Sunday, May 2, 2010

V: The Heretic's Fork, a spoiler-ish review

I'm finally caught up with V. Last night, I watched The Heretic's Fork, the show which tried to be morally gray and instead ended up being mortally dull.

To begin with, a detour to the show before, We Can't Win, during which stuff actually happened and one or two people were likable. The computer geek was entirely believable as someone thrown in way over his head and doing his best to fight with the skills he had. In fact, he was better than Our Heroes, since he'd actually thought of a way to connect with other people--true, the V's figured it out, but at least he'd tried. Kyle got to do something other than scowl and proved his usefulness by coolly assessing the situation once the trap for the assassin went awry. Granted, it was a stupid trap--Why'd they stick their potential new ally out to be target practice? All they actually needed was the message about where he'd be and a suitable room to contain him, but I digress; the point is, Kyle got to show that he had some tactical value and actually seemed chagrined when things didn't go off; it's not quite team spirit, but it was an improvement.

And there were two great twists at the end when the identity of the assassin and his motive were revealed. Yes, I thought, things were really looking up!

Then came The Heretic's Fork. Boo! Hiss!

Turns out the Big Reveal at the end of We Can't Win was a lie. The assassin might be human, but he's not someone who has given in, oppressed by the V's apparent might. No, he's a bona-fide war hero and loving father bravely serving the Visitors in return for their healing his daughter. And Our Heroes choose to torture him because they really can't name "one bad thing the Visitors have done" since coming to Earth and are left with "You're wrong" as an argument. Needless to say, this fails to persuade the assassin.

After this, Kyle does some more scowling and we learn that he keeps instruments of torture in his locker, thus proving how Morally Grey everything is, when the heroes need to associate with the likes of him in order to win. And, seriously, just how naive is Erica the FBI agent? Kyle tells her he knows people who can make the war vet disappear into a secret overseas prison and she doesn't question this? Doesn't wonder if sending him there might be worse than killing him outright? Doesn't ask why Kyle, with these resources, hasn't been more useful?

Then the intrepid trio hunt down but do not kill, a Visitor super-soldier sent to kill Val, Ryan, and the baby. Seriously: The Super Soldier is lying on the ground in front of them, still very obviously alive, and they choose to leave rather than finishing the job. Anyone doubt he'll be back?

Tyler, like Kyle, got to do some scowling (though no torture), Ryan got to be an idiot, Joshua got to look worried, Val got to be slightly hysterical, and Erica got to cry, making this a red-letter day for everyone.

For all the "moral gray" shoved into it, the episode was pretty tepid. After watching, a friend said he'd like to see more shooting and less espionage in the show overall, to which I replied "What espionage? What have our heroes actually done lately? Why can't Erica tell us about bad things the Visitors have done? Why hasn't she investigated Ryan's claim that they are everywhere and that no one can be trusted? Why hasn't she checked to see if they are really evil incarnate? What has this trained FBI agent been doing with her time and skills? We know they are evil because we've seen Anna smile that predatory smile and make evil pronouncements. Erica, on the other hand, knows that they have killed a known terrorist group, snuck an apparently innocuous saline solution into the nation's flu virus (As far as I can see, Ryan still hasn't told anyone else what he knows about R-6 or how he knows it), and tried to kill her for being at the terrorist group meeting. Shouldn't she be asking more questions? Can you name one thing she knows now that she didn't know in the first episode? Can you name one thing that we, the would-be loyal viewers know now that we didn't know after that first episode?

Anna's wonderful, but she can't carry the show on her own, and anyway, I'm starting to miss Diana's over-the-top evil and loving it vamping.

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