EPISODE REVIEW: V: "Uneasy Lies the Head" (Season 2, Episode 8)

kristine N

Beijing--a male peace ambassador begins to dissolve and a woman screams.

On Anna's ship a live-aboard is screaming in the needle machine as DNA is extracted (why do they treat DNA like it's a finite resource? I mean, have the V's really attained that level of technology without figuring out how to sequence and replicate DNA?) Anna thinks the 5th column leadership has been destroyed.

Next scene is, of course, in the 5th column hideout, where the still-very-much-alive 5th column leadership are planning to plant DNA bombs in the last group of live-aboards, calling it an "instant flu virus" that will somehow infect and destroy the DNA that's been collected by the V's.

Apparently the dissolving peace ambassador was one of the 29 candidates, and another from Johannesburg is also dead. My initial reaction: finally, the 5th column is doing the smart thing, taking out the candidates.

Anna says Lisa has to do what she says, or she'll be killed "as the traitor she is." Anna then meets with Lisa, shows her the recorded scene with Rafael and informs her she has to do as commanded. Lisa acquiesces. Anna then goes out to discuss one of the prospective live-aboards, a toddler with a "super-high immune system." The mother is reluctant to bring her daughter, but Anna thinks she can convince her with a "mother to mother" talk.

Back at 5th column HQ, Erica and company are planning the raid to get the super-flu virus. Erica tells science boy (whose name I never remember) to come along. He's nervous and Jack objects to involving him in an actual mission. Erica points out he's the one who knows what they're looking for.

On the ship, Anna meets with the mother of super immune kid, whose name is apparently Jennifer. Jennifer's mom is worried because there are no other kids on board and she doesn't want her child to be alone. Anna tells her she has a daughter just about Jennifer's age, named Amy. Coincidentally, Jennifer's grandmother is named Amy. The magic charms of Anna and her recently renamed "daughter" convince Jennifer's mom it's okay to bring her up to the ship to live.

Ryan is spending some quality time with the newly named Amy. V thugs take her away, then immediately try to immolate him. He manages to immolate one of them instead and the other one runs away. Ryan finds Joshua and threatens him with the immolation gun, but doesn't kill him. Joshua, in his eerily calm, blissed voice, wonders why Ryan doesn't kill him. Ryan tells him it's because they were once comrades together and that he hopes Joshua finds human emotions again.

Back on Earth, the 5th column leadership and science boy break into an office building by very subtly smashing through the plate-glass front door (which is just plain old glass--a seemingly strange choice for a secure building) and taking out the guards. They all run into a lab and Jack stands watch outside. He sees a guard and follows him, but the guard doubles back and interrupts Erica, Hobbes, and Science boy while they're searching through poorly labeled vials. Erica shoots the guard, but he's wearing a vest so he isn't killed. They find the virus they need and skeedadle back to 5th column HQ. Back at HQ, Jack sews up Hobbes while SB does speed science and hands over the finished virus. Jack confronts Erica about her double tap to the chest of the guard. She claims she knew the guard was wearing a vest, but neither of them believes that. She then tells Jack there are 28 planes waiting for the virus. Hobbes remarks he's just glad to be alive.

Chad does presumably important stuff in his office.

Anna talks to her new lieutenant, who asks why she's pretending to be a mother. He confronts her about inflicting a child with the illness that caused her agony and using that. For an emotionless, blissed-out automaton he seems genuinely troubled by the ethics of her actions.

Lisa meets with Rafael to "show him the ship" for reals this time. She kisses him and Tyler walks in. Lisa and Tyler fight, but Rafael starts bleeding from the eyes in the same way the Beijing candidate did and he collapses on the floor.

Chad brings a list of the live-aboards to 5th column HQ. Science boy comes in and remarks he hopes the DNA virus will remain stable. Jack (of course) balks, saying "what do you mean, 'remains stable?'" Science guy points out it's completely untested. Jack realizes Erica lied about the safety of the virus. When he starts his ethical sputtering, Erica tells Jack to man up. She then goes in to dose one of the live-aboards while coquettishly flipping around her hair to distract him.

Back on the ship Joshua tells Anna that the breeding candidates are dying because their DNA is collapsing. So no, in spite of telling Jack to man up, Erica is still wussy.

Lisa and Tyler fight over Rafael's comatose form. Tyler accuses her of not understanding human emotion. She tells him to leave and that he should trust her. Lisa informs him there are bigger issues at stake than just his human jealousy.

