TV Recap: V: There Really Isn’t Normal Anymore!

Father Jack & Erica

The second episode of V opens literally seconds after the conclusion of the premiere with Father Jack and Erica sitting on that roof. A V shuttle flies by and the follow it to the scene of the underground’s meeting. The aliens are cleaning up – removing all the bodies, including Erica’s late partner, Dale’s. Erica calls 911 from a nearby payphone [we still have those?] but the call is intercepted by the V’s who sent a flying metal globe after them. As it closes in, it sprouts nasty-looking spikes, but Erica destroys it with a major league swing of an improvised club. She and Father Jack go home. They can’t take the V’s on directly.

The next morning, while Erica begins her day with a shower and getting Tyler to promise not to have anything to do with the V’s, Father Jack and Father Travis watch the news as it’s announced that the U.S. is about to decide whether to open diplomatic relations with the aliens. Tyler, who’s been out all night, goes to his room and hides his Peace Ambassador uniform, while Erica gets a phone call from the office. Her boss, Paul Kendrick, tells her to get to work – Dale has disappeared! [If he only knew…]

Elsewhere, Ryan and Valerie awaken in each others’ arms. She’s wearing the ring. When she fusses over the bandage on his arm, he makes a [weak] excuse and heads into the bathroom. The tear in his arm is not closing up. Chad Decker is watching and re-watching his interview with Anna but he’s not happy – even though eighty million people watched – they were watching Anna, not him.

On the V ship, Anna is choosing her wardrobe and discussing their diplomatic progress with Marcus. The United States is the key to their plans – the rest of the world will follow their lead. When she points out a Japanese costume and mentions that it conveys a respect for tradition and the allure of submission, he suggests that’s not the message they wish to convey. “You still don’t understand humanity,” she replies, shooting him a frosty glare.

At work, Erica can’t help wondering if there are any other V sleepers in the office; as she looks around, her colleagues suddenly seem more ominous. Dale’s wife is there. She’s really worried because he always calls if he’s going to be late – even on stakeouts. Erica is more concerned with facing the Visitor Threat Assessment Joint Task force. “It’s just a few questions, right?”

As Erica faces the Task force, Special Agent Sarita Malik approaches Father Jack in his church. She wants to talk about the man who was murdered. He’d called the FBI about an alien threat for several years – now, they have to take these calls seriously. As Erica is questioned about the last time she saw Dale, Father Jack is being asked if he’d ever seen the murder victim before.

Kendrick & Erica

Dale’s car is found – at the scene of the meeting. Erica is with the FBI team dispatched. She says it was an address mentioned in connection with a terrorist cell; maybe Dale was checking it out. Meanwhile, Anna appears above Tokyo and Mexico City, thanking them for opening diplomatic relations and puts a bit of pressure – tactfully, of course – on Russia, India and the U.S. to follow suit.

Meanwhile, Chad has a plan that should have Anna calling him, and Valerie returns Ryan’s ring with the proviso that she wants him to give to her in his own time – and not for any other reason. And Tyler, accompanied by his best friend and [best excuse] Brandon, go to the Peace Ambassador Center [PAC], where Brandon joins. At the same time, Father Jack is worrying about not telling Agent Malik about the murdered man’s fear of the V’s, but Father Travis tells him he doesn’t want to upset the apple cart. And Erica has had enough with the questions. Kendrick tells her to go out and find Dale.

In the V ship, one of the V’s questions the only human from the meeting that they’ve captured. He doesn’t know anything, and the photo they have doesn’t show anyone clearly. Elsewhere, Ryan has gone back to Angelo’s garage: Father Jack has decided to upset the applecart; protesters have started picketing the PAC and Tyler is making a date with Lisa – when he throws a punch to help Brandon, she doesn’t seem very happy.

Angelo patches up Ryan, but also slips him a mickey. Erica asks Father Jack was he’s thinking by giving the dead man’s photos to the Task Force – then has to explain why she was at the warehouse the night before when Kendrick confronts her with a tape of her 911 call. He claims the tape came from the DEA, but she knows better. She tells him Dale was a traitor and she wants time to prove it.

Chad’s plan becomes apparent: a televised debate between a pro-V advocate and an anti-V advocate – with him moderating. At about the same time, Erica visits Father Jack to apologise and ask his help with Dale’s wife [Jack is surprised to hear he had one]. When says he’s taking her at her word and acting normal, she replies, “There is no normal anymore. I need your help.” He’s the only person she can trust.

