V is for Vengeance (season one wrap-up)

19 May

ABC’s alien invasion drama finished off season one Tuesday night with a surprisingly satisfying finale.  The last scene left us with a major question for next season, to be sure (congratulations V, you outlived FlashForward!), but the major enjoyability factor was definitely the interesting twists the writers put into a number of characters’ fate lines.

Here’s a look at where our favorite terrorists and alien invaders started off, and ended up last night on V.

Ryan Nichols

Ryan’s had a rough relationship with his girlfriend Val.  First she found out ahead of time that he wanted to propose to her, then he decided to wait on it, then she started having weird pregnancy cravings for dead rats, then she found out he was an alien—it hasn’t been easy for the originally-quite-happy couple.  When Val finally found out Ryan had been hiding his reptiloid self for years, she did the completely logical thing and left him.  Only one problem: she was pregnant with a human-alien hybrid baby (which I’m still really confused about—I thought different species couldn’t interbreed?  And the Vs aren’t just homo neandertalensis, they’re friggin extraterrestrials!  Maybe that’s a season two plot point).  So she did the next most logical thing and brought along a V doctor for her pregnancy.

Too bad Anna sent a V soldier after her.  The gang escaped the soldier once before, thanks to Kyle Hobbes’s impressive hatchet-wielding skills, but the start of “Red Sky” saw the soldier healthy as ever and chowing down on a deer in the forest.  Considering that was the first scene of the episode, I had to doublecheck to make sure I hadn’t accidentally stumbled upon Twilight.  Val, whose water had already broken, gets snatched up to the mothership.

Ryan, who manages to get on board strangely easily, finds his girl in the middle of a difficult pregnancy—understandable, considering the circumstances.  But he’s not in the room during the birth itself, and so misses out on Anna killing Val right after the mother gets a good look at her kid and lights up in… fear and horror.  Not quite the parental elation one would expect.  Ryan, aching with grief, believes Anna that she hadn’t killed Val (why does no one remember not to trust anyone?), and finds himself susceptible once more to Anna’s Bliss:

“This is what I was trying to protect you from, human emotion,” she says.  “I’m so sorry you lost her, but now… now you have me.”

So Ryan’s come full circle—he learned how to love from Val and went rogue, but lost her and came back to Anna’s creepy hive mind (“Welcome home,” she tells him, holding his baby—who we never actually see—rather possessively).  Since hindsight is 20-20, we can see some foreshadowing in last week’s episode, when Ryan almost left the Fifth Column because, without Val, he “couldn’t do it anymore.”

And just a random thought: is anyone else getting the feeling that the hybrid baby is going to be some sort of Chosen One?  I’m predicting that Anna’s plan for Tyler and Lisa involved impregnating the Lizard Princess with a hybrid baby, and that makes Val and Ryan’s a rival.

Joshua

Here’s another Visitor-turned-rebel, who’s spent most of the season at Anna’s right hand with Marcus.  We met Joshua back when everyone was still freaking out about Erica’s FBI partner (what was his name?  Dale?) trying to kill them all at George Sutton’s first Fifth Column meeting.  Joshua killed Dale for good, and got a big cheer—he was the first on-ship Visitor to reveal his true (dis)loyalties and earn appreciative applause from a captive audience.

More recently, he’s become the focus of Joshua/Lisa fanfiction, which seemed pretty on the mark in “Red Sky,” when the two beautiful Vs gave each other their last goodbyes from opposite sides of a blue energy forcefield.  Joshua knew he had to sacrifice himself after Chad Decker set up the on-ship Fifthers, and ended up ordering Erica to shoot him in hand-to-hand combat.

Pity it was only a human-made bullet, and easily healed by V medical staff.  Next season, expect to see Joshua with his cover blown (considering that his secret passcode was “John May Lives,” I’m surprised he lasted as long as he did.  Subtle.)—possibly turning back to Anna just like Ryan.  Because just like Anna, Marcus had a cheerful beside manner for the turncoat V: “Welcome back.”

