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'V': The way of the gun

November 24, 2009 |  9:00 pm

V_itsonlythebeginning
The pieces are coming together.

But, yes, you're going to have to wait until March to find out just what will happen next to our favorite reptilian aliens and the human resistance movement, now that the ABC sci-fi series goes into hiatus following tonight's episode.

The fall finale, entitled "It's Only the Beginning," served as a perfect wrap-up of the first act of "V" and was just the thing to whet viewers' appetites for the nine remaining episodes of the first season of "V." In a perfect world, viewers would get the start of those episodes in January rather than March, but there's not much that can be done about that now, sadly.

The four episodes we've seen so far can therefore be looked at as an introduction to the narrative of "V," plus the writers gave us some payoffs to a number of plot threads while bringing in several new subplots to keep us turning over in our heads during the way-too-long hiatus.

This week's episode found the Fifth Column attempting to crack down on a potential biological threat against the humans as Tyler cuddled his way closer to Lisa while being ignored by his mother, Valerie sought salvation from her heartache at a Visitor healing center, Georgie got trigger happy, Father Jack showed off his right hook, Chad was faced with a dilemma once more, and Anna bestowed bliss upon her people.

In other words: Quite a lot happened this week.

R6. The resistance uncovered a Visitor plot to inject the humans with a strange chemical compound. Using Ryan's knowledge of Visitor scientists (a fact that immediately makes Erica suspicious), they are able to find Peter Combs, the only surviving Visitor scientist from an experiment that had been abandoned. But rather than take him alive so they can question him, Georgie (who previously announced his desire to skin a Visitor) shoots erratically at Peter, who returns fire and wounds Georgie. Ryan is able to save both Georgie and Erica by taking down Peter, but he's able to take a suicide capsule ... which renders him little more than ash. (So that's what happened to Cyrus last week.)

Warehouse. Mistakenly believing that the vitamin supplement that Anna announces on television is the likely target of Peter Combs' plot (it is said to fight cancer and even stave off aging), Erica, Jack and Ryan make a shocking discovery at a warehouse that is even more insidious. Uncovering evidence of experimentation on human subjects, they soon realize that the vitamin supplements are smokescreen to divert attention from the real threat: the flu vaccine. The warehouse is overflowing with vaccine that has been tampered with and is intended to be shipped the following day. Ryan is able to detonate a Visitor failsafe within the security system, but they encounter trouble from the Visitors ... and Father Jack is able to unleash his mighty right hook on one of them, whom we'll call Baldy.

Erica. I'm glad that the writers are choosing to make Erica Evans a deeply flawed individual, which makes for more interesting viewing. She's a great FBI counter-terrorism agent, and her naturally suspicious nature and inquisitiveness make her a valued member of the resistance force. However, she does appear to be a pretty lousy mother, and this week's episode plays this up for dramatic effect. Despite Tyler wanting to come clean to her about his girlfriend Lisa's true nature (after she caught the two of them nearly naked in his bedroom), Erica chooses to do some online sleuthing. When she finally sits down with Tyler, their tête-à-tête is interrupted by a phone call from Ryan ... and Tyler changes his mind about telling her. I like that Erica isn't perfect; she's canny enough to suspect Ryan of being a V but is so focused on saving the world that she doesn't notice her son is slipping away from her -- and (almost) sleeping with the enemy.

Father Jack. We learned this week that there's more to Father Jack Landry than meets the eye. As a former military chaplain who served two tours of duty in Iraq, Jack isn't quite the pacifist that he initially appears to be, and the writers give Joel Grestch a beautifully nuanced scene where has to decide between two possible paths: that of righteousness or that of vengeance. Does he choose to pick up that gun (secreted in a file cabinet with an American flag)? Nope... but then he quickly gets skewered by Baldy, the freaky Visitor whom the resistance ran into at the warehouse. But before Baldy can finish taking out Father Jack, he's interrupted (seems to be a theme tonight), and Jack's life is saved. Given Erica's insistence that they keep a low profile, this looks to be slightly more difficult now as the police likely will get involved ... plus a Visitor cell is aware of Jack's identity and, therefore, possibly the others'.