We learn dosing of the live-aboards is proceeding in all 29 cities.

Jennifer (super immune kid) and her mother, Melissa, come on board. Anna greets them. Jennifer is excited to meet Amy. Anna immediately sends her off for DNA extraction. Guess the play-date's cancelled. As the other live-aboards are being processed, er, welcomed onto the ship, Mr. Lerner, the dosed guy, gets sick. The V's realize he has a DNA virus that would destroy their carefully extracted DNA if it were extracted and combined with the other samples. They immediately warn the other ships with live-aboards. Anna tells them to execute anyone carrying the virus and claim they're 5th column.

Ryan confronts Lisa. He asks for help to get his daughter back. Lisa instead takes Ryan to Diana, who is apparently his former queen. Ryan needs to escape and promises to do anything to get off the ship. He tells Diana about his hybrid daughter. Diana makes some vague comment about "what this means for our species."

Back in NY, Chad Decker is on the news reporting a 5th column attack on the ships. He names the NY attacker--it's Will Lerner. Erica realizes she basically killed the guy, but tells her team this isn't a failure because now everyone knows the 5th column is still out there. Jack pulls Erica aside and congratulates her on being an effective leader, then asks about the sacrifice of 29 innocent lives. She tells him she'd do it again because they're at war.

On the ship, Lisa finds Anna with Ryan's daughter. Ryan watches the scene, basically to get one last look at his kid, apologizes to the picture, then leaves the ship in a spiffy escape pod that looks like it'd be awfully difficult to hide.

We see the final moments of Jennifer's DNA extraction process. For some reason (possibly related to the discomfort of the audience) Jennifer is shown sleeping rather than screaming as the other DNA extractees were shown. Or maybe the extraction process is just easier on kids. Maybe the play date is back on and Anna would rather Jennifer not be a screaming crying mess when Amy meets her. In any case, this is the last DNA they need, so they can start injecting the candidates with replacement DNA in order to stabilize the structure. Anna says to start with Tyler.

Lisa meets Diana in her dungeon. Diana tells Lisa emotion is important and powerful, and tells Lisa she needs to tell someone--Marcus--about her existence. Apparently Marcus is awake!

Erica is at home calling Jack. He doesn't answer, so she leaves a message acknowledging the day was hard. Hobbes shows up on her doorstep, figuring Erica needs "tactical support." He tells her she did bloody good, so she invites him in. Is she that lonely? Apparently. Anyway, they share drinks and banter. He asks how she's doing since he killed Joe, er, since Joe's death and Tyler's exit. She's not happy. Go figure. Hobbes tells her he lost someone once too, claiming she died. The he moves in for a kiss. She rips off his shirt and is suddenly shirtless herself. They presumably have wild, passionate sex while a picture of Joe and Tyler watches from the table.

Back on the ship Anna gives Tyler and injection to "prepare him for interstellar space travel." She claims she'll never hurt him; she'll never harm a human being.

OBSERVATIONS

My thoughts: the 5th column are really wussy. They're at war with a group they're pretty sure is trying to destroy THE ENTIRE HUMAN RACE. Sure, they don't know the details, but at this point they know the V's aren't friendlies and want to exploit humans for some reason. Why are they so worried about the deaths of innocents? Sure, if people think the 5th column is behind the deaths (which so far Anna's been pretty good at convincing people) they'll have a problem, but it seems like there are some sacrifices you just have to accept in war, especially on in which the stakes are so high. I get the impression they aren't really committed, or that they don't believe the stakes are as high as we in the audience realize they truly are.

Not that I ever expect TV science to be accurate, but creating a DNA virus in the time it takes to stitch up a relatively minor wound is stretching a little too much. And why would Jack ever think something like that, thrown together in a bathroom sink in the time it takes to shower, would be stable? As for the V's, like I mentioned before, why are the V's so technologically advanced, and yet have to extract DNA directly from a human's body? Take a quick blood sample, sequence it, and replicate the copies you need. If they've been around for the last few decades, have they not noticed the technological advances humans have made and, even in they didn't come up with the technology themselves, why haven't they stolen it and adapted it for their own uses?

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?

I don't see why not. There's nothing really objectionable here (unless one counts the icky sex scene between Erica and the guy who's partially responsible for her husband's death, all while a picture of her husband and son faces them. That is just plain weird), and pacifists are consistently portrayed as uncommitted wussies.

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