V for Vapid


I think the Visitors’ days are numbered, which is kind of a shame, because amidst all the dreck that is ABC’s new version of V are a few really intriguing ideas. But let’s do a quick recap before we start contemplating the fate of the show. When last we left the resistance, they’d just blown up a warehouse full of Vitamin V and hunky Father Jack had just gotten stabbed in a very non-fatal sort of way. I wonder if that’s just a misunderstanding of human biology at Visitor Assassin School: “Aim for the appendix!” I’ve noticed that a lot of blood gets spilled in this church, which, in a better show, would probably be a metaphor of some kind, but in V just means they only have three sets.

While Father Jack is whisked off to get a little alien doctorin’, Erika looks longingly at a photo of Tyler, the missing son that no one misses. I guess if you’re a parent, you love your kid and feel some sort of responsibility for him, even if he’s super annoying. You can tell by the way Erika holds the highly reflective picture frame that we’re about to see someone sneak up behind her. Sure enough, the appendix-stabbing Visitor has his non-lethal sights set on Erika’s gall bladder! She, of course, turns the tables and stabs him a few times, until he helpfully tells her the best place to strike a lethal blow.

Next up, we have the requisite lizard-baby-expecting couple. Ryan still hasn’t told his girlfriend that he’s put something foreign and unearthly inside her. And a baby, too. Fans of the original V undoubtedly recall the awesomeness that is a lizard baby crawling out of the womb and hissing at people, so I’m still hopeful this subplot will deliver. (Hopefully, we’ll get to see that before the show is canceled.) Erika then does that thing that all cops and gangsters and angry mothers do on TV and in movies when they decide to take matters into their own hands. She loads and cocks a bunch of guns and holsters them all over her body. I’m just surprised we didn’t see her strap a Dillinger to her thigh. At the Visitor center, everyone asks just why she would want such an annoying teenager back. She has no satisfactory answer, so they keep him for a while longer.

Father Jack’s wound has mysteriously moved itself to the other side of his body, but it doesn’t matter. The Visitors whip out a sonic screwdriver and stitch him up. They also give him a hot V-injection while he’s there (sadly, it’s not the Ryan kind). So now we know the clergyman can’t be trusted. Again, in a better show, this would be a metaphor. Back in Anna-Land, we’re treated to the first of a few pointlessly spinning camera shots in this show. I can’t even recall what they were talking about. Something about motion sickness, I think. At the FBI, which proudly seems to rely on Google for most of their investigative work, Erika’s shifty eyes and nervous manner let everyone know she’s got something to hide. Long-Suffering Boyfriend Michael was really beginning to suffer by this point in the show and demanded to know which producer’s niece was playing the head of Visitor Affairs. I explained that she used to be a Cylon on Battlestar Galactica and was much better at playing a robot than a human.

Now, for the best scene of the night, the Party of Five guy (and we, the audience) are treated to Space Lunch! You know it’s Space Lunch because the table is floating, the chairs are all very Jestons-esque and the forks are all science-fiction-y. Long-Suffering Boyfriend Michael pointed out that the design of the fork hasn’t been improved upon in centuries, so who would think a two-tine fork would be futuristic? I pointed out that the spork was a cutlery innovation from the 90s, at which point he threatened to make me watch a marathon of Good Eats on the Food Network. Sadly, Space Lunch ends, and we go back to Erika and the gang as they manage to recruit their Aussie mercenary. For some reason, Anna is very worried about this guy, which is kind of a slap in the face to Erika, who thought she was the star of the show. Now I’m wondering if this guy is supposed to be a love interest for Erika. Or if Father Jack is supposed to be that. It’s hard to tell, since none of the characters have any chemistry whatsoever.

The Visitors really are very technologically advanced, because they have a machine that reveals character backstory and motivation. They don’t even have to go to film school to figure out Tyler’s absent father is a source of conflict for him and his mom. So, they send him back to Erika with a speech about how he won’t leave her like his father did. Unless his father was seduced by alien lizards, I’m guessing Erika already knows that. Finally, we’re treated to the second best scene of the night. In a V franchise first, we get to see the mating ritual of the aliens. Anna lines up a bunch of hunks, looks them over and even smells them, so it’s not unlike the gay mating ritual on Earth. She chooses the beefiest gay porn star (and I would guess the dumbest). It’s like when the Druids came to St. Olaf, looking for the town’s dumbest virgin, and Rose volunteered. Anna strips the hunk down and lets him coat her eggs with his male jelly. Bleah. Heterosexual alien intercourse is kind of boring and gross. At this point, Long-Suffering Boyfriend asked why the mating room was so foggy. I suggested that maybe they did study gay mating rituals on Earth and thought gay fog in clubs played a crucial role in the process.

I can’t help being a little jealous of the actor playing Anna’s gay porn stud. For the rest of his life, he gets to tell people that he was in V, playing the tastiest alien specimen on 29 ships, and that after a very businesslike transaction, an alien queen eats his head. The end.

It’s a little difficult watching something as hackneyed and cliched as V, especially after just watching something as subtle and complex as Caprica. V certainly has characters that we’re supposed to care about. So far, the main argument of the show is that we should care about them because they’re not lizard aliens (except for the ones who are, but are at least nice about it). I need a little bit more than that. The original V may have been pure 80s cheese, but it also had heart. This new version has the cheese, but no heart. Maybe Anna ate it.

V airs on Tuesdays in the US on ABC at 10/9c for, oh, I’d say about three more weeks.

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