Sunday, March 13, 2011

Review: V "Devil In a Blue Dress"

Non Spoiler Review:
In what could be the penultimate V episode, we realize that Anna isn't the only queen of hair-brained schemes—Erica is following a close second. After the launch of a blue energy reactor in New York for the Concordia construction, the Fifth Column decides to create a Three Mile Island event to turn the public against this latest gift from the Visitors. 

Anna finds many uses for her Bliss, and Marcus is back on his feet sending harsh glares at anyone in his path and spending the whole episode trying to catch Anna being emotional. There was a lot of set up and moving pieces into place for the finale, and some crazy camera work, too, which seemed very out of place. But this week dropped the ball on the previous two stronger episodes, if only for Erica's inane terrorist scheme and throwing out any idea that science matters with the blue energy situation. With no Anna/Diana interaction, we didn't even get a cathartic bitchy conclusion to round out the episode. Big fail.

Spoilers Now!
Anna kicks off the construction of Concordia sites by activating the first blue energy reactor. But out of earshot, she and Thomas muse that soon their breeding sites will be complete and the annihilation of humanity can begin—just in case he's forgotten. They must really enjoy this state-the-obvious banter. Too bad she lacks emotion, because all that's missing is maniacal laughter.

Erica's there watching, and has a run in with Tyler, so she takes the opportunity to pass off his father's jacket to him and Tyler gets all wishy-washy and apologizes for being such a bad son. She invites him to dinner. It looks like things are back on track. But Anna shoots them both the stink eye seeing him get all emotional with his mom. 

Diana gets a visit from Marcus (who they forgot to tell us is all better now). He's shocked to learn Anna did this to their queen, but takes Anna's side at the suggestion she's succumbed to emotion. Diana explains that fifteen years before, when she chose to abandon their mission, it was Anna who overthrew her out of pride. Marcus says he's loyal to his species, and must report to Anna about this. "I'm the queen," Diana announces, and Anna will doom them if she continues like this.

Sydney summons a meeting and he's built an awesome model of the Concordia site, because he's noticed the reactor is too big. Based on his projections (from using the power cell in a device he found in Malik's safe) he projects the Concordia sites are going to produce enough power for a mothership. Then Sydney produces a big model of a mothership and sets it on top, and—gasp(!)—they all conclude Concordia is a landing site for their invasion. Sydney is an absolute genius (and pretty handy with scale models).

There are 538 Concordia sites but only 29 motherships...or are there? That means many more ships are coming. Erica realizes they just have to step up their game and suggests they do a Three Mile Island—sabotage the New York blue energy reactor so it scares people. Hey, that just might work, given it's Manhattan and nothing ever remotely terrorist-like has ever happened there that might turn people against the Fifth Column.

So Erica Bin Laden will get Lisa to supply blue energy samples for Sydney to research (because he's a physicist this week), while Fierro will handle all the logistics for getting them onto the construction site and into the reactor. All sounds simple enough.

Marcus is back at work, and his first order of business is helping Anna deal with Tyler's sudden burst of emotion. Amy is the key—the Visitor in her accepts her Bliss, but the human side does not reject it. She orders testing to begin immediately, as Marcus coldly watches her for any sign of emotion.

Erica and Hobbes discuss the previous night, and she brushes it off as needing a break and can't lose focus. Ouch. Lisa shows up for their rendezvous and gives her some blue energy balls that she needs to return after they analyze it. They fill Lisa in on the plan and ask her to find out anything else she can about Concordia. But Ryan is watching them all from above.

As it turns out, when Ryan gave Valerie all that phosphorous it made Amy a super hybrid, with perhaps some yet to be determined powers, in addition to being Blissable.

Anna wonders if it's possible to Bliss the humans after all, because that would solve sooo many problems, but Marcus is against it, given Diana tried and failed. If Anna can control them through Bliss she can stop all resistance, so she tries on a prisoner, and after a painful ordeal (for both)—complete with blood gushing from Anna's eyes and some shaky cam—the girl appears to be at peace. Anna tests it out by telling her to kill herself with a suicide pill (she keeps an extra one handy in her lapel), and she does. Anna is ecstatic—almost emotional. If she can Bliss large numbers of humans everything will be so awesome, but Marcus thinks it will kill her.

Sydney analyzes the blue energy and offers this explanation—it's basically a particle/anti-particle idea and kind of like sticking a fork in a light socket. So apparently they can bring it down pretty easily. But...

Lisa's gone to Diana again to demand to know what her mother's plan is. Her grandmother attempts to brush her off, but Lisa tells her she's just like Anna, always keeping secrets, and she suggests Concordia is a landing site for the invasion because her friends figured it out already, so there. They're planning on sabotaging the reactor. This alarms Diana, because there are two sides to blue energy—the peaceful, power producing kind. And the other—the weaponized kind. If they've somehow weaponized it, it will destroy a hundred square miles (but at least that would turn people off blue energy).

The Fifth Column is already at Concordia ready to send in Sydney as a worker with a completely elaborate and implausible plan to get through security (because tonight, Visitor security sucks). Lisa contacts Ryan, who just happens to be there spying on them, and fills him in. She can't get a hold of Erica (can't find her cell phone, I guess) so he has to stop them.

