V 2.09 ‘Devil in a Blue Dress’
Episode Title: "Devil in a Blue Dress"
Writer: Hans Tobeason
Director: Ralph Hemecker
Previously on "V":
Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) demonstrated emotional instability and possibly some narcissistic tendencies in the wake of her ex-husband’s death at the hands of the Visitors. Using her newfound leverage as the leader of the world wide Fifth Column, Erica led her allies, Kyle Hobbes (Charles Mesure), Formerly Father Jack (Joel Gretsch) and boy scientist, Sidney Miller (Bret Harrison) in a raid to steal a virus to poison the DNA of prospective Visitor live-a-boards. But the plan was quickly discovered by the Visitors, who killed everyone that Erica had ordered to be infected.
Hobbes appeared to be overly turned on by the new militant side of Erica and he shared an unbelievably clunky sexual encounter with her. Meanwhile on the mothership, Anna (Morena Baccarin) marked Ryan Nichols (Morris Chestnut) for death. In his desperation to escape, Ryan turned to Lisa (Laura Vandervoort) and her grandmother Diana (Jane Badler) for assistance in getting off the ship. At the same time, Anna shored up her plans for Erica’s son Tyler, (Logan Huffman) by injecting him with supercharged DNA so he could mate with Lisa and save her species.
At the urging of Lisa, Marcus (Christopher Shyer) goes to see Diana, who tries to sway his loyalty away from Anna. He refuses to be disloyal, but Diana tells him that Anna is increasingly unstable and that only she can ensure the future of their race. Back on Earth, Sidney shows Erica’s team that the Concordia reactors are putting out too much power for any single city and he theorizes that the buildings are actually secret landing sites for the motherships. Erica then proposes that they blow up the New York Concordia site and make it appear to be a Blue Energy mishap to scare people away from future Concordia sites.
During a Concordia opening ceremony, Tyler and Erica briefly reconcile, much to the visible annoyance of Anna. Later, Hobbes tries to talk with Erica about their night of passion, but she blows him off. Lisa then arrives and gives them two Blue Energy balls to use on the reactor. Back on the mothership, Joshua (Mark Hildreth) tells Anna that it may be possible to Bliss humans. Eager to test out this new theory, Anna bloodies herself by Blissing a young woman and ordering to commit suicide. Inside Diana’s chamber, Lisa tells her about the plot to blow up the reactor, prompting Diana to tell her that it could lead to disaster.
Horrified that the reactor could kill everyone within 100 miles, Lisa reaches out to Ryan.. who conveniently already happens to be following Erica and her group. He breaks into the facility and chases after Sidney, but he isn’t able to stop the teen doctor from activating the Blue Energy chain reaction. Erica, Jack and Hobbes soon burst in, ready to kill Ryan for betraying them. But he explains that Lisa sent him and that thousands will die if he doesn’t deactivate the Blue Energy. Reluctantly, Erica lets him do it… and New York falls prey to a blackout.
Sometime later, Anna uses the power grid failure as another PR win by using Blue Energy to restart the city. She also urges Earth’s only newsman, Chad Decker to sabotage his anti-Visitor co-anchor, Kerry Eltoff (Ona Grauer). Incredibly, Chad does so by feeding her a half-truth about what caused the blackout and then hanging her out to dry when no proof is forthcoming. Are we sure he isn’t really a lizard? Meanwhile, Marcus continues to become worried that Anna is displaying too many human emotions, including motherly feelings for Ryan’s daughter, Amy.
Joshua catches Lisa in the act of returning the Blue Energy spheres, conveniently just in time to regain his memories and rejoin the Fifth Column. Although Lisa escapes discovery with his help, she spots Anna using Bliss on Tyler to retain her control over him. At home, Erica is disappointed when Lisa shows up instead of Tyler and reveals that Anna can now use Bliss to control humans. Lisa then proposes her own cunning plan.
The next day, Erica leads Lisa and Ryan into her headquarters over the objections of Hobbes and introduces them to Diana, via holographic projections. The plan is revealed to be a plot to unseat Anna from power and install Lisa as the new queen of the Visitors.
I can’t deny that there was some forward momentum on "V" this week, but it remains a maddeningly frustrating show.
For starters, has there ever been a sci-fi series with such incompetent heroes? It’s one thing to give the good guys a major setback now and then, but Erica’s Fifth Column almost never wins! If the future of our world was really in their hands then I would shudder for humanity. The crazy thing is that some of their plans have actually been good before falling apart at the last minute due to the ludicrous actions of the team. For all of the trouble that Ryan went through to catch up to Sidney, couldn’t he have taken a moment to show him how to use the Blue Energy safely? And let’s not forget that Anna would have been dead a few episodes ago had Ryan not chickened out on his own plan.
Erica’s emotional instability is at least being addressed and questioned by her team. It’s understandable that her ex-husband’s death and Tyler’s abandonment would send her into a tailspin. The problem is that it’s made her almost completely unlikable. It’s also led me to the inevitable conclusion that Erica is simply not the right character to build this show around.
For nearly two full seasons, all of the events have revolved around Erica (and her son, however implausibly) and yet the show has never been able to make us truly care for her plight. There’s something so remote about Elizabeth Mitchell’s performance that it creates an unsurpassable distance between Erica and the audience. And it’s reached the point that we can no longer relate to her.
As usual, the events on the Visitors’ side were a lot more interesting than the humans’ side. Joshua’s sudden turn back to the Fifth Column was pretty obvious, but his character was really compelling in that role during the first season and he needed a reason to continue being on the show. Anna’s new ability to Bliss humans could also be intriguing, although the sequence in which she Blissed the young woman was incredibly hooky. Even the blood on her face looked fake! What’s the matter, "V"? Couldn’t spring for more convincing blood?
I haven’t mentioned Chad Decker much lately, but his latest turn was pretty unbelievable as well. When it seemed as if he was feeding his co-anchor a story specifically to undermine Anna, it actually seemed like an astute way to do it without leading back to him. But instead it came off as a self-serving move for his own career and access to Anna. Plus, would any real news anchor risk her (or his) career on a story whispered to them right before broadcast without even trying to confirm it?! As far as I know, that’s not how newsrooms work!
Next week is the season (and possibly series) finale of "V," which is rumored to feature the death of three characters. Here’s who they should kill: Tyler, Ryan and Chad. But because this is "V" and I have no faith in the producers to make the right decisions, here’s who they will probably kill instead: Lisa, Hobbes and Joshua. Anna and Erica are considered untouchable.
But it would take a bold move like killing off either Anna or Erica to reinvigorate this series. It’s never come together as a complete show and "V" is running out of time.
Crave Online Rating: 6 out of 10.