Well, we had a good run. When you showed up last fall, you not only gave us the perfect excuse to revisit the awe-tastic 1983 miniseries, but you seemed to promise a smart, slick, sexy sci-fi reboot in the spirit of Battlestar Galactica. You know, take yesterday’s cheese and turn it into a delicious, thought-provoking, allegorically rich fondue.
Instead, this cheese stinks.
Was it the four-month layoff between the first half of the season and the second? Was it the glacially paced story lines? Was it the ill-considered decision to burden the series — which is, ostensibly, about aliens invading the earth — with an overabundance of familial-angst story lines in which teary moms confront their rebellious sons? Was it Booger? Was it all of the above?
Let’s take this week’s installment. It promises that we’ll finally meet the charismatic John May, leader of the resistance (thus raising the show’s charismatic-character total to one). And we do meet him in a ten-year flashback. He’s a generically handsome guy who lives in a generically woodsy house with his generically lovable family. Then the Vs show up to take him and his generic life down. Not just any V — Morris Chestnut! Sadly, before he can knife John May to death, Morris Chestnut steps into a bear trap.
John May launches into some generic mumbo-jumbo about humans and emotions and love and “Haven’t you ever sat with a cold pint on a warm day?” Really, John May? That’s your sales pitch?
Then we flash forward and we’re back with the same gang of sad sacks, fretting about Georgie. Here’s another flaw of the show: What do we know about Georgie, really? His family was killed by the Vs for reasons unknown, which is bad-TV shorthand for “feel sorry for this guy.” Unfortunately, it’s hard to care about Georgie because HE HAS NO PERSONALITY. How would you describe this character? He’s … bearded. Also … sad. About his family. Oh no — now he’s dead!
Sorry. SPOILER ALERT. Georgie dies at the end of the episode. This prolonged death scene was so absorbing that I spent most of it thinking about how the background music was totally ripped off from 28 Days Later. (Go back and listen — it’s true!)
Meanwhile, the Gang of Four head to bucolic upstate New York to recruit John May’s stepson. (Great — more disgruntled sons.) How do they do this? By killing his girlfriend! Okay, she turned out to be a V sleeper who was unmasked because she didn’t know UCLA’s football team. Wait, haven’t these V sleepers been on earth for decades, i.e., might she have actually gone to UCLA — OH WHO CARES. Then they tell him that they killed his dad. Consider him recruited!
That’s right: John May is dead. Morris Chestnut killed him. Surprise!
Meanwhile, speaking of dads, whimpering son of Lady Cop finds out his dad isn’t really his dad, when his alien girlfriend overhears said non-dad telling Lady Cop on the phone, “We have to tell Tyler I’m not his father.”
Now, why would he say that to Lady Cop? Is he worried that she might otherwise think he’s referring to some other big secret they both share? Or, is it so that alien girlfriend can conveniently overhear it and spill the beans? In V land, everything happens for a reason, and the reason is, the writers are lazy.
So: If you didn’t catch it, this week’s theme is secrets and lies. Lady Cop lied to her son. Morris Chestnut lied to the group about John May being alive. He also kept a whole bunch of incriminating stuff — including an ultrasound of his lizard baby — in the back of a closet in AN EARTHMADE SAFE WITH A RESET CODE. That is very dumb, Morris Chestnut. Do they not have safety-deposit boxes where you come from?
And, as has become tradition with this show, the episode ends with Morena Baccarin doing something while naked.
How will it all turn out? What’s next for the Booger-less gang of hapless rebels? Why is Chad Decker?
We’ll never know. Because we are quitsville with this show. We hope it gets better, fast, for your sakes (one piece of advice: more scour-bugs!), but then again, we won’t be around to watch it. Consider this our “Dear John May” letter.
V. Such promise. Such tripe.
Any last words, oh faithful V-defenders, before we turn out the lights and say good night?
EW’s Darren Franich makes the anti-anti-V argument: “Every episode, you’re guaranteed one awesome scene, two awesome sci-fi concepts, a cameo appearance by the Magic Flying Ball of Doom, a cameo appearance by an actor from another great sci-fi series, a cameo appearance by Scott Wolf, and lots of scenes featuring attractive people wearing expensive leather jackets.”
At TV Guide, Scott Tomasso says, “This is the best episode since the show came back from hiatus, hands down. Finally, we seem to be getting some answers.” Though he’s not buying the safe-in-the-closet thing.
TV Squad’s Jane Boursaw on the Lizard, the Lies, and the Safe in the Wardrobe: “Really, Ryan? You hide a giant safe behind a flimsy wall? What kind of alien are you anyway?”