tek's rating: pending

Heroes Reborn, NBC, Thursdays 8pm
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Caution: spoilers!

This is a 2015 sequel to the 2006-2010 series Heroes. Ostensibly, it's going to be a 13-episode miniseries (or more accurately, a limited series). But it's referred to as "volume one," so there's a possibility of future seasons/volumes, if this does well in the ratings. Time will tell, and if it turns out there won't be any more seasons, I'll probably move my review to my limited series section. But for now I'm putting it in my superheroes section. Anyway, prior to the start of the new series, there was a six-episode online prequel called Dark Matters, which gave us some idea of how the world has changed in the five years since the original series ended, and introduced us to Quentin Frady and his sister Phoebe, the latter of whom has a power (the ability to manipulate darkness).

Volume One: Awakening
The original series ended with Claire Bennet revealing to the world the existence of people with powers. If you watched "Dark Matters" (or even just read my review of it), you'll know that such people are now called EVOs (or evos, I've seen it both capitalized and not). And you'll know that a lot of EVOs started revealing themselves. And it will come as no surprise that some people think EVOs are cool and some are highly suspicious of them. (Much like comics/movies such as X-Men, or any number of other stories about people with powers, or people who are more "evolved" than other humans. Seriously, "X-Men" is obviously the first example that springs to mind, but I could rattle off a bunch of others.) I'm not sure how many crimes or disasters were blamed on EVOs over the first four years following Claire's revelation, nor how many of those things really were caused by EVOs. But the series begins one year ago, on June 13, 2014, in Odessa, Texas. Primatech is hosting a summit that supposedly is going to lead to greater understanding and peace between EVOs and humans (though I hate the implication that EVOs aren't human). Noah Bennet (aka HRG) attends the summit, hoping to reunite with his adopted daughter, Claire, who hasn't spoken to him in years. (Incidentally, I'm a bit confused as to how much the public actually knows about Primatech, at this point. Some things I've heard make it sound like everyone knows the company is a leading researcher into matters concerning EVOs, but I also get the impression they were still maintaining the cover of being a paper production/distribution company. Or maybe it was just Bennet making that claim.) Anyway, before the summit can even get underway, there's a huge explosion, which kills thousands of attendees. It's considered a terrorist attack, for which Mohinder Suresh is blamed. (In fact it's said he claimed responsibility, though I very much doubt that.) After this tragedy, "June 13" is a date that will hold the same kind of significance as "September 11." And however much public distrust there may have been of EVOs before, it's now increased significantly, to the point that many EVOs have gone into hiding (or simply decided not to reveal themselves as such, in spite of being legally required to be registered... though I think that happened before Odessa).

There were a few scenes between June 13 and the present, which introduce us to a few of the attendees of a meeting I'll get to in the next paragraph. The main part of the series begins one year after Odessa (June 13, 2015). Noah had quit his job at Primatech after the attack, and moved to Austin. He's now living under the name Ted Barnes, and working as a car salesman. (The way we discover this is pretty funny, actually.) And he has a fiancée, who apparently has no idea of his true identity. "Ted" is approached by Quentin, who does know his true identity, and wants his help learning about the conspiracy surrounding Renautas, the company that had bought out Primatech some time prior to the Odessa event, and which had hired his sister, who has now disappeared. But Noah doesn't know anything about Renautas, and just thinks Quentin is a nut. Still, he does look into it, and is surprised to be reunited with his old partner, René (aka "the Haitian"). Even more surprisingly, René tries to kill him, and Noah is forced to kill his old friend in self-defense. Before René dies, he tells Noah that Noah himself had gotten him to erase his memory of certain things, and to try to kill him if he came looking for answers. So what exactly Noah has forgotten (and why he wanted to forget) remains a central mystery of the series (for awhile). But at least he still has all his memories from prior to the Odessa event, so he can become a valuable ally to Quentin. And they also discover that Claire may not have died in the attack, as Noah had assumed, so what actually happened to her is another mystery.

Meanwhile, there's a small group of EVOs secretly meeting in Chicago, to discuss how to respond to the way their kind are being treated now. This includes a 16-year-old boy named Tommy Clarke, who has the power to teleport objects (or people) to any place he thinks of. (Though at first he doesn't know where things go when he makes them disappear, and for all he knows, they may simply cease to exist. But we learn the truth before long.) He gets a text that causes him to leave the meeting before it's over, which is lucky, because it turns out that one of the attendees, Luke Collins, actually isn't an EVO. He and his wife, Joanne, are traveling around, killing EVOs, as revenge for the death of their young son Dennis, who was killed in the Odessa attack. After killing all the EVOs in the meeting, they want to track down Tommy. Meanwhile, Tommy is getting picked on by a bully named Brad, who is dating a girl named Emily Duval. Emily befriends Tommy, and soon learns his secret (when Luke and Joanne find Tommy, and he uses his power to stop them from killing both Emily and himself). Emily promises to keep his secret, but before long, Brad learns about it, too. For reasons I won't explain, Brad ends up also befriending Tommy. (Though we actually don't see much of Brad; he's not really important.) But I need to mention that there's a mysterious man with some kind of power, who is secretly following Tommy and apparently helping him, without Tommy's knowledge. So it'll be interesting to learn what his deal is.

