After last week’s 2 hour premiere that established the new characters, the status quo of the Heroes universe and the stakes involved, “Under the Mask” keeps the show’s foot slammed down on the gas pedal while introducing us to new antagonists as well as make startling reveals about our new characters. We’re also beginning to see more cross over with the various plot threads and characters and it’s clear now that the 13 episode run of the series will keep the show from meandering on main plots and wasting time on side plots that go nowhere that plagued the series.
After checking in on Malina, the blonde girl in the Arctic Circle trying to control the Northern Lights, only now she’s being guided by an invisible woman, we follow Noah and Quentin as they hotwire a truck and drive to the nearest hospital. We also follow Luke and Joanne on the same stretch of road. As they listen to anti-Evo talk radio and Joanne gleefully goes over Noah’s files for potential targets, Luke becomes increasingly more uncomfortable with what they are doing. The car then overheats (or shorts) and they have to walk with Luke noticing how unusually hot it is, even in the Texas sun.
Unlike last week where the plotline crossovers were sparse, here the majority of the plotlines begin to intertwine right away with Renautas being the interconnecting thread. Noah and Quentin are on their way to Midian, Colorado to find out why Renautas are trying to find Molly Walker. Along the way, they stop at the nearest hospital to tend to Quentin’s gunshot wound. While there, one of the doctors recognizes Noah, who was there June 13th. After calling security, Noah grabs one of the security guards who tells him that he put a guard in the hospital that day. Noah then asks to look at the security footage from that day. He sees him skipping from one place to the next, thus proving Hiro is somehow involved, him crying over Claire’s body in the morgue and him and Molly Walker in the hallway. In his grief, Noah wonders aloud why he asked the Haitian to make him forget about Claire. In Tokyo, after appearing in the lobby of the Yamagoto Tower and kicking the asses of the security guards, Miko is taken out and then upstairs for interrogation by Harris (Prime) (Cle Bennett), a man who knows that her katana belongs to Hiro Nakamura. He informs Erica Kravid (Rya Kihlstedt), the CEO of Renautas, who is there for a sales meeting about the attempted break-in. Meanwhile, Ren follows Miko to the building, gets a picture of Erica and swipes an ID. After Harris interrogates Miko about her father and then brings out a set of knives, Miko with the help of Ren breaks out and in the process cuts off Harris’ hand. We then see that not only can he grow appendages and heal, but that he can clone himself and send said clone to do his bidding. Outside the tower, Ren tells Miko about Erica and that she’s heading to Midian, Colorado, which is where they’re going now. Meanwhile, Molly is being put on a private jet with Taylor, the woman who captured her alongside Francis, the Evo with the TK ability. Francis, however, is being grounded and not allowed onto the plane.
These plotlines and characters converge in Midian, Colorado where upon finding Molly, Noah tries to break her free. Surprisingly, Molly refuses to go with Noah, telling him that there’s “Too much at risk.” After Harris grabs her, Molly is then strapped into a chair and hooked up to the computers powering E.P.I.C., the product Erica is unveiling that night that is the ultimate in Evo tracking technology that can find every unregistered Evo around the world. So basically Cerebro crossed with Google Glass and a VR headset. She demonstrates by using the technology to find one that’s sitting there during the presentation. And in the Arctic Circle, a Harris clone lead’s a team to track down Malina and the invisible woman. Seeing firsthand what they’re up to, Noah becomes determined to find Molly and destroy E.P.I.C.
As for the plots that aren’t intersecting, Carlos follows one of the corrupt cops on his brother’s board to an off-site interrogation with him and two others interrogating a woman tied to a chair. But when they throw said woman out a window, the woman hovers and then flies away. After the cop says that they can track her, Carlos gives himself away and is chased by said cops. He gets away thanks to the priest, who can turn others into smoke as well. Later on, Carlos follows said cop to where the woman is hiding. And wearing the El Vegador costume, he warns the Evos there to flee. As El Vegador, he fights the main corrupt cop, who then proceeds to mop the floor with him. He’s an Evo too with super strength. Over in Illinois, Tommy is heading out for his first party at Brad’s to hang out with Emily. But his mom Anne (Krista Bridges, who I mistakenly referred to as Noah’s finacee, so I’d like to apologize) is concerned over his newfound social life. After telling her about the mysterious texts he’s been getting and them teleporting away from her, Tommy heads to the party at Brad’s, who nearly blabs about his ability. And as Tommy walks Emily home, Anne pulls a gun on the mysterious man with the pennies, who they both seem familiar with. Anne then grabs Tommy and drives him home. Recognizing the “Ready to bolt” look on her face, Tommy tells Anne that he likes it here and wants to stay, right before they’re side swiped and ‘To be Continued’ closes the episode.
But the biggest revelation comes with Luke and Joanne. As they grab a bite to eat, Luke asks why they’re doing this amidst flashbacks to them and their son. After suggesting L.A. as their next destination, Luke sees that the knife he’s been using to cut his steak with is now red hot. And after they pull into a motel, Luke begins to glow brightly and yells “God, why is this happening to me?” before going supernova.
So what about tonight’s episode did I like and not like? Honestly, there’s very little in terms of stuff that I didn’t like. While there still hasn’t been any major character development for Miko, the oragami she makes that’s shown above gives us some insight into who she is as a lonely girl who has had a ton of time on her hands to develop fighting skills and her creativity. And while it was fun seeing Carlos having his ass handed to him (since if a normal everyday person were to become a masked vigilante that is definitely what would happen to him and her), this is so far the least interesting plotline going on. And after last week’s tour de force turn with Tommy and his plotline, it’s understandable that him being put on the backburner for this week is less than stellar, even with the reveal of his mom and the mystery man knowing each other.
But as for the positives? Like last week’s premiere, there was a lot to like here. With the introduction of Erica and E.P.I.C., we now have a solid antagonist and an escalation of tension for the stakes already established. And Harris (Prime) looks to be a great foil for our heroes to come up against over the course of this run of episodes. Noah’s putting together the mystery of what happened on June 13th is becoming a satisfying mystery with more questions popping up as soon as one is answered. We’re beginning to see more bigotry creeping in around the edges in not only humans against Evos, but Evos working against their own kind for varying reasons. And the reveal of Luke discovering his abilities and the shock and horror that comes with it is the kind of twist and turn that makes the show what it is and why I’m still enthralled with the series.
- As it turns out, Taylor is Erica’s daughter. And that her and Francis have been dating. “‘One of us, one of them’ does not mean in the bedroom, Taylor.” Something tells me we’re going to get a daughter vs. mother showdown in the future.
- I love the little twists we’ve been seeing in the new Evos and their abilities. While we’ve seen Claire heal and regrow appendages, seeing a human body grow out of a hand was a nice bit of WTF, although part of me wonders how the clone got clothes. Could be a network censor thing, so I’m willing to let it slide. And Luke’s heat ability seems to be tied into the sun, so it’s not exactly a repeat of Ted Sprauge aka. Radiation Dude from season 1.
- Evos go for 25 grand on the black market.
- It’s a tiny thing, but I love how the show uses its graphics. Details like Harris’ translation subtitle matching the quiver of his hand holding the phone he’s showing to Miko as well as the episode titles and how they appear week to week always made Heroes stand out from other shows.
- I’m loving the use of the monarch butterfly as the weaving bit of symbolism that we’ve seen so far in the show. While the cockroach fit with the original series as a metaphor for survival and adaptability, the monarch butterfly fits in with the new series’ tone of fragile evolution and rebirth.
"Under the Mask" charges ahead with its introduction of our main antagonists, an escalation of stakes and a character reveal that promises to keep things interesting in the coming weeks.