You guys. You guys. You guys. “Concordia” is the second episode of V in a row where things not only happened but were actually progressing at a defensible rate and with a semi-sturdy internal logic. This is the mediocre-to-ok show that we’ve been waiting for this whole time, the one I’ve continued to watch anticipating would show up. Because let’s face it, at this point, there’s little-to-no way that the show’s creators can totally salvage the show considering how much of the plot is grounded in unconvincing parallel relationships and preposterous ideas. (For example, there’s no way they can white-wash the whole soul-rending conceit as that now seems to be a vital part of Anna’s schemes these days.)
And yet somehow, “Concordia” finally forced the Fifth Columnists’ hands and progressed virtually every other enduring subplot without looking too ludicrous while doing it. After “Unholy Alliance,” “Concordia” looks like another minor uptick that’s modest enough that I now actually think we can realistically hope for more of the same in the near future. I’m as amazed as you are.
“Concordia” mostly succeeds as much as it does because of its sense of momentum. After so much time, the writers are finally concentrating on making their protagonists do what they should have done several episodes ago. One of the things in tonight’s episode that could have only happened at this stage in the show is the entangled relationship between Tyler and Lisa and Erica and Anna, a facet of V that has always been rather weak. “Concordia” doesn’t tiptoe around that foundational bond, probably because it’s pretty much one of the show’s biggest cornerstones and hence can’t really be avoided. In fact, the fight to determine which side Tyler will ally himself has significantly accelerated in what is easily the least satisfying of tonight’s subplots.
Because events are now unfolding at an alarming rate, the tug-of-war for Tyler is drastically sped up in “Concordia.” Then again, push needed to come to shove pretty badly, so that’s probably not such a bad thing after all. Erica invites Joe, her ex-husband, back and tells him that they need to stay together for Tyler. This seems like a fairly painless proposition to Joe, and while that arrangement may be ridiculously convenient in any other context, the fact remains that even with Joe on her side, Erica has a hard time getting Tyler back. He looks like he’s on the good guys’ team again, right up until Anna offers to make him the first human to pilot a V cruiser. To Tyler, this seems like a much better proposition than the heart-felt offer Erica just made him, specifically that he can take some time off to figure out what he wants to do with the rest of his life now that he’s turned 18, graduated from high school and is unsure of what to do next. Because personal freedom is cool, but spaceships are cooler. Coming from a teen, that kind of juvenile logic actually makes a lot of sense—Tyler really doesn’t see a significant contradiction between Anna and Erica’s propositions—even if it is the spine of one of the show’s most ridiculously overwrought showdowns.
The majority of potentially exciting developments in “Concordia” are, however, still basically just groundwork being laid out for the next couple of remaining episodes. But tonight’s episode’s self-contained story is actually surprisingly durable. Anna decides to unveil a plan to build the titular city on a hill at a gala event. Both factions of the Fifth Column agree that the event is the perfect opportunity for them to finally, y’know, do something. They hatch a plan to assassinate Anna, and they actually go through with it. Naturally, something happens at the 11th hour that frustrates their plans and allows Anna to live to see another episode. But the fact remains that the build-up to Anna’s public announcement grounds “Concordia” in an immediately satisfying way, making the show for a brief moment more about the plot to take down the Vs and not their own convoluted backstory. Hats off to CSI writer David Rambo for supplying the show with a serviceable procedural plot.
Still, it warrants repeating: The world of V is probably beyond complete revitalization. While it’s nice to see the Visitors finally sit one out and let the humans dominate an episode, the fact that the shoe is on the other foot, and they are just biding their time, their plans for inter-breeding just seem that much more stupid. The fact that the Red Rain event fertilized both human women and made the crops grow is pure sci-fi hokum, and it sounds all the more idiotic when you have an unbelievably manipulative character like Anna telling you for the second or third time that the results of said event will soon come to fruition. “Soon” could be in the next episode, or it could be something the writers have planned for the show’s third season. (Hey, sports fans, I can dream; I don’t know why but I can dream.)
Thankfully, that type of lousy storytelling quickly takes a back seat to make room for other more-so-so-than-terrible subplots. I’m especially intrigued by the introduction of a new co-anchor for Chad’s TV show, who will finally provide a staunchly skeptical human opinion of Anna. Also, the revelation at show’s end of a faction within the Fifth Column that’s now trying to ferret out the mole in the group's midst is likewise a long overdue and satisfying development, though, frankly, it’s kind of amazing that they didn’t start with Ryan, all things considered.
But again, that’s V’s biggest problem: Logic is in direfully short supply, and the show’s creators can only sometimes be relied on to organically develop their story, based on their characters’ dispositions. The fact that Ryan is a Visitor should make him automatically suspicious to anyone that’s already paranoid about an internal leak (heh, internal leak). But no, somehow, he’s still allowed to report back to Anna because at present, he’s apparently being too stealthy for his fellow Fifth Columnists’ to notice him sneaking from the Mothership in Chicago and back to Earth at least twice an episode for the past couple of episodes.
Then again, you take what you can get with V, and right now, the home stretch looks a lot less bumpy, thanks to the road that this and last week’s episode paved for future developments. Let’s hope the next few episodes don’t screw up too badly.
- “They can take my collar but they can’t take my faith.” I always suspected Father Jack was a Mel Gibson fan.