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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

V: "Heretic's Fork"

Illustration for article titled V: "Heretic's Fork"
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Well, at least some stuff happened this week. Sure, I could dwell on the fact that it took two episodes for our heroes to find an utterly useless hard drive. There's only four episodes left this season and we're still stuck on mission-of-the-week crap (and according the preview for next week, that isn't going away, from the looks of that impromptu bazooka attack). But Valerie was finally told that her husband was a visitor, and a lizard, and a stone-cold killer at that. Heck, she even had an almost natural reaction to the whole thing (she told him to fuck off). Chad started to show signs of life (although his motives are still in question). And Lisa seems only an episode or two away from joining the Fifth Column herself.

So, I deem this progress. But there's plenty of negativity along with that. Leaving aside the fake-looking sets, the stilted dialog and the thuddingly slow plotting, V's biggest problem is how stupid all the characters are. A lot of serialized dramas have this problem, in that if their characters were too smart, the plot would move forward too quickly and it'd all be ruined. But even by that standard the V characters, both human and alien, are morons.


On the alien side, it's becoming increasingly preposterous that traitors like Joshua haven't been discovered, or that Lisa can convince her mother not to bring Tyler on board (for some nefarious, hidden purpose) through unconvincing bullshit. Anna barking orders to find this person, or kill that person, only to be told by the end of the episode that her orders were unfulfilled — that happens EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

On the human side, this week they tied up some dude and used some medieval fork to torture him. This dude (who was in a bunch of Battlestar Galacticas) says he was blackmailed by the Vs, who threatened to kill his family, so he sniped some humans in the previous episode. Erica and Jack investigate and find it isn't true; the Vs healed his paralyzed daughter, that's how he won them over. "Name one thing they've done that's bad," he asks them, and they are struck dumb. They could point out shit like, well, they hired you to kill people! Or, they invaded our secret meeting in the pilot episode and tried to slice us all up! Also, they've sent assassins after people a lot! But I guess all of that was in the name of fighting terrorism. Still, it's not like the humans drew first blood here.

Even stupider, and funnier, was Hobbes assuring the gang that one of his "friends" would take care of their useless hostage by putting him in one of those secret foreign prisons that people have such easy access to. Now, I know Hobbes is a sexy British mercenary, but that's a pretty tough story to swallow — as it should be, because it ain't true, Hobbes just kills the dude at the end of the episode. But Erica et al swallow it hook, line, and sinker. They don't even ask, "which continent is this secret prison on?" Or "how will you illegally transport this guy out of the country without jeopardizing our secret resistance? Nah, just leave it to Hobbes. He'll sort it out!

The show seems to be setting up Hobbes pro-torture, pro-violence approach as something the audience should question: should the Fifth Column be acting as terrorists in order to fight the Vs? It might be interesting on a better show, but here it's kind of a moot point, because how else do you fight super-advanced aliens that pretend to be your friend while unleashing evil alien super-soldiers on your people? V isn't really a show given to moral questions, because it's about LIZARDS who want to EAT US. It's like how Jack Bauer would torture people because there was a bomb about to explode in one minute. It's not a terrifically realistic situation in which to be posing these questions.


This week, I read about Steven Spielberg's new alien invasion show, which will be on TNT and takes place months after an invasion. Now, I know the whole point of V is that it's about infiltration by supposed benevolents. But I think this concept is what's hurt V so much up to this point. Because the aliens are just creeping towards invasion, and the Fifth Column is creeping equally slowly towards all-out resistance, not much is really happening, week to week. And because the audience knows the aliens are evil, there isn't a lot of suspense. I'd be interested to see if a show that forgets all the buildup, and instead tries to deal with the same situation (small band of humans vs. overwhelmingly powerful aliens) in a different setting, pulls it off better than V has.

Stray Observations:

"I'm going on that spaceship, mom!" Which of us hasn't screamed that at our mother during awkward teenagehood?


The visitor soldier, snake-eyes aside, was pretty lame. The Alien Bounty Hunter was way cooler, and that was like 15 years ago. But I did like him plucking that axe out of his chest.

Really not much to report from this week - the best part of the episode was the preview for next week with the guys firing a bazooka. They looked as inept as ever, but this time, with a bazooka!


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