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Advance Review: V 1.06 “Pound of Flesh”

Written by Craig Byrne
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Please do not reproduce this review on other websites. Small quotes are fine but permission to reproduce entire reviews is NOT granted. Beware of some minor spoilers within.

Perhaps a better plan than having a "countdown clock" at the bottom of the LOST screen, the people behind V have instead decided to promote the sixth episode by shipping it out early to selected media outlets. I have always suspected that the reasoning for such advance looks - beyond getting the word out early - are usually done whenever a network or a studio is proud of the material that they're sharing. Episode #6 of V, airing Tuesday night on ABC, is something to be proud of.

Cory Barker pointed out in his review of episode #5 that it seems almost as if the series is answering fan criticisms in an almost checklist-type fashion. With "Pound of Flesh," the series answers the question of why a Visitor would want to be a part of the Fifth Column instead of taking in more of Anna's "bliss." Anna also realizes that the Fifth Column movement is growing and devises a plan to figure out who her detractors are.

As it has been in the series' past, some of the non-lead characters bring some of the best material of the episode. Christopher Shyer's Marcus is TV's most loyal right-hand man since Waylon Smithers, and Mark Hildreth makes another appearance as the secret Fifth Column scientist Visitor Joshua. I'm starting to warm to Kyle Hobbes (Charles Mesure), who I originally derided as a bit of a Ham Tyler stand-in and am now feeling through the use of some snarky lines that he's quickly developing a character of his own. Hobbes unveils a previously-unseen talent in this episode. Again, David Richmond-Peck's Georgie has some of the best moments of the episode. I like that the already-powerful main cast has such strong backup.

As seen in the previews, Ryan boards the Visitor mothership and the whole "we need to get onto the ship" conversation evokes fond memories of the original V, when it seemed Mike Donovan would make a sojourn to the mothership every few installments.

pound of flesh v hugThe preview photos for the episode show that Tyler (Logan Huffman) is visiting his father (played by The X-Files' Nicholas Lea), Erica's ex-husband. The decision to let this happen is powerful and yet another good performance from Elizabeth Mitchell. One small bit I notice about her character that I love is that while Mitchell herself is a terrific actress, Erica herself is a horrible liar. That's going to get her into trouble someday, I'm sure.

There are many character interactions that I won't spoil here but several characters meet for the first time. This is fun in any series, when you start to feel their universe getting smaller. Alliances are formed and meetings are had that I think will be impactful later on.

Special props go out to Morris Chestnut for this episode. As a conflicted Visitor living on Earth, the character has always been interesting, but it is with this episode that he really knocks it out of the park and gives the episode some really good scenes. The "domestic bliss" with Val subplot is also a lot more palatable now with the baby storyline, and Lourdes Benedicto gets some good material in these scenes as well.

If "Pound of Flesh" is a sign of the show's attempt at consistency for the first season's last eight episodes, the series should be in good shape. I know it's taken a little while to find the show's accurate "voice" but I really feel it happening, mostly due in part to some very talented writers, actors, producers, and crew. Admittedly, to do a series like V on a weekly basis rather than in mini-series form is hard. It was tried in the 1980's and ultimately didn't do too well, despite the fantastic two mini-series that preceded the original weekly series. This series, however, might have the right mix to pull it off. If "Welcome To The War" or the first four episodes weren't your cup of tea, give it another try and you just might get sucked back in.

Rating: 4.5/5


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"Pound of Flesh" airs April 6 at 10PM on ABC.


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