Another week, another Heroes episode– another raised eyebrow and exclamation of “Hmmmm….”
HEROES: S2 E02 – “Lizards”
Is it just me, or is Cult TV’s latest ‘most talked-about’ show in serious trouble? Certainly, the first two episodes of the second season have been, for the most part, astoundingly lazy, with episode two continuing the kind of aimless wheel-spinning that was forgivable back in Season 1 when it was coming between some major highlights, but all we’ve had so far is a lot of disparate murky intrigue, but nothing truly attention-grabbing. By this time last season, the show had at least managed to completely blind-side me with the reveal of Hiro’s trip into the future, plus the detonation of New York. Instead, the show that made its name with some of the ballsiest, most loopy and entertaining cliffhangers I’d seen for a while has instead served up a couple of fairly lame episode endings, and inbetween we’ve had a lot of dead space, and not much genuine movement in the stories. As was easy to predict virtually from episode 12 of Season 1, Hiro ends up having to become the legendary hero he read about, and most of this plotline is coming across like a badly thought out and weakly structured Samurai movie parody. Nice to see that ‘Kensai’ has a power, but it would have been better if they could have demonstrated it some other way than a pathetically staged ‘drive-by’ with some of the least convincing arrow-hits in recent memory (Once again, Heroes is in desperate need of a decent action director). There were, at least, some halfway decent moments this episode– Claire finally starting to investigate the limits of her power (acting like a normal person- something that’s been rare this season so far), and the beautiful sudden scene-shift showing the Haitan’s powers (even though the later scene with Mohinder on the phone seemed to imply that he’d been pretending- which makes no sense as that scene was from his point of view…), but they were few and far between.
The Honduran Twin’s powers were clarified a little, but their plotline is still stuck in the “oh no, bad things are going to happen!” repeat, and I suspect will gain very little traction until they meet other characters. I’m not even sure exactly what the girl’s power is, whether it’s heavy-handed Catholic symbolism, an X-Files in-joke, or the Ebola virus, but I’m not exactly thirsting to find out. Elsewhere, Claire’s plotline is feeling way too Buffy-like, Nathan’s beard continues to dazzle with its bushiness (although it is much better than Matthew Fox’s false beard in the Lost finale- the only annoying flaw in an otherwise outstanding episode), and there’s some nice incidents involving Nathan’s mother, but the plotline involving Peter and the Oirish mobsters is borderline ridiculous. Amnesia is a risky plot-twist to go for- especially when you’ve got an actor like Milo Ventigmilia who spends most of his time wearing an expression of extreme surprise- and to make things even worse, we’ve got a ‘significant box’ macguffin that’s obviously there to spin out this Irish plotline for at least two more episodes. The logic gaps in Heroes are getting more noticable- and it’s certainly pushing it to show Peter aceing a gang of thugs with his powers, and then neglecting to use them to get the box back, instead agreeing to tag along for more criminal shennanigans (And why exactly did they think the half-naked man chained inside the cargo container would be able to tell them where these iPods they were seeking actually were?). It’s showing all the signs of a series in its imperial phase, convinced of its own brilliance, and drifting by on a vague whodunnit and more godforsaken “let’s try and track down more of Isaac’s paintings” plot devices. Heroes needs an adrenaline shot- and it needs it fast.