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V Episode 3: A Bright New Day

Now we’re getting somewhere! This episode felt like it was moving much more quickly, even though the action covered barely more than a single day. It was thoroughly enjoyable, full of surprising twists and reveals. We still don’t know what the Visitors are up to, but they’re scary smart when it comes to manipulation.

We start with a “previously on V”, where we get to relive – again – Erica bashing Dale and discovering his reptilian reality. It’s a little soon to tell if the scenes selected for “previously…” are indicating the theme or focus of the episode to come the way they do on Lost.

“Previously…” segues right into the current episode…it’s Anna against a white screen and she’s getting her picture taken for her nifty new traveling visa. Chad’s voiceover tells us it’s a Bright New Day, as we see several other Visitors smile for the camera, then Anna waves her ticket to freedom for the cameras. As Anna ascends, angel-like, inside the Peace Ambassador Centre, Chad’s assistant tells him, “You made this happen.” Chad agrees, but appears to struggle with whether or not this is, in fact, a good thing.

Meanwhile, Father Jack hears confession from humans who are struggling with the ramifications of this alien invasion. They give voice to his own inner turmoil. In spite of the Bright New Day, people are confused and scared – lost.

Then we zip over to Erica’s house; our favorite FBI agent has gotten her groove back. Gone is the shaken and uncertain woman of last week. She’s filing, sorting, hectoring Tyler about staying out of the city’s chaos. She’s disgusted with her government’s malleability: “It’s like 9-11 never happened!” But a knock at the door interrupts. Father Jack has come calling.

Erica and FJ speculate on the V’s motives. The Visitors need us for something, Erica foreshadows. Meanwhile, FJ can take over the filing while duty calls for Erica – there have been death threats against the V’s, and Erica recognizes the importance of humans not being seen as the bad guys.

Ryan’s also nervous about this Bright New Day, warning Val about being careful now that the V’s can travel freely. Val reassures him that it’s normal for people to fear change and then teases him about keeping secrets from her.I wonder if Ryan intentionally sought out a girlfriend who was a psychotherapist to get an education about the human psyche. But Ryan’s got an agenda today. He meets with a very scared Georgie and tells him about the mythical John May, former leader of the Fifth Column and the very first group to betray their leader. Georgie declines accompanying him to see Cyrus. Georgie’s carrying some deep scars, and after the tragedy at the warehouse he’s reluctant to join forces.

Back to the Mother Ship, where Anna’s creepy sidekick Marcus (played by Christopher Shyer) gets an update on Dale’s condition from Joshua, a Visitor doctor whose uniform of flowy white invokes an image of New Age healer. Dale comes to as Joshua watches. “You’re a hero,” Joshua tells the amnesia-stricken Dale. Turns out Dale’s survival can be credited to the fact that his heart’s in the wrong place – haha. Where IS his heart? That’s something our resistance fighters may have to learn as they battle the V’s in the future.

The FBI has arrived at the Peace Ambassador Centre. There are the dots and dashes symbols that indicate the V’s have a language of their very own. It’s a dash of nostalgia for original fans. Erica is teamed – reluctantly – with a Visitor agent, and assigned to find the baddie who’s issuing death threats. Erica requests a tour of the V’s surveillance room, and is surprised at its simplicity. “It was like this when we got here,” her V partner tells her. Three weeks on Earth, and he’s already mastered blaming the US government. Erica glimpses a V entering the real surveillance room, and you just know she’s getting in there eventually.

Ryan finds Cyrus, who seems surprised to see him. “29 guesses why I’m here,” says Ryan. In case anyone forgot the significance of 29, the camera cuts back to the Mother Ship, where Anna’s issuing orders to the captains of all 29 Mother Ships. She lectures them on the impact of popular opinion among humans and encourages them to monitor and shape it when they can. In a new and improved version of beam-me-up, the holographic captains vanish one by one.

The protest movement has a figurehead, Mary Faulkner, whose F16 pilot husband was killed during The Arrival. We learn that 642 others died that day, and Mary’s determined to avenge them all by encouraging everyone to hate on the V’s. Anna is really worried about Mary Faulkner and explains to Marcus that hatred is contagious – they’ll have to make an example of Mary so she doesn’t infect others.

Left with the FBI weirdo list, FJ finds Georgie and heads off to his last known address. FJ is clearly new at keeping a low profile – the name of his church is printed on the side of his car. Inside the house, he finds newspaper clippings about Georgie’s murdered family. A woman – a neighbor? – tells FJ that Georgie went off the deep end after the murders. Choosing not to remain anonymous, FJ leaves his calling card.

