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Review/Recap: V 1.04 “It's Only The Beginning”

Written by Cory Barker
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You know that weird place I thought V was in last week? It only got worse in this week’s episode and the fall finale, “It’s Only The Beginning.”

Even more than last week’s effort, “Beginning” featured some sequences that felt way too rushed and just as many that felt like lame wheel-spinning. The story slowed down again in this one, with a few interesting developments happening along the way.

The one thing to take away from the first four episodes of V is that when combined together, they would all make one nice two-hour Pilot. And really, that’s all these episodes felt like. If you were to take out the boring and somewhat repetitive scenes that occurred in almost every one of the four hours, you’d have yourself a damn good two-hour movie-like Pilot. The writers have set up a number of storylines that could be very compelling moving forward and that’s all you can ask for.

Plus, the program being retooled before the March re-launch gives us another reason to hold off on any sort of major critique. Sure, there were some bad moments in the first hour hours (anytime Tyler’s friend was in a scene, the Ryan-Valarie “Are you lying? Of Course Not. Let’s Hug. But I am lying.” Scenes), but ultimately, we’ve seen more good than bad.

As for this episode, well, there were a few things to love, but a number of things to roll our eyes at.

Let’s just ignore the lame in media res opening that tried to make the episode seem more exciting than it really was. The main hook of the story here comes when Anna reveals to Chad and the rest of the world that the Vs will be providing a vitamin shot that can help stop cancer and other major diseases that we lowly humans just cannot kick. This has our group of heroes – Erica, Jack, Ryan and Georgie – thinking something is up because, well, the Vs cannot be trusted.

Ryan’s Fifth Column experience helps him remember a group of mad V scientists who were trying to create something like this years back until they were stopped. Thankfully, a few of them are still alive and in the FBI database. Though Georgie wants to kill the guy, Ryan and Erica decide its best to just follow him and see if he can lead them to the vitamin shot, some schematics or something that they can destroy.

However, being the rebel that he is, Georgie tries to take advantage of his proximity to the mad V scientist by shooting him, but learns that if you are going to try to shoot at a mad V scientist, you better not miss. Sadly he does, the V scientist puts one in his gut and Ryan and Erica have to rush in to save the day. Ryan takes the scientist out and tries to get some information out of him, but we see how the V traitor turned into ash last week – they have suicide pills. Oh, those tricky alien bastards.

Erica overhears the conversation between Ryan and the mad V scientist, which leads to her think that maybe Ryan cannot be trusted, you know, since he’s a V and all. She points a gun at him, does some threatening, but eventually realizes that he’s on her side and that it’s a good thing there are more V traitors out there. Ryan and Erica discover an intriguing location they want to check out while Father Jack tends to Georgie’s wound. Jack tells Georgie that he did two tours in Iraq, and Georgie says he’ll eventually have to choose what type of person he wants to be.

At the location, Ryan sounds the alarm to get rid of all the Vs so they can investigate. They come across a lab with some dead, experimented-on bodies, which leads them to think the whole bad vitamin shot hypothesis is correct. Oh, but they are wrong. Erica discovers that the vitamin shot is actually exactly what it is says it is, but the FLU SHOTS have been tampered with – oh no! Erica then delivers a ham-fisted, over-the-top speech about how the media scares people into getting flu shots with all these insane reports and now the calculating Vs are smart enough to take advantage of that. Wow writers, maybe a bit too much on the current event soapbox?

Anyway, the V cronies figure out what’s up, flood the location and a fight ensues. Ryan reprograms the security system to blow the building, destroying all the evil flu shot, but makes sure to leave a little “John May lives” note in the coding for his brethren to see later. The bad news for Father Jack is that one of the V baddies followed him back to the church, which leads to him taking a nice shiv to the chest. He’s left bleeding out near the pew.*

*Why do shows always shoot or stab main characters for a cliffhanger? They never, ever die. Ever. I am not worried about Father Jack one bit.

So that’s our main plot. In all the side plots, not a whole lot happened. Anna and Lisa still played some games with Tyler in hopes of getting him to do “something” because he’s “the one,” but we have no clue whatsoever what he’s going to do or why he’s the one in the first place. It was cool to see the engine room and watch Anna manipulate Tyler’s mind, but again, without knowing (or really caring at this point) why this happening, the whole thing fell flat.

Anna’s other new business featured her investigation into Dale’s death. She clearly suspects Joshua, who is the culprit, but he’s obviously unwilling to come forward. She lines up all the medic staff and attempts to get him to admit it, but instead his BFF (Ryan Kennedy)* takes the fall. Anna is unfazed by his claims and thus makes Joshua skin the guy alive, just to see how it makes him react. Joshua does not want to do it, but his buddy makes him. Question: why is skinning the way to punish someone? Is Joshua’s pal dead now? Why not just cut their head off or something?

*Or boyfriend? Did anyone else sense something “more” than Fifth Column buddy-ness between these two?

Meanwhile, Chad finds himself doing an “investigative” piece on the V medical centers that includes him undergoing a scan for the purposes of the assignment. However, he finds out that in six months, he’s going to have a tumor in his head. Marcus and the medics offer to let him bypass the long line and cure him – if they can work out some kind of arrangement. Clearly Marcus is screwing with them right? Maybe they’ll implant something in him instead? Definitely intriguing.

We also saw Valarie a little more in this one, because in the smallest of worlds, she is Tyler’s shrink. Whatever, I guess I’ll buy that if it gives Valarie more to do. But that whole set-up just felt like a vessel to meet the end the writers wanted, which of course was the fact that Valarie is now preggers. Dun dun dun! I knew someone would have to be the one dealing with the little visitor inside them trying to claw its way out way before the human due-date. Let’s just hope this doesn’t lead to a number of lame scenes with her saying she feels “weird” and Ryan acting like he doesn’t understand.

Finally, we saw the Bliss that Ryan was talking about last week. Honestly, I wasn’t that impressed. Anna gets in some electrocharged pool and makes all the Vs feel better about themselves? Meh.

In the end, Anna notes that this is only the beginning (see what they did there?) and the camera pans back as far as galatically possible to show us an army of V ships heading for Earth. So some sort of invasion is coming. But why? Just because? That’s a classic way to raise the stakes, but we haven’t even delved into (that much) how the first batch of Vs is affecting humans. Hopefully the writers just use that as a looming threat that could occur at any time. Worldwide invasions bore me.

Anyway, so that’s it until March. Again, there were some exciting parts along the way that lead me to believe V has a chance to be a pretty cool, fun series to watch. Maybe when the writers have more episodes to work with we will see more character analysis, less broad strokes and an overall better series. So far it’s good, but there are so many ways that it could become great. Hopefully March brings us that.

Rating: 3.5/5

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