Saturday, January 8, 2011

NEW!: V (2009) 2:1 - Red Rain

Overall: 6.7

Thanks largely to Anna, V remains one of the best bad shows ever. Notice that I used the word "bad," though. If I'm to take this canon seriously, the writers will have to put more effort into developing their larger story.

Plot Synopsis:

The blow-by-blow can be found here courtesy of ABC.

The Skinny:

Anna's overall plan is still frustratingly unclear. I'd initially assumed that the needle machines were the means by which the Visitors extracted water from their human victims' bodies, but I'm now thinking that's not the machines' real function. After all, if all the Visitors want is water, the Earth has oceans full of it. The Fifth Column's supposition that the Visitors wish to interbreed with the human race, meanwhile, is a credible explanation for both the phosphorus rain, the experimentation aboard the motherships, and Anna's insistence that Lisa maintain an intimate relationship with Tyler, but if the Visitors do in fact want to "shag" us, as Hobbes so colorfully put it, what is their motivation? Anna seemed to have no trouble at all producing a whole brood of soldier eggs last season, so it can't be an infertility issue. And if the Visitors lack genetic variety, why hasn't Ryan revealed that fact to the others? There's some critical piece we're missing here -- a piece that may blow a hole through the Fifth Column's speculations (if the writers are smart, that is; it's also entirely possible that said writers just have no idea what they're doing when it comes to crafting their myth arc).

Still, despite the seemingly haphazard development of Anna's Great Plan, Morena Baccarin continues to own this show. Out of curiosity, I took a look at the IMDB stats for this episode earlier today, and I noticed an interesting trend: women like Red Rain more than men do. Now, we could attribute the difference to the fact that women tend to be more generous in their ratings as a general rule (I'm admittedly more forgiving than SABR Matt, for instance), but I think there's another contributing factor: Anna. I think we women really like that the central antagonist of this show is a female super-villain. We find it fun to watch Anna cleverly manipulate the global media. And we definitely find it fun to watch Anna eviscerate one of her (male) minions with her tail and then calmly lick the blood spatter off her lip. MUAHAHAHA!

But on to other topics: Unfortunately, some of the major flaws I noted last season persist. The "people on the street," for example, are still way too credulous to be believed. As soon as Anna delivered her "global warming" whopper, a whole herd of skeptical scientists should've questioned it -- vociferously. Once again, I think the writers' narrow focus is impairing their storytelling. As I stated last season, they need to break format every once in a while and give us a broader view of the human response.

On the other hand, I like what is done with Chad here. His desire to redeem himself here is sincere, but he also demonstrates a certain lack of awareness regarding the magnitude of his culpability. When he walks into Father Jack's church, he's prepared to expiate his guilt in a big (and easy) dramatic gesture -- but, of course, undoing all the damage he's done is going to take a long term commitment, not a flashy public show of remorse. That's generally how real atonement works.

Nitpicky postscript: Phosphorous is an element, not a compound. But it would be small of me to dock points for the show's wacky Hollywood sci-fi science.

Writing: 5.0

I hope the rest of this season is dedicated to working out the kinks in the writing discussed above. As I've said again and again, this premise has so much potential -- and so far, that potential has been left largely untapped.

Acting: 7.5

I noticed no major problems with the acting here. Even Mitchell seems to be improving somewhat.

Message: 7.5

As I suggested above, I like that Chad has now been placed in the double agent role, as it will force him to work for his redemption. If you've aided and abetted the enemy, you shouldn't be offered a get-out-of-jail-free card for a mere confession. Penance is also part of the process.

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