|Adam Monroe. Evil badass. Awesome mofo.|
The difficult second album. Heroes had originally meant, in the planning stages, to have a rolling cast which showcased new stories with each volume. With that scrapped, the writers instead planned a three-volume second season, which would have taken all sorts of weird and wonderful directions. The Writers Guild of America Strike, however, cut that short, and the resulting season could only manage eleven episodes, making this the shortest of the five volumes. It was a season ravaged from all directions by characterisation trouble, new characters who didn't mean much, crazy plot twists and a pace that failed to match its more brief running time. (And yet somehow, it's still better than Miracle Day.)
I think it's fair to say that the vast majority of the Volume's troubles fall down to the Strike, but even despite that there are a few weird issues here or there. Peter is given soap amnesia, Hiro spends eight or so episodes in the 1600s, Claire and HRG have assumed a suburban life again. It feels like the writing team had a bit of bother in trying to fit the old characters into the "brand new world" after the finalé, where by rights everyone should know each other and be out doing daring do. This could have been used as the build-up to something truly spectacular, looking better in hindsight, but unfortunately the storyline that would have followed had to be cut off.
The big trauma of this Volume is that of the Shanti Virus, a disease that only affects Supers. In the 1970s, the company that HRG worked for (and spends this season trying to bring down, to no avail) mutated the virus into one that could infect normal humans, and in a Bad!Future Peter sees the effects of the virus in the deaths of 93% of the world's population. The original brief for the series would have seen immortal badass Adam Monroe release the virus, leading to eight episodes of death, destruction and quarantine that sounds totally awesome. The strike forced the writers to reshoot several key scenes, instead ensuring that Peter caught the vial of the virus just in time, and had Nathan shot by a mysterious assailant. The potential of that scenario tears my heart out cos it just seems so good.
|Cool powers. Complex characterisation. Kristen Bell.|
She had to be my favourite character,
you just don't understand.
Talking of Monica, let's discuss her uncle, D.L. Hawkins, whose appearance in Season One was totes badass. D.L. suffered a similar fate to that of Nina in Being Human - a finale uses the threat of his death as a dramatic element, only for him to survive that and then die inbetween seasons. As we only find this out in a flashback episode that comes about eight episodes into the Volume, it feels like the most frustrating motherfucker in the world. D.L. might as well have just died at Kirby Plaza, because the overall effect is the same and the subplot used in that episode to explain his death is one of the most stupid things that the show has ever done and probably will ever do, featuring a second alter-ego of Niki's called Gina who never appears before or after.
The vote for my favourite episode of the Volume is a bit difficult given the circumstances, but oddly enough it would have to be that aforementioned flashback episode, Four Months Ago... . It's a strangely absorbing episode that really fulfils that need to see the cliffhanger of Season One resolved. I think the choice to leave that resolution to episode eight of eleven was god-damn stupid given that that's not the way TV has ever really worked (It's a bit like showing Boom Town straight after the cliffhanger in The Empty Child and then coming back the next week and saying, "Oh yeah, that cliffhanger, here's how they got out of it.") In showing what happened to our characters between the seasons we are better able to follow them as people, and that is what characterisations are about.
|Amnesiac!Peter has a relationship with Caitlin, an irish girl|
who ends up trapped in the Bad!Future and is thus
subsequently never mentioned EVER AGAIN. Cool.
IN EIGHT WEEKS: Arthur Petrelli. Is Sylar really Peter's brother? Cool powers for everyone! Oh, except you Peter. Sorry about that. It's Volume Three - Villains.