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'V': May day, or everyone has a breaking point

April 13, 2010 | 11:00 pm

V_johnmay

John May lives.

This week's episode of "V," written by Gregg Hurwitz and directed by Jonathan Frakes, answered some questions about the life and death of the enigmatic Fifth Column founder John May, the first of the Visitors to cast off Anna's influence and embrace his emotions and humanity.

It's been suggested over the last few episodes that living among the humans contaminates the Visitors ... at least from Anna's perspective. A logical, rather than emotional race of beings, the Visitors have closed themselves off from emotional responses: from the feeling of the wind in their hair, the smile of a child, a lover's embrace. But those who live among the humans, who open themselves up to the possibility of feelings, bridge the gap between Visitor and humans. It's as though the proximity awakens long-dormant sensations within them.

Anna, however, views this as weakness. She goes so far as to say, "Love is the greatest flaw of the humans." But it's that very emotion that stirs something powerful within John May, something that compels him to throw off his programming, to deny Anna's bliss, and to embrace his emerging self after discovering his "true north": the love of a woman and his love for her son, James.

So what happened to John May and why does his name infuriate Anna? Let's discuss.

John May: Tuesday's episode gave us, via flashback, the truth about the secret history of John May (Michael Trucco of "Battlestar Galactica"), the first V to experience human emotions. From what we can gather, he was part of the first Visitor scouting expedition that arrived on Earth years ago and had even taken a wife and formed a family. His relationship with his wife and son seems to recall what Ryan and Val share in the present day, a meeting of two races, even if one half of them is unaware just what their lover truly is. John says that meeting his wife was like finding his "true north," and it's only fitting that the Visitor communication device (the one that the resistance is hell-bent on finding) is secreted within his compass ... which, like all of John's belongings, are put into storage when his stepson James grows up.

John's domestic happiness was short-lived as Anna sought to punish him, sending Ryan after John May with express orders to kill him. But although Ryan does, in fact, carry out Anna's orders -- murdering John May -- their interaction awakens something within him too. John knows that Ryan's appearance at his house means that his family will not be safe as long as he is alive. He fakes a suicide note and leaves it for his wife to find and then flees into the woods where Ryan claims to have killed him.

Which is a little convenient, if you ask me. Just how did Ryan get out of the bear trap that John cleverly positions him into? How did Ryan manage to kill the armed John May? And who is to say that the Visitors didn't bring him back to life, just as they did Erica's V partner Dale? Curious...

John's son James, meanwhile, has been under the watchful eye of the Visitors, who have placed a sleeper agent near James to watch for signs of John May or the Fifth Column. James' girlfriend Grace is immediately pegged as a V by the resistance and Hobbes and Erica catch her in a mistake about UCLA (she agrees when they talk about how great the Trojans are, rather than the Bruins). Enraged, Grace attacks Erica, manifesting huge talons from her fingernails (awesome!) and attempting to kill her. But Hobbes steps in and snaps Grace's neck, killing her ... but not before she activates a seeker.

Ryan and Val: Our Visitor resistance fighter comes clean to the rest of the group about his part in John May's death and his efforts to honor his victim's memory. Whereas Ryan believed that John betrayed them for human emotion, he comes to see the error of his ways, especially when he meets Val at John May's funeral. It's just as John May predicted: James' tears, a woman who takes his breath away. He's learning to feel just as John had before him. In revisiting the past and meeting John's now-grown son James (and telling him the truth about his father), Ryan knows that he too must come clean to Val about his true identity.

The only problem is that he's too late. Valerie has discovered Ryan's hidden vault in the closet when looking for her OB-GYN's card among Ryan's things and, clever woman that she is, she brings in a safe specialist to reset the electronic passcode. What she discovers inside is not only proof that Ryan is not who he claims to be -- numerous faked passports support that -- but she also discovers a gun, cash and, most damningly, her true ultrasound, one that reveals that the thing growing inside her is most definitely not human.

Returning home, Ryan discovers an empty apartment and no sign of Val or the ultrasound photographs. Just where has she gone? And has he lost her forever? We'll have to wait to find out, though if I were Val, there's no way I'd be able to forgive the pack of lies he's been feeding her the last few years. Just wait until she pieces together just what Ryan is and what's growing in her belly. Something tells me that she's not going to be placated with a cup of tea this time...

Georgie: We're told that everyone has their breaking point, but poor Georgie is put through excruciating amounts of torture -- including insidious little "scours" that enter the human body and travel through the nervous system, inflicting unendurable levels of pain -- without breaking under the strain. Anna is determined to get him to spill the names of the resistance members he's working with, but Georgie proves that he's tougher than any Visitor, even when forced to relive the murder of his pregnant wife and children by a Visitor. When Ryan manages to contact Georgie aboard the mothership (thanks to John May's communication device and Fifth Column member Joshua), Georgie doesn't want to be rescued: he knows that that's exactly what Anna is preparing for and he just wants to see his family again. Receiving a blessing from Father Jack, Georgie makes his peace and is put out of his agony by Joshua, delivering a swift mercy killing that ends George's pain forever.

Erica and Tyler: Family drama at the Evans' place as Lisa stays the night at Joe's house and manages to drive a wedge between Joe and Tyler when she overhears a conversation between Joe and ex-wife Erica. The reason behind their breakup has been shrouded in mystery but this week we got an answer about why these two split and, in a roundabout way, it has everything to do with Tyler's motorcycle accident. It seems that Tyler ruptured his spleen during the accident and was in need of a blood transfusion. Donating blood, Erica and Joe discovered that it appeared as though Tyler wasn't Joe's son, based on the different in their blood types. Erica maintained that Tyler was Joe's son and couldn't have been anyone else's but Joe couldn't trust her and left her, ending their marriage. 

Tyler's furious to learn this fact, especially from Lisa and not his parents, and takes off. At home, he angrily confronts Erica and doesn't believe her when she says that Joe is his father and that she didn't have an affair. But the truth hasn't brought any of them closer together; in fact, it's driven Erica and her son apart ... and right into the Visitors' open arms.

It's an odd situation. Why wouldn't the blood types match? And if Joe isn't Tyler's father, then who is? And if he is Tyler's father, why would the test fail to prove that? Could it be that Tyler's unique blood type is the reason why the Visitors have had their eye on Tyler all this time? Hmm...

Anna and Chad: I'm not sure what to make of Anna's Live-Aboard Program. She seems determined to get the humans to live aboard the motherships for some reason that I can't quite figure out but Chad manages to discover that they are using the Visitor Healing Centers as a way to prescreen the candidates, choosing those who are, as Chad puts it, "broken toys," those who failed to reach their full potential. While Anna claims that the Visitors treat everyone alike, regardless of circumstance or luck, Chad knows that something else is going on here and plans to get to the bottom of it.

But he also wants something from Anna. "I don't want to be ordinary," he tells her, revealing just how truly ambitious Chad is that he's willing to shelve a discovery that will have dramatic consequences for the human race in order to attain greater glory. It's a trade-off that Anna is all too willing to agree to, offering Chad a deal to silence him and keep him under her thumb. Oh, Chad, when will you learn?

Anna, meanwhile, spawns her fertilized egg in a giant glowing pool. She's preparing for the birth of her army, a race of super-soldiers who will be able to destroy the Fifth Column. I can't wait for those bad boys to hatch... 

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: James May (Brett Dier), Father Jack (Joel Gretsch), and Ryan (Morris Chestnut) discuss the legacy of John May on ABC's "V."

Credit: Michael Courtney / ABC

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