Marcus

Imagine that—Marcus is actually starting to do something other than stand next to Anna looking creepy.  In the final scenes of the finale, Marcus actually got physical with Anna, trying to force her from “initiating the sequence” on a floating computer monitor.  We have no idea what “the sequence” is, but from the roiling red skies that resulted, it’s probably bad.

Marcus also revealed himself last night to have been the man behind Kyle Hobbes’s many contract killings (of course, I thought we already knew that)—and offered the mercenary another job, to infiltrate the Fifth Column.  He seemed to have some sort of leverage over Hobbes, a picture which we didn’t see and which he explained with one word: “Her.”

Kyle Hobbes

I’m thinking a daughter.  Maybe?  In any case, he already is in the Fifth Column, unbeknownst the Marcus and the Vs.  Being a double agent just turns things slightly more complicated.

Although, admittedly, I wasn’t sure Kyle Hobbes’s loyalties could even get more complicated.

Hobbes is a mercenary, but has appeared up until a couple weeks ago to be completely loyal to the Fifth Column.  He’s gotten them illegal weapons, built explosives from the ground up, and tortured other contract killers in the basement of a church with a medieval device called a “heretic’s fork.”  Which could just as easily be a byword for his own double-dealing and difficult choices.  After promising Marcus a hard-drive containing research that could destroy the Vs (reptile-killing algae, to be specific) last week, this week he uses that connection with Anna’s right hand man to get Marcus off the ship in time for Erica to blow up Anna’s babies.  (This was a pretty complicated finale.)  The question that remains is now this: Is Hobbes using his back-alley relationship with the Vs because he’s really loyal to the Fifthers? Is he hedging his bets, playing both sides until he sees who wins? Or does he even know, himself?  He did look pretty shocked when Marcus showed him “her,” after all.  My theory: he’s hanging around in church basements to watch Erica Evans strap guns to her thigh.

But that’s all speculation.

Father Jack Landry

Speaking of church basements, Erica and the gang might not have a place to hang out and plot next season, seeing that Jack’s been thrown out of St. Josephine’s.

I know I’ve been bashing Jack all season for being too naïve, too trusting, and all-around too priestly to be a very useful member of the Fifth Column.  But after “Red Sky,” I’m starting to think that being a priest is just as good as being a terrorist.  Father Jack is kind of awesome.

Tormented all season about whether or not to speak out publicly against the Vs, Jack finally did it with a super intense homily about the Vs as “false prophets.”  Disobeying the orders of the church pastor, who thinks the Vs are messengers of God, Jack stood up on Sunday to a packed crowd and finally challenged the Vs the best way he can—not with surface-to-air missiles, but the Word of God:

“I was lost, and now I am found.  I lost the courage to tell you the truth, that you need to choose who you are going to follow—the Vs, or God?  Because you can’t serve two masters… There is a war upon us, a war for our souls. With love, hope, and faith, we can overcome anything.  Who among you will join me? Let V no longer stand for Visitor, let V stand for Victory!”

By that point, only Erica, Hobbes, and half a dozen other parishioners sat scattered around the pews, but those who were there, stood.  Jack proved that he could do something for the Fifth Column—be its public voice.  As a priest, he had a both a pulpit (literally) and an aura of moral authority.  Though the final scene saw him exiting St. Josephine’s in a sweatsuit, in those vestments, Jack Landry has some influence.  Though he’d been unwittingly feeding Chad Decker information these past weeks, he’s shaping up to be the anti-Decker, the mouthpiece not of Anna, but the opposition.

Chad Decker

Of course, Chad finally realized in the finale what either ambition or naivete had been blinding him to before: Anna’s using him, and she’s definitely not the savior of mankind.

After following Joshua’s hint to check out the creepy V acupuncture rooms—where human Live Aboard Program members (I just realized—the program puts humans right in Anna’s LAP, get it?) get experimented on in their sleep, Chad had his epiphany.  Too bad it was too late to save all the on-ship V Fifthers he’d ratted out along with Joshua.

But Chad was one of the half-dozen parishioners standing in support of Father Jack, so maybe the tide’s about to turn.  In my first post on V, if I recall correctly, I labeled Chad Decker the most powerful man on the planet.  If he’s not with Anna anymore, that’s a pretty good sign—especially if she still thinks she is.

