Ben 10 ALien Force (B10AF) season 2 continues farther down the darker path set in season 1. In many ways we think that is where fans and those here in the Fortress wanted it to go. However overall, the destination came with less satisfaction than we would have thought.
Many plot threads set up in season 1 are brought to climax in season 2, although most of them were crammed into the last episode. Ongoing multi-episode arcs are a different format than the seasons of the original Ben 10 upon which the franchise was launched. However they fit the more mature theme of B10AF, which has become very dark and gritty.
Literally dark too. Every episode takes place at night. Every one. Aside from a short stint on an inhospitable desolate planet and a trip to the null void you will barely glimpse the sun or even brightness. They purposely set that tone, opening most episodes with Kevin’s car driving at night. As much as some may think they would enjoy that, combined with some somber episodes it got a little old.
The main baddies continue to be the powerful Highbreed and their goons the DNAliens. In fitting arc fashion they do not get defeated until the last episode. However there really were not enough smaller victories along the way for our satisfaction. Some of the episodes just kind of …ended. This is not X-Files. Give us a little something more guys.
There were other potential fan desires made reality. Gwen wrestled with her ultra powerful alien half. A super team up of all the powerful people we have met along the way occured. The omitrix “unlocked” (a bit disappointing). It is too bad these anticipated elements were rushed in the last 20 minutes of the season.
Azmuth, the super brainy alien maker of the omitrix returns and later gets his planet blown up. In the end he says he has “rebuilding” to do. What? The planet was blown up!
Grandpa Max returns. We knew he could not be dead if the future episodes from the original Ben 10 meant anything. It was good to see him back in action. We really like that character, even if there is no longer room for him in the show.
Some unusual episodes were partially told through the perspective of a remorseful DNAlien or a strong alien …baby. We commend the production team “Man-of-Action” for taking chances and being different. That gamble paid off – some of the time. In these cases, not as much. You are still making an action oriented half hour animated drama where there needs to be a satisfactory pay off unless it is a two-parter.
There was a weird feeling to the whole season. People talked about their daytime lives, school, homework, etc., but you never really saw it. It was surreal; a strange dichotomy that kept us from fully engaging in the B10AF world.
A final note: There was no sign of “Alien X” from the previous season, and only one mention of him. His power really could have helped out in the end, if he was at all usable. Too powerful and too unusable. A bit of a waste really. In fact, the entire roster of B10AF omnitrx aliens as a whole have been less fun and less interesting than the original 10.
The writing was for the most part sharp. The one liners were better than ever. Man-of-Action definitely have the skill to make more mature dramas if they choose. They just need to keep in mind the kind of show they are making at the moment, and tailor their talent accordingly.
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