'V': A call to arms
The war is finally getting underway.
Or, at the very least, the opening salvo in what promises to be a particularly brutal battle between the Visitors and the members of the Fifth Column, as both sides have made it clear that they have a lot more to lose than just their individual lives.
This week's episode of "V" offered a more detailed look at the members of both the human resistance fighters who have banded together to stop the growing threat of the Vs and the Visitors' own Fifth Column freedom fighters who, having lurked in the shadows for far too long, are finally standing up to Anna.
If there was a single theme for this week's installment, it's the nature of sacrifice: what a parent will give up for the safety of their children and what one friend will do for another, even at the risk of one's own life.
I've spoken before about how the enmity between these two warring races isn't personal but is instead a Darwinian survival of the fittest, with the planet itself as the spoils for the victor.
While Anna might seem to be the consummate villain on the surface, the decisions she is making are, at their heart, what she believes to be best for her people's continued survival. But the price that they'll have to pay is a lack of emotion and individuality.
Anna. This week, Anna made a discovery that will have shocking consequences for members of the Fifth Column, who have begun to break free of the hive mentality of the Visitors and exhibit full-blown human emotions, as Anna discovers a way to ferret out traitors in her midst: They can submit to a process that will test their emotional reactions to visual cues. Those who remain logical and unmoved by the scenes of horror and devastation are pure Visitor; those who exhibit emotion-based responses -- monitored physiologically -- have been corrupted by human emotion and will therefore be dealt with accordingly.
The test shows a threshold of error, as discovered by Joshua, as Anna pushes onward, grimly determined to decimate the ranks of the Fifth Column on the mother ships and out the traitors. Those discovered have two options: Swallow a suicide pill that turns them to little more than ash or be skinned alive. Like medieval witch torture, those still loyal to Anna kill themselves, a puzzling turn of fate that doesn't seem to evoke any reaction from the lizard queen. (Those who don't meanwhile know that they're likely to be tortured and skinned ... so I couldn't help but wonder why they didn't also just take their pill instead of standing there motionless. An act of defiance? Rebellion?)
Meanwhile, Anna also prepared to unveil a new initiative that would allow select humans to live aboard the mother ships. I'm extremely curious to know just what her real goal is here. She's shown a desire to get a hold of Erica's son Tyler and to tag the human population using the R6 drug but what does having the humans on the ship do for the Visitors in the long run? Are they to be a human shield? A hostage gambit? Or is there something else going on here, something far more insidious? We don't really know what the Visitors want from the humans but it's clearly not outright annihilation from the start. Which begs the question, then: just what do the humans represent for the Visitors? The hope for the future? Or little more than chattel? And have the Vs done all of this before?
Erica. Putting her child's safety above all else, Erica decided to remove Tyler from New York and out of the hands of the Visitors, unaware that the reptilian aliens have a very long reach. (I bet Tyler doesn't tell her that Lisa pays him a visit at dad's house.) She's so concerned about getting Tyler away from Anna that she brings him to her ex-husband Joe (Nicholas Lea of "The X-Files") and gets him to agree to keep Tyler for a while. We get a little more of the complicated back story between the Evans clan as Tyler blames himself for his parents' divorce. While the details are still murky, Tyler believes his motorcycle crash was the main impetus for his father leaving but a tete-a-tete between Erica and Joe reveals that there's something more going on here, something that Tyler doesn't know anything about though it affects him directly. Could it be that Joe isn't Tyler's father after all? And, if that's the case, then who is? Hmmm...
Jack and Chad. I was glad to see the diverse characters begin to come together more this week, between Georgie and Val's scene at her apartment, and the one between Father Jack and Chad Decker in front of the healing center as Jack urges Chad not to support the Visitor healing centers until he's absolutely aware that they are not harmful to the humans. While Chad seems to almost shrug off Jack's concerns, it's clear that he himself is suspicious. Later, Jack urges him to get proof from aboard the mother ship and use his relationship with Anna to get at the truth. Chad is extremely torn: Can he sacrifice his career in order to expose the truth about the Visitors? Can one man make a difference?
