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'V': Previewing the sci-fi series' return

March 30, 2010 |  9:31 am

SLIDE4_V They're back.

ABC's sci-fi drama "V" returns Tuesday night with a new time slot (10 p.m.), a new showrunner (Scott Rosenbaum, of "Chuck" and "The Shield") and a new emphasis on providing the audience with some concrete answers rather than treading water.

We previously caught up with showrunner/executive producer Scott Rosenbaum and Morena Baccarin, who plays the alien queen Anna, for details about the next eight episodes and were teased with "rodent desire," multiple pregnancies and lizard anatomy, but I didn't think that we'd see many of these things actually play out in Tuesday night's brand-new installment. (Hint: Some, but not all of them, do.)

ABC and Warner Bros. on Monday released a screener for Tuesday night's episode ("Welcome to the War"), which amps up the tension and pacing in a way that the first four episodes of "V" didn't quite manage to do.

So why should you tune in to "V" Tuesday night? Here are five reasons.

Warning: Minor spoilers ahead!

(1) It's a great jumping on point ... with a little help.

Even if you missed the first four episodes of "V," everything you need to know can be summed up right here. The Visitors arrived on Earth with a message of peace but have a plan to take over the planet. While many people welcome the Visitors with open arms -- especially after they open a series of healing centers that can cure the sick -- not everyone is taken in by their propaganda, including FBI counterterrorism agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) and Catholic priest Father Jack Landry (Joel Gretsch). The Visitors are led by the seductive and deadly Anna (Morena Baccarin), who has a plan that involves R6, a chemical compound that is going to be placed in the human vaccine, and Tyler (Logan Huffman), Erica's teenage son who has already fallen for Anna's sultry daughter Lisa (Laura Vandervoort). 

Anna finds an ally in ambitious television news anchor Chad Decker (Scott Wolf), but he struggles when he's told by a Visitor healing center that he will succumb to a brain aneurysm. Erica and Jack meet up with two members of a resistance force that includes Georgie (David Richmond-Peck) and Ryan (Morris Chestnut), the latter of whom is actually a rebel Visitor and former member of the Fifth Column. Ryan is engaged to psychologist Val (Lourdes Benedicto), who learns that she is pregnant, though is unaware that her unborn child is half-Visitor. The resistance manages to blow up a warehouse containing a stockpile of R6, but Jack is later stabbed by a Visitor who follows him back to the church. Whew.

(2) Erica kicks butt.

Fans who were looking for Erica to have a more active role on "V," one that involved the former "Lost" actress kicking some lizard tail, are in luck. There's a fantastic fight sequence in the first few minutes of Tuesday night's episode that demonstrates both Erica's fighting skills as well as her gruesome determination to survive. She's most definitely not your average single mom, and she proves in this scene to be just as ruthless and deadly as her adversary Anna.

(3) There's "rodent desire."

As promised by Scott Rosenbaum in our interview, there's some distinct rodent desire going on here. I won't spoil exactly what it is, but keep your eyes peeled for a very specific shout-out to the gerbil-munching scene in the original "V" Tuesday night. While it's not on the same scale, we're beginning to build perhaps to that climactic moment. Ick.

(4) Visitors and humans are not alike. Seriously.

Tonight's episode gives us more information about the Visitor's physical characteristics than we've gotten in the four preceding episodes combined. There are two scenes that this week demonstrate just how different the Visitors are from humans. Ryan (Chestnut) has a great scene in which he reveals a specific part of his true visage, and that's to say nothing of a gasp-inducing reveal at the end of the episode that will have you wanting more. All I will say is that I was shocked and creeped out in equal measure ... and immediately wanted more.  

(5) There's a sense of unpredictablility.

One of the things that "V" does particularly well with Tuesday night's episode is prove that anything is possible in the world that they've established. Besides some shocking reveals, there's also a new character who promises to massively shake things up among the human resistance in a very unexpected way. It points to the lengths that each of the characters is willing to go to protect his or her own, and that holds true for both humans and Visitors alike. One can't shake the feeling that the coming war is about to get very bloody.

-- Jace Lacob

(Follow my musings on television, food and more television on Twitter at @televisionary)

Photo: The Visitors are back on ABC's "V." Credit: Bob D'Amico / ABC

Related:
‘V’: Morena Baccarin talks about Anna, the Visitors’ plan and lizard anatomy
'V': Showrunner Scott Rosenbaum teases 'rodent desire,' multiple pregnancies and more

Complete 'V' coverage on Showtracker

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