Friday, November 20, 2009

V 1.03: "A Bright New Day"

“You’ve got to be alive to be reconnected.”


Much of this week’s episode of V felt like the wheels were spinning in place, but we got a nice “bringing the band together” moment at the end of the episode that made much of it worthwhile. We also gained greater understanding of just what the stakes are if the newly formed resistance doesn’t succeed. There was plenty to show just how devious the Visitors, especially Anna, will be to achieve their objective. They are extremely manipulative.

The episode opens with select Visitors, including Anna and Lisa, getting their United States travel visas. These visas let them leave the gated area around the New York Peace Ambassador Center. This move creates a firestorm, with both V protesters and supporters crowding around the area to see the Vs leave the compound. Chad Decker is watching too, because it’s kind of his job to report on big events like this. What’s odd is that he stares at Anna, kind of creepily, as she enters a glass elevator in a nearby building following receiving her visa and the elevator rises towards the roof.

Meanwhile, Jack is having a bit of a crisis of faith. He knows the Vatican supports the Vs, but he’s having trouble figuring out the right thing to say to his parishioners begging him for answers during confession. He finds himself at Erica’s house, where Tyler answers the door sort of confused. Which I guess is understandable. It doesn’t seem like every day that a priest would randomly show up at the Evans house. He just wants to be able to do something to help in the fight against the Vs. Erica has him work on what she has been doing- looking at their list of people who have reported aliens and cross-referencing anything V related to see if they can find people from the Warehouse. Erica can’t do the work herself at the moment, because there’s been a threat against the Peace Ambassador Center, and she and the rest of her FBI team have been called in to help.

Ryan is working his own angle to try and mount a resistance. First he goes to George, the guy who organized the Warehouse meeting. George is skittish about getting back into the V resistance game right away (understandable), but is more open to the idea when Ryan says he might be able to get in contact with John May, the founder of the Fifth Column (the organization of traitor Vs). Ryan’s plan is to go through his friend Cyrus, who apparently had the most connections of anybody from the old Fifth Column days.

Ryan’s plan doesn’t really go well, though. It turns out Cyrus has turned informant for the Vs. The Vs said they would “reconnect” him if he turned in enough Fifth Column. He says he wants to feel “the Bliss” again which only Anna can dole out. It reminds me of the Jem’Haddar from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. They were designed to be addicted to a substance called Ketracel White so that the Founders and the Vorta, who dispensed the White, would have complete power over them. The Bliss sounds similarly addictive. That was really the only thing I found interesting about Ryan’s story- it was good to get some more information about V culture. Oh, and even though Cyrus alerts the Vs to Ryan's presence, Ryan kills Cyrus and gets the heck out of Dodge before any V authorities can arrive.

Erica trying to foil the plot to attack the Peace Ambassador Center is really more interesting for the V machinations it reveals than the actual plot itself. The plot is your pretty standard issue Hollywood-ized FBI stuff. Erica mocks the surveillance equipment (while seeing there’s more advanced equipment in a secret room across the hall), and she’s the one to spot and chase down the would-be assassin. This puts Erica in the Visitors’ good graces- for now, at least. Erica does go back to that secret room later and discovers something deliciously creepy- Peace Ambassador jackets all have a secret camera in the pocket. The Vs are using the jackets to spy on humanity.

Anna is occupied with a public relations battle. Mrs. Faulkner is a woman whose husband was one of the jet pilots that died when the mothership first appeared, and she is the most vocal anti-V protester. Anna can’t tolerate negative press, so she feels she needs to stop Mrs. Faulkner immediately. She does so simply by feigning sympathy. I’m not sure that I believe someone could be so taken in hook, line and sinker like Mrs. Faulkner was (does the Bliss work on humans too?), but this whole sub-plot was worth it for one reason. The scene where Anna is rehearsing her plea to Mrs. Faulkner, trying on different levels of intonation and crying, is a pure masterpiece. What else would you expect from a Whedonverse alum like Morena Baccharin! I’m willing to ignore Anna’s really lame “briefing” to the 29 V Area Captains. She makes them all get on their holographic communicator thingys just to show them her new travel visa and talk to them for like 30 seconds- lame!

Unlike Erica’s sleuthing, which turns up the jacket cameras, Jack’s sleuthing is kind of (okay, make that very) inept. He discovers George (the organizer of the Warehouse meeting) while finishing up the cross-referencing work, and he decides to go out to George’s house to talk to him. And then he makes the king of dumb moves. He gets to the house and sees nobody’s home, and a sort of disheveled neighbor stops by to let him know George has disappeared. He freaking gives her his business card. Like he’s a TV cop or something. It’s kind of pathetically hilarious. Unfortunately, it could also be deadly, because it could lead the Vs to finding him.

Erica, Jack, George, and Ryan do come together in a darkened room (Jack’s Church, perhaps?), in what will probably be looked upon as one of the series’ iconic scenes, to start reforming the resistance. What also stood out to me about the ending were two surprising twists. Dale was conscious, so a V doctor had been working with him to try to get passed amnesia and remember what happened at the warehouse. Just as Dale finally remembers and reveals to the doctor that Erica tried to kill him, the Doctor actually does kill Dale. Turns out the doctor is Fifth Column. The other twist happens when Lisa returns to the New York mothership after an awkward encounter with Erica at the Evans’ house. She tells Anna that she things Tyler should be “the one” (for what, I’m not sure). And she calls Anna “mother.”

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