Joseph. Anna orders a thorough investigation into the murder of sleeper agent Dale Maddox, which was carried out by Fifth Column member Joseph at the end of last week's episode. And she shows her true colors here as she states emphatically that someone will be made to pay for Dale's murder, and if no one from the medical staff steps forward, she'll exact her punishment on someone at random to make an example of him or her. Joseph wants to come clean, but his friend (does he have a name?) sacrifices himself and takes the fall. Anna, ever the torturer, makes Joseph perform the punishment as he must skin his friend alive. Ouch.

Bliss. But though Anna takes, she also gives, as we see this week. The bliss scene, in which Anna provides each of the "connected" Vs with a sense of euphoria, is absolutely spellbinding. Although bliss seems to be a drug, it's also a spiritual sensation, something of an absolution as she washes away all sin, all wrongdoing and bad feelings. Very interesting... I can see now why a disconnected Visitor might long to return to this hive-mind and to the gift that only Anna can seem to bestow. Hmmm...

Valerie. Although Valerie has seemed more or less separate from the overarching plot this season, that changes this week as we learn that (A) she just happens to be Tyler's therapist, (B) the Visitors are watching their psychotherapy sessions (by way of embedded cameras in the peace-ambassador jackets), and (C) she's pregnant ... with a possible human-Visitor hybrid. The last fact is discovered when Valerie uses Tyler's Visitor connections to score a visit to a healing center, where she is told that the Visitors can cure her heart condition and that she's pregnant with Ryan's child. (One issue: If the Visitor technology is so advanced, wouldn't they be able to tell whether her unborn child is completely human?) So it looks like we might be seeing the beginning of the alien-human baby storyline from the original "V" unfold here ... and it's only a matter of time before Ryan has to come clean about his true identity.

Chad. Poor Chad Decker can't catch a break. Just as he begins a story about the Visitor healing centers (I was hoping he'd cross paths with Valerie), he is told that the scan the Visitors performed on him has turned up a potentially fatal brain aneurysm, one that would have remained undiagnosed until it was too late. The Visitors can cure his condition, but there's a catch: He'd be in their debt, perhaps forever. We're not told what Chad decides to do, but I can't help but think he'll agree to undergo treatment, even against his better judgment. Of course, there's no guarantee that he even has an aneurysm in the first place; tests can be faked, and the Visitors even go so far as to say that a second opinion won't help as his condition won't show up using conventional human diagnostics.

Tyler and Lisa. I'm liking Laura Vandervoort's Lisa more and more, especially since the reveal last week that she is the daughter of Morena Baccarin's Anna. I'm still not sold on Tyler, though. At all. It's still not entirely clear what Anna and Lisa's plans are for Tyler other than that he is "the one." Anna takes him on a behind-the-scenes tour of the mother ship, showing him their sophisticated propulsion system. Lisa gives him a kiss after she gets her dose of bliss. With Valerie about to become the unwitting mother of a hybrid baby, I don't see them using Tyler for some sort of procreative experiment. But just what they want from him remains a total mystery. Any thoughts?

And what did you make of the final shot of the episode, in which we see that the 29 Visitor ships floating above the Earth's cities aren't quite as alone as they want the humans to believe, given that there are about 100 other ships heading towards Earth? And what will happen when "V" comes back in March? Head to the comments section to discuss.

— Jace Lacob (follow my musings on television, food and more television on Twitter at @televisionary)

Related:
'V': Previewing tonight's fall finale
From the Others to the Visitors: Elizabeth Mitchell talks about battling the otherworldly on her new ABC series 'V'
Complete 'V' coverage on Showtracker

Photo: A worried Ryan (Morris Chestnut) embraces fiancée Valerie (Lourdes Benedicto) after receiving some potentially disturbing news on ABC's "V." Credit: Sergei Bachlakov  / ABC

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