Ryan’s told Cyrus what he’s after, but Cyrus isn’t going to play ball. Pulling a gun, Cyrus presses an alarm button and tells Ryan the V’s are coming. Turns out, they’ve promised Cyrus they’ll “reconnect” him if he turns in enough Fifth Column. “They’ll skin you alive,” insists Ryan. And what, turn him into a nice pair of boots? But Cyrus is crazed – he misses “the bliss” that Anna can provide. What’s this mysterious “bliss” going to turn out to be? A drug, or perhaps a mind-altering operation? We’re not given more than that. But it must be pretty special and powerful since Cyrus seems to think the end justifies the means. Ryan, however, is not interested in bliss – he tackles Cyrus and disarms him. When the V’s arrive, they find Cyrus and Ryan gone and a message spray-painted on the wall: John May Lives.

Erica and her current partner have their suspect in sight and the chase is on. The sound mixing on both broadcasts I watched was off or something for the next two scenes, so the dialogue was meaningless – it’s a testament to the makers of V that the gist of things was conveyed effectively anyway. The shooter pulls his gun and Erica wrestles him to the ground in five seconds flat, saving Marcus’ life. The V’s lead the suspect away; they’ll do the questioning. Erica’s not happy about it, but doesn’t argue.

Marcus thanks Erica for saving his life. “Blame instinct and training,” she says, then smiles to reassure him she’s joking. But Marcus is wary – better keep his eye on this lady!

Now that V security is occupied, Erica sneaks into the REAL surveillance room, where hundreds of live images are being projected from all over the city. By touching them, Erica can zoom in and hear what’s happening. Our clever girl sees herself in one of the images, and moves around the room until she finds the source of the camera. It’s the patch on the V jacket.

Tyler hooks up with Lisa, who has forgiven him – of course, he’s back on the approved list again. The two head to Tyler’s place, where they begin a passionate embrace, only to be interrupted by Erica’s arrival. Tyler strips off his uniform and heads off Erica in the hall. It must suck to be a cop’s kid – Erica sees right through him and barges into his room. There’s Lisa, sans uniform, and for the first time this episode, we see Erica flummoxed. How embarrassing! Erica, of course, has no idea that Lisa is a V.

Joshua is walking Dale through an environment constructed from the memories they found in his brain. It’s the FBI offices. With Joshua’s prodding, Dale recalls living among the humans as a sleeper V: It was smelly, crowded and disgusting. Dale recalls that he was not the only V at the bureau, confirming our suspicions that there are more we’ve yet to meet. Finally, Dale remembers it was Erica that cracked him open and vows to kill her.

But not so fast! Joshua remarks that Erica will make a wonderful ally, as a surprised Dale experiences the illusion falling to pieces around him. “The Fifth Column says hello,” Joshua tells him as he plunges a needle into Dale’s arm, presumably killing him. Yay! for more Fifth Column, but fans were already upset at the thought that Alan Tudyk might not return. Is this the first will-he-or-won’t-he-be-back cliffhanger of the fall season?

Georgie finds FJ and the two empathize with each other, while FJ encourages him to help mount the resistance. Georgie’s still not sure – he’s been there and done that, and “they crush us every time.” Georgie’s obviously a tortured soul; I hope we’re going to get more backstory.

Anna rehearses her sympathy speech for Widow Mary; what a great scene for Morena Baccarin! She plays it with such a serious earnestness it’s almost comical. Anna even manages a tear, just in time to meet the Widow and convince her that hope and trust are the keys to healing. Mary says as much to the protesters gathered outside, while the world and the media watch. It’s a feel-good speech, almost a standard for politicians or anyone encouraging tolerance and understanding: what we share is far greater, yada yada. Anna follows up with assurances that the V’s will not seek revenge for the assassination attempt.

Chad, of course, will get the exclusive interview with Widow Mary. We haven’t seen much of Chad this week, other than commentary about events taking place. I hope he gets a little more screen time before the end of this fall block – it’s been hard to get a read on the character. I’d like to think there’s some depth there. As Chad reports on the events of the day being a PR coup for the V’s, we see Anna thank the assassin – she staged the whole thing! I wonder if Marcus knows it?

Our shaky resistance meets – Georgie, Erica, FJ and Ryan. Such a small group and such a monumental task before them!

The final scene has one more reveal coming – Lisa is Anna’s daughter! Nice to see the V’s don’t eat their young. “Tyler’s the one,” Lisa tells her, leaving us wondering just what’s in store for the Evans family in the future.

Next week’s teaser – the fall finale – makes that episode look as action-packed as this one. Without spoiling too much, it appears as though the writers were very intuitive; the plot could play on the real-life borderline hysteria over the flu vaccine controversies. Now they’re going to have to leave viewers with the perfect combination of enough information to care about what happens next and enough questions unanswered that we have a reason to tune in next March. Feel free to add your theories and thoughts in the comments.

It’s A Small World After All Disclaimer: I discovered last week that Executive Producer and Writer Scott Peters went to university with my brother-in-law – Comm. Studies, which happens to be what my own daughter is currently studying at the same university. Nice to see a local boy done good!

When not leading the Resistance, Shelley blogs at Once I Was A Writer

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