Sydney is allowed into the site disguised as one of the construction workers. He's intercepted by one of the Fifth Column and let inside the building. He runs down a lot of stairs to get to the blue energy chamber (again with crazy camera work), while Ryan runs through a lot of culverts trying to get there, too. But Sydney gets into the big empty room of the reactor first, and tosses in the tiny balls, which get swallowed up.

Hobbes spots Ryan sneaking into the site, so he, Jack and Erica try to head him off. But Ryan gets into the reactor and tells Sydney to stop or it will cause a huge explosion. Sydney's all...I'm not gonna! Ryan asks if he's absolutely sure he didn't weaponize that, and he makes a run for the device, but is too late. The energy starts to go wild as Erica, Jack and Hobbes come in (how they managed to get through the workers outside is not important). Hobbes is ready to shoot Ryan on the spot, but he says Lisa sent him there to warn them. 

No one else on the site appears to be alerted by the alarm, oddly enough. Erica tells him to shut it down, but the energy has to vent. The reactor spits out the two balls. So...we don't really know what happened.

Anna is looking a little under the weather as Thomas and Marcus advise her that power has gone out over the city, and the only way it could have happened was if blue energy were used to sabotage the reactor. She suggests they use the reactor to restore power as a show of their benevolence. But the sabotage means the blue energy must have come from one of their ships.

Erica's not impressed that blue energy has saved the day and has only encouraged world governments to speed up construction of their reactors. Jack decides it's time to pitch another fit and argues with her about taking crazy risks. This time I have to agree. And even Hobbes takes his side, and suggests Eli chose Erica because she cared about innocents, not because she's an uber-fascist terrorist. She continues to act pissy and tells him just to follow orders. 

Anna summons Chad to tell him she's not pleased with Karen's anti-Visitor rhetoric. It would be unfortunate if she were to get in the way of Concordia. Back at the studio, he tells Karen she might be right. The blue energy might have caused the blackout in the first place. He says he can't report it because Anna would destroy his career, but she could break the story. So on air she makes the announcement that there was a near catastrophic failure at the Concordia site. But Chad's set her up with false information, so she gets fired. Karen throws a fit, but he says he's a one man show.

Joshua spies on Lisa as she enters a restricted area, but suddenly gets a flash of his memories helping Erica destroy the eggs. He runs in after Lisa as Thomas and his men are coming down the hall. He warns her to come with him quickly and they get away. Hey, I remember! he says. I'm Fifth Column, like you!

Tyler comes to see Anna to thank her for everything she's done, but he realizes he's been lashing out at his mother and now just wants to spend more time with her. She agrees, but first she'd like to give him something to help with his pain—her Bliss. Tyler has a blank look on his face as Lisa walks in and sees her mother's eyes bleeding. But Tyler is successfully Blissed.

Lisa reports to her grandmother. If Anna can Bliss humans, they have no chance, so she tells her to contact her human friends to help them end Anna's reign. So Lisa shows up for dinner with Erica rather than Tyler, letting her know about Anna's Bliss. Erica's feeling defeated, but Lisa says there's a plan if they're willing to take a risk.

Joshua comes to see Anna in the incubation chamber where the egg is nearly reaching maturity. But Lisa has shown no sign of failing her, he says. Maybe, Anna replies, but if she fails, the queen egg will save them.

Sydney has a camera calibrated to recognize blue energy like an infrared detector, and he, Jack and Hobbes train it on the New York mothership, which glows like a blue beacon. But when they focus on the open sky, they see it's filled with blue dots, other motherships that are already here and cloaked.

After a long day of Blissing, Anna chills on the coach, when Amy (who's looking older everyday) comes in to say hi and help her feel better. She loves her, she says...Mommy. And Anna gives her a big hug, while Marcus watches from the doorway. 

Erica brings Ryan and Lisa to headquarters. She's decided to take risks, and Ryan did save their lives even though she doesn't forgive him. But they need him. There are no options left, so Lisa shows a hologram of Diana, her grandmother, who greets them all. They are going to overthrow Anna.

I'm just going to ignore the blue energy insanity this week, and focus on Erica's stupid plan to create a meltdown at the reactor. She suggests they create a scare like Three Mile Island, by doing this with blue energy, which they know nothing about. What could possibly go wrong with that? This makes the 29 dead civilians last week pale in comparison.

The writers continue to have little foresight on what they're throwing out there. The Visitors have all the genetic material they need. Concordia is under construction. And the entire invasion fleet is orbiting the Earth already (a reveal at the end that lost a lot of its punch). Anna has managed to coordinate world governments to build 500 plus mini cities around the world. Why would public opinion matter about blue energy in the grand scheme of things? 

The pacing was completely off. The entire reactor operation seemed thrown together, including the odd camera work for several scenes. With the amount of set up necessary for next week's finale, plot points and explanations seemed to be glossed over even more rapidly than usual in order to get stuff out of the way.

Of course, there are the usual inconsistencies—Anna took great pains explaining away the deaths of a few live aboards last week, but she has no problem killing them willy-nilly this time. What exactly was the purpose of Chad's frame for Karen? My initial impression he was protecting her by getting her fired, but now I'm not so sure and it came across very self-serving. So much for redeeming that character.

I'm wondering if Diana will actually succeed in overthrowing Anna, which would make an interesting dynamic (if the series continues). It wouldn't be out of the ordinary for the writers to reveal Diana is even worse than her daughter. Plus we have the added hint that Amy could have a host of abilities we haven't seen yet. From all indications, there will be a big cast cull in the finale. Where to begin on my wish list?

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