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RERUN REVIEW: Heroes “Season 2: The Shanti Virus”

Season 2 of Heroes was ambitious. In just 11 episodes, the show managed to give us two major storylines that were both well-developed and impressively executed. On one end, we focused on Hiro Nakamura’s adventures in 1671 as he helped create the legend of Takezo Kensei. On the other side of the timeline, we witnessed the rest of our protagonists trying to prevent an outbreak of a deadly virus that could wipe super-powered beings (and regular humans) from the face of the planet. And let’s not forget the major storylines in between, such as the re-emergence of Sylar, the journey of Maya and Alejandro, and the mystery of the eight paintings of Isaac Mendez. Yeah, all this happened in just 11 episodes. We’ve already discussed Hiro’s journey in the past, but how did the other half of the season, the saga of the Shanti Virus, hold up?

While Hiro was cavorting with Takezo Kensei in the past, things were a little worse for the wear in the present. It’s been four months since the showdown at Kirby Plaza. Nathan Petrelli is a miserable drunk, the Bennets are living under a new identity in California, Sylar and Peter Petrelli are presumed dead, and the Sanders family is lacking one father figure. In addition to all this, we’re encountering a new batch of super-powered beings to join in on the fun, but more on them later.

This part of the season revolved around the Shanti Virus, a deadly disease named after Mohinder Suresh’s sister, who unfortunately passed away before he was born. The virus affects super-powered individuals by attacking their nervous system and negating their abilities before ultimately killing them. I thought this was an interesting touch to the show’s storyline. Not only did it shed some background on the Suresh family and Shanti’s fate, but it also provided a unique new enemy for our protagonists. Sometimes, it’s not just your typical bad guy who is the villain; it’s something far deadlier. Sure, you can shoot lightning bolts out of your hands or read minds, but how can you possibly fight a super-disease?

Even if the plot revolving around the Shanti Virus was interesting, it was a little predictable. A part of me always knew that Claire Bennet’s blood would be needed to counteract the virus. She can heal from almost anything; why not have her able to heal from a virus? Though, I did like the extra bit about having to mix the blood with Mohinder’s so that the antibodies could work properly. This made a little more sense and showed that it wasn’t your run-of-the-mill disease. Maybe this also hinted at one of Mohinder’s dormant abilities?

I was worried that Season 1 already showed us all the major super-powered individuals in the Heroes-verse. Fortunately, we were graced with even more super-humans in this latest installment, ranging from a woman who can shoot lightning bolts from her hands, to a man who can turn objects into gold with just a touch. The more powers we see, the more you come to appreciate the creativity that went into building the mythology of Heroes. My favorite power I’ve seen so far belongs to Monica Dawson, the cousin of Micah Sanders with the ability to mimic any activity or feat that she sees, such as scaling buildings to performing expert-level gymnastics. Out of all the characters on the show, I’d love to see Monica become an actual vigilante the most. She’s already been set up for the role. Give her a uniform, let Micah be her techie sidekick, and watch as the adventures begin!

Remember how I said Peter Petrelli was presumed dead? Surprise! He survived the blast! He’s also hiding out in Ireland, but with a severe case of amnesia. The big reveal about Peter still being alive should’ve come as a surprise, but I knew all along that he didn’t die from the explosion. Still, I was happy to see him return. I liked his character, even if Milo Ventimiglia is a bit of an over-actor. His little story arc was interesting, and of course, he was the hero once again when he prevented the outbreak of the Shanti Virus. I was hoping that Mohinder would’ve been the one to save the day this time around. He came up with the formula that counteracted the side-effects, but it seems like everyone will give Peter the credit for catching the vial and preventing it from unleashing the disease. Will this be a recurring theme for the rest of the series?

Sylar also isn’t dead! Whoa! Totally unexpected, right?

That right there is what we call “sarcasm”. Obviously, Sylar didn’t die. Who else could be the big bad in Heroes? We’ve got Adam Monroe and the Shanti Virus, but the show isn’t what it is without a little provocation from the ever-interesting Sylar. This season, he’s without his powers, and he’s not happy about it. For once, Zachary Quinto has to rely on his non-super abilities to show that he is such a great villain. He can’t cut people’s heads open or telekinetically throw glass at his opponents anymore. What he can do, though, is manipulate new friends into trusting him so that they can further assist him on his journey. Using his wit and charm, Sylar hitches a ride with the enigmatic Maya and Alejandro to get back to New York City so that Mohinder can restore him to his former glory.

Maya and Alejandro’s story was interesting, and I liked how their fates intertwined with Sylar’s, but the constant need for subtitles was tiring. I appreciate the show trying to add more diversity and for giving Maya a small proficiency in English. That being said, it gets exhausting trying to follow the entire time. I will give credit to Maya, however, for her creepy yet intriguing special ability to poison people with her “black tears”.

