Episode Title: "Birth Pangs"
Writer: Cathryn Humphris
Director: David M. Barrett
Previously on "V":
At the command of Anna (Morena Baccarin), Ryan Nichols (Morris Chestnut) led her straight to Eli Cohn (Oded Fehr), the leader of the only effective faction of the Fifth Column. Although Eli and his men swiftly took Ryan prisoner, Anna alerted the FBI to their whereabouts and shortly after Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) arrived, the building was surrounded by the FBI. To stall for time, Erica pretended to be Eli’s hostage, which drew Erica’s ex-husband, Joe "Krycek" Evans (Nicholas Lea) to the scene.
Realizing that he wouldn’t survive the siege, Eli appointed Erica the new leader of the Fifth Column and helped her smuggle out his top lieutenant, John Fierro (Zak Santiago). Meanwhile, the Visitors blackmailed Kyle Hobbes (Charles Mesure) into blowing up the building with Eli and his men. Moments later, a fierce firefight broke out and Krycek was killed. Irrationally blaming his mother, Tyler Evans (Logan Huffman) left her home to live with the Visitors as their latest shuttle pilot. In response, Erica gathered her remaining cell members and vowed to bring the war to the Visitor directly. But I’ll believe that when I see it…
Now that Formerly Father Jack (Joel Gretsch) has been defrocked, he’s moving in with the Godless mercenary, Hobbes. But this isn’t ABC’s latest comedy series! (although, perhaps it should be). John Fierro drops by with Erica to tell them that the Fifth Column leaders are meeting in Bangkok to pick their new leader. On the mothership, Tyler gets a buzzcut and a medical examination that leaves Anna worried that he won’t be useful to her. So, she has him injected with more phosphorous before sending him off for shuttle pilot training and arranges for another candidate named Rafael (Charlie Carrick) to be paired up with Lisa (Laura Vandervoort) for mating.
In Bangkok, the other resistance leaders aren’t impressed with Erica and resent her being thrust upon them. To win them over, she and her local allies track down Dr. Veena Rai (Marny Eng), a specialist who treated Erica and several other women while pregnant 19 years ago. Hobbes and Erica brake into Rai’s apartment and Erica gets a little knife happy before discovering that Rai is a Visitor. Then she lets Rai jump off her balcony and kill herself. Short on time, Erica and Hobbes break into her safe and… holy shagnuts, she just had a romantic moment with Mr. Hugh Jacklight!
On "As The Mothership Turns," Anna has Joshua (Mark Hildreth) spy on Lisa to test her loyalty. He also tells Lisa that her memories of being a Fifth Columnist have returned and that he remembers working with her. She doesn’t take the bait, but he did see her looking into Tyler’s medical records and other requested information for Chad Decker (Scott Wolf), Earth’s only newsman. (Seriously, there are no others in this world!) Back on Earth, Erica’s team — including super young scientist Sidney Miller (Bret Harrison) — confirm that Anna’s plans involve mating with humans and that Tyler isn’t the only candidate to mate with Lisa. This also shores up her position with the worldwide Fifth Column.
Meanwhile, Lisa rejects Rafael out of loyalty to Tyler; which alarms her mother. After trading slaps between them, Anna tells Lisa that she’s not queen yet. To shore up her options, she has Ryan’s daughter artificially aged before testing it out on the last surviving queen egg. She also notes that Ryan is no longer useful to her and quietly orders his death. When Lisa finally reunites with Tyler, his uncaring attitude towards her or his loss distresses her. In response, Lisa continues to reach out to her grandmother, Diana (Jane Badler) for guidance and some much needed human affection.
To a certain extent, I appreciate that the producers of "V" do seem to be trying harder this season to expand the scope of the show. And it’s nice that the heroes finally get to venture outside of the U.S. for once… but I have to side with the other Fifth Column leaders. What exactly makes Erica qualified to lead them? Was it the numerous botched missions of her team? Or the elimination of nearly all of the Visitor Fifth Column members? Or maybe it was her confirmation of something they already freakin’ knew!
For all of the respect that Erica gets from the current mission, the only real new piece of information that she learned was that Tyler wasn’t the only candidate… and that the other 28 Visitor ships around the world are specifically over the home towns of each candidate. Okay… sure. That just seems like a huge waste of resources. But before we get back to the mating lizards, I want to point out that Erica did f*** up again when she let Rai get away. Shouldn’t someone who works for the FBI think to bind their suspects more effectively?! At the very least, Rai’s death was one of the more visually interesting stunts this season.
The idea that the Visitors are using humans to hyper evolve themselves is actually more compelling than the breeding angle. But it seems like something introduced so late in the game that there hasn’t been enough set up for that revelation. I’m also enjoying the scenes between Lisa and Diana, despite some of the soap opera overtones. They actually play off each other really well and I’m a little surprised that Jane Badler can still bring some life to her role. But they’re both more interesting than Anna. I wouldn’t be shocked if Diana gets free, takes over the ship and reveals herself as the new villain before the end of the season.
There are a few reports going around that the season finale (only three weeks away) will see at least three characters die. Can I make my picks now? Obviously, Tyler’s got to go. From the very beginning of this show, he’s been the most unsympathetic brain dead ass to come along in ages. And his latest turn as an unbelievable jerk has made him even more unlikable. My other two wishes for character deaths would be for Ryan (who should have died last week) and Chad Decker, so we can finally get another reporter! I swear, it’s like there are no other channels…
However, I kind of suspect that Hobbes is on the chopping block now that he’s betrayed the cell too. He’s been the most interesting guy on the Fifth Column for a while and I’m actually not opposed to having him hook up with Erica if it gave both of them some much needed development.
My frustration with "V" isn’t because I hate it. I don’t. But I see all of the pieces in play that could come together and make "V" a great series. And it still hasn’t happened yet. There’s only three episodes left this year and no guarantees that we’ll ever see a season three. If "V" gets canceled, it’ll be an incredibly huge missed opportunity.
Crave Online Rating: 7 out of 10.