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REVIEW: Heroes Reborn 1×03 “Under the Mask”

Written by Alex Reale

I wouldn’t say that Heroes Reborn took a drastic turn this week compared to its pilot episodes, but there is a definite, noticeable change in quality. “Under the Mask” had the advantage of skipping on the exposition, but the extra time it saved was wasted by some underdeveloped sub-plots as well as a brief Dawson’s Creek segment. But the episode did have its shining moments. (spoilers ahead!)

“Under the Mask” followed numerous sub-storylines, which isn’t exactly new for the Heroes procedure, but some of them felt completely unnecessary. Maybe they’ll converge into a major over-arcing aspect of the show? Or maybe they’re just added in for pure filler. I wouldn’t be surprised it if it was the latter.

One of the storylines I’m talking about is in regards to a light-bender wandering around in the Arctic. We don’t learn much about this young woman except that she can manipulate light waves and cause fancy displays similar to the Northern Lights. She’s also accompanied by an invisible woman who acts as a spirit guide of sorts. I don’t really know what’s happening with this or how it will end up being relevant, unless maybe it’s similar to the concept of the eclipse from Heroes. Otherwise, it just seems pointless.

Elsewhere, Noah Bennet and Quentin Frady head to the hospital to patch up Quentin’s bullet wound. While he’s waiting for his companion to get treated, Noah finds himself hunted down by security. Apparently, he caused a bit of a scene at the hospital shortly after the Odessa incident. We don’t know exactly what he did (due to his memory being erased), but we DO know that he was seen at the hospital with Molly Walker, that he came to check up on his daughter’s dead body in the morgue, and that Hiro Nakamura may have been involved.

I liked the whole segment involving Noah and Quentin because frankly, I enjoyed their interaction with each other. I’ll admit that Noah took a while to grow on me, and Quentin failed to impress me right away, but this episode showed me the more appealing sides of both characters. I also liked finding out a little more about Noah’s connection to the Odessa incident and his daughter’s “death”. Last week, I was a bit confused as to how exactly Claire died since she’s technically immortal. This week, Heroes Reborn decided to address this statement openly, however, we still don’t know exactly what happened to her. It seems that, if he wants answers, Noah will have to find Hiro. How does he plan to find Hiro? Molly Walker – the woman with the ability to track anybody on the planet.

On a side note: the show’s previews lied to us. I could’ve sworn that the trailer for this week’s episode indicated that we’d see Hiro return. No sign of Hiro yet. In the preview for next week, we see him show up once again. They better not be pulling our leg again or I’ll punch something.

Out in Los Angeles, El Vengador returns in another small scene that’s very reminiscent of Arrow. Again, I have to mention that I love the concept of El Vengador no matter how similar he is to Stephen Amell‘s Emerald Archer. I’d enjoy seeing him take on more foes as the series progresses. I think I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – you can’t have a show about people with superhuman abilities and NOT have at least one vigilante. Unfortunately, as much as I like El Vengador, the rest of the storyline involving the Los Angeles-based Evos ultimately falls flat. It’s hard for me to care about anyone or anything they’re doing.

Once again, we’re jumping to another sub-storyline. This time, it involves Teleporting Tommy (Heroes Reborn better copyright that name ASAP). I kinda liked Tommy in the pilot, but this episode took away some of his appeal. Rather than seeing him try to cope with his power or learn more about his past experiences, we get the cliche teenage angst moment when he basically tells his mom to back off and to let him do what he wants. He gets all hormone-y when his mom forbids him from going to the party, so he does the normal teenager thing and teleports himself past her. Uh, why couldn’t he just wait until she left the room? Then he could’ve snuck out without her knowing. Instead, he had to go all “rebellious teenager” on her. And I’m pretty sure this was the first time she saw him use this teleporting move, so there goes that aspect he could’ve kept a secret from her. Dammit, Tommy.

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The main part of the episode centered on the introduction of the Epic Glasses. Harnessing the power of Molly Walker’s locator abilities, the evil corporation Renautus has created a pair of super-cool shades that allows wearers to locate and identify Evos. Things quickly go from zero to hectic as Renautus begins tracking down, bagging, and tagging super-humans. I’m very interested to find out where this goes, and how Renautus will use other Evos’ powers to their advantage.

Toward the end of the episode, we notice how the creepy, penny-collecting, memory-wiping guy is watching Tommy at the party. Tommy’s mother shows up to threaten the penny guy and to take her son home. As they’re driving home, they’re side-swiped by an unknown driver. Was it penny dude? Or was it one of the Renautus Evo-Hunters?

The show has a lot of potential, and it’s still better than the middle seasons of Heroes. My only hope is that the various storylines connect to each other sooner rather than later, because it’s getting exhausting keeping track.

Final Grade: B

+ I liked seeing more of El Vengador, even if he’s just the poor man’s Arrow.

+ The introduction of the Epic Glasses is interesting; I like how they tapped into Molly Walker’s abilities in order to power them up. I wonder what other programs or devices they’ll create once they round up more Evos?

+ Solid performances from Jack Coleman and Henry Zebrowski as Noah and Quentin.

– The previews were pretty misleading; I could’ve sworn we were supposed to see Hiro this episode.

– Tommy’s whole angsty teenager vibe is just stupid.

– There are a lot of different story arcs going on at the same time, and it gets hard to keep track.

Extra Thoughts:

– I hope we find out what the deal is with the creepy penny guy soon.

– I’m glad that they acknowledged the fact that Claire shouldn’t have died during the Odessa incident due to her powers; now let’s see how they explain her disappearance…

What were your thoughts on “Under the Mask”? Do you think Heroes Reborn is heading in the right direction? Tell us in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!