|In Short:||Zzzzzz…omg. OMG! OMG WTF?!?!?|
|ANNA:||Now that’s how you kill your mother.|
Is there a more frustrating show on television right now than V? Watching this show is like panning for diamonds in a river of poo. The diamonds are there, don’t get me wrong. Unfortunately, so is the river.
Illustration of this (admittedly very mean-spirited) assertion can be found in the shape of the season -- and probably series -- finale, “Mother’s Day.” To begin with, the episode actually seems more like two separate episodes, the first of which is really dire. Supported by her lover, Hobbes, Erica decides (again) that it’s time to “take the bitch (i.e., Anna) out.” The brilliant plan out of her awesome tactically-trained FBI mind: Have Anna’s daughter Lisa do it! What could possibly, possibly go wrong?
I’m sure I don’t even need to enumerate the many ways this idea reeks, do I? Even the hardened Hobbes would surely balk at the thought of whacking his own Mum, so letting the fate of the world rest on the shoulders of a confused teenaged alien seems ill-advised at best. As does going in with no Plan B: Hobbes behind the window with a rocket-launcher, maybe? As does allowing Chad, who has one of the more recognizable voices in America, to serve as one of the “kidnappers,” particularly when you consider the fact that Erica supposedly has the resources of the entire global Fifth Column at her disposal. (“Fierro! I need two redshirts, on the double.”) As does not surveying the site thoroughly to ensure that Lisa isn’t facing anything reflective. Etc. etc. etc.
Unsurprisingly, the plan fails -- epically -- and then, about halfway in, the show suddenly takes a turn for the interesting. Anna’s assassination of her own mother in front of a roomful of her subjects is sudden and chilling, and her line delivery in that scene is awesome. (If there were a thought balloon above Morena Baccarin’s head, it would say “FINALLY! A scene worthy of my talents!”) This is immediately followed by Ryan’s death at the hands of his own daughter, except dude has more lives than a cat and I’ll call it right here that in the unlikely event of a Season 3, Morris Chestnut will be back front and center, lying to everyone and doing all sorts of boneheaded things. Hobbes disappears. Chad is arrested by the Vs. Lisa is imprisoned, and her identical sister seduces and eats, yes EATS, poor stupid Tyler. Once again I repeat, Tyler gets EATEN!!! Jack is Blissed. And oh yes, a secret multinational cabal that has been tracking the Vs for years decides that Erica has caused enough trouble and it’s time to bring her into the fold before she destroys the world through her own sheer ineptitude.
The unveiling of this secret cabal -- the Ares Project -- is really where this series should have started; watching a group of genuinely intelligent movers and shakers deal with the Visitors would have been a lot more interesting than watching the Keystone Kolumn bumble for the past two years. (I wonder how much Marc Singer got paid for his 3-minute cameo.) Making Erica’s FBI colleagues Kendrick and Bolling members of the group is one of the more obvious trips to Retcon City we’ve made with this show, but whatever. (It’s nice to see that Kendrick is actually a good guy. I’ve rather enjoyed him.)
So what did I like about the episode? Surprisingly enough, a lot. Baccarin, as noted above, rocks the house, and her scene with Jack crackles. I liked Jack’s line about wanting to look at the sky and see God again, and the scene at the end where Erica finds him Blissed is genuinely creepy (and calls back the very first scene of the season, in which Erica dreams a similar scenario; nice parallelism). Making the Star Child a bad seed is a genius move, even though the fact that she’s able to Bliss the entire human race simultaneously (or at least the people who aren’t “a mile underneath Manhattan”) makes absolutely no logical sense whatsoever. Laura Vandervoort continues to impress me with her range. Marcus steps up and takes responsibility for his actions -- I give up; Marcus is not human, he’s not secretly a good guy, he just is. I still like him! And finally, because it can’t be overemphasized: Tyler gets EATEN! -- After, presumably, siring a thousand lizard babies on Alt-Lisa. Ballsy move, show!
Have we seen the last of our incompetent friends? I rather fear we have. Bad writing scuttled V; no one could decide what the show was really supposed to be about (action-adventure? Political allegory? Meditation on what it really means to be human?). Plotlines were introduced, dropped, and sometimes re-introduced but sometimes not (remember Parker, the scientist who was developing lizard repellant?). Characters wandered into the story, stayed for an episode or two, and wandered back out -- why even bother with a Kerry, a Fierro, or a Thomas? Characterization was inconsistent (okay, except for Ryan, dumbass first to last). Good actors were underused, or misused -- the show never did figure out what to do with Scott Wolf, Jane Badler, or even Christopher Shyer to a certain extent. The writers’ evident ignorance of anything related to science, religion, or politics would be funny if it weren’t so sad. And don’t even get me started on this whole business with “the soul.”
Despite these issues, V does boast one of the strongest casts on TV, an inherently interesting premise, a built-in audience thirsting for decent sci-fi on network television, and -- to give the writers credit where it’s due -- a certain bracing fearlessness (Tyler gets EATEN, y’all!). In the unlikely event of a reprieve, the first thing the producers should do is fire the entire writing team, then contract with the writers of Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, or even Star Trek: Deep Space 9. Identify an endgame for the series. Be logical and consistent in plotting and characterization. And forget about “the soul.”
Despite my frequent criticism, I will miss V, and I sincerely hope that all of these talented actors move on to better shows, if that’s what they want. (Yes, Logan Huffman, even you. I’m thinking the CW, somehow.) Readers: thank you for reading; I hope you move on to better shows, too! (If that’s what you want.) Farewell for now; be of peace… always.
|Everything old is new again:||Yes: the triumphant return of Marc Singer, of original V mini-series fame.|
|Weird Science:||Surprisingly little in this episode. (Where is Sid, anyway?)|
|We are of peace. Always.:||No, Anna’s not even trying any more.|
|John May Lives:||No, and weren’t they supposed to be bringing Trucco back this season?|
-- Kate Nagy