V 1.12: Red Sky

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Broadcast Date: 18 May 2010
Director: David M. Barrett
Writer: Gregg Hurwitz and Scott Rosenbaum
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

Erica: “Here’s to your children’s future, Anna.”

As it was renewed only last week, I thought for sure V would just wrap up its dangling plotlines and call it a day. I didn’t expect a cliff-hanger, let alone six: Kyle’s loyalty is compromised, Ryan returns to his people, Chad learns the truth, Lisa switches sides, Erica becomes a V liaison, and Anna declares war on Earth. The writers must have noticed their best scenes involve duplicity because five of these threads hint at a sophomore year chuck full of doublespeak. There’s potential for overkill here, but we can worry about that next spring.

For now, let’s examine how we got here. “Red Sky” is all about culminating the season’s story arcs and letting us know the next one will feature something very different indeed. It’s also the title of chapter seven of my first novel, which I wrote when I was seventeen and sucked monkey balls. Anyway, unlike, say, Tim Kring, who’s more keen on blaming the network and new media technology, the V Powers That Be seem eager to learn from their ups and downs. Their finale wobbles in some places, but it convinced me of one thing: I’ll be tuning in for round two.

V Is for Vai Com Deus, Soldier Babies!

Though there are a few stray threads (and a neglected one: is no one concerned for Larry Parker?), most of the episode focuses on Erica having dinner with Anna to gain access to her killer eggs. Given how hard it is to sneak around in high heels, you’d figure the FBI agent would’ve put on a more sensible pair of shoes, but I digress. The point is she gets desperate enough to use Tyler. Just as Anna is growing more attached to her offspring, Erica is becoming less protective of hers.

Our heroine doesn’t fry that giant omelette on her lonesome though. Lisa shows her the way, then frees Joshua, praising his valour (Dimitri heart scene); Joshua gives his life to protect her cover (Dimitri curse at TV); and Kyle distracts Marcus during the caper. He also acts as a Q of sorts, equipping her with undetectable explosives and a tricked-out phone. Of course, Q never came on to Bond but, hey, Erica doesn’t seem to mind (Dimitri make puerile bow-chicki-chicki-bow-bow noise).

V Is for Vilifying Foreigners

Father Jack’s only contribution, on the other hand, is to muck up the whole operation by suggesting a uniquely asinine plan that goes something like this. Step one: rely on the guy who betrayed you two weeks ago. Step two: in case you can’t trust the guy who betrayed you two weeks ago, send a pointless message to expose your most precious spy on the mother ship, and call it a win-win scenario. Step three: proceed exactly as you would’ve if you hadn’t sent the message that got your V allies killed.

Oh, God, and then there was that horrible Church sermon, in which he argues the Visitors are evil not because of Anna’s schemes but because they’re foreigners, and foreigners who offer their help must want to either screw you over or convert you into soulless scum like themselves: you can’t embrace a foreigner and love God at the same time. How very Glenn Beck. Though they know the truth about the Visitors, Kyle and Erica should have walked away to maintain her cover. Everyone else should have walked away in the name of human decency.

V Is for Very Good Cliff-Hanger

The season ends on the perfect note, bringing the “empathy versus efficiency” arc to a close as Anna succumbs to intense grief over losing her unborn soldiers. Every performance is dead-on, from Morena Baccarin’s uncontrollable shriek to Christopher Shyer’s complete lack of empathy. I love that the writers are inviting us to feel bad for the alien queen. This, of course, changes the nature of the conflict. In fact, the red sky that appears when she unleashes her vengeance is the episode’s most obvious symbol, an omen of the new world awaiting us next year on V.

© Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures

© Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures

Bits and Pieces

  • I was surprised to see Leah survive Valerie’s abduction. The doctor had “red shirt” written all over her. I guess Marcus was mostly concerned for Earth’s deer when he mentioned the soldiers’ appetite for destruction back in “Heretic’s Fork”.
  • By the same token, I didn’t expect Val to die so quickly. With the pregnancy behind her, she would’ve finally got a chance to develop a proper personality. Solid scene though.
  • The hybrid baby’s cooing effects are the same as in the original series. Such a creepy sound.
  • Marcus revives Joshua in the end, presumably so we wouldn’t drop the show thinking they’d killed off our favourite character.

Quotes

Anna: “What’s happening to me?”
Marcus: “I believe you’re experiencing your first human emotion.”
Not quite, Marcus. This truly is a great payoff.

Kyle: “I prefer the skywriting idea!”
Jack: “Unless someone has a better idea, I don’t see we have another choice.”
Dude, the man just said he liked the other idea more.

Kyle: “And it’s a clutch, not a handbag.”
I learnt something today.

V Is for Vhat’s Zhis, a Season Overview?

V started off strong, by which I mean I and three other people really liked it, but it struggled in the ratings. The reason, I suspect, is post-Lost audiences have come to expect an extreme amount of pathos from their sci-fi. V was more old-school in its approach, presenting vague archetypes that could follow the whims of its allegory. Enter the new creative team, which, eager to please, shoehorned desperate subplots about daddy issues, mysterious pregnancies, and crises of faith (sound familiar?) as well as an obscene amount of violence. Thankfully, the writers eventually found a story they wanted to tell, and I was pleased to see them commit to it, using the finale to clear the deck. If any series this year both needs and deserves a fresh start, it’s V.

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Category: V, Verdict: 4.0 | 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."