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Thursday, May 06, 2010

How V Won Me Back

I've had my head down for the last while, working on my CFC app, trying to make this sucker sing but it's frustrating the heck out of me... so let's talk about something else for the moment.

A redemption tale... of sorts.

A tale I'm surprised to find myself telling.

'Cause, truth be told, I don't know why I stuck with V.

With so much good TV on these days I certainly don't have the time or patience to sit through bad dialogue and hackneyed plots.

And yet I did. Every Tuesday night my PVR's kicked in to tape another episode and I haven't stopped it.

A part of me thought it might be a hold-over from my Firefly days, that I'm just happy to see Morena Baccarin on TV again -- and that part's true -- but recently I've found myself thinking about the show.

Not a ton, but there's definitely a growing intrigue.

Heads up, this post is going to be rather V spoiler-riffic so if you care and/or don't want to know some stuff, you should probably stop here.

I found myself talking to a friend today about the show, and they were telling me about how they stopped watching at episode 3.

And that's when it happened: I found myself saying "Actually, it's gotten better".

I went on to describe the most recent episode of the series to them, and some of the newer arcs that have come up.

You know what? They were intrigued. They wanted to know more.

To be truthful about it... I do too.

You see, in the last episode the 5th column (the 'resistance') caught wind -- thanks to a spy on the V mothership -- that the head Evil Alien (Anna) was going to send down a ship-full of super-specialized 'tracker' aliens.

Some breed of V that, if they made it to the surface, would disperse and be utterly unable to be stopped... it would only be a matter of time before these 'trackers' figured out who the leaders of the resistance were -- why they weren't used before now, I dunno, but it was played as a legitimate threat and so our 'resistance' knew the only thing they could do was make sure that ship never landed.

Through one of their 'magic man' connections, they got their hands on a stinger missile and loaded it with the 'V shield' codes pilfered thanks to their ship-spy and set about blowing said ship out of the sky.

Only thing was - and this was the part that made me sit up straight: Anna had, thanks to her own spy, found out this was going to happen.

So she loaded the ship with people.

Her plan was simple and brilliant: The 'resistance', by blowing up this ship of unarmed men, women and children, would become an official terrorist organization in the eyes of the Human populace.

And it worked, brilliantly. Anna stood before the world spouting her bit about how 'they were of peace' but then added how since she'd never wanted to incite violence, it was time for all the V's to leave the planet -- which caused the world to stand up as one and say 'No! Don't Go!'; which lead to the formation of a President-backed Human anti-5th-column initiative.

One that has our main character (one of the secret leaders of the 'resistance') and a V at the helm. Unfortunately, that V is loyal to Anna.

Ruh roh.

So... how did they do it? How did they get V back on track (or ON track)?

1. They made Anna a brilliant, ruthless psychopath.
Yes, this was intended from the get-go... but they finally made it work.

We sci-fi geeks like to romanticize how Vulcans 'don't get' Human emotions... but this is exactly the kind of stuff we should've been witnessing from them.

Anna 'gets' human emotion but only in the scientific sense - a sort of 'If I poke here they scream like this' thing. She can smile, she 'empathize' but it's all a mask... one that she can wear and drop at a whim. It's insanely creepy and Morena Baccharin pulls it off with style. You WANT to believe her even though you know she's going to kill you. Horribly.

1.1 They gave Anna's Daughter (Lisa) conflicting human emotions
She was originally a soulless lackey, a pretty little puppet for mommy. But the creators made her actually start to fall for the whiny sack of meat called Tyler (more on him later). Slowly Lisa's become aware of exactly what mommy's been doing to the Humans she keeps aboard her ships. And that her boy-toy has been part of Anna's experiments.

Lisa's starting to realize that something's amiss. She's starting to feel. And mommy's not happy about that.

She's become the show's Spock/Data/Odo/7 of 9 - the outsider waking up to this world around them, trying to process what it means to have emotions and 'feel' and 'be' human (even if you're not). And it's putting her into direct conflict with mommy... in a good way.

Points 1 and 1.1 were exceptionally illustrated in the most recent episode where -- and this is absolutely fantastic -- Lisa's failure to bring Tyler on board (because she 'cared' for him enough to break up with him and save him from Anna) caused Anna to bash her daughter's face in and order the guards to break her legs.

Her rationalization? She'll tell everyone that Lisa was hurt in a terrorist attack and that'll bring Tyler running back to her. *blink*

Damn!

2. They defined the Human strength as their weakness.
Humans are fighting an enemy who have no concept of conscience. The V's will do whatever it takes to move their goal forward. The show has taken great pains to illustrate just what the 'resistance' won't do. For example, in the last episode, one resistance member's moment of kindness (warning the wrong person not to travel on the V ships today) ended up creating the situation that got them all painted as terrorists.

His one moment of caring for the wrong person could very well bring down the entire resistance.

Brilliant.

3. They shut up the brat.
Tyler's been an inconceivable teenage wanker from the get-go. He's an irrational caricature -- some adult imagining that that's what kids must be like 'these days'. An impudent, reckless teen but the worst possible iteration.

And they've finally shut him up... at least for now. I don't know how long it'll last but my gawd I hope he never speaks again. Hopefully, now that Lisa's crushed his widdle heart, he'll grow up a tad and chill the hell out. Maybe he'll wise up and be a freedom fighter, maybe have to try taking out his girlfriend. Maybe he'll get blown up or hit by a bus. I dunno, but we can hope.

Anyways, yes, the show's not perfect, but it's definitely on the upswing. Things are getting better and I'm finding myself intrigued.

Maybe there's hope for V yet.

Cheers,
Brandon

1 comment:

Rich Baldwin said...

Sounds like they figured out how to deal with their premise (which I think is something like "Humanity, although sometimes a weakness, will generally be the salvation of the human race"), and amp the whole thing up by focusing on the many and various ways emotions can be used against the resistance. Of course they can't do this all the time, or the resistance will either be destroyed or turn dark within a season - but it's definitely something they needed. The villain makes the drama . . ..