The Bennet family – or should I say, the “Butler” family – was a major part of this season. After the events at Kirby Plaza, Mr. Bennet feels like his family is no longer safe, so they change their last name and head to California. While they’re incognito, Papa Bennet tells Claire not to stand out at school and to avoid becoming the center of attention. Claire obliges for like, three seconds, and then sticks her hand over a Bunsen Burner in the middle of a classroom. What was the point of that? Was she just trying to test her abilities to see if they still work? Why did she have to do it when the classroom was filling up? So much for laying low and hiding your abilities, Claire.

On a similar note: Claire avoids being the center of attention by putting herself in the center of attention. During gym class, she tells the head cheerleader at her new school that she can do a difficult move in front of everyone. Right before she performs the move, Claire remembers what her dad says and chickens out. You already made the challenge in front of everybody! The entire gym class saw you do it! You’ve put yourself out there; might as well follow through with it! God, Claire annoyed me so much these past episodes, which is a shame since I liked her so much in Season 1.

And what the hell was the point of Claire getting her car stolen? There was literally no purpose to it except to show that her dad can’t trust her. I thought it would be this big storyline or something. It was completely pointless.

Speaking of pointless, one of the new characters we met is West, played by subpar actor Nicholas D’Agosto. D’Agosto is not that talented. Sorry. He’s a lame Harvey Dent on Gotham, and he’s a lamer super-powered kid on Heroes. His ability is that he can fly. Okay, we’ve got enough fliers on the show. They’re called the Petrellis. We don’t need another one, especially when he’s portrayed by a poor actor. Not only that, but West is a f%cking creep! He hangs out outside Claire’s window and watches her sleep. Was he the template for Edward Cullen in Twilight? They better get rid of this kid soon.

I can’t talk about “the Shanti Virus” without mentioning yet another villain: Adam Monroe. In one of the most mind-boggling twists I’ve seen on the show so far, we discover that Adam Monroe is actually Takezo Kensei. Yep, he survived Hiro’s gunpowder explosion in 1671, and now he’s out for revenge. As it turns out, Adam’s healing ability extends to his aging as well. He can survive stabbings, shootings, explosions, and old age! How do you kill a man who is practically invincible? It’s like trying to kill Wolverine or Deadpool. In theory, I guess they could sever Adam’s head and move it as far away from his body as possible, but I doubt they’d ever show that on basic cable television. Sorry, getting a bit carried away…

David Anders once again demonstrates his range of acting talents as Adam Monroe. Back when he was Takezo Kensei, we saw how he could quickly transition between being likable and charming, and being a complete prick. He brings these talents to his semi-new role as Adam and continues to make the audience wonder if they should like him or hate him.

At first, Adam is seen as an ally of Peter Petrelli, but then he ends up as a sociopath who wants to destroy the world by unleashing the Shanti Virus. Remember that whole “invincible” thing? How does anybody expect to stop him?

I’m happy it wasn’t Peter Petrelli doing the hero thing this time. Instead, it’s Hiro saving the day! He understands that Adam is invincible, but he must be stopped. In a chilling yet brilliant move, Hiro teleports Adam into a buried coffin and leaves him there. The last we see of Adam is him screaming in his new prison as the camera pans over a freshly-dug grave site. It’s really creepy when you think about it. Hiro, the bumbling and awkward nerd, left a living man inside a coffin, possibly where he’ll stay for centuries. Coming from someone with claustrophobia, I have to say that it was really freaky.

This season of Heroes was all over the place. Again, it was only 11 episodes; that’s less than 11 hours. I have to applaud the show for doing so much in this time span, which makes me wonder how crammed full of stories and developments the seasons will be in the future. While it wasn’t as great as Season 1, I think Season 2 of Heroes was a worthy successor, and it made me pretty excited for the next chapter.

Final Grade: B

+ The powers demonstrated by the new characters Maya, Elle, and Monica were awesome!

+ The show did an awesome job cramming so much into such a short time.

+ I was happy to see Peter come back, even if he spent most of his time in Ireland with amnesia.

– The scenes revolving around Maya and Alejandro were tedious to follow because of the heavy use of subtitles.

– The constant switching between time periods gets annoying. Stick to two different time periods max. Don’t go from the distant past, to the “recent” past, to the present, to the possible future. It’s irritating.

– D.L. shouldn’t have died. The guy can trigger his powers and phase through a punch with no warning, yet he couldn’t do the same when a guy had a gun up to his chest?

Extra Thoughts:

– Is this the last we’ll see of Adam Monroe? It’d be a shame for him to go out so quickly when he’s such a compelling character.

– So Mrs. Petrelli and Mr. Nakamura were bang-buddies in the past? Does this mean Nathan and Peter are somehow related to Hiro?

– Did Peter straight-up leave Caitlin in the future? And not just any future, but a future that may not even happen since they prevented the Shanti Virus outbreak?

Did you like “The Shanti Virus” storyline more or less than “The Legend of Takezo Kensei”? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!