We had a screener of the first 3 episodes of the season and our enthusiasm had waned considerably by the time we got to the end of it. We sat down to watch this unseen-by-us 4th episode both with a sense of dreary obligation and a sense of anticipation. For us, this episode would represent something of a make-or-break moment. We're committed to finishing out this truncated season (and blogging about it) no matter what, but if we didn't see some form of improvement, our hearts just weren't going to be in it any longer.
The good news is, this was the best episode of the series and moved the plot considerably, in directions we weren't expecting yet.
The bad news is, the show is still insistent on taking the focus in a direction for which its ill-suited: spirituality. We lost count how many times the word "soul" was uttered in this one episode. Practically every character said it at least once. In fact, there was one plot point that perfectly summed up this push-pull aspect of the show; the tendency to attempt to move forward while mired in concepts that go nowhere and it's such a perfect example of the kind of missed opportunities from which the show routinely suffers: Anna's visit to the Vatican.
On the one hand, given what we know of her (prone to dramatic displays, egotistical), the move made perfect sense. From a practical level, it doesn't. One Catholic priest in New York is publicly anti-V and she goes to the Vatican to have it taken care of? Even for Anna, that's a bit silly. But here's the thing: they missed the opportunity to have another character - Marcus, Chad, Lisa - point that out. Anna's infection of human emotions and how she fears it is one of the better bits of the show. Instead of trying to sell this stunt as a master plan, it would have made more sense to have someone point out how desperate and over-the-top it seemed. Especially since she pretty much dropped the veil in front of some very powerful men. Sure, the threat was a valid one (and Morena was particularly delicious making it), but this show really suffers from having its human characters act not particularly like humans do. She just threatened a 2000-year-old organization that is very used to its power and standing. There's no way that room full of cardinals would quiver so easily just because she put on a laser show and used a BVM statue as a prop. They could have really done something with this idea but once again, Anna's always in control and humans are always in awe of her.
However, we do like that the war between the Vs and the 5th Column seems to really be heating up and the show is a little more willing to openly talk about the line between freedom fighter and terrorist, as is required for a story like this. Ryan is further sucked into Anna's world, Jack is getting it from all sides, Tyler's lost to Erica, and Erica's new partner is an agency spy because her superiors think she's been acting funny. All of this works just fine, propels the story and makes sense. We're still not all that captivated by Ryan's character and it sure would be nice if we could see exactly why Jack's such a threat. Surely he's not the only person speaking out, so why would Anna, let alone the FBI focus so much on him?
But man, soul, soul, soul, soul, soul, soul, soul, soul. Enough, already. And let's get Diana out of her dungeon soon, can we, writers? It's time for a bitchfight. It's also time for Erica to give up on Tyler and her civilian life and go underground. Three partners in a row spying on her means it's time to get out of the kitchen. It's time for Diana and Lisa to meet and plot against Anna. And it's time for a big death. The stakes don't feel as high as they should and this cast could use some fresh blood. Let's move it, people. This was a good start, but it really needs to accelerate and leave behind the feeling of inertia that's plagued this show since Day One.
[picture credit: ABC TV]
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Labels: Television, V Season 2, V Series