There’s nothing like a priest blowing up spacecraft with a Surface-to-air missile. All right, so it was Kyle Hobbes (big surprise), but Father Jack was standing right there with the other two Fifth Column men and didn’t say a word—until afterward, of course, when he had his little panic attack and nearly spilled everything to the V-infested FBI.
But let’s back up.
ABC’s V is fast approaching the end of its first season, and even with the time slot directly after LOST, the alien invasion drama’s still holding it’s own. I’m sure I’m not the only person who started watching V and FlashForward with the hope that I could fill the hole in my heart where polar bears and Dharma jumpsuits used to be—so it’s quite appropriate that “Hearts and Minds,” the pen-penultimate episode, proved me right.
Even the uninitiated know that the LOST plotlines are hopelessly convoluted; I’m so confused, I don’t even know what questions to ask (except—what was Dr. Linus’s European History dissertation topic?). But even in the first two or three episodes or season one, when things almost made sense and John Locke was just an ex-paralytic who liked backgammon and orange peels, the show was compelling for reasons other than plot: characters (see first half of sentence). FlashForward has plot; V has characters to care about.
Ryan’s dropped to a minor role since his girlfriend absconded with their hybrid baby, but now, not even the on-ship Vs are completely heartless. Joshua the Fifth Column doctor seems to be popular among viewers (if fanfiction forums are any sort of indication; there’s a Lisa/Joshua ship putting out the sea). And though Tyler still annoys me to the nth degree, I’m starting to like Lisa ever since she failed the Voight-Kampff test. Of course, maybe it’s just natural we’re going to start feeling sympathy for a teenage alien girl whose mommy just ordered henchmen to break her legs.
We’re the humans, after all.
Best scene of the episode might have been the boxing/boxing trivia competition between Jack, Erica, and Hobbes—there’s something bizarre and hilarious about a priest, an FBI agent, and a British mercenary hanging out together in a church rectory, making obscure literary references. Quoth Hobbes, walking in on Jack and Erica getting very sweaty with a punching bag: “It’s like The Thorn Birds in here.”
The Thorn Birds, if I recall—mostly what I recall is checking it out of my Catholic high school’s library and getting dirty looks from the librarian, who said I was “corrupting myself”—centers on a handsome priest breaking his vows (and no, I don’t mean the vows of poverty) with a pretty red-headed girl on a farm. Or something. In any case, it’s a good line—and probably what everyone’s been thinking since day one.
But Father Jack Landry probably won’t be sinning any time soon, considering how freaked out he got when he, Hobbes, and Ryan shot down a V shuttle and discovered that they hadn’t killed a dangerous V tracking team after all—but (they thought) humans, and possibly children. Jack should’ve felt guilty—but not for the reason he thought. His secret vestibule meetings with Chad Decker aren’t doing him any good, especially when he hints at Fifth Column activities. And after Erica shouted at him about just such mistakes in the season opener, remember?: “What part of ‘don’t trust anyone’ don’t you understand!”
(Though, speaking of Chad Decker—does anyone else think that his sudden loyalty to Anna ramifies from something more than ambition… an “aneurysm surgery,” perchance?)
In any case Jack, feeling blood on his hands, panicked (does this sound like any other Jacks we know on ABC?) and would have given everything up if Erica hadn’t shown him the light in an FBI interrogation room. Light, or maybe the dark.
Because Kyle Hobbes, another compelling character, made a particularly astute remark—there’s no love lost between Hobbes and Jack, or Hobbes and Ryan, but the mercenary was right about one thing: “Make no mistake, kids—we’re terrorists now.”
Like Hobbes said, calling yourselves “freedom fighters” or “rebels” doesn’t change the facts—for whatever cause, shooting down shuttles with illegal weapons, wiping security tapes and hiding evidence from the FBI is definitely terrorism.
Jack doesn’t seem to be able to handle that—and I see more crises of conscience in store if the only thing keeping the priest in the group is the belief that they’re not going to kill anyone. Morally upright? Sure. Naïve? Absolutely. And this even after “Heretics Fork” (1.9), when a similarly naïve computer programmer got sniped because why? He didn’t listen to Hobbes.
Jack appears to rely on Erica instead as his slightly-cooler-under-pressure moral compass. When he gave his speech that he wasn’t willing to lose one life and asked Erica if she was with him, her affirmative answer calmed him down and kept the fire and brimstone sermons at bay. But when he left the room—
Elizabeth Mitchell is the star for a reason; she’s made Agent Erica Evans as torn as Father Jack, but with none of his histrionics. Case in point: When Jack left the cellar Fifth Column HQ, Erica made an almost complete turnaround. Hobbes gave his speech and got an I’m-with-you answer too, which might be contradictory if anyone besides Jack actually believes that Erica has Jack’s moral squeamishness.
She doesn’t, and there’s not going to be any Thorn Bird action in this show—at least, not this season.
I’m shipping Evans/Hobbes. Terrorists flirting and bonding over favorite boxers… so romantic.
Update: So, I realized that Charles Mesure (Hobbes) was actually in an episode of LOST called–wait for it– “Hearts and Minds.” Even stranger, the season one episode focused on Boone and Shannon’s creepy and semi-incestuous relationship; Mesure was Shannon’s off-Island boyfriend. Which just makes Hobbes walking in on Jack and Erica with his Thorn Birds reference even more perfect, somehow.