Erica Evans

By the season finale, I might say Erica Evans is the most powerful person on the planet, now, considering how close she is to Anna by way of her son—and just how much Anna (amazingly!) trusts her.

When Anna invited Erica and Tyler up to the mothership for a getting to know you dinner, she told Marcus—“With Agent Evans as my ally on the ground, and my new army, the humans won’t know what hit them.”

Wrong on both counts, Anna.  The V High Commander doesn’t have a more determined enemy.  As much as Anna chatters on about “the very thing that drives humans—love,” she still underestimates just what a mother might do to protect her son.  And Erica’s not above vengeance, either.  Last week, she started on her path to manipulating Lisa away from Anna (which culminated in last night, when Lisa betrayed her mother and her own kind by handing Erica a blue energy grenade to destroy Anna’s soldier babies).  This week, she froze all of Anna’s other reptile spawn.  As she threw the grenade, she made her position pretty damn clear: “Here’s to your children’s future, Anna.”

Ouch.

But after Joshua staged his own murder at Erica’s hand, Agent Evans is now in the perfect place to get to Anna—mother of the princess’s boyfriend, trusted by Anna so much that she gets to carry a gun on board (“Its okay—she’s an ally.”), head of the FBI-Vistor joint taskforce against the Fifth Column, and head of the Fifth Column itself, if Erica can’t stop the Vs, no one can.

Anna

And the humans are going to need that sort of help next season, now that Anna’s “initiated the sequence.”

One of the biggest shocks of the season finale was the total breakdown of the ice cold, always-composed Anna, who practices facial expressions and vocal inflections in the mirror before speaking publicly.  After finding her thousands of baby soldiers frozen (only 12 survived, Marcus told her, and even those might not make it very long), Anna screamed, sobbed, and choked on a horrified question:

Anna: “What’s…happening… to me!?”

Marcus: “I believe you’re experiencing your first human emotion.”

Maybe she and Erica do have something in common after all—the grief and anger of a wronged mother.

Anna’s heartbreak left me gaping, but behind her, Lisa smiled—possibly pleased that the mother who would have her daughter’s legs broken was creeping toward the danger zone on the V empathy test.  Even so, my hope is that emotions weakens her in the face of the Fifth Column, but doesn’t turn her “good”—I think I’d die of the triteness.  Her emotion already did push her near the edge at the end of “Red Sky,” or as Marcus said, she was acting “rashly” and “irrationally.”

Which brings us to “the sequence” and the title of the episode: “Red Sky.”

In her grief, anger, and emotional breakdown, Anna stormed out of her birthing room to one of her ubiquitous floating computer monitor forcefields.  She typed in a code, and revealed an image of the earth surrounded by pulsing red V ships.  And then, the most cryptic conversation on tv since Ilana and Bram kept asking everyone what lies under the shadow of the statue:

Marcus: This is terrible to be sure, but we must not act rashly.

Anna: They must pay!

M: (grabs arm) This is too soon.  If we initiate the sequence now—

A: (grunts and tears arm away/ jabs at computer screen with red illuminated ships around the planet)

M: Do you know what you’ve done?

A: Vengeance.

(Yes, and I’m sure that’s exactly what the script looked like.)

So we can probably assume that the sequence has something to do with the total destruction of humanity, right?  The clouds turning red and rippling across the sky was ominous in the extreme (and rather reminiscent of Independence Day).  But there was pathos there, and I’m ready to find out what happens next not only with the story, but with the characters that make it work.

2 Responses to “V is for Vengeance (season one wrap-up)”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. I’m with Team Human (review: Peace Warrior) « the Scattering - December 12, 2010

    [...] The appropriate response here would, indeed, be: What the fuck?  I mean, ABC has a Catholic priest becoming a terrorist to fight alien subjugation (and it’s awesome). [...]

  2. V is for Vengeance (Recap: Season One, ABC’s V) « the Scattering - January 3, 2011

    [...] Here’s the recap/review for season one. [...]

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