V 1.10: Hearts and Minds

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Broadcast Date: 4 May 2010
Director: Bobby Roth
Writer: Gregg Hurwitz
Cast: Morena Baccarin, Lourdes Benedicto, Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch, Logan Huffman, Elizabeth Mitchell, Laura Vandervoort, and Scott Wolf


© Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures

© Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures

Kyle: “Which do you want to be: the guy who gets knocked down or the guy who gets back up?”

The thing Kyle doesn’t seem to understand about his own story is they’re the same guy. That’s the whole point. Take this episode, for example. The writers give us a single, cohesive storyline with promising ideas and a nice sense of escalation. These small achievements would be par for the course in most series, but, in the context of V’s usual problems with dialogue and internal logic, they’re beacons of hope in a cruel sea of missed opportunities. Also, spaceship go boom equals awesome.

V Is for Vulcanised Passengers

Every subplot this week revolve around our heroes shooting down a V shuttle and discovering its passengers were human. The Visitors, it turns out, filled the craft with dead bodies to turn public opinion against la Résistance. It’s a sound premise, though I’m not convinced Anna’s ploy is as clever as the writers would have us believe. Wouldn’t it have been easier to put live humans aboard? That way, Sarita, whose allegiance to the Visitors comes to no one’s surprise but composer Normand Corbeil, wouldn’t have to delete the crime scene photos. Of course, given forensic anthropologists usually work with actual evidence, I’m not sure what the woman is trying to achieve.

The real problem, though, is it’s a cop out. Can you imagine how challenging “Hearts and Minds” might have been if the writers had taken the opportunity to discuss notions like collateral damage and friendly fire? Okay, forget the social commentary. Can you picture how tense, tortured, and compelling the heroes would have become if Anna had tricked them into killing civilians? Regrettably, V isn’t that kind of show. It’s the cowardly kind, so desperate to be liked by everyone it only displays the cuddly parts of its “brutal” war.

V Is for Voluble Priest

In fairness, the episode deals with some issues of guilt, mostly through Father Jack, who throws one tantrum after the other, even though he’s the one who blabbed to Chad. For an ex-soldier, the man is kind of a wuss. That is, except when he knows law enforcement’s got nothing on him. Then he’s an arrogant jerk. He also comes off as a raging bigot when he says, “Either we value life, or we are the Vs!” Uhm, so blasting away at a Visitor shuttle is cool because they’re not really alive? Yeah, okay, I’m going to move over there and talk about Chad now.

Though the reporter is on Anna’s side for the moment, Chad does show some measure of caution by refusing to reveal his source. I don’t imagine Anna was too pleased with the man standing his ground, not that it matters. The alien queen showed her hand by putting humans aboard the shuttles after he warned her of an impending attack. All one has to do is put two and two together, and… Hold on. According to his conversation with Father Jack, Chad doesn’t suspect a thing. Some journalist!

V Is for Vitriolic Parenting

All right, enough whinging. What, am I a seventeen-year-old crying in his mommy’s arms because his girlfriend dumped him? Heh. Lisa only breaks up with Tyler to protect him, of course, but the boy is so distressed after hearing of the terrorist strike he rushes to the mother ship and inadvertently exposes his girlfriend’s lies to Anna. The latter’s reaction makes for the series’ best cliff-hanger so far: “Don’t worry, daughter. We’ll get him back. There is no greater incentive for a human male than a damsel in distress. Break her legs.”

There are two reasons why I find this conclusion so effective. First, Anna beating her own child in such a brutal manner caught me completely off guard. Considering how desperate the writers have been in their previous attempts, it’s nice to see a shocking twist pay off at last. Second, the scene hints without exposition that Anna’s objectivity has been compromised. After all, if the queen were truly devoid of emotions, she would’ve killed her daughter. Her actions demonstrate anger as well as attachment, and I really dig the implications.

© Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures

© Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures


Bits and Pieces

  • La Résistance could really use some extras. I find it increasingly difficult to believe four people are coordinating and executing all these different capers.
  • Saying Sugar Ray Leonard is your favourite boxer is like declaring Citizen Kane (1941) the best movie you’ve ever seen. It’s the sort of right answer that proves you don’t know anything.
  • It’s a testament to Morena Baccarin’s acting skills that I just now noticed she looks the same age as her daughter.

Quotes

In case you somehow missed the plot:

Erica: “Ryan, we didn’t do this. We didn’t kill anyone. The people in that shuttle they were already dead!”
Ryan: “Anna set us up!”
Yes, Ryan, that would be the gist of it. Thanks for explaining.

Anna: “The Fifth Column reacted exactly as I suspected. Shooting down that shuttle backfired. Tonight, they’ll be introduced to the world just as I planned it: as terrorists.”
Seriously, it happened just a few scenes ago. I got it.

Erica: “The Vs filled that shuttle with dead bodies. They set us up. We didn’t kill anybody.”
So I heard. Three times now.

Sarita: “Permitting that missile to strike the shuttle accomplished precisely what you had hoped. The task force has been formed. I am now free to serve our people and hunt down the Fifth Column with the full weight of the United States government behind me.”
I know! I know!

I know I complained a lot just now, but I actually enjoyed this episode on first viewing. Then the details started catching up to me.

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Category: V, Verdict: 3.0 | Tags:

          
Editor in Chief / Movie Critic: When he started this site, Dimitri never thought he'd be writing blurbs about himself in the third person. In his other life, he works as a writer, translator, and editor for various publications in print and online. His motto is, "Have pen, will travel."