Sunday, January 16, 2011

NEW!: V (2009) 2:2 - Serpent's Tooth

Overall: 7.0

Some of the thematic undertones here are interesting, but the writing still leaves much to be desired.

Plot Synopsis: has a recap here.

The Skinny:

WARNING! What follows is my personal theory regarding this show's myth arc.

Okay - as near as I can figure, this is what's going on with V reproduction:

Only one V - the queen - can produce purebred V eggs. Additionally, when the next queen reaches sexual maturity, she sends out a chemical signal that interferes with the fertility of the sitting queen. Basically, while Anna may have produced a whole passel of soldier eggs last season, she is now in a kind of V menopause because Lisa has finally reached the age at which a V queen starts emitting the aforementioned fertility-killing pheromone. This is why Diana's convinced that Anna is running out of time.

Now as for why they wish to use us for their breeding stock: I suspect that the V's have been suffering a steep population decline since the advent of the Diana-Anna-Lisa dynasty. Perhaps there's a genetic defect in this line of queens that has prevented them from producing eggs at population replacement levels. Or perhaps their in-breeding is the problem. Perhaps in the distant past, the V's exchanged genetic material with another species, now extinct, that was indigenous to the V home planet. Perhaps Anna's predecessors exterminated this partner species out of an ideological desire to keep the bloodlines pure. And perhaps previous generations of V scientists eventually discovered that the V's needed that second contribution of DNA to survive.

If that's so, why is Anna seeking to control the human population through manipulation and subterfuge? Why not simply ask us nicely if we could provide some DNA? Because Anna still holds to the same ideology that probably got the V's into this mess to begin with. She still believes that we are an inferior species. We are certainly technologically inferior - and what's worse, we're still hanging on to our icky emotions and "superstitions." Generally speaking, we haven't embraced Anna's wholly material view of the cosmos; billions of us still profess some kind of faith in the supernatural.

In sum: Maybe - just maybe - the writers are attempting to approach the original mini-series' Nazi parallel from a different angle. Maybe what we have in these reimagined V's are aliens who have embraced atheism and scientism only to find that such an ideology will result in their spiritual and literal extinction. If this does in fact turn out to be the case, I will be extremely pleased. (On the other hand, if the writers screw this up, I will be writing fic to rectify this mess. Mark my words.)

On the whole, this episode achieves par and does nothing more, but the opposing beliefs revealed herein regarding the nature of the soul (Father Jack's belief that the soul is immaterial and indestructible versus Anna's belief that the soul is a material thing that can be localized and destroyed) give me hope that my version of the myth arc is correct. (Hence the slightly higher overall score this week.) Moreover, the method by which Anna pulls Ryan back into her fold once again brings one of last season's more promising themes to the fore, namely: Is there a spiritual value in suffering? Ryan, frustrated with the messiness of human emotion and tempted by the promise that his infant daughter will be healed by the bliss, decides that there is not. This, I think, is completely understandable, as Ryan has never had the opposing view explained to him in a coherent manner. All he's had is Anna's propaganda. I do hope, though, that the writers eventually discover the solid Catholic teaching on suffering and put that teaching in Father Jack's mouth. Otherwise, Ryan is gone for good.

Writing: 5.5

The writing still needs a lot of improvement, but I'm awarding this script an extra half point for introducing another resistance cell that is in no way tied to Erica's little band. In a (very) small way, this new group answers my complaint about the narrow focus of the series. Mind you, I'm in complete agreement with Father Jack on the matter of indiscriminate suicide bombing, but the fact that an Israeli put together a global network and executed a impressively coordinated attack against the V's right under Erica's nose is actually kind of hilarious.

Acting: 7.5

I can see no change in the quality of the performances this week.

Message: 8.0

However, the episode earns another half point on the message for its metaphysical musings.

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