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Review/Recap: V 1.06 “Pound of Flesh”

Written by Cory Barker
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Hey, doesn’t it feel like V is finally becoming a real-deal television series?

After last week’s solid balancing act of re-introduction and development, “Pound of Flesh” kicked full-gear into hopefully what the series will be moving forward.

As I noted last week, the series is improving mostly because it is taking at least some time to evaluate characters’ motivations and feelings instead of letting them serve as ciphers for dialogue that pushes the mythology forward. “Pound of Flesh” continued that, not only by delving into the lives of Erica, Tyler and Ryan, but by also highlighting some of the supplemental characters like Georgie and Fifth Columner Joshua.

Though some of the dialogue was hammy, Georgie’s conversations with both Erica and Valerie were saved by heartfelt acting from David Richmond-Peck. It was a bit odd that the guy who was skeptical before was now ready to get aboard the Visitors’ ship, but the death of his family made it more believable than it should have been. And it also gave Erica and Georgie something to bond on, since he was on the fringe of the group at best. His capture on the Visitors’ ship led to him being injured for the second time in a very short period, which is a little ridiculous, but at least it sets up what could be a very exciting extraction mission in the coming episodes.

The introduction of Erica’s ex and Tyler’s father worked pretty well, if only to keep Tyler away from that damn Visitor ship – until Lisa of course ruined my dream. It was smart to have Erica want to keep Tyler out of the way by giving him to the only person he wants to be around more than the Vs. Not only does it thrust the personal lives of this family more into the plot, but it adds another layer of intelligence to the Erica character, who has really taken a bit of a backseat in these first two episodes back.

And for the most part, that’s because Ryan has moved to the forefront. In this episode he was most against going on the Visitor ship but then HAD to because of Valarie’s rapidly-progressing pregnancy. Again, partially flawed idea that was executed well thanks to Morris Chestnut’s ability to sell the change in prospective. His dedication to Valarie pumps up his human side, which based on the events of this episode, will become more and more relevant in terms of the Visitors and Fifth Column.

Somehow, the pregnancy story itself got interesting in this episode as well. Ryan was able to help Val with some phosphorous compound, which Joshua says will create circumstances to which there is no return. I’m not sure what the means, but I do know that the thing growing inside Val’s stomach looks terrifying. I cannot believe that story actually keeps my attention, so kudos to the writers there.

Finally, Anna became even more ruthless in this effort thanks to her “human emotion” test that attempts to snuff out Fifth Column folks. It was nice to get an answer about the Bliss – or at least a partial one – in that Fifth Column members’ embrace of human emotions keeps them from falling under the spell of Bliss. This not only suggests that Bliss is a completely manipulative and possibly dangerous method of control, but also that there is a way for current Fifth Column members to turn current Visitors. I do, however, wonder how it is the Vs embrace human emotion? Is it a conscious choice? Or just something that happens? And are all Vs that “feel” Fifth Column members?

Quick takes:

- Poor Joshua. He has to skin some more of his Fifth Column buddies. But why doesn’t Anna “test” him?

- And can’t his “John May Lives” message be traced back? He’s screwed.

- Chad and Father Jack shared a few scenes that were the boring low-point of the hour. I like Joel Gretsch, but Father Jack mostly sucks. Good to see Chad interacting with some humans, though.

- The Visitors’ live aboard program? Yay, I guess.

Overall, this was probably the best episode since the pilot, but we still have a long way to go. More character focus, more Anna and less plot contrivances and we’ll have ourselves a rock-solid series.

Rating: 4/5

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V returns in March on ABC.


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