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Greg Grunberg (#110 of 6)

Heroes Recap: Season 2, Episode 7, “Out of Time”

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<em>Heroes</em> Recap: Season 2, Episode 7, “Out of Time”
<em>Heroes</em> Recap: Season 2, Episode 7, “Out of Time”

After weeks of slow buildup, story padding and other barely disguised stall tactics, Heroes finally kicked into gear on Monday with its seventh episode of the season, “Out of Time”. Written by Aron Eli Coleite and directed by Daniel Attias, we finally get to see more than two main characters interacting together, as well as some decent twists and a good deal of advancement in the season’s main arcs. The same flaws are still there—stilted dialogue, those ever-present wooden characters and a recycled time-travel plot—but because the pace is much improved, the flaws become so much less important. It doesn’t forgive that it took us six weeks to get here, but “Out of Time” certainly proves that the faster Heroes moves, the better it seems.

Heroes Recap: Season 2, Episode 5, “Fight or Flight”

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<em>Heroes</em> Recap: Season 2, Episode 5, “Fight or Flight”
<em>Heroes</em> Recap: Season 2, Episode 5, “Fight or Flight”

After a brief resurgence in energy and fun last week, Heroes’ second season takes a real dive with its fifth episode “Fight or Flight”. It is definitely one of the worst episodes the series has produced in its young life, but not because any of the material is particularly shockingly bad. It is just lazy and sluggish, lacking any sense of forward momentum and weighed down with plodding, expositional dialogue.

Consider the fifth episode of the first season, “Hiros,“which featured a conversation between Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia) and a future version of Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka), a confident warrior who seemed to know Peter well and knew the trials they would face together. This twist suggested quite an exciting future for the show’s characters, where they were hardened warriors who fought alongside each other in full mastery of their powers. Yet currently, Peter is an amnesiac, dilly-dallying in Ireland rather than do-gooding in New York (easily the best real-life superhero location in comics lore), and Hiro is stuck in an increasingly boring feudal Japan trying to woo a beautiful princess. There are smatterings of intrigue, some domestic drama and a couple of fledgling romances, but for a show called Heroes, there’s really not a lot of heroism going down at the moment.

Heroes Recap: Season 2, Episode 4, “The Kindness of Strangers”

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<em>Heroes</em> Recap: Season 2, Episode 4, “The Kindness of Strangers”
<em>Heroes</em> Recap: Season 2, Episode 4, “The Kindness of Strangers”

Finally, with its fourth episode, Heroes picked up speed, dropping its more leaden plots for a week and adding depth and intrigue to the key mysteries. We’re not even close to the rollicking, ridiculous heights the first season occasionally reached, but “The Kindness of Strangers”, written by creator Tim Kring and directed by Adam Kane, shone a little hope on what has otherwise been a slow-moving season.

Truth be told, the episode benefited from the absence of two plots foregrounded in previous weeks: Peter Petrelli’s (Milo Ventimiglia) adventures in Ireland and Hiro Nakamura’s (Masi Oka) Back to the Future-esque antics in medieval Japan. While Hiro’s stuff had been fun, in an irrelevant, oddball kind of way, both storylines were draggy and distracting. These opening hours should have set out some general arcs for season two, but instead they’ve been meandering and sluggish, hinting at vague mysteries instead of hooking viewers with exciting new story developments.

Heroes Recap: Season 2, Episode 3, “Kindred”

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<em>Heroes</em> Recap: Season 2, Episode 3, “Kindred”
<em>Heroes</em> Recap: Season 2, Episode 3, “Kindred”

In “Kindred”, the third episode of Heroes’ second season, some of the characters revealed their powers to others and encountered acceptance, even intimacy. This in itself wouldn’t be a bad thing—the struggle superheroes have reconciling their loneliness is one of the genre’s common themes. It’s just a shame the writers are exploring it by keeping their characters trapped in sub-par, meandering story arcs that do little to advance the grander mysteries of the show.

After the first two equally slow-moving, but somewhat more intriguing episodes of this season, “Kindred” (written by J.J. Philbin and directed by Paul Edwards) seemed to finalize that this is indeed the tone that the writers are going for. The fast-paced, head-spinning ridiculousness of last year is gone for now: instead we’re stuck with a self-contained adventure soap material moving at a snail’s pace.

Heroes Recap: Season 2, Episode 2, “Lizards”

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<em>Heroes</em> Recap: Season 2, Episode 2, “Lizards”
<em>Heroes</em> Recap: Season 2, Episode 2, “Lizards”

It’s both understandable and frustrating that after the first season of Heroes, in which the characters’ journeys crossed paths repeatedly and various secrets were unearthed, the writers have basically hit the reset button.

The entire cast was assembled in New York for the season-one finale; now everyone is spread out across the world again, pursuing their own interests, although thankfully by now most of our heroes are comfortable in the use of their abilities. Only Peter Petrelli (Milo Ventimiglia), rendered amnesiac by his journey (and subsequent explosion) into the heavens, is doing the perplexed/amazed facial expressions dance as he shows off his various powers, and in his case it might be a good thing. In the doe-eyed, idealistic Peter (who mimics and subsequently retains the abilities of any other hero he gets near), the writers found a de facto lead character for their show, but also stumbled across a fairly common problem in superhero writing—Peter is simply too powerful for his own good.

Heroes Recap: Season 2, Episode 1, “Four Months Later”

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<em>Heroes</em> Recap: Season 2, Episode 1, “Four Months Later”
<em>Heroes</em> Recap: Season 2, Episode 1, “Four Months Later”

The first season of NBC’s zeitgeist-seizing sci-fi hit Heroes made its name by ending with a bang. Virtually every episode concluded with a mind-bending cliffhanger or twist, redeeming the dullest hour and leaving even casual fans eagerly anticipating the next one. This tactic built the series’s reputation as the “anti-Lost.” Where the latter seemed to look further and further inwards, adding layers to its mystery without actually solving anything, Heroes satisfied its viewers week-to-week with answers, consistent excitement and twists that paid off. NBC’s series confounded its champions, however, by ending on a cataclysmically bum note. Last May’s first season finale was the whimper to end all whimpers, and left many critics disgruntled. It’s unfortunate, then, that season two began just as ponderously, doing little to allay fears that Heroes might have contracted “second season syndrome” earlier than expected.