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V: "We Can't Win"

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It's true, V. I, and WE, THE VIEWER, just can't win with you. Week after week, you tantalizingly hint that maybe the rebellion's going to do something more than inch forward this time. And then you pull the rug out from under us, except not really, because who would ever believe it if this gang of morons accomplished anything?


Let me present the central plot of this week's episode of V, without commentary: Erica and her merry men find out that some human Fifth Columnists got whacked in Queens. But one of them got away. They manage to locate him and hope to use him as bait to lure an actual visitor into their trap so they can question him. Also, there's something about a hard drive, or some bullshit like that. They even sort of succeed, getting their bait killed but tackling the alien assassin. Who turns out to be a human, and a hired gun. Why'd you do it, they ask him? "We can't win," he replies. And, scene.

Aaagh! I don't know what to say about this. I'll just note that Father Jack continues to be the hokiest character on television since Seventh Heaven was on the air (he literally cites "saving my congregation" as his reason for fighting the aliens), and that the final big action scene appeared to be set in an amusement park covered by plastic tarps, a new low in V set design. I know this show isn't shot in New York, but it barely even pretends to be, it's pathetic.

Instead, I'm going to concentrate on the side-plots, which were plenty flawed but at least moved things along a lot more quickly. Chad continued his dance of death with Anna, first fantasizing, sorry, having a nightmare about her choking him and finally throwing his lot in with her by the end of the episode, believing the Vs' magic "blue energy" to be the next great humanitarian step for the world.

In the middle, Chad somehow commandeered some sort of UN-esque meeting of nations that Anna was looking to hijack. Now, in my day job, I'm a reporter, and while I've never been at any meetings of world leaders, I'm pretty sure reporters aren't allowed to just stand in the middle of it and direct questions to the fucking Secretary General whenever they please. And yet Chad does exactly that: first he has Anna meet the Sec Gen (a glowering African dude), who is terse and suspicious; then, after the Vs save some poor island nation from a tsunami and Anna displays the power of her blue energy, Chad gives the guy a shit-eating grin and is like "so? huh?" And with that, the visitors basically control all of the world's energy. Easy as pie!


This is despite the Secretary General pointing out that if the Vs take over the world's energy and health needs, there won't be too much work for humans to do. Chad's response is, "you're saying the bottom line is more important than helping people?" as if the UN is some collection of fat-cat assholes counting their money. And yet, you figure the show is on the Secretary's side, cause we know he's right to be suspicious. I don't know where we can slot this into V's weird politics, if Scott Rosenbaum hasn't quashed all that by now.

Also this week, the show went beyond hinting that Lisa was more than just a psycho killer, as she fails the (incredibly stupid, in my opinion) empathy test, leading Joshua and the other Fifth Columnist to debate inducting her into their little squad. They conduct this conversation in public, on the ship, but their voices are lowered, so they won't get caught.


Lisa herself seems freaked out by the development, considering that up until now she's basically just been eye candy for the show. In the end, Joshua tells Anna that she passed, and in a sign of motherly love, Anna takes her down to the ship basement and squishes a soldier egg in front of her, which is supposed to be some kind of pep talk or something. Because up until that point we don't know that she passed, the scene is lamely played for suspense, and makes even less sense once we know that this is Anna's idea of saying "good job."

Still, developing Lisa's character beyond her saucer eyes and penchant for shirtlessness is probably a good idea for V's long-term prospects, if it does get renewed for a second year. The Fifth Column is still awfully slim and sleepy; assuming things finally do ramp up at some point on this show, having Anna's daughter be part of the resistance might lead to some intriguing info. For example, this week Ryan mentions that the reason visitors use knives instead of guns is because their guns are so fucking badass, they just can't even use them, because that would be exciting and cool for the audiences at home. I started thinking about the guns that shot lightning and blew people up in District 9, and then started thinking how cool it would be for there to be an awesome "alien arrival" show on TV. Oh well.


Stray Observations:

Anna's sidekick is irritatingly stupid, asking dumb questions just for the sake of her giving a creepy answer. He's a walking lazy writers' device, and I feel for the actor.


I didn't have much to say about Valerie finally maybe finding out that she's incubating a lizard baby from her lizard boyfriend, but if it means giving Lourdes Benedicto something to do next week, well, that's nice.

"If we were visitors, you'd be dead by now," Anna says to Alex, their recruit of the week. That's the best she can come up with?


The "torture" scene at the end was remarkably tame, even by network TV standards. Hobbes barely slapped the dude before he started spilling.

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