V 2.02 ‘Serpent’s Tooth’

An actual Visitor resistance movement emerges and threatens to undo Erica's efforts to prevent innocent bloodshed.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

V 2.02 'Serpent's Tooth'

Episode Title: "Serpent’s Tooth"

Writer: Gregg Hurwitz

Director: Steve Shill

Previously on "V":

After the red sky crisis, FBI Agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) and her allies Kyle Hobbes (Charles Mesure) and Visitor turned resistance fighter, Ryan Nichols (Morris Chestnut) located a very young scientist Sidney Miller (Bret Harrison) whose research led Erica to believe that the Visitors may have experimented upon her when she was pregnant with her son Tyler Evans (Logan Huffman). Meanwhile, alien leader Anna (Morena Baccarin) ordered her daughter Lisa (Laura Vandervoort) to seduce Tyler.

However, Lisa’s mother was seemingly unaware that her daughter had joined the Fifth Column resistance. Unfortunately, her lone ally on the main ship, Joshua (Mark Hildreth) lost his memory after his near death experience. Anna also struck back at Ryan by exiling him from the ship with his hybrid daughter’s life still in Anna’s hands. Back on Earth, notoriously shoddy news personality Chad Decker (Scott Wolf) was convinced by Father Jack (Joel Gretsch) to spy on Anna for the Fifth Column.

But in addition to Anna’s plans to change humanity into breeding stock for her people, she also held another secret of her own: the survival of her mother, Diana (Jane Badler), who was apparently a captive of Anna’s deep within the ship.

Story:

In the bowls of the ship, Anna demands that her mother tell her the source of human emotions so that she can eliminate it. Diana explains that the soul is the source of all emotions in humanity and it can not be destroyed, despite Anna’s vows. At Valerie’s funeral, her parents question whether Ryan has a soul when he can’t even cry for his lover. He seeks out guidance from Father Jack and tries to pray, but the more in touch with his feelings he becomes, the more Anna is able to reach him telepathically. On the ship, Anna has the baby sprayed with a human skin in order to further manipulate Ryan.

Back on Earth, Lisa warns Erica that Joshua is alive and may be forced to recover his memories which could implicate both of them. When Tyler emerges to see Lisa, Erica takes a piece of toilet paper with his blood (from a shaving cut) and saves it for Sidney’s blood test. At the church, Father Jack takes the confession of a man who believes in his message to fight the Visitors. But the man turns out to be a suicide bomber who attacks and kills several people at a V healing center.

In the aftermath, Father Jack is wracked with guilt, but Hobbes is excited and wants to recruit the people behind the bombers who struck simultaneously around the world. Erica agrees that they need the network that’s already in place but wants to dissuade the parallel resistance movement from taking innocent lives along the way. Back on the ship, Anna continues to bond with the baby and orders it to be given a sickness to draw in Ryan. However, her attempts to scan Joshua’s memory only come up with the moment of his "death" at Erica’s hands.

Getting results back on Tyler’s blood from Sidney, Erica and her team learn that Tyler’s DNA was altered seemingly so that something else could fill a void in its code. Later, Erica and Hobbes track down the bombings to a former Israeli Mossad agent, Eli Cohn. She also realizes that Chad Decker is the next target of the renegade resistance and narrowly saves him from a suicide bomber with her partner, Agent Sarita Malik (Rekha Sharma). When she interrogates the bomber, she silently signals that she is a Fifth Columnist too and gets her to reveal a location.

She sends the information to Hobbes first, but Malik arrives before either of them and tries to kill Hobbes. In the struggle, Malik is revealed as a Visitor, but Hobbes doesn’t see her fangs. Erica arrives shortly thereafter, but Malik sees her there before she and Hobbes can get out of the building. After the FBI moves in, Erica and Malik are sent off on another lead. At the church, Chad Decker warns Father Jack that he saw Malik hand over some of the bombing evidence to the Visitors, but the news comes too late for Erica. Malik pulls a gun on her in their car, but Erica swerves and violently overturns the vehicle. Malik is the first to awaken and open her eyes…

Elsewhere, Ryan gives into Anna’s emotional blackmail and agrees to help her eliminate the Fifth Column. Anna then boasts to her mother that she will succeed where she failed, but Diana warns her that Lisa is approaching the age when Anna betrayed her and implies that history will repeat itself.

Breakdown:

For all of the faults of this series and even in this episode, I really enjoyed this installment. The introduction of a fringe resistance that practices violent terrorism is way overdue on this show. If anything, Erica and her group are the weird offshoot who don’t do very much to thwart the Visitors. Their more dangerous counterparts are actually a much more believable response to the threat that the Visitors represent.

There was a moment early in this episode when it looked like the suicide bombing was endorsed and possibly planned by Father Jack, which would have been an infinitely more interesting direction to take his character than his later (and predictable) remorse trip gave us. Father Jack has long been the most bland character on the show and this was a missed opportunity to color him in shades of grey. Also, he shouldn’t be so shocked that his rhetoric against the Visitors inspired unintended violence. That actually tends to happen in reality and the plot is unusually (and very unfortunately) timely. Words do matter.

Hobbes also showed his first signs of life this year when he endorsed the bombings, which means somebody on the writing staff finally remembered that he’s not an ex-terrorist… he’s always been one. Hobbes is actually a lot more interesting when he’s not towing the line fed by Father Jack and Erica. Frankly, he could be one of the real main characters if he was ever given a proper plotline and focus. Hobbes’ meeting with the Visitor known as Marcus during last season’s finale seems to have been glossed over completely.

As nice as it was to see Jane Badler back on "V," her scenes as Diana were ridiculously over the top. It was like a sci-fi revival of "Dynasty," with big hair and big heels. Who says the ’80s are dead? Unfortunately, all of this "eliminating human emotion" nonsense is so on the nose that you can’t take even it slightly seriously. The writers on "V" seem to be overly fond of characters who speak fluent exposition, but it’s not always as fluent as they like and rarely compelling. Also, the implication that the Visitors targeted Erica’s son specifically before he was born is really straining what little believability the show has.

I also have to point out that the producers sent several journalists (including myself) a note asking us not to reveal how Ryan’s baby got her skin, which at least implied something interesting was coming. Instead, the baby is basically sprayed with skin all over her body. Really? That’s your big revelation? I was expecting something shocking like the baby getting its skin from another baby the hard way. Anything else would have been better than what was shown.

At the very least, the cliffhanger with Erica was very effective. I’ve been waiting for Malik to be exposed for a while and it’s good that the series is finally moving forward on that front. The producers keep dancing through hoops to keep Anna from realizing who her true enemy is. And that’s the story that I really want to see.

Again, this is a far from perfect episode. But it’s an improvement on what we’ve seen so far.

Crave Online Rating: 7.5 out of 10.