Kyle: “Time for all decent people to leave the room now.”
If I might digress for a moment about another extraterrestrial property, by which, of course, I mean a franchise with a different E.T. and not interplanetary real estate, the thing that’s always irked me about Alien3 (1992) is the way it negates everything that transpired in the previous film: there I was with my popcorn and overpriced soft drink, excited to see Hicks, Newt, and Bishop again, when five minutes in, boom, they all die. I also recall Nelson walking before me to shout, “Han-han!” but then my memory tends to play tricks on me.
At any rate, this sums up how I feel about “Heretic’s Fork” or at least parts of it, the pointy ones that go out of their way to dismiss every plotline and cliffhanger set up in the previous episode. Eager to find out why Jeffrey, the assassin our heroes captured last time, is convinced the human race can’t win against the Visitors? Well, you’re a sap because he was just lying, ho, ho! Don’t you love it when the shocking reveal is less interesting than the red herring? Honestly, it’s as if the writers were playing exquisite corpse with the show’s mythology.
V Is for Vile Interrogation Techniques
In fairness, V is consistent about one thing: every episode since the new creative team took over has featured a “riveting” torture sequence. No, I’m not referring to Tyler’s weekly subplot, though a bizarre parallel is drawn between him and the latest interrogation victim. After revealing his gratitude to the Visitors, Jeffrey goes into the same rant, almost word for word, as Tyler with his mother: “Name one bad thing that they’ve done since they’ve arrived. Do it. Do it! You can’t, can you?”
To tell you the truth, I’m not sure what the writers are getting at here. Are they suggesting that these words of propaganda are somehow being broadcast directly into human brains, that Tyler’s zeal is akin to the thought processes of a crazed vigilante, that, for the teenager, getting nookie is the same as a little girl getting back the use of her legs, that his lines, when given to another actor, are merely half as annoying?
V Is for Veering in the Wrong Direction
It looks like Chad’s picked a side for now. I’m disappointed, but I have to admit Anna’s manipulation is rather convincing. Her waiting by his bed after the operation made me wonder for a bit whether genuine affection had started to creep in. Now that would’ve been a twist! Of course, the Visitor queen isn’t the only master of deception, so I’ve still got hope Chad’s pulling a fast one on all of us. For the moment, though, he presents a threat to our heroes, and I was relieved Father Jack didn’t fall for his ploy to sniff out la Résistance. I guess the priest isn’t as dumb as his incessant whining would have us believe.
V Is for Viper Commando
In terms of pointless backtracking, Ryan and Valerie’s storyline is the worst offender. Remember R6, the injection that allows Visitors to track humans like cattle? Leah neutralized the threat before the series can make use of it. Remember when the expecting couple reunited, bringing Valerie closer to the main thread? She just left again, so we’re back to where we were two episodes ago. Yes, she’s learnt the truth and Leah’s with her now, but it’s really “two steps forward, two steps back,” as Paula Abdul and her cartoon cat used to say.
I wasn’t impressed either by the Visitor soldier sent to kill the child. All that build-up (“If the humans were to become aware of the level of destruction they’re capable of…”), and all we get is a skinny guy with weird tunnel vision? Them Phantasm balls seemed more threatening. Also, why wasn’t a soldier sent to kill John May ten years ago instead of Ryan, who claims to have been bred as a worker? Exquisite corpse, I say.
Bits and Pieces
- Okay, not every thread has been negated: Lisa’s human emotions are developing nicely, and Tyler still mopes around like a fourteen-year-old, even though he’s seventeen.
- Why would hacking an encrypted hard drive generate a high-resolution picture of names in pretty fonts and colours?
- Kyle’s facial expression after he Dick-Halloranned the soldier is priceless: they’re axe-proof?!
- The house the soldier attacks was heavily featured in Chris Carter’s Millennium. In fact, one of the owners was the demonic Nancy Butler from that series. I take it Nancy finally defeated Frank Black, then took over his home as a way to mock his failed attempt to live the American dream in a postmodern society, and nobody knows what I’m talking about. Moving on.
I think I’m starting to get a sense of the characters:
Anna: “A hybrid can be born with human emotions, love […] It is a mongrel, a threat to our survival!”
Grr! I’m evil Anna. I hate hugs. Now bring me puppies to kick!
Kyle: “First, you’re going to tell me everything you know about the Vs, and then you’re going to beg me to kill you.”
Grr! I’m Kyle. I spout hardcore clichés because I’m a bad boy who doesn’t need anyone’s approval, yeah!
Jack: “It’s a call from the mother ship. It’s Joshua.”
Prr! I’m Father Jackass. I reveal the identity of our most precious spy in front of a man who betrayed his species!
Lisa: “Tyler’s like no one I’ve ever met. The way he sees things, he really wants to make the most of his life.”
Huh? I’m Lisa. I must be talking about some other Tyler.
Erica: “What the hell was that thing?”
D’oy! I’m Erica. I’m an FBI investigator, but I can’t recognise basic human traits when the guy’s walking up staircases.
Anna: “Release the soldier!”
Better yet, release the Kraken!
A lot of momentum was lost here.