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V: "Red Sky"

Last week, I prayed V would pull out the stops for its season finale and finally treat us to some epic battling, or at least pull back the curtain and reveal the aliens as malevolent to the whole world. One out of two ain't bad? On the one hand, instead of Anna's army of soldiers waking up and marching on Earth, Erica blew them all up. It's a disappointing, but probably necessary move for the show, especially considering it just got picked up for a second season and probably doesn't have the budget to transform into a Terminator-esque scorched-earth survivalist show.

On the other hand, in just about the only plot development that wasn't completely telegraphed from the get-go, a vengeful Anna activated some protocol on all of her invader ships to cover the planet in weird red clouds. What's up with that? No idea. But you gotta figure it's gonna have some impact on the reputation of the visitors next season. The positive reaction of some of Jack's parishioners to his anti-alien speech suggests at least an expansion of the dissident crowd in the future. I certainly approve of that. One of V's many, many flaws is that watching the aliens pull a fast one on humanity quickly got boring - especially Anna's knowing smiles to the camera or Erica & co.'s awkward public support of the visitors. 

A game-changer like this is what the show needs, but it's too bad the rest of the episode was as plodding as usual. Sure, plenty of stuff happened, but apart from the red sky, was there anything that happened in the finale that hasn't been hinted at for weeks and weeks?

Let's think. Lisa put her money where her mouth is and assisted the Fifth Column, giving Erica the blue energy bomb she needed to blow up the soldier eggs, and freeing Joshua to create a diversion. Valerie gave birth to a lizard hybrid, and then Anna killed her, using her death to turn Ryan back to her side. Chad, finally, after a LOT of prodding, figured out that the aliens are up to no fucking good.

Killing off Valerie might have been more shocking if that character had anything to do for the entire show except look a bit concerned. Once she popped out the lizard baby (the only interesting part of her), the writers had no more use for her. Ryan's growing emotional distance from his fellow Fifth Columnists had been hinted at since the John May episode, so I wasn't surprised to see him accept Anna's bliss and rejoin the fold, but even for a show this lazy, I could not overlook the plot twist in which the visitors tell him to leave the room while Valerie gives birth, and he just...does. Even though he's a SWORN ENEMY of Anna's, he accepts her at her word when she says that Valerie's death, which he didn't see, had nothing to do with her. Just how stupid is he supposed to be? Why on earth did he leave in the first place, when Valerie was literally dragged on board by a crazy soldier who likes to chow down on fresh-killed deer?

The show also killed off Joshua, having Erica shoot him to prove her loyalty to Anna. It was also no surprise considering that Joshua, like Georgie before him, felt marked for death because his character was sort of important, but not that important. I was a little surprised to see Marcus revive him at the end of the episode for reasons unknown, but unlike Georgie, I don't find the character particularly irritating, so I can live with that.

I pretty much zoned out at Chad's voyage of self-discovery, however. I don't know why this dude is deserving of our sympathy considering that he's an investigative journalist who took everything he was told by Anna at face value. But he finally is told to go look at what happens to the live-aboards and looked pretty horrified. He had the usual poker face when talking to Anna but I think he, along with Lisa, will be in the rebel column for next season.

Morena Baccarin was handed the only remotely challenging moment of the episode with her weepy freakout at discovering her babies are dead. Seems she's come down with a case of human emotions, although no one seemed too perturbed that this would affect her leadership capabilities. Anna will most likely remain a straight-ahead villain but I would like to see the writers toss Baccarin some more stuff about confronting Anna's growing humanity, simply because she's up to the challenge.

I have no idea if the AV Club is going to continue covering this show next year, whenever it airs (most likely 2011, according to press), but I've enjoyed writing about it, even if half the time I was just ragging on it mercilessly. Any fans who are looking forward to the continuing adventures of Anna vs. the Fifth Column, speak your minds now.

Stray observations:

Scott Wolf sounds like John F. Kennedy every time he says "father." Is he from Boston, or is he just being ridiculous?

I know I've complained about the visual effects of V a lot, but when so much of the action is taking place on board the ship, you really have to update some of those painful backdrops. 

I didn't say anything about Hobbes because I could care less, but do you think the leverage the aliens have on him is a wife, or a daughter? Daughter feels right; it's more cliched.

Filed Under: TV, V

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