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Review/Recap: V 1.10 “Hearts and Minds”

Written by Cory Barker
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I don’t know about you guys, but “Hearts and Minds” felt like the emotional gut-punch that the series and the characters needed to wake them up out of their generic resistance lull. By finally raising the emotional stakes and giving our band of heroes some consequences to deal with, they actually felt like real people and not just vessels for sometimes-lame dialogue.

In the last two episodes, the writers tried to plug in some moral disagreement between the four main resistance folks, but the torture debate is difficult to pull off, even for good programs. However, the argument over whether or not to attack the V shuttle because it could have humans in it was an interesting – and easier to execute – development, one that gave both Erica and especially Father Jack something to do.

It seemed at the series’ outset that Jack and Erica would be the two lead characters, but ever since V came back this spring, they’ve been pushed to the back, and though the focus on Ryan has been fine and sometimes even great, it was finally nice to have these two back in the foreground.

We know that despite his emotions, Ryan is still a V, and Hobbes is a smart-ass assassin. But Erica and Jack are obviously people driven by their emotions and let their feelings colors all their decisions, even if they are supposed to be detached from them. And as the most caring individuals on the team, the probable deaths of humans they’ve caused have to hit in them pretty hard, raising the stakes of why they’re doing this in the first place.

This is all fairly basic storytelling, technique-wise, but for characters that have been given the short-end lately, the impact of the execution is very solid. And because it was his decision in the first place, the events will hopefully wake Ryan up to the fact that he needs to think a little bit more before he acts, because as the characters discussed at the end of the episode, they’re all just terrorists to everyone else now, but they need to know in their hearts and minds – see what I did there? – that they are doing what’s right. That’s a nice beat to introduce to make the story more complicated, something V desperately needs.

“Hearts and Minds” is also a stand-out episode because it brings back Anna’s manipulation of the media, the one part of the series that has been fantastic from the outset. I won’t wonder aloud of her use of the media as a vessel to drum up misguided support for the Visitors is a commentary on the Obama administration or not, but in any event, that arc continues to be a nice evaluation of how our culture interacts and uses the media.

Let’s finish with some bullets:

- The Tyler and Lisa story has improved in recent weeks and looks like it will be the major part of the next episode, but without knowledge of why Anna wants to have Tyler in the fold, the impact of the story is still fairly hollow for me.

- Scott Wolf continues to kick everyone else’s ass with his performance as Chad Decker, who this week basically helped set up Jack and company to fail. He still seems to be playing both sides as a way to cover his own ass, but at some point he’s going to have to choose. I kind of hope he chooses Anna and the Visitors.

- Remember a few weeks ago when I complained that we never saw Erica at work anymore? I kind of wish I could take that all back now. I was far from shocked by the attempted swerve of who was the V informant in the bureau and although Erica trying to cover the team’s behinds could be intriguing, I’m guessing we’ll just get more scenes of her looking around scared with intense music. No thanks.

In the end, I think this was definitely my favorite episode since the pilot, and served as a reaffirmation that V could be legitimately good with its characters and not just the overarching plot development. Hopefully the final two episodes do the same.

Grade: 4.5/5

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