Pound of Flesh
V is ramping up swiftly now after the exceedingly long hiatus between episodes 4 and 5 and looks to be accelerating towards a season one (and maybe series) climax of war, war & more war. This episode sees a multitude of seemingly varied strands (e.g. the live amongst us initiative & meeting Ty’s father) intertwined into a coherent mix but the ultimate reason for being is to kick-start the V vs. fifth column war, something which must lead either to success for the fifth column or war against humanity as a whole (after seeing the true V nature).
Previously we have seen Anna, the V leader, to be a very composed and focussed Queen but in these 42 minutes she steps up a gear exhibiting great ruthlessness, fantastically executed by Morena Baccarin. Anna is the benchmark of cold to which all V’s must aspire (human emotion is not an admired trait), always multiple steps ahead of her own Chief of Staff alike number two, let alone any non-executive V or human. In such a show where the rivalry is clear immediately, and the viewer knows where things are headed (typically obvious but with an original series forerunner even more so), a strong enemy leader is key to success (both in the eyes of viewers, and in terms of the Vs succeeding against the fifth column / humans). Anna is this and more. This reviewer liked her idea of determining systematic error in an ‘are you with me or against me’ test conducted by asking people to redeem themselves – and those devoted to her were the ones who took the death pill.
Elizabeth Mitchell as Erica is equally strong in terms of her acting – she’s excellent in fact, and it’s great to see her in this recurring role as her chances in another genre show have become limited. What is not wholly evident is her positioning within the fifth column. To date she has come across as a possible leader of that group but does not display the comparable authority of Anna, or project herself so strongly – again, relative to Anna. Ryan, the human V, Father Jack and now Hobbs – they all have the strength of character to make the decisions as well and have dictated the way forward. This does two things. One, it further highlights how Anna is key to V success. Two, it asks the question around potential success of the fifth column – can they win with such a communal mentality or will it need one strong leader to emerge. The latter is needed in this reviewer’s eyes – and it should be Erica given what we have seen to date.
This episode covers a lot of ground quickly and does so via many story strands. We meet Ty’s father – Alex Krycek(!). We learn how Valerie will not survive her V pregnancy without Phosphorus, but in giving her some, something will happen. Hobbs meets an ‘adviser’ regarding background on the fifth column members (what is his story?). Ryan runs a mission to prove John May lives and we see Anna eliminating those who fail her fifth column (or not) test. Everything is well directed and coherently told, but with some big questions asked and no major answers told, this episode feels like a warm-up before the big event – war, something which is heading quickly in this direction.