidden. A few short failed seduction attempts later, she ends up captured to be sent back off to what I assume is Renautas. I’m not even sure the short 5 minutes worth of scenes even warranted the time as it built nothing towards the character.
Heroes: Reborn once again falls into the trap its predecessor. It has far too many story arcs that have forced interweaving and raises so many questions about common sense that just cannot be reconciled. If this the example of what we have to look at for this 13 episode run, I believe it’s safe to say that while they may have learned a little bit about writing engaging story lines, but it was only by copying every fan favorite plot we already know all about.
- Was there really no security at the Primatech site were Noah could just crash the gate?
- Of course Quentin’s motivation is the taking of his powered sister.
- Why didn’t Luke and Joanna kill Quentin? They sure as hell murdered everyone else on the way out.
- Leeroy Jenkins? Seriously?
- For all the terrible computer graphics they spent money on, couldn’t they have licensed the Crytek or Unreal engines and did something that looked decent?