EPISODE REVIEW: V – There Is No Normal Anymore (Season 1, Episode 2)

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Welcome back to the second of episode of the rebooted V. A kinder, gentler V with a better effects budget. Our trusty Comcast episode synopsis tells us that: "A seeker among the visitors tracks Erica and Father Jack. Chad seeks redemption by investigating the aliens ahead of his next newscast while Law Enforcers press Erica for information concerning Dale Maddox’s whereabouts." I am assuming that “seeker” used in this sense is that floating V spy-bot and not the teen boy from that horrible adaptation of Susan Cooper’s award winning youth novel The Dark is Rising.

Sounds like an exciting evening of network television doesn't it? So what are you waiting for, make the jump and let’s get to the details.

Ok, now that you made the jump and we have captured your page view in our little counter there at the bottom of this review, I gotta tell you, I’m not sure how good I am going to be at this. At first when R3 asked me to handle this responsibility for the site, I thought “sure, why not, it’ll be a breeze!!” – I have a soft spot in my heart for the original and how hard could it be, I just gotta’ recap what happened and crack some jokes along the way. I mean if they can pull it off on Entertainment Weekly Online with little to no strain then certainly I can do it too.

The one thing I didn’t take into account in all of my brilliant planning is how glacially slow this thing is paced. Holy cow can we have any more ominous music with any less occurring on screen? I am hoping that we are just still in the “Portentous” ™ part of the show and soon we will move into the Lizard people eating hamsters part. If I have to sit through another hour of knowing looks or suspicious glances or paranoid dissembling I will seriously… do I don't know what, but it will definitely not be completely pleasant. It might even approach the standing of possibly impolite.

This week, I am not sure how much new information we learned without moving the plot discernibly forward a whole lot. The US Government has put together an alien investigation team called the Visitor Threat Assessment Joint Task Force that is headed up by the FBI. Erika takes a shower and tries to come to grips with the fact the Vs are lizard people and her partner of 6 years was one of them. Anna, the leader of the V is a bit of a fashion plate and likes to check the latest international fashions (I would like to get a better understanding of how she is the leader of the V – I hope that they have put some effort in V society world building. At this point I am seriously doubting that they have put a ton of time into fleshing out the V backstory). Party of Five guy risks upsetting the V while trying to position himself a little bit better politically by broadcasting a non-biased look at the V.

Maybe this is part of the show’s producers’ political subtext – like the call out of the proposed V universal health care system to buy favoritism amongst the general earthling public from the pilot episode. Party of Five could be the show's analog of Larry King or something – a crusading newsman who is really nothing more than an entertainment reporter that apparently believes he drives public opinion.

I am a bit creeped out by the ease with which the V – that have been clearly established as a non-human, but humanoid reptilian type of race – are physically attracted to real humans. We got Ryan, the athletic African-American guy that we learned in the Pilot episode is a deserter V who is deeply in love with a human female and is planning on marrying her, even though he is a Lizard. And we have the thoroughly unlikable and shallowly portrayed teen Erika’s son who is smitten with a hottie blondie V who apparently harbors reciprocal feelings. And Erika’s former partner, Firefly’s Alan Tudyk, who we have already established as one of the V, has been happily married to a human for years.

It is like we have huge spaceships of aliens hovering over all of our major cities and they are completely populated by Human Fetishists.

Heheheh, just totally unrelated – what if the book To Serve Humans turned out not to be about how to cook humans as food but was really about how to out-dance them?

Anyway, have I mentioned how much I hate the Erika’s unlikable teen son story line? Well, I really do not like it. You can see a weird mixture of pre-emptive pandering to the studio and actual studio notes written all over him and his overweight faux nerd best friend.

The big issue that I have with the pacing of the show is that I am never sure how much time has passed – I get the impression that a lot has happened because everyone moves to multiple locations during the span of the show and talk to many people, but looking back over the episode, I get the impression that everything basically happened in one day. It is kind of like Heroes in that regard. A complete lack of internal timeline.

The show does have the importance of ending each show with a cliffhanger type of scene – tonight’s was relatively expected but it was still a great ending to give us all hope for next week’s episode. Only two more until it goes on extended hiatus.

The most disappointing thing though for me in tonight’s episode was that, even though it has an Erika shower scene, I just wasn’t as taken by her this time as I was last week.

Well there you have it. I really feel, for some reason, that I am being too hard on this show – but I really am not sure where. My main criticisms I feel are all pretty solid: poorly paced, clichéd teen characters, lack of any real subtext or depth, no thoughtful V society building, and an emphasis on romantic entanglements when we should be focused on alien lizard people trying to eat our brains.

What are your thoughts? Am I wrong? Am I being too tough on the show? Am I missing something? Will Erika be back to her sexy self from last week on next week’s show?