This review contains spoilers.
2.10 Mother’s Day
For long stretches of the first season of V, not a whole lot happened. The show was a slog until the last few episodes, when it started to turn around. With the addition of Hobbes, the mercenary, and the urge to do something (anything) to stop the Visitors, the show turned around. Adding a well-known genre guest star like Jane Badler helped quite a bit, and under the supervision of Gregg Hurwitz, the show turned around in quality and seemed to find its footing.
Yes, it still tended to move a little slower than some would like, myself included, but it was finally moving, and it seemed to show signs of gaining steam over the long season, building up to an absolutely break-neck season finale in the form of Mother’s Day.
The first half of the episode is something you’ve seen before. The Fifth Column come up with a convoluted plan and fake a kidnapping to lure Anna out into the open, where her own daughter will deal the humanity-saving coupe de grace. Of course, it doesn’t work out that way. Anna takes the bait, but only because she knows basically what’s going to happen.
When she sees a reflection of Lisa holding a gun on her, she deftly turns her greatest weakness into her greatest strength. Anna has finally mastered just what human emotion means and how human emotion is useful. She’s turned our only weapon against us, but first she does it to Lisa (who is shaping up to be as dumb as Tyler in that respect).
That’s the first 30 minutes, then, everything goes absolutely mad in a frenzy of action. Just when one moment passed, another better moment of television was upon is. I knew this last episode of V would be great, but I had no idea.
Gregg Hurwitz threw everything he had into this episode, offered up more holy shit moments in this hour than in all of the first season, and really did a whole lot of great work in a last-ditch attempt to save the show and get renewed interest for a third season. And based on the incredible cliffhanger he left for us, I really hope that works.
The show is balanced on such an awesome, precarious situation. Everyone’s least favorite characters are dead, my favorite characters have disappeared, and most importantly, Marc Singer is large and in charge as the leader of the real resistance against the Visitors, like he always should have been.
One of the high points of this episode, strangely, is the special effects. Namely, we finally got to see our first full-blown lizard moving around and doing lizardy things, and I have to say the special effects look a lot better than they did when the lizards first showed up. Maybe it was the setting (more ominous) or the lizard itself (more organic and less wire frame-y), but it was way better than the glimpses before, and it’s significantly better than the Visitors’ killer tails have been (and continue to be). Very impressive stuff, and the birthing of the new baby queen and her quick genesis to adulthood (thanks to some handy-dandy genetic experiments like the kind used on Ryan’s half-breed baby) is made all the more impressive thanks to, you know, just what the new Evil Lisa does.
The bodies do, indeed, hit the floor early and often in this episode of V, and thank Anna, it’s about time people started dying! Almost every character on the show that’s gotten on my nerves gets offed this week and I don’t care that it’s spoilers. I’m so thankful Tyler is dead I could do a happy dance. Ryan’s end is also well done and well deserved, as they’ve done about all they can do with him.
It’s sad to see Jane Badler go, but her surprise death on the cusp of bringing actual peace between the Visitors and the humans was legitimately surprising, and very well done. The fact that she seems to be permanently dead, while a horde of V colonizing ships hovers in Earth’s atmosphere, while humanity (including the former Father Jack Action Priest) is blissed out by Anna’s new queen-in-training (not Lisa, Ryan and Valerie’s daughter, whose name I can’t remember), ooh, it’s such a delicious down note that would set up a full-scale, all-out war between the underground resistance, what’s left of the Fifth Column, the Visitors, and the Vichy Humans quite nicely. It’s just up to ABC to make it happen.
It took the show entirely too long, but it’s finally found its destiny. V is supposed to be a cheesy, action-oriented sci-fi show with a little smear of politics on top (kind of like the original show was). The show lost its way, but it seems to have finally found its footing thanks to some great work.
This is what V should have been all along, not some police procedural with a smear of aliens. It’s just a shame that it seems to be too little too late for the show, and ABC’s boneheaded refusal to put the show online for everyone to see has damned the great work done behind the scenes to rescue the show from ills of its own creation and ills brought upon it by a long string of terrible network decisions.
Still, if only for a few episodes, we had a glimpse of just how cheerfully merciless a television show with nothing to lose can be.
Great work to all involved. Thanks for the ride, thanks for reading, and hope to see you back here for season 3.