Meanwhile, in East L.A., there's a former soldier named Carlos Gutierrez (apparently a war hero, though it's hinted that he doesn't deserve the recognition he's received), who returns home to his family, from whom he's somewhat estranged. His nephew, Jose, looks up to him, but Jose's father, Oscar (Carlos's brother), doesn't. Jose also looks up to a local vigilante called El Vengador, though Oscar discourages his hero-worship. Of course, it later turns out that Oscar is El Vengador... but he gets killed when a group of EVO-hunters (not Luke and Joanne) set a trap for him. Carlos finds Oscar just before he dies, and the mantle is passed to him. He begins investigating a secret group working within the police department who had been working with the EVO-hunters, I guess. Oh, and we also learn that Jose has the power to phase through objects (like D.L Hawkins in the original series). And Oscar had been running an underground railroad for EVOs to escape to Canada (which is supposedly more tolerant of EVOs than the U.S., though there's reason to think this may not be true). He received help with this from a priest, who is also an EVO. And now Carlos continues Oscar's work.

Meanwhile, in Tokyo, there's a gamer named Ren Shimosawa, who unlocked a level of a video game called "Evernow," which was created by a man named Hachiro Otomo, who is currently missing. The secret level in the game revealed an address to Ren, and when he goes there, it turns out to be the home of Hachiro and his daughter, Miko. He soon realizes that Miko resembles a character in Evernow, called Katana Girl. He even shows her... I think it's a comic book based on the game. But she knows nothing about this, and doesn't want to believe what he's telling her. However, his story leads her to discover a hidden sword in her father's study, and when she unsheathes it, she's transported into the game, where she becomes Katana Girl, and is a major badass. (This reminded me of Code Lyoko, though there are probably any number of stories where such things happen... now that I'm writing this, Tron comes to mind.) Anyway, she discovers that her father is being held prisoner by the mooks in the game, so she has to try to rescue him. And she'll receive some help from Ren, who is of course still in the real world, but can play the game normally, so... his avatar helps her fight the mooks. And whenever she sheathes her sword, she returns to the real world (and if she's traveled to a specific place in the game, I mean a place that also exists in reality, she will reappear in that place in the real world, apparently). This happens when she returns to reality inside Yamagato Tower (which is presumably the same Yamagato Industries that Hiro and Ando worked for in the original series). Also, Miko seems to be a badass in reality (though presumably only to the extent that a person can be in real life; she has moves in-game that I haven't yet seen her do in real life, though I'd love it if she turns out to be able to go all Crouching Tiger in reality, too). Anyway... it's hardly surprising to me that, as with Hiro in the original series, it looks like my favorite character in "Reborn" will also be Japanese.

We also meet an EVO named Francis Culp, who's using his telekinetic power to cheat at craps in some casino. A young woman whom he's just met and immediately calls his good luck charm (getting her to blow on the dice) later turns out to be planning on stealing his winnings. But he turns his power on her, basically force-choking her like a Sith, but he's stopped by a mysterious woman who had met her earlier, and they run away together. But it turns out the mysterious woman and the man were working together to capture her. And we learn that the woman they've captured is in fact Molly Walker, whose own power is central to some plan Renautas has, and whom Noah and Quentin are currently seeking. (She had been a little girl in the original series, though I don't remember much specifically about her, from that show.) The woman who was working with Francis is Taylor Kravid, the daughter of Erica Kravid, who is the head of Renautas.

Meanwhile, in the Arctic, a 16-year-old girl named Malina is apparently manipulating the Northern Lights, to try and postpone some inevitable incident which will be a huge threat to the world. Which is apparently what all the heroes will have to be united to prevent. Malina is aided by an EVO named Farah Nazan, who later turns out to have a past that involves Carlos Gutierrez.

Episodes 7 and 8 are a two-parter that involves time travel (and Hiro Nakamura), and a lot of major things are revealed, which I don't want to spoil. But I will say that a new timeline is established, which alters some important things that had happened before this point in the series. And... I'm not sure what else to tell you, right now. Except that it looks like Tommy and Malina will be more important than any of the other EVOs, in stopping the impending natural disaster.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to see the last few episodes, but I hope to do so eventually.


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