Under the Mask
The episode “Under the Mask” continues the events from the two episode premiere. Both Noah and Quentin continue their quest to find Molly Walker and encounter trouble along the way from the organization known as Renautas. The episode introduces Erica Kravid (Rya Khilstedt) as the powerful company CEO of Renautas and series antagonist who seeks to capture Evos as a means of using their abilities for not-so pleasant purposes. From the premiere, we find that the Evo hunters Luke (Zachary Levi) and Joanne (Judi Skekioni) continue their quest of vengeance for their dead son. Meanwhile Miko (Kiki Sukezane) also continues her quest, searching for her father. At the same time, she discovers the power of what is now identified as Hiro Nakamura’s samurai sword. We also see a real growth in the friendship between Emily (Gatlin Green) and Tommy (Robbie Kay) as he figures out new things about his powers. Also, we have a decent action sequence seen with Carlos Gutierrez (Ryan Guzman) as he searches for the truth behind what happened to his brother.
Overall the episode was a reminder of what was interesting about its predecessor in terms of character-driven story and furthered what was great from “Brave New World/Odessa”. It had a rather brisk pacing where a lot of ground was covered with characters that would not leave audiences struggling. This pretty much overcomes the flaws of the predecessor where a slow story brought down the quality of Heroes post-season 1.
Elements such as Noah and Quentin’s dynamic was rather funny to watch especially as they work out
their kinks as partners as they explore the inner workings of the immense antagonistic corporation. Tommy’s storyline features him facing new consequences with his powers as he does the usual teenage things by going out to parties with plenty of underage drinking. His story eventually kicks itself into higher gear as we see new parties coming in and disrupting the lives of both mother and son creating a cliffhanger into Episode 4. This is really great to see happen as Tommy’s arc could have had the unfortunate potential of dragging itself out. Miko’s ongoing quest features entertaining and engaging action scenes especially as she takes on Harris Prime (Clé Bennett), who can copy himself.
Luke and Joanne’s story arc however was the weakest link in this episode. It was a rather predictable turn that one of them especially Zachary Levi becomes an Evo. You don’t usually hire an actor like that unless you plan to do something huge with them. At least it wasn’t dragged out over several episodes. However, Carlos’ story arc was much improved here. His story arc introduces one of the first big action scenes in this series involving a fight with him and surprisingly a dirty cop James Dearing (Dylan Bruce) who himself is secretly an Evo. This makes things rather interesting especially in the way in which the title of the episode plays into not just this story arc but also the others.
The Needs of the Many
This episode picks up from where “Under the Mask” has finished while at the same time develops further arcs that weren’t really explored that well. Tommy tries to save his mother’s life by teleporting around with Emily to find blood to save her life. Joanne and Luke make their way over to St. Louis and continue their Evo hunting. Soon after their relationship irrevocably changes. Miko and Ren prepare to depart on their journey to America and muse on their future adventures. Noah and Quentin make a move against Renautas by using a new ally to their advantage. Carlos enters into a new phase in his mission as a different kind of hero. Meanwhile Farrah and Malina, two characters that were relatively unexplored are brought to the forefront.
Tommy’s story arc was rather entertaining and endearing to the character for the most part. Robbie Kay in this episode communicates a character in need of friendship especially in scenes involving his two friends Emily and Brad. It’s great to see small moments like this knowing that Tommy will have to face even more trouble much more later on.
Joanne and Luke’s story arc suddenly became more interesting this episode. Joanne eventually finds out that Luke is an Evo and pretty much leaves him given her dislike of them. It’s great to see shake-ups like this. What really enhanced this was all the talk of whether or not killing random Evos is the right thing. I really like how the episode makes them and the audience see that there’s no straight Black and White answer to this when they invade a lovely American home and kill the nice father with a family. It was really poignant seeing the family dog lie next to its dead master.
Contrasting this was Miko’s brief story arc in the few scenes her and Ren have. Ren uses his social media fame for future plans involving Renautas and Miko muses on events from the last episode. The brief exchange provided some relief in this generally angst ridden episode as well as developing them into a much different version of the classic Ando/Hiro relationship where Miko is the warrior badass and Ren is the light-hearted one with a greater awareness of the world around him compared to Miko. We also get more character development into both Farrah (Nazneen Contractor) and Malina (Danika Yarosh) as the over-arching story of what Renautas sets out to achieve with the Evo tracking technology “Epic” is kicked into a higher gear. We learn that Farrah’s character has the power of invisibility and Malina can control the very power of nature and perhaps the Earth as well. We also learn that Malina is trained from birth into being some sort of saviour, which is a different sort of story than seen before in Heroes. Nonetheless, it’ll be interesting to see where this all goes.
Quentin and Noah’s story took on some additional players that flesh out their story. Added to their little gang against the immense corporation was Taylor (Eve Harlow) who is Erica Kravid’s daughter. Initially we find her as the no-nonsense henchman type who obtains Evos for her mother. Now through Quentin and Noah’s interactions she sees the light and sees what Renautas truly is. This is especially true as her mother provides ambiguous answers to what is the status of her boyfriend. I liked how this has added layers to the character and gave them a conflict. Additionally Molly Walker’s arc comes to a close as she commits suicide. This drives the whole “Forget the past, save the future” point home to Noah and crew and hopefully escalate the plot forward as there’s so much you can do in a mini-series.
Just like in the previous episode, Carlos’ story tends to be the most interesting. He tries to make himself into a pseudo-Batman/Iron Man by enhancing the El Vengador suit left by his Evo brother as the events of the previous episode left him broken and battered. He is reminded by Father Maurico that it’s all about whoever is underneath the “powers” is what really makes the hero. This reinforces one of the central themes of Heroes while at the same time, provides something new in the form of a self-made hero. I still wonder though if he really is an Evo or not.
Overall, “The Needs of the Many” was a satisfactory episode with some interesting additions to a number of story arcs covered in the show. For those who’ve watched the Dark Matters prequels, there’s a nice cliffhanger indicating the fate of Phoebe.