Broadcast Date: 15 February 2011
Director: John Behring
Writer: Dean Widenmann
Cast: Morena Baccarin, Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch, Mark Hildreth, Logan Huffman, Charles Mesure, Elizabeth Mitchell, Christopher Shyer, Laura Vandervoort, and Scott Wolf
Erica: “We have an army now, and we are going to rain hell on the Visitors.”
How neat was “Siege”? I finally see what the V Powers That Be were going for. We all knew the conflict between la Résistance and la Résistance terroriste would end with our heroes taking over Eli Cohn’s network. What I didn’t expect is a voluntary passing of the torch. It turns out Eli and, of course, the writers view Erica as the yin to his yang, the Xavier to his Magneto, the Selena Gomez to his Miley Cyrus. Okay, maybe that last comparison puts him too far on the evil end of the spectrum, but you know what I mean.
V Is for Vacant Position in the Fifth Column
I’ll level with you. I won’t be missing Eli a.k.a. Child-Killing Magneto. It’s not that I dislike the guy. On the contrary, I find Oded Fehr gives a magnetic performance (ba-dum-tish), and therein lies the rub. I resent that the V Powers That Be have got me to root for a mass-murdering war criminal. What does it say about my moral fortitude that all it takes is a swelling score and a worn picture of a wife and babe for me to go, “Oh, nooos! Poor Eli! Why must the good ones always die first?”
With that off my chest, I must admit the writers got a thrilling yarn out of his exit. Admittedly, the details don’t all add up. For example, I have a hard time believing Eli’s crew would leave a dead body lying in their parking lot, and why didn’t the alien queen have a tracker follow Ryan earlier if that’s all it took? Then again, who cares? The resulting standoff kicks serious ass, matched only by its tense build-up as Anna, who can barely contain her rage, coordinates her various human pawns.
I also dig Eli bequeathing his worldwide network to Erica, who at first can’t figure out why he’d pick someone so firmly opposed to his views. The decision makes perfect sense though. In the context of a fictional universe where terrorism is considered in any way effective, Eli isn’t a monster so much as a noble pragmatist who just needs Agent Evans to step up her game. Incidentally, in that parallel dimension where terrorism isn’t a complete waste of human life, Ireland and Northern Ireland comprise a single sovereign state, Québec seceded in October 1970, and the world at large has gone both anarchist and fundamentalist. Just saying.
V Is for Vacancy Filled
At any rate, Erica certainly seems deserving of the Fifth Column’s leadership, or at least she does this week, which is good enough for me. While a tad clichéd, her plan to smuggle out Fifth Columnists as hostages shows quick thinking and adaptability; her asking for a beat down to maintain appearances proves she can take one for the team; and her vocal objection to Eli’s suicide bombers grabbing real hostages demonstrates her unwavering integrity even knee-deep in smelly pooh-pooh.
However, my favourite indicator consists of her promise to Ryan. Agent Evans makes it clear la Résistance can’t let him live, but she still vows to rescue his daughter. This indicates an ability to temper cold efficiency with a deep sense of compassion. More importantly, as the Fifth Column’s new commander tasked with knocking down Anna once and for all, Erica understands her mission involves not just saving humanity from an alien invasion but liberating the Visitors as well.
Erica also deserves a medal for putting up with that ridiculous family of hers. Jo’s first epic fail involves leaving a boy whose mother’s life hangs in the balance. His second consists of pestering the FBI agents when they’re busy trying to rescue his wife. His third is to think he can do a better job taking down a bunch of terrorists than a trained SWAT team. I guess now we know where Tyler gets his stupid from. When Anna ordered Thomas to get Joe into the building, I asked myself, “How can the writers plausibly achieve this?” As it turns out, they couldn’t.
Again, though, does it matter? The intense climax with the building exploding and all hell breaking loose makes it all worth it, even though Joe’s death was telegraphed early on, and Erica’s manifesto speech in the Bat Cave has me jazzed about what might come next in the series. I think it’s the music and the sexy vibe between Kyle and Erica (yes, I contend Charles Mesure plays guilt sexily) and the promise of change and possibly the fact we just got a darn good hour of television.
Bits and Pieces
- Ultra mega super cute baby with no daddy! I assume Ryan dies in the explosion.
- Now that Erica’s officially been crowned Queen of la Résistance, it occurs to me all our matriarch’s names end the same: Erica, Anna, Lisa, Diana, banana.
- Raise your right hand, those who applauded when Erica slapped Tyler. I can’t do it because I’m still clapping.
- Given he ends up using their technology anyway, why do the Visitors need Kyle to set off the bombs? Come to think of it, why does he put on a suit before pushing the button? For his next caper, he should sport a tuxedo and Flock of Seagulls hair.
- I dig the notion of Diana using psychology to mess with her daughter, as she’s spent more time figuring out human emotions. Anna trying to hold back her tears like a Joy Luck Club heroine makes the scene extra yummy.
This one’s got cool lines, a rarity for V, but even the best episodes must suffer the Alanis Morissette Award for Outstanding Misuse of a Thesaurus:
Anna: “Your sacrifice will be avenged, Marcus.”
You can’t avenge a sacrifice for the simple reason that the person you’d be avenging is the one who made the sacrifice in the first place. The quote would make sense only if Anna then eviscerated Marcus on his deathbed and screamed, “Victory!”
Carrie: “It is only a matter of time before Anna is going to lose her cool, and then it’s not going to be of peace always anymore.”
I like how Chad and Carrie essentially narrated this week’s episode, emphasising the themes and setting up our expectations with their sound bites.
Diana: “How long are we going to do this, daughter?”
Anna: “Do what?”
Diana: “This dance: you come down here; you circle me; you gloat. It’s unbecoming of a queen. It’s a sign of weakness.”
Anna: “Unlike you, I have no weaknesses.”
Diana: “Then why do you feel the need to prove yourself to me?”
This exchange goes a long way to explain Anna’s twisted pride.
Jack: “I was a soldier once. I’ll be a soldier again.”
Erica: “I got you into this because I needed a warrior, but I’ve kept you caged. Not anymore.”
Kyle: “You’ve got me, Erica.”
Oh, just kiss already, you crazy kids!
This is by no means the V for which I signed on last year, but it’ll do nicely. It’ll do nicely indeed.