Yay! We get to find out who this mysterious John May is! So why the hell is Anders from BSG in the opening scene? And why is Ryan trying to kill him?
Synopsis: Ahhh, flashback. Ryan is with the Vs, hunting John May, the first resistance leader of the V. They fight and then Ryan gets caught in a bear trap (a bear trap? Really?) so they have a breathless conversation about the power of human emotions. Ryan would probably rather talk about the power of the bear trap. John May has a chance to kill Ryan, but runs instead.
Back to present day where Ryan is telling the other resistance who John May was. They worry about Georgie on the mother ship as well as whether he’ll talk under torture. Ryan says they need to communicate with the mother ship, and to do that they need a device John May had. They’re off to upstate NY to see John May’s stepson.
Anna dozes on a couch wearing a golden gown. The V nap in style. Marcus, her second in command, reports that George isn’t talking, and they are having trouble getting people on their “Live Aboard” program. She says she’ll address the public. “I want those bodies.”
Krycek—I mean, Joe, Tyler’s dad, and Lisa meet at the bathroom door. Instead of saying, “Holy shit, there’s someone in my house,” he has a look of confused delight. I know she’s a pretty girl, but I don’t know anyone who’d be pleased to find someone in their house first thing in the morning. She introduces herself, then Joe gets the skinny from Tyler (“I slept on the couch, Dad. Promise.”)
Chad interviews Anna, who brings out the propaganda about how “John May Lives” was just old code from their English language program, then switches to the awesomeness of the “Live Aboard” program. As she goes on about the benevolent nature of the Vs, the camera cuts to Georgie’s interrogation. A doctor from the Tokyo ship introduces Georgie to the “scours” which are itty bitty bugs that love to travel around the nerve lines of the human body, going into the eye and out the reproductive organs. Georgie’s day begins to go downhill. As one scour does its job, and the doctor threatens more, Georgie promises one name.
Marcus addresses a number of Vs who are sleeper agents in “key positions,” telling them to watch for Fifth Column members.
Our heroes now approach John May’s farm. Tyler’s dad calls Erica, pissed about Lisa and saying he needs to tell Tyler he’s not his real dad. Lisa is eavesdropping. Erica’s distraught and tells Jack that Tyler needed a blood donation when when was younger, where they found out that Joe couldn’t have been Tyler’s father. Erica says Joe never believed her, and left. When asked if Tyler ever knew, she said no.
They approach the farm house and find a young man and pretty young woman living there, but the woman is a sleeper agent we saw on the V ship. Uh oh. They invite them in, and then we flashback to Ryan’s memories, a little later, when he shows up at John May’s house. He’s now married and stepfather to a little boy. Ryan has a meal with them where he says that old friends are waiting for them. To protect his family, John May says they’ll go out and meet them.
Now we see Valerie, who’s pretty sure her baby isn’t supposed to be kicking. As she tries to find the card for her doctor, she finds the entrance to Narnia in the closet. Or at least, a really freaking big safe.
Ryan and Jack try to tell James about his stepdad, but the bitter man doesn’t want to hear. He hates John May for leaving them. Erica and Hobbes go into the kitchen with the girlfriend, who tosses her hair and tries to get information out of them. Erica quizzes her on where they met, and catches the woman in a mistake about UCLA, and the woman attacks. Again we get bad jiggly camera and cuts where it actually looks like Erica hits and disarms Hobbes. The woman grows claws, gets on Erica, then Hobbes breaks her neck. James comes out of the room to discoverhis girlfriend dead on the floor with green claws, and is in a bit of a shock. Our heroes decide it’s a good time to go to the storage shed.
On the mother ship, Georgie says the name he revealed was his unborn daughter’s, so he is still not breaking under the torture. Anna says to show him the memories of the V who killed his family. Georgie doesn't like the new torture.
In the storage unit, Ryan finds the communicator and the group argues about Georgie. The V send a little floaty attack ball like the one from the pilot, and Erica shoots it down. They find a tracking device in James’s watch.
Back at Tyler’s dad’s country house, everyone is happy until Lisa drops what she’s heard. Tyler flips, and then leaves.
On the mother ship, Joshua discovers that the dead cell phone, the little glowy ball he’s been carrying around in his pocket for years, is finally lighting up again; good thing still carries it. Habit? He talks to Ryan who begs him to free Georgie. After the discussion, Ryan tells James that John May didn’t abandon them, and he was forced to leave, and he was the one who forced him.