Georgie. Among the humans, Georgie's been a bit of a hotheaded zero for the past few episodes, exhibiting a jumped-up attitude that often gets him into trouble. While we did learn that his anti-V tendencies came from the fact that the Visitors slaughtered his entire family, his friendship with Ryan has proven to be a redeeming quality as he willingly travels to the mother ship -- against Erica's express wishes -- to save Ryan after he learns that Ryan is to be a father. It's a nice tipping point for his character for a number of reasons.
I loved the sadness in his voice as he told Val that he had two children and how his discovery of Val's pregnancy swayed his decision to get Ryan back. Georgie knew going up there would prove to be a suicide mission and that, even if he could get to Ryan, it was unlikely that both of them would be coming back down again. Even so, his efforts to ensure that Ryan got on that shuttle surprised me: that he would take out a Visitor guard and hold off others until the shuttle pulled away. As for the episode's ending, I'm not sure whether we should view that scene in the medical pod as torture... or certain death. Is Georgie gone for good? And would that be a mercy, given what the Visitors are sure to be doing to him?
Ryan and Val. Convenient that Ryan's need for phosphorous aboard the mother ship just happened to coincide with the resistance's need to hijack Anna's announcement and broadcast a message to the other Fifth Column members. But in any event, given the somewhat stringent restrictions on travel aboard the mother ship, he was the only member of the team who could have managed to get inside and obtain the phosphorous (which Val needs to survive or her pregnancy will kill her), make contact with the Fifth Column (after failing Anna's test), and get the "John May Lives" message out there across the world. Hobbes is right about one thing -- it is definitely a call to arms -- and Ryan's presence on the ship means that the resistance has just grown now that he's made contact with Joshua.
If Joshua is correct and John May's communication device can be found, it will give them a valuable tool in sabotaging Anna's efforts and staying a step ahead of her. The only problem is that the device might not exist anymore and might not be where Joshua said it was. But the resistance, at least, has something to work toward and some new allies after the transmission went out.
Meanwhile, Ryan is going to eventually have to come clean to Val about his true identity. Secretly drugging her tea with phosphorous isn't really a long-term plan, though I do have to question Val's state of mind that she didn't wonder why her boyfriend had prepared her a cup of tea that was, well, bright blue. And Ryan is going to have to keep dosing her if she has any chance of making it through this pregnancy alive... Which, if she does, she'll have proof straightaway that the husband of her child isn't human. So Ryan better find a way to tell Val before she gives birth, no? I'm also curious to know just what will happen to Val now that she's been dosed, given what Leah says about there being no way back once he gives her the phosphorous? And then there was that final shot as Val sleeps restlessly before the camera glides over her stomach, revealing something moving around inside her stomach. Eeek.
Kyle Hobbes. I'm glad that the producers aren't making Kyle Hobbes into a reluctant hero, drafted into Erica's war and now only too willing to pick up arms in her service. Kyle might be a mercenary but he's not getting paid to fight the Visitors; he's out for No. 1 and Erica and Co. attempted to use leverage against him to get them on their side. But it turns out that Kyle's not fighting the good fight so easily. He has a shadowy contact pull together some dirt on his new comperes and he's looking to get something over on them. Will Erica's decision to draft him be the smartest decision they've made, or their worst? Will Kyle's selfish tendencies take a back seat to the survival of the human race? We'll have to wait to find out.
What did you think of this week's episode? Creeped out by the alien baby inside Vals' tummy? Think Erica made the right decision to get Tyler out of the city? What happened between her and her ex-husband? Is Georgie dead? Head to the comments section to discuss.
-- Jace Lacob (Follow my musings on television, food and more television on Twitter: @televisionary)
Photo: Erica (Elizabeth Mitchell) and Ryan (Morris Chestnut) contemplate their next move on ABC's "V." Credit: Jack Rowand / ABC
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