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Heroes: Season 2 - Four Months Later (Review)

Heroes: Season 1, Hayden Panettiere as Claire Bennet

Review by Jack Foley

INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from our favourite television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we take a look at the season 2 episode of Heroes entitled Four Months Later.

What’s the story? Four months after the events of the showdown between Sylar and Peter, new Heroes emerge. These include brother and sister Alejandro and Maya. Hiro (Masi Oka) remains in the past, someone dies and someone isn’t dead. Claire (Hayden Panettiere), her father (Jack Coleman) and the rest of their family begin a new life.

Why so good? The second season opener of Heroes arrives amid reports of having possibly “jumped the shark” in America, with even series creator Tim Kring suggesting that the recent writers’ strike had come at the right time to halt the decline in quality (a claim he has since denied). But on the evidence of the opening 50 minutes, the show’s quality remains intact.

Heroes has never been about quick spectacle and non-stop special effects and action sequences. Rather, it takes its time to reach the high points and invests time in each character. Hence, Four Months Later was more about sowing the seeds of future development, introducing new characters and new threats and discovering the fallout from the climactic events of season one. That said, Hiro’s journey to the past seems to be the least interesting aspect of proceedings and the sooner he rejoins the present, the better…

Digging a little deeper: Given the acclaim and anticipation surrounding the return of Heroes, writer Tim Kring was always going to be faced with a mammoth task in keeping everyone satisfied. The early evidence is that this second series WILL continue to jeep us engrossed.

There are problems, of course. Hiro’s presence in the past, chasing old warlords and learning about his heritage, was a weak link that threatens to drag out proceedings. He’s much better working in the present day, where his witty repartee with assistant Ando (James Kyson Lee) provided a season one highlight.

And the arrival of two new heroes – the brother and sister Alejandro and Maya – didn’t hold that much interest. Lost frequently suffers from the same problem, introducing new characters who simply get in the way of past audience favourites. Maybe we’ll be proved wrong, though, especially since Maya appears to possess destructive powers.

But there was still plenty to enjoy, even though in some cases Kring appears to have cheated with the development of some characters. When last we saw Greg Grunberg’s officer Matt Parkman, for instance, he was at death’s door, having taken four bullets to the chest. His opening scene in this first episode saw him winning the detectives’ badge, reporting back to an adopted daughter and muttering something about a divorce. There’s a lot that could have benefited from greater exploration.

Adrian Pasdar’s Nathan Petrelli had also grown a beard and gone to pot over the apparent death of younger brother, Peter (Milo Ventimiglia), while Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) was being recruited by a strange company executive (played by Stephen Tobolowsky) back home in India.

Several other key players from the previous season didn’t even get a look in. But it’s early days yet and, as usual, viewers’ patience was rewarded with some nice closing minute pay-offs.

Suresh, for instance, is obviously still working covertly with Jack Coleman’s Noah Bennett to infiltrate and destroy what’s left of the company, while a new threat – a hooded one – has already started to track down and kill characters linked with the heroes. The first to go, for instance, was Hiro’s father, Kaito Nakamura (George Takei), who was unceremoniously thrown from the top of a rooftop. His death could well be the start of several slayings, all linked by a sign that appears on the photo of each victim.

The ending, too, confirmed what we all suspected – that Peter Petrelli isn’t dead. But he isn’t the man he used to be, either, having been located naked and chained up in a container in Ireland, apparently suffering from amnesia.

So, the seeds have been sewn… and they promise to yield another strong harvest. The reports from America seem to be unfounded at this early stage, although there’s still a long, long way to go and it should be interesting to see how Kring takes things forward and what challenges await our superheroes on the second time of asking.

What did you think?