Debate

When she meets with Dale’s wife, she learns that he had separate phones for home and work – and there were two numbers he called a lot: his wife and someone else. Ryan wakes to find Angelo gone.

Erica shows Kendrick Dale’s phone bill. Calls to the second number were made just before they acted on tips about the terrorist cell they were tracking. Meanwhile, Ryan arrives home to an empty house and gets a call from Angelo, who proceeds to tell him Valerie’s life story. If he could find her then the V’s can find her. If Ryan loves her, he’ll get as far away from her as possible.

Ty returns to the PAC but they won’t let him in. Lisa’s in trouble with the council for recommending him. Meanwhile, Chad has gone aboard the V ship, where Marcus castigates him for the TV debate. When Anna appears, he explains how the debate made people feel comfortable with diplomatic relations – then he tells the two of them that “this one was a freebie. The next time you want my help, it’ll be on my terms.” It works, too, apparently…

Anna’s message of gratitude is watched by Fathers Travis and Jack – each with differing attitudes towards it. She also calls Chad on his private cell, but hangs up immediately after thinking him. Then, when Erica gets off work, Father Jack is there to meet her [sans Collar]. Before, he was afraid of what he might have to do; now that diplomatic relations are beginning, he’s scared of what will happen if he does nothing. She swiped a list of everyone who called the government about aliens – maybe some of them will join the resistance.

At home, Valerie tells Ryan that, “Say what you will, but the therapy business is booming.” A picture on their mantle is upside down; there’s a card that reads “Cyrus 51509 Gibbs Ave.” Erica arrives home to find Ty in his room, on the computer. She thanks him for keeping his promise and tells him not to stay up too late. When she leaves, he takes out his cell and brings up the photo of Lisa. Erica goes downstairs and starts shredding Dale’s file. On the V ship, we see Dale’s body on a bed/dais like the one the tortured human was on. There is a huge scar on the side of his head. He wakes up…

Ryan drags Angelo

Thoughts:

Anna is not an elected official, she’s an absolute ruler. The glare she turned on Marcus was not one of being frustrated by an equal; it was more of a “step lightly, bucko!”

Father Travis seems awfully eager for the V’s to achieve diplomatic relations with the U.S. Could he be a V? Or is he just buying into their propaganda?

The V’s have an interesting interrogation technique. They cause the – let’s call them subjects – subject to experience his worst fear. In this case, snakes crawling all over his body. It seems that the V’s sleepers have done a lot of research – not all of it very nice…

Although it seems like there was a lot going on in There Is No Normal Anymore, it’s mostly talk. The only real action is the chase when Erica bashes the flying ball [on Stargate Universe, they have something similar and call it a Kino – pronounced Kee-no – so, until the show gives it a name, I’ll use that].

The V’s are going out of their way to seem friendly and peaceful – even to banning Tyler for helping his friend, and chastising Lisa. The harder they try to seem benevolent, the nastier they come across.

Angelo & Ryan

Anna is shot from lower angles, with darker light, a lot this week. The result is that the “human” Anna looks more and more reptilian without resorting to make-up. Very creepy.

Although there seems to be a lot of talk about V being an Obama-bashing series [hello, universal healthcare?], there is as much emphasis [maybe more] on the alien advance cells [hello, al-Qaeda/Taliban!] while the overall model still follows that of the original V: the Nazi rise to power in Germany.

While Ryan and Angelo have avoided the whole V intelligence/invasion thing, Angelo has gone so far native that he can’t even trust Ryan. Angelo’s advice to Ryan has been reinforced in a surprisingly subtle manner. By leaving that card, Cyrus is telling him, “I want your help and I know where you live.” Further creepy…

Chad Decker has both redeemed himself and left himself open to losing sight of his journalistic integrity. The debate was an inspired idea, but he’s ruffled Anna’s scales a wee bit – and thoroughly pissed off Marcus. I’m not sure any good can come of that.

Call it a hunch, but I think the show needs a lot more action and a little less subtlety. While I was writing this, I checked the ratings and V has shed almost a quarter of its audience from last week. Considering that this was being considered as a potential replacement for Lost as a cornerstone ABC series [along with FlashForward, which has also suffered audience loss], that can’t be good.

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