V season 2 episode 4 review: Unholy Alliance

Another solid episode of V, although Ron has a bit of a complaint about it...

2.4 Unholy Alliance

I hate what seems to be happening to V. First, the first season gets bumped for the Winter Olympics and the ratings never recovered to the first heights. Then, this season, the order gets cut and a week gets bumped for the State of the Union Address.

And of course, this week, America gets smothered by a massive blizzard that disrupts cable and satellite transmissions (even in my area, I lost picture for 10 minutes, and I’m a few hundred miles from the blizzard section!). This just might be the unluckiest show on television, at least from a broadcast interruption standpoint.

So: episode four, then.

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The Fifth Column is getting very popular these days. For example, there’s the group of Fifth Column that we know, and there’s Eli Cohn and his radical group of Fifth Column who undertake suicide bombings, throat-slitting, and all kinds of other underhanded, dangerous methods of fighting. This is where Cohen and Erica’s group differ. This Fifth Column talks about the war, the other Fifth Column is actively fighting it in a very public way. Not only are they bombing V ships, they’re also killing Peace Ambassadors.

Meanwhile, at the Vatican, religious figures around the world are increasingly following in the wake of Father Jack Action Priest and viewing the Visitors with skepticism. Apparently, Jack’s viral video sermons are getting around.

Also inspired by Father Jack? Tyler, except he’s inspired to get a little smashy-smashy on some sacred objects d’art with the help of some Peace Ambassador friends, while poor Lisa is left to try and talk some sense into her blinded-by-hate boyfriend.

Erica’s got herself a brand new partner. Given the demise of her partner in the first season and her partner in the second season, the FBI is sticking her with someone she knows well and someone she should hopefully protect from death and/or lizardification, Chris Bolling (Jay Karnes).

Apparently, the two are old friends from the academy days, but how Bolling became a Washington hotshot and Erica a generic street agent remains a mystery. It might have something to do with the fact that he’s significantly smarter than Anna’s last two partners, probably because he’s a real human who actually has FBI training and the others were lizards wearing Edgar suits. He just might be the first human partner of Erica’s to be ‘disappeared’ by the Fifth Column before all is said and done. 

Interestingly, Anna is paying a visit to the Vatican as well, for a meeting with, well, not the pope, but certainly one of the higher-up cardinals. She’s connected Father Jack Action Priest back to his church, and now she’s going to use that church against him while still trying to get the church to sign off on Visitors as acceptable.

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This week’s episode of V is a particularly special treat for sci-fi television fans. This week’s episode of V is written by someone with a track record when it comes to that thorny area where science fiction meets human morals and values. This week’s episode was written by Rockne S. O’Bannon.

Rockne S. O’Bannon was the creator of some of the best science fiction shows of all time: Farscape, Alien Nation, and one of my personal favorites, Seaquest 2032. If anyone can land the delicate balance needed to pull off an episode in which aliens try to intimidate the Catholic Church into accepting their presence on earth, it’s someone who made an entire TV series about the culture clash between aliens and humans in 1980s Los Angeles.

The interchange between Diana and her long-time Catholic spy, Father Piers Moreau (Jonathan Walker), in Diana’s underground chamber is very good. It encapsulates what separates the Visitors, the good Visitors, and the humans all in one fell swoop. It’s meaningful and emotional, without being sappy or too emotive.

It’s difficult, at times, for this show to convey bigger ideas and bigger emotions, but the dialog and the acting between Badler, Baccarin, and Walker is very good. The expression on Anna’s face when Diana gives her loyal servant one last gift is priceless.

That said? While the writing of this week’s episode is very good, and the plot itself is very interesting (Erica makes a proverbial deal with the devil and Anna literally learns about the devil), the miracle that Anna performs to prove to the church that her aliens are a legitimate threat to the hearts and minds of people everywhere? Not so good. In fact, I’ve watched it several times and I’m not quite sure what she’s supposed to have accomplished by throwing some blue energy beams around and making a statue glow, or whatever she did.

If you’re going to have Anna perform a miracle, why isn’t it a mouth-droppingly awesome miracle, or just awesome looking, like Father Jack’s ‘present’ from Eli Cohn. I know that might blow the effects budget, but seriously, I need to be impressed and I need to see just what wowed the College of Cardinals so much they rolled over for the queen of the lizards. If that was it, I’d hate to see how lame the Vatican’s fireworks shows are.

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US Correspondent Ron Hogan is going to the dentist this week, and boy would he love to be able to stretch his mouth open and scare the crap out of the dental hygienist! Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

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