‘V’: Electric blue, or the politics of tragedy

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Several characters bring up an important point in this week’s episode of ‘V,’ namely that, by its very definition, a visitor is someone who drops by for a limited period of time before leaving again.

However, the alien Visitors who have arrived on Earth seem to have no such inclination.


These Visitors appear to be here for the long haul, conquerors rather than visitor-tourists. It’s an important distinction that High Commander Anna would like to keep buried. But appearing at the World Progress Forum, Anna’s words and her gifts of technology reveal another sliver of her plan.

Every gift, after all, has a price, and Anna, after all, is no fool. Encountering resistance at the WPF, she sees opportunity in the heart of tragedy. A natural disaster in a nation called Timbal leads her to offer assistance in rebuilding the country’s fragmented infrastructure by using alien technology: the clean, sustainable energy known only as blue energy, the very same energy that powers her ships.

So what does Anna hope to achieve by fixing the planet’s problems? She wants to give humanity a taste of what the Visitors have to offer and, once they’re hooked and utterly dependent on the loaned technology, cut them off completely.

It’s a testament to Anna’s cruelty and her logic, to see opportunity where others might see tragedy and suffering. But is Anna’s Machiavellian nature really any worse or more repugnant than any war profiteer? She claims to want to help but she’s willing to sacrifice everything in the name of her people’s ultimate goal. What that is exactly remains to be seen, but she has plans for Earth and her daughter Lisa.

But what Anna doesn’t know is that, once again, a Visitor has become corrupted by the mongrel ways of the humans: Lisa has failed the empathy test and has begun to show signs of human emotion. It’s likely a result of exposure to Tyler, for whom she has begun to experience true feelings. Although their relationship was initially an assignment, it’s clear that she’s fallen for Erica’s whiny son. (I groaned when Tyler said, ‘Ever since I was a kid, I knew something amazing would happen to me.’) This week, the two engage in some space-set sex before Lisa bids Tyler farewell, for what she believes to be the last time, fully expecting that her mother will order her swift execution once she returns from Geneva.

Anna doesn’t kill her daughter. Or rather, she doesn’t know she needs to have Lisa killed. Joshua lies to Anna about the results of the empathy test, seeing in her a true testament of nascent humanity and a potential ally for the Fifth Column. But while Joshua doesn’t invite her to join their cause, he tells her that he saved her life so that she can perform a favor for him one day. He has her in his pocket for now. Anna sees her daughter as the perfect hope of her people, their future leader, who shares her own gifts for subterfuge and clinical thought. Together, they squish a soldier egg in their hands. Ick.

Though Anna might be willing to execute any of her subjects whose temperament has drifted from logical to emotional, she too seems slowly becoming drawn to the human journalist Chad Decker. Despite his own better judgment, Chad too has feelings for Anna, some pretty complicated ones as seen in his dream, in which Anna attempts to seduce him while he stands in nothing more than a towel -- before she strangles him. It doesn’t take Freud to see that his emotions are in turmoil and he’s unable to reconcile his attraction to Anna with the sense of danger that swirls around her.

Chad realizes that the Visitors are here to stay and while he had questioned Anna’s motives in the past, he tells her that he wants to be a part of her movement and help her cause. Anna, in turn, wants someone to trust. Just like that, a new alliance was formed and it’s a rather dangerous one considering just how easily Anna has been able to manipulate Chad in the past. But will she be blinded if and when he betrays her? Hmm ...

Elsewhere, Erica’s resistance cell investigated the murder of Fifth Column members and sought to locate the sole survivor of an attack on a New York cell: a school teacher named Alex Caruso who is in way over his head. Attempting to use Alex as bait, the team tries to lure out the assassin in order to locate a hard drive taken that contains the names and addresses of Fifth Column members around the world. Despite the best of intentions, Alex isn’t cut out to serve in their war or to act as bait to draw out a cold-blooded killer. He panics and, felled by a sniper’s bullet, dies in Father Jack’s arms.

Erica and Hobbes are able to get to the sniper ... and are shocked to learn that he’s not a Visitor after all, but a human who is colluding with the enemy. As for why he’s sold out his planet, the mysterious sniper can only say, ‘Because we can’t win.’ So, it’s join the enemy or die then? Though the team can’t manage to get much out of the sniper, it’s more than likely that next week’s episode will deliver them a little tidbit from the sniper about just what the Visitors are planning and why they’re using human grunts on the ground.

After fleeing the house she shares with Ryan, Val makes her way to a Visitor Healing Center in order to get checked up and see just what’s going on with her unborn child. Foolishly, she trusts in the Visitors when, given her condition, she should be getting as far away as possible from them. She’s injected with R6, which means that the Visitors can now track her, and the Visitor doctor discovers that she’s carrying a Visitor-human half-breed. But before he can kill her, he’s attacked by Ryan -- who had Erica run a trace on Val’s mobile -- who dispatches the doctor, and does him with a suicide pill for good measure. He promises to tell Val everything as they run off together.

But whatever happiness they share will be short-lived. If anyone accesses the medical records from the Visitor Healing Center, they’ll encounter that eerie ultrasound footage depicting Val and Ryan’s baby (or as Hobbes called it, ‘a lizard in her terrarium’). Which means that all of their lives are at risk ...

What did you think of this week’s episode? Creeped out by Anna and Lisa smushing that egg together? By Chad’s dream? Or by Tyler and Lisa’s sex scene? Head to the comments section to discuss.

--Jace Lacob (Follow my musings on television, food and more television on Twitter: @televisionary)

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Complete ‘V’ coverage on Showtracker