V: Snakes (Still) in the Grass


A Bright New Day
Season 1 Episode 3

One of the cannier decisions by V’s producers was to cast not one, but two refugees from Joss Whedon’s beloved, departed sci-fi series Firefly. You’ve got Morena Baccarin as V High Commander Anna, rocking the best short brunette haircut since Janine Turner on Northern Exposure. And you have — or, at least, had — Alan Tudyk as Dale, the FBI agent revealed to be a V sleeper agent. Firefly fans were no doubt disappointed (as we were) when Tudyk took one across the dome and seemed to expire in episode one, and were no doubt thrilled (we were!) when he popped back to life in episode two. But, alas, poor Alan expires again in episode three, this time at the hands of a V resistance fighter who’s part of the “Fifth Column.” Irony, thy name is sleeper-agent-killed-by-a-sleeper-agent!

“A Bright New Day” kicks off with the Vs getting their coveted passports, no doubt firing up the ire of Lou Dobbs. (He’s unemployed now; is it too late for a cameo?) Agent Evans and her weirdly abrasive bureau chief are conscripted to stop an assassination attempt at V headquarters — which Evans believes, rightly, will get her valuable access to the Vs. Meanwhile, the Snakes (hey, that was the derogatory slang for them in the original series) try to jog Agent Dale’s memory to find out who “saw his true face,” and Anna continues her ongoing effort to win the hearts of the world using only her enormous, irresistible eyes — starting with Mary Faulkner, the angry widow of a killed jet-fighter pilot and voice of the anti-V movement.

This episode dropped a lot of tantalizing clues. There’s a Fifth Column V resistance run by a legend named John May; the doe-eyed blond Visitor macking on Agent Evan’s son is Anna’s daughter and up to no good; Anna controls her underlings with some drug-like substance called “the Bliss” — which is good news, given there hasn’t been much else to get excited about. We’re now three hours deep into this series — which has only one episode left before it goes on an extended hiatus — and we’ve had one skimpy lizard-face reveal and not a single guinea pig devoured in someone’s huge, yawning maw. This isn’t an “Aliens Invade Earth” show so much as it’s a “Smiling People in Nehru Jackets Launch a Clever PR Campaign” show.

We’ll admit, it’s been fun watching Baccarin, who’s deft at portraying both believable warmth and reptilian coldness. And a couple of the reveals in this episode (the assassination was staged by the Vs) delivered nice jolts. (Or not: see below.) But by golly, amid all the ominous musical stings and halting exposition and slo-mo shots of reporters’ flashbulbs and close-ups of Father Jack’s conflicted face, we find ourselves pining for a laser gun, an aerial battle — heck, even fisticuffs. And a few more peaks at the lizard-skin. Show us their true faces!

More Recaps:
EW’s Jeff Jensen did a better job of predicting the night’s big twist than we did, and he reminds viewers that ABC still hasn’t decided whether or not to order additional episodes.
Television Without Pity on the conversion of angry widow Mary Faulkner: “The woman’s planned press conference denouncing the Vs turns into a full-on ‘Vs Shall Overcome.’”
Io9.com offers the strange tale of a mammal (a so-called mouse goat) that learned to live like a reptile. Perhaps we humans need to learn from this.

V: Snakes (Still) in the Grass