After the way Season 1 left things (messy), you could forgive this follow-up season to struggle for a bit before fixing things and getting started.
Unfortunately, Season 2's brand new ideas fail to rise above what the whole season is essentially about: filling up those plotholes. Ironically, in the process, new plotholes are introduced and the new stuff mostly fails to gel convincingly with the old stuff to the point where a lot of episodes bring something up that's quite interesting only to cover it all up by the end of it. Take the whole Harvey Two-Face Nathan Petrelli thing, or the potential death of Noah Bennet as foreseen in one of Isaac Mendez's lost paintings, or even Mohinder possibly turning to the dark side: all subplots with potential but none of them really know where they're going and none of them really delivers.
Like Season 1, this is very much a season of two halves. Except here it's much shorter.
For one half we're mostly concerned with Parkman's MIA dad potentially being a threat to human mutant map Molly (Adair Tishler), Mohinder getting a job in a dodgy company trying to find a cure to a new potential virus (and shadier stuff, possibly) and Hiro, now back in Japan in the 1600's, helping legendary samurai Takezo Kensei (played by David Anders, of Alias fame) to become the hero his father told him about. Oh and Peter screws around Ireland for a bit. While all this is going on you've got these constant mini subplots going on the whole way through: Claire meets some annoying flying dude, Sylar loses his powers and road-trips with new recruits Maya (Dania Ramirez) and Alejandro (both SO boring, by the way) and Micah learns that one of his cousins has a power too (she's also crazy-lame). In the second half, the focus becomes stopping that stupid virus once and for all and bringing every plot line finally together.
It's a shame because, as I stated earlier, there are some good new ideas here. I really like the idea of Hiro going back in time and screwing things up and his actions having a direct impact on the overall story, this whole arc is actually pretty well handled. Also, Bennet freaking out and going on a killing spree, Mohinder being pushed into becoming a killer himself, the whole "whodunit" bit where some unknown villain is picking off people Sylar-style but in different ways, that's all good! There are just too many uncertainties, the writing is nowhere near as focused as it once was and the show loses its touch when it comes to juggling loads of characters, something it did rather well in its first season. I think keeping Sylar on is a mistake, if you remove every scene he's in, you really don't miss anything. Same goes for Maya and Alejandro not to mention Monica (Dana Davis). At least "Julian Sark" is pasted firmly into the main plot! His part isn't convincing in the slightest but he drives stuff forward at least...
Sylar had his moment: let him go.
You get tons of one-second cameos, subplots that go nowhere, characters are just plain forgotten about, so many key things are left unexplained and some of the special effects haven't dated in the best possible way. Season 1 had this impish glow about it: it was having fun but still knew what stories it wanted to tell and how to tell them, it had a definite comic-book vibe throughout and a simple goal to reach plot-wise.
Save the cheerleader, save the world.
Those were the days...
Make way for "Copycat" and liquorice tears!
Luckily, as a show, Heroes is still very watchable. As silly and as messy as this second season is, you can still sit and watch it without feeling too nauseous. Like I said: it's not all bad but be warned. I don't really recommend it but if you're planning to watch the entire series, in the hope that Season 3 pulls itself together, I'd say watch it and hope that this season is just a weird patch to get by before more good stuff.
Disjointed and flawed.
Was Season 1 a fluke?
We shall see...