Airs Mondays at 9:00 on NBC
By Alexander B. Huls
The Season One finale of Heroes broke my heart. It let me down to a degree that it tainted all the episodes before it, and left me wary about the start of the new season in September. When you have an entire exciting season specifically crafted to build towards some monumental event (and you build up the fact that it’s a monumental event), and then the whole thing just kind of peters out, you feel — as a viewer — slightly betrayed by the creators, in addition to your utter disappointment. All set-up and no pay(off) makes Alex a dully disappointed boy.
This led me to watch the Season Two premiere of Heroes with an attitude not unlike a boyfriend giving a cheating girlfriend another chance. I was excited at the possibility of reconciliation, desperate to have my faith and trust restored, and more than a little frightened of being let down again.
So how did the beginning of Season Two fair in my esteem? Forsaking a more traditional means of reviewing, I am going to use the same method I use to evaluate whether I should drink and dial: a good old fashioned pros and cons list. As a firm believer in bad news needing to go first, let’s start with that.
» The self-important, annoyingly over-dramatic opening narration is still there.
» Given that the premiere was already squeezing in lots of characters, the addition of Alejandro and Maya has me worried Heroes may be spreading itself too thin. I do, of course, understand that new characters are required for new plots, but what doesn’t help is that their story just isn’t that interesting (yet) especially when it seems like Maya’s only power is to channel The X-Files and make people die and leak that black ooze from their eyes.
» Though Claire’s struggle with wanting to be her true self and hiding it for her own survival is interesting, the fact that the premiere unnecessarily dragged that theme out has me wondering whether the creators are attempting to cash in on the show’s big breakout star, Hayden Panettiere. It also made me sad that she is the sole breakout star and not Greg Grunberg. Damn it, break him out, people!
» The Claire family storyline also had some failed moments. One is the awkward dinner sequence which is meant to play as funny and reflective of the lie-based life the family now leads, but it simply came off as unbearable, irrelevant, and far too long. Then, after having to sit through HRG’s (Horn-Rimmed-Glasses, a.k.a. Claire’s father) long speech about Claire needing to remain ordinary, we see her nearly get hit by a car, stick her hand over an open flame and risk a third dangerous injury all in the same day. Finally the extended scenes of HRG in the paper store overstayed their intended purpose, and veered into the unbelievable. I don’t know about you guys, but where I come from assaulting your superior is not keeping a low-profile. It also does not assure their silence, but instead results in you getting fired and/or charged with assault.
» (SPOILER WARNING) It seems that the inclusion of David Anders (the awesome Mr. Stark from Alias) in addition to existing cast-member Greg Grunberg, has resulted in Alias influenced Heroes plots, as Peter’s situation (presumed-dead, unaccounted for a time in which weird things have happened and returns with amnesia) is exactly what happened between Seasons Two and Three of Alias. What makes matters worse is that — and this is simply my own taste — I absolutely cannot stand amnesia storylines because for the most part they come off as the melodramatic hackneyed and lazy writing they represent. Very rarely have I seen it pulled off well.Pros
» Even if it’s somewhat cliché, I like Nathan’s descent into depression and booze, largely because I believe that it’s a natural result of his belief that he has failed his brother. On a side note, what is with two of this season’s premieres (the other being How I Met Your Mother) featuring depressed guys who grow beards and at get drunk to drown their sorrows?
» Seeing Matt finally get his badge and realize his dream of becoming a detective tickled my sympathy bone, and his adorable and sweet relationship with Molly tickled my heart. On that note, I also remain intrigued at the prospect of the frightening man/eyes Molly keeps on seeing in her dreams.
» (SPOILER WARNING) There were several exciting twists, including HRG’s plan to take down The Company with the help of Sayesh’ infiltration, and the revelation that Hiro’s idol, Takezo Sensei, is a British, drunken con-man.
» Despite some weaker plot-lines mentioned above, there were also several good ones. Careful now, I’m about to break out the numbers:
1) Though it’s really just a variation of Hiro’s quest from Season One, it is an interesting and fun move to see Hiro — after realizing his own heroic destiny — help someone else realize theirs. Or, possibly, just do the heroic acts for them.
2) I am deeply intrigued by the plotline regarding the death threats to the architectural designers of The Company, and who the hooded man was who came after Sulu. I mean, Hiro’s father.
3) Though I already confessed I cannot stand amnesia storylines, I am intrigued by Peter’s situation. I don’t care to deal with the personal drama of his not being able to remember who he is, but I am deeply intrigued to find out how he ended up in that crate, who sent the robbers to it, and why he’s wearing a necklace with the mysterious symbol of the show. And most importantly, it is this plotline that I can thank for finally ridding us of Peter’s horrible hairstyle from last season.
So in the end, the premiere was a mixed bag for me, but I am well aware that this was only the first episode of the new season. If the previous season taught us anything it’s that Heroes is capable of throwing exciting twists our way, and taking storylines in new and exciting directions, or at least interesting ones. So, despite all my hesitation, you can bet your bottom dollar I will glued to my TV on Monday at 9:00 for the rest of the season to see where it all goes.