It’s hard to imagine a series ending on a more delusionally hopeful note than tonight’s “season finale” of V. “Mother’s Day” begins like a series finale should, but about halfway through, it becomes clear that series writers Gregg Hurwitz and Scott Rosenbaum were not asked to wrap up the show but rather pave the way for a third season. It’s sad, then, that, save for the images of the same warships that were poised to strike at the end of last week’s episode, the show has ended in pretty much the same way that season one did. Anna has found a new way to immobilize the human populace, and the humans are still resolved to stop her, though how is never quite settled on. Forget hoping for an adequate conclusion to this show; there isn’t even going to be a terrible conclusion to V. I hereby reserve the right to spoiler you throughout this review because this is it, folks, and if I can’t spoiler you now, well darn it, when can I spoiler you?!
“Mother’s Day” begins with a dream sequence that features what I’d stump for as the show’s most cliched image: Erica wakes up to find Anna at her bedside. Anna says that she and Erica are exactly alike, as they both have the responsibility of saving their entire species, and hence, they would both do whatever they had to to ensure victory for their respective races. After Anna gives Erica the “You and me are exactly alike” spiel that almost every poorly conceived villain gives to a hero before they are defeated, Erica responds in kind by protesting that she and Anna are nothing alike. Erica then wakes up in a panic.
Erica never gets to disprove Anna’s point, largely because two of the Fifth Column’s schemes to take down Anna fail. The first plan is one that’s only introduced in “Mother’s Day,” because this wouldn’t be V if the show’s writers didn’t try to pull plot points out of thin air. It revolves around Lisa, who switched sides in last week’s episode. Lisa agrees to a phony kidnapping: Since Anna would not suspect Lisa might betray her, the Fifth Columnists reason that the surest way to kill Anna is to pretend that they’ve taken Lisa. Then, when she least suspects it, Lisa will vaporize Anna. This does not happen because Lisa is conned into thinking that she has finally recanted her pointless war on the human soul and embraced her own emotions. This is a convenient way to resolve a plot that was only created in “Mother’s Day,” so it doesn’t really matter in the long run.
The second foiled plot, however, speaks to the way that even now, with the curtain about to close on show developer Scott Peters’ unqualified failure of a reboot, major events are occurring at random without even the slightest thought for plausibility. Diana finally comes out of hiding to take back control of her throne, but just as she addresses a rapt audience of Vs who stare at her dumb-foundedly but with abundant reverence, Anna impales her mother with her tail. The way that episode director Bryan Spicer blocks this anti-climactic moment is especially absurd. Diana’s addressing the crowd and then suddenly, Anna’s harpoon-like tail shoots through her gut and lifts her up like a sock puppet.
This is stupid for a couple of reasons, but one of them is more important than the others. Ignore the fact that Anna is no longer trying to hide the fact that she’s using her emotions in her crusade against… other people’s emotions. Instead, focus on the illogic of the Visitors’ complacent reaction to Diana’s sudden re-appearance. After being told that Diana is gone, they just blindly accept her re-emergence from the ships’s fruit cellar, no questions asked, just quiet obedience. Even when Anna murders Diana right in front of their eyes, nobody blinks an eye. This is presumably because they are Visitors, who we are now supposed to think have no emotions. But considering that all of the Visitors on the show have displayed emotions in some way or another, one must conclude that no amount of rationalizing can excuse the fact that Hurrwitz and Rosenbaum just didn’t try very hard to finesse an already hard-to-swallow shocking twist.
But why is that so surprising? Every other subplot in “Mother’s Day” exhibits a total breakdown in sequential logic, so why should Diana’s murder be any different? Take the way that Chris suddenly re-emerges at episode’s end as an agent of Project Ares, a covert international group of resistance fighters that represent the world’s leaders (they’ve apparently always been mistrustful of the Vs but were afraid of voicing their dissent openly). Chris, who has been MIA for the past couple of episodes, just shows up, having been watching Erica this whole time and done nothing to help her. There’s no reason why he’s just sat on his hands for so long, and that’s because Hurwitz and Rosenbaum have left the task of explaining the shortcomings of previous episodes up to the writers of the as-yet-not-green-lit third season. Passing the buck never seemed so cruel.
Apart from an enjoyably mean-spirited jolt supplied by the scene where Anna randomly hatches a new egg and uses her Chia-child to seduce Tyler to get back at Lisa for trying to kill her—“This one’s called vengeance! I want to see you suffer. Enjoy the show.”—V’s final episode is predictably a complete bust. Almost every opportunity to correct the show’s wayward path was squandered obliviously, because none of its creators knew what they were doing. Almost no actions on the show were motivated by organic, character-driven changes, as is made clear by the way that Anna discovers Marcus’s betrayal and chooses to keep him alive and roaming around so that he can help her catch other spies. We’re supposed to assume that both Anna and Marcus are still scheming against each other, but once again, the law of show-and-don’t-tell has foiled the show’s presumed intelligence. Goodbye, V. I won’t miss you.