'V': Previewing tonight's fall finale
ABC's "V" is set to go on hiatus after tonight's episode, the series' fourth. And it's going to be a tough wait for new episodes (slated to reappear on the schedule beginning sometime in March), especially after this week's fantastic installment, written by Cameron Litvack and Angela Russo-Otstot.
I had the opportunity to watch tonight's electrifying episode of "V" over the weekend and have to say that the series, which started out a little shakily after its fantastic pilot, has definitely found its footing these last two episodes. This week's "V" is titled "It's Only the Beginning," and it's the perfect title for the end of the first pod of "V" episodes, which wraps up on a very high note.
If you've been on the fence at all about ABC's reimagining of "V," this is the episode to watch. Unfolding at a breakneck speed, there's a slew of neck-snapping plot twists, defining character moments and some enciting reveals designed to sate our appetite until "V" returns in the spring.
The first four episodes have seen the diverse characters of "V" very slowly come together, and this week several of the disparate plot threads begin to weave together into a single narrative tapestry. (Note: I'm following studio Warner Bros. Television's request not to reveal the extremely intriguing plot twists contained in tonight's "V," so there are only minor spoilers ahead.)
Many people assumed that, given the four-episode structure of these installments, that the first pod of "V" would function more or less like a miniseries. That's not entirely true. While there is a cliffhanger ending designed to get you to come back in March, these episodes haven't been structured in terms of a beginning, middle and an end. It's more of a prologue for what's to come when "V" returns with nine more episodes in the spring. The players are being moved into place, a bit more of the Visitor's plan becomes clear and the audience is given a look behind the scenes at the goings-on aboard the New York mothership.
Morena Baccarin once again brings the savvy and scary as the Vistors' high commander, Anna, and her performance alternates from seductress to concerned mother to draconian overlord. Given the extremes apparent in just this episode alone, it's down to Baccarin to make the fluid transformation subtle and compelling, and she manages to pull off the role with a flair that's astonishing to watch.
Just what Anna's ultimate game plan is remains to be seen (though, as mentioned before, we're given another piece or two of the puzzle), but we do learn a bit more of the "bliss" that was mentioned in the third episode. As Cyrus noted in the third episode, there's a desire on the part of ousted Visitor traitors to become reconnected ... and that's all I'll say on that front.
Likewise, Elizabeth Mitchell once again dazzles with her front-and-center performance as the dogged FBI counter-terrorism agent Erica Evans. She's forced this week to make some decisions that might seem contrary to her role as a federal agent sworn to uphold the laws of this nation; however, Erica is the ultimate protector, and she's proving herself willing to do whatever it takes to keep her planet safe. This week, Erica and the Fifth Column uncover a new threat against the planet that rather cannily uses a real-life situation affecting us at the moment.
Additionally there are some nice moments of frisson between Erica and Joel Gretsch's Father Jack Landry, the Catholic priest who has become Erica's de facto partner in the resistance movement ... and we learn a bit more about Father Jack this week, including an interesting revelation about his past that speaks volumes about the crisis of faith he's undergoing at the moment. Let's just say he's no stranger to some tense situations himself.
Meanwhile, Chad Decker (Scott Wolf) is faced with a moral dilemma of the highest order during his investigative piece on the Visitor's healing centers. Will he choose to remain independent and go with his instincts about the Visitors? Or will he make a decision that will forever place him in their debt? You'll have to find out.
The knowledge that Georgie (David Richmond-Peck) gained about Ryan's (Morris Chestnut) true nature comes to fruition this week as Georgie shows a side of himself that we hadn't seen before. Given the tenuousness of the alliances in the Fifth Column, some of these relationships will be pushed past their breaking point as well as reveal just how deeply Georgie's hatred of the Vs goes.
Wondering just how Ryan's fiancee Valerie (Lourdes Benedicto) plays into all of this? Worry not, as she begins to move into the overarching plot this week as well as the focus shifts to include both her and Erica's teenage son, Tyler (Logan Huffman). Just what Anna wants with Tyler is still rather unclear, but it's apparent that she has some major plans for the greasy-haired would-be boyfriend of her daughter Lisa (Laura Vandervoort). Despite my disinterest in Tyler (and my outright frustration with the actor playing him), I have to say that I'm more than a little intrigued by where this plot is going.
All in all, tonight's sensational episode of "V" brings the drama in abundance and sets up several new stories that will keep the series' fans guessing until "V" returns in March. It's going to be a very long wait, indeed.
What have you thought of the first three episodes of "V" so far? What do you predict will unfold in the fall finale? Head to the comments section to discuss.
— Jace Lacob (follow my musings on television, food and more television on Twitter at @televisionary)
Photo: Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) uncovers a biological threat to the human race on ABC's "V." Credit: Sergei Bachlakov