OL, so remember when I told you that shit was going down in V, that things were almost definitely looking, up and that we could expect things to continue at an incremental but reliable pace? Remember that? ‘Cause I do, and if anything, “Siege” proves just how wrong I was for having been hopeful. Which isn’t to say that tonight’s episode was as dimwitted and obnoxious as the first three episodes of season two were. No, “Siege” isn’t that bad, but it does prove that even when the show’s momentum is moving ahead at a relatively fast pace, no new plot points seem to matter, and all of them appear haphazard, repetitious, and just flat-out cluttered.
I mean, did I not say in last week’s episode that it looked like the Fifth Column were no longer reacting to the Vs and were finally actually doing something first? And yet only now, after the events of “Siege” and, more specifically, after the canned death of two characters that have only shown up in a handful of episodes, does Erica stand up to her fellow Fifth Columnists and say: “No more reacting to Anna. We act first and we act hard.” Or better yet, only now, after Father Jack has been officially ex-communicated from the Catholic Church, does he feel comfortable taking a stand. I mean really, with heroes like these, the kind that only realize that they have to do something after the shit is hitting the fan inches away from their faces, why would I want to care about a show like V?
OK, OK, I’m blowing things out of proportion but only a little more than is necessary. “Siege” really is a big step back for V, and a large part of that is because I didn’t care about the death of two supposedly major characters that only really became important in season two. Lazy storytelling like that bothers me, because it shows that the writers assume that their audience’s buttons can be pushed simply because we’re watching major events in the show unfold at a kinda, sorta fast pace. Things are happening finally, but none of them feel that grave.
Take, for instance, the way that Hobbes’ character was haphazardly picked up in this episode and developed at a whim. The fact that we’re only now getting back to his backstory, one that involves his supposedly deceased wife, is an unwelcome reminder of the show’s incompetent episode-to-episode plotting. (Kind of a Spoiler) Worse still, the fact that all it takes for him to join Anna’s cause for a moment is a five-second phone call is just flat-out stupid. I understand very well that we can’t always expect characters under stress to behave rationally in a work of fiction. But when you have almost all your protagonists behaving so poorly under stress with such consistent stupidity like they do in V, I stop wanting to give the show’s writers the benefit of the doubt and start wanting to cry for having wasted so much time watching this consarned show.
In fact, why give any part of the show the benefit of the doubt now, considering how poorly even the show’s minor plot points hang together? At this point, I can’t help but ask myself in every other scene, “Why did that have to happen in this way?” Oftentimes, there are no good answers to inconsequential questions like that because the writers clearly never put that much thought into the show. Why didn’t Ryan just run away with his baby earlier in “Siege”? He had her in his arms for a bit before he went down to Earth to try to assassinate Eli Cohn. So why didn’t he? And why has he never seriously tried to tell the other Fifth Columnists what’s going on with him? Is there an actual reason that doesn’t involve the tired, “They have mah bay-bee!” routine?
I apologize if it seems like I’m hyper-ventilating over “Siege,” but while it is an inevitable leap backward, it remains a really big disappointment after the last two weeks of mediocre but sustainable episodes. This week’s focus on a hostage situation, one where the FBI have the Fifth Columnists surrounded and aren’t even trying to negotiate with them before breaking out the big guns, didn’t even feel remotely tense. That’s mostly because the show kept trying to zip in and out of the situation at hand to try to give it added significance, more twists, more stakes, more explosive heft. So by the time those two mystery deaths finally happen, I just didn’t care. “Siege” is a paint-by-numbers production, and none of it felt important.
And don’t even get me started on the way that the show’s writers tried to bring us back to the inert drama between Lisa, Anna, and Diana. Anna’s latest parlay with Diana reminded us in no uncertain terms that these mother-daughter conversations serve no purpose and always end with Diana trying her best to get a rise out of Anna. Worse still, Anna tried to make it seem as if that’s no longer the case, that this time she had a point and that point is that she’s that much closer to winning and that all she needs to do is conquer the human soul. Anna’s premature crowing is moronic for two reasons: 1.) She doesn’t appear to have made any new breakthroughs in that regard since Lisa used the thousand-needle soul-extract-o-matic a couple of episodes ago, and 2.) this abrupt move into Endgame Mode lets the show’s writers off the hook and means that they no longer have to huff and puff while they try to explain why human emotions are the enemy and that they are housed in the human soul and so on and so forth. I know there are only a couple of episodes left and that the next one promises to be more action-packed than ev-ar. But if “Siege” couldn’t even make the big broad beats of the show seem to matter, what’s there to look forward to?
- Trackers: They still look stupid. When they're jumping, it just looks like parkour if parkour required superpowers to look cool. Which is what makes it look extra stupid because the whole appeal of parkour is that almost any able-bodied person can do it.