V Episode Four: It's Only The Beginning
It probably speaks volumes about my attitude toward V that I just now got around to watching this episode, which originally aired the week of Thanksgiving. The first three episodes were so middle-of-the-road -- not bad, not good, not interesting, not evocative, not smart, not funny, not violent, not loopy, not cheesy, not thought-provoking, not anything we haven’t seen millions of times before -- that they weren’t much fun to watch and even less fun to recap. But! This most recent episode was loads better! Stuff happened! It was sort of sexy and sort of exciting! It’s still not there yet -- it’s still missing something -- but this was surely a step in the right direction.
We open with the episode already in progress: Georgie sprawls on the ground beside a car in a parking structure, unconscious and bleeding, while Erica hovers over him. Ryan approaches, gun drawn. He fires in Erica’s general direction.
Skinning Visitors is an important motif in this episode. Watch and see.
Tyler keeps trying to talk to Erica about Lisa, but she gets distracted by a phone call from Ryan. As Tyler wanders off in a funk, Ryan tells Erica that they need to meet.
Once again, the whole ragtag band of rebels assemble for a meeting. Ryan fills them in on the diabolical truth behind the vitamin injection: It’s part of a long-running sinister Visitor scheme to do something unspecified but no doubt evil. He gives Erica the names of the Visitor sleeper agents involved in the program, which she runs through the FBI database. She locates a chemistry professor named Peter Combs, whom Ryan claims is a sleeper Visitor.
Tyler meets with a psychiatrist, who happens to be Valerie (Valerie is a psychiatrist! And has a heart condition! We have now tripled the number of concrete facts we know about Valerie!). He complains that he has trouble talking to his mom about important stuff, and you know what? I’m reversing my firm anti-Tyler stance. He came across as a champion twerp and a self-involved moron in the first couple of episodes, but they’ve since dialed him back a bit. As a result, he’s vastly more sympathetic and, dare I say it, even sort of likeable. For the first time, it seems as though, yeah, he does have a point about his mom’s job overshadowing him. Tyler babbles on to Valerie about how the Visitors are totally cool and how Erica keeps discouraging his interest in them. Valerie mentions that she wants to visit one of the healing centers, but she’s been unable to get an appointment because of the long waiting list. Tyler offers to use his Visitor connections and pull some strings for her.
Meanwhile, via the hidden camera in Tyler’s Peace Ambassador jacket, Anna and Lisa observe this whole conversation. Anna asks Lisa to bring Tyler to meet her.
Chad and his news crew, escorted by Marcus, tour the healing center. Like all things Visitor, it’s very calm and clean and Zen and New Age-y. Impressed, Chad watches as Visitor technology heals a woman’s badly burned arm.
Anna questions Joshua about Dale’s murder, then orders him to gather his medical staff. Joshua has a hushed conversation with a fellow Fifth Column member, who is extremely earnest and extremely cute. Unless I’m totally misreading the vibes here, he and Joshua appear to be very much a couple, and that alone automatically raises my interest level. If I’ve learned nothing else from multiple seasons of Sailor Moon, it’s that hot gay aliens are always a welcome presence. Seriously, if Heroes were to suddenly introduce a subplot involving Hot Gay Alien Rebel Spies, maybe I’d start watching it again. Anyway, Joshua’s friend, who does not appear to have a name and thus will be henceforth referred to as Hot Young Thing, urges Joshua to get off the ship before Anna discovers he murdered Dale.
Erica and Jack loiter outside a parking structure while Georgie and Ryan hide inside, waiting to nab Professor Combs. Georgie accosts Combs at gunpoint and tells him he’s going to cut him open and expose him. Always with the skinning, Georgie. Combs ducks into his car, so Georgie starts shooting at him. Ryan books it through the parking structure, and we finally catch up to the events of the opening scene, in which a gun-toting Ryan comes across Erica standing over Georgie. (By the way, did we need to kick off this episode with that little flash forward? I don’t think any viewers have been sitting on the edge of their seats for the past twenty minutes, horribly worried that Ryan might kill Erica.) Ryan shoots… and hit Combs, who was sneaking up behind Erica. Father Jack drives up and hauls injured Georgie into his car, then drives off. This leaves Erica and Ryan stranded in the parking structure with injured Visitor whom they’re trying to kidnap, which maybe doesn’t seem like the best possible plan, but I’m sure they know what they’re doing.
Chad and his camera crew continue to tour the healing center. On camera, Chad submits to a Visitor medical scan, which he blushingly describes as “kind of pleasant.” That might have been an overshare, Chad. When Marcus comes to check on him, Chad complains that he hasn’t been given enough unfettered access to the place. When Marcus politely brushes off Chad’s concerns, this awesome “this deal with the Emperor keeps getting worse and worse” expression crosses Chad’s face.
Father Jack patches up Georgie’s gunshot wound and explains that he was an Army chaplain in Iraq. Georgie tells Jack he’s going to have to decide between being a priest or a soldier. I’m going to put in my vote for “soldier”, just because the other option limits the chances of him ever hooking up with Erica, and this show really needs all the sex it can get, from as many directions as possible. Sure, Lisa and Tyler are making a game stab at sexing things up, but those two plucky kids can’t shoulder the burden all by themselves, and apart from that, we’ve had to make do with Chad and Anna flashing their dimples adorably at each other. It’s just not enough.
Ryan and Erica rifle through Combs's briefcase while Ryan fills her in on the Fifth Column. They find paperwork from a shipping company and decide to investigate.
Anna interrogates the medical staff, including Joshua’s Hot Young Thing, about Dale's murder. She informs them that unless the guilty party takes responsibility, she’ll make an example out of one of them at random. Joshua looks about ready to confess, but HYT nobly steps forward instead, proclaiming, “Long live the Fifth Column!” Anna asks Joshua to carry out HYT’s sentence. Smiling nastily, she orders, “Skin him.” (See? I told you it was a motif.) Aw, not the cute one, Anna!
Lisa takes Tyler onto the Visitor ship to meet Anna. Tyler, naturally, is flabbergasted to discover that Lisa is Anna's daughter. (He refrains from pointing out that Lisa and Anna appear to be approximately the same age, which is probably for the best.) Tyler stammers and blushes his way through the meeting (Lisa: “Don’t worry. She doesn’t bite.” Heh. Good one, Lisa. Just a little bit of Visitor humor) and is pretty charming, actually. Damn it, I’m starting to like this kid. The world’s gone mad! Anna takes Tyler on a tour of the Visitor ship’s engine room, which is a huge space filled with cool swirling blue light, and tells him he’s the first human to see it. Tyler looks appropriately awestruck.