Tuned In

The Morning After: Turn This Mothership Out

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Watching the abbreviated launch of V is a strange experience: the show will air only four episodes (one more is left) before vanishing to reappear in midseason, and when it returns, it will have a new showrunner, so it’s anyone’s guess how the series will be retooled. It’s less like a TV series than notes toward a TV series, with the makers throwing out possibilities and approaches that might or might not play out as the alien-invasion serial goes forward. Watching it is like being pitched a TV series: what if we tried this? And then what if this happened? (Spoilers ahead.)

I thought the third episode of V was at least more intriguing than the second, even if it did not escape what seem to be fundamental problems: all, in a nutshell, having to do with the fact that the aliens are more interesting than the humans, yet the series spends far more time Earthside. So it was a big plus to get Erica on the mothership in the V security center, where she got to spend time among the Visitors and learn that their uniform flair doubles as surveillance cameras. (Question: why do the Vs have bilingual English-alien signage in what is supposed to be a restricted area?) Though I’m not sure why the Vs thought it would be reassuring to humanity for them to all dress like airline personnel.

Likewise, the hints of fissures and internal politics among the Vs could prove to be very interesting, as we learn more about how their society works, what their plan is and why some oppose it. (On the other hand, the revelation that Hot Alien Girl is Anna’s daughter was presented as a bigger bombshell than it was. Hell, not knowing V biology, for all we know Anna is everyone’s mother.)

Of course, there still remain some head-scratchers, like the purpose of the V sleeper cells (which still seem more like a plot device, giving the FBI something to investigate, than any practical advantage for aliens who managed to show up in the open and win humanity over). And the related question—why don’t they just wave a few lasers at us and do whatever they want?—which at least last night’s episode had the good sense to ask. Not to mention the fact that no human in the cast is as captivating a character as Anna.

Still, with only one fall episode left, it’s unlikely we’re going to get much more development on the alien’s dynamics, who John May is, and so forth. And with the show evidently being reworked before it reappears, we’ll have to see how much the new version matches what we’ve already seen. In the meantime, one more episode is a small enough commitment that I’ll finish out the fall run.

But I still wish the characters on the show would show me a little more humanity that’s actually worth saving. Otherwise come midseason, I’m rooting for the evil aliens.