Here's novel. It's the middle of winter and I'm doing a season finale. Even more novel, I'm doing a season finale for Heroes and I've already done one this year for the first season, and that only aired on the BBC last night.
That last point is very useful because I did have visions of a spoiler-free review of this finale for UK viewers that basically went along the lines of “some stuff happened involving some people”. As it is, I've had to use this generic picture from the finale (is she alive? I“m not saying, but remember time travel, etc are all possible in Heroes, so assume nothing, UK viewers) to avoid any real spoilers. Fingers-crossed, I won't be spoiling anyone when I get down to the details.
Brace yourselves: we're going in...
As I pointed out in my season-opener review, the season started well but not brilliantly as all the disparate characters and pieces were plonked on the plot board. Trouble is, it then slid downhill a bit as Tim Kring and co decided that we really wanted the first season again.
Now it's all very well having a slow burn revelation of powers à la Unbreakable when you're starting out. But 25 episodes in, we're looking for good stuff, like crapping great big fights using super-powers. At the very least, we're looking for something we've not seen before, unless we're a bit OCD and just like re-watching the same stuff, over and over again, that is. We're certainly not interested in finding out about a whole bunch of new heroes when we've already invested our interest in the dozen or so from the first season and have to wait for an episode or two before our favourites crop up again.
About the only difference in season two has been that our cast of heroes have been getting better at using their powers. Even our Peter has worked out how to use two at once, a problem that made the first-season finale a bit of a damp squib.
Thing changed about three quarters of the way through - you'll need patience, UK viewers. In fact, judging by the experience of my wife's viewing of the season, it's probably best to stack them all up on your PVR/video/Apple TV and then watch eight or nine in one go since you don't have to sit through the weekly wait that ends up with little payoff each episode.
In a sense, the writers' strike in the US has been the very best thing possible for the second season. Rather than string out what I shall call, in a prog-rock, spoiler-free way “The Adam Monroe Project” for 24 episodes, it's been compacted down into just 11. So while the first seven or eight episodes, with a few exceptions, were just killing time, although usually with something good in each episode to latch onto, the last three episodes have been pretty good and fun-filled.
The finale itself was better than season one's, although more low-key and probably about as logical: did anyone else wonder why Peter couldn't just go through the door instead of going to all that extra effort? And why was he so trusting of Adam? Why didn't he just find out the truth directly from the man himself by reading his mind? (highlight to reveal). And there's a whole muddle of mixed motivations for all the other characters as well.
How many of our heroes - and villains – will survive into season three, judging by some of the events, remains to be seen. But brace yourselves for the worst is all I'll say.
In fact, brace yourself for the best as well, judging by the now traditional “first three minutes of the next volume” tacked on at the end, since it looks like Kring and co have indeed realised that what we want is something a bit more pyrotechnic and hardcore now and are going to rev things up a bit in season three. I do hope so.