Back to the past where John May writes a suicide note while he discusses human emotion again with Ryan, saying he notices Ryan is feeling it. Then in the present, Ryan drops the bomb.
“Ten years ago when I came to your house for dinner, that’s the day I killed John May.”
The other Fifth Column members freak and yell at him for holding the information from them, and Ryan tries to do a stirring speech about how powerful the John May message is, and how May taught Ryan how to be human. James looks as if he’s going to explode, but says nothing. “No more lies,” demands Erica.
Speaking of lies, in the Narnia closet, Valerie has called a locksmith, who opens the door for her.
Chad confronts Anna, saying he’s discovered that the people they’re bringing to live aboard the ship are “broken” in some way. A barren woman in a fertile family, for example. Anna replies the V value all people, unlike humans. Chad threatens to dig in this story unless she gives him a bigger one.
The resistance, after leaving James to pick up the pieces of his shattered life and to figure out what to do with his dead girlfriend in his kitchen, hang at the church, waiting for word on Georgie. Joshua calls to say he’s alive, and will try to free him when the Live Aboard program starts. But Georgie is tired and wants to die, so Joshua gives him an injection and he goes peacefully. The resistance drink to him, apparently forgiving Ryan.
Our final flashback is of Ryan at John May’s funeral, comforting James, marveling at the little boy’s tears. And in the epiphany, he spots Valerie, smiling at him.
He rushes home to her, determined to tell her the truth, but she’s already discovered his secrets in the safe: passports, money, and the ultrasound of her baby. With the tail. It’s a really big safe for such a tiny folder. I wondered what else was in there. When Ryan comes home, she’s gone, and the ultrasound pics with her.
Erica comes home to Tyler sitting on the floor, crying, demanding to know the truth, and she tells him and breaks down as he runs upstairs, not believing her.
Back on the mother ship, Anna once again goes into her pool to lay her thousand eggs.
Commentary: I remember the first “jiggle cam” fight I ever saw, it was Blade 2 where the action was filled with fast cuts and wobbly cameras. I think the director was trying to make it more exciting, but it looked like a band-aid for sloppy choreography. John May’s and Ryan’s first fight felt like that, and the fight with Erica and the V in the kitchen. I really hope their fight choreography gets better.
This episode was about secrets and the revealing of them. We had the secrets Ryan kept from the resistance and Valerie, the secret Erica and Joe kept from Tyler, not to mention the secrets kept from poor James.
Poor, poor James. One would hope that at least Father Jack would be a little more careful with his feelings. I mean, they go to the guy’s house, bust up his kitchen, kill his girlfriend, reveal she’s an alien (and so was his stepdad,) who didn’t kill himself, instead was killed by one of the guys who made this day be so AWESOME to begin with. I don’t know for sure, but I’m betting the V’s just got themselves another human ally. Either that, or the Vs will hear the alert their sleeper agent sent before her death, show up at the house, and kill James.
I felt for Valerie, who’s also discovering things, but I wonder why she didn’t confront Ryan with the information. She’s not a wilting flower, and if he’s hiding all that stuff, including that freaky sonogram, then he would be the person with the answers. I’ve been pregnant, and I’ve read scifi from the 1940’s, both of which make me very sympathetic to women wondering, “what the fuck is growing inside me?” Well, Ryan would be the go-to guy except that he’s been lying to her, I guess.
The thing that excited me the most in this episode was Tyler’s discovery. As I mentioned before, I was hoping it wouldn’t be just a “I’m not your dad” reveal. And although it looked like that on the surface, I’m of the opinion that the odd way they found out that Joe and Tyler’s blood didn’t match implies it’s something else than Erica having an affair 19 years ago. I'm eager to find out.
Since Ryan’s story was told from his memories and POV, we can see how he became more human as the flashbacks told the story, but I can’t help but think the resistance let him off easy. He lied about knowing John May, and about hunting resistance fighters. And his story lacks one thing that’s needed in almost every storytelling medium: A body. We saw only John May and Ryan preparing to meet the Vs who would kill John May, we didn’t see the death, or what they did with the body. This makes us wonder if May is really alive after all, and if he is, then what is Ryan gaining by lying again? Is he really on the side of the Vs? The Vs say that the message of him living is “trite and untrue.”
And I am wondering, is the V fleet so far away, and that’s why Anna needs to lay an army? Because I thought that army was on its way.
More aliens next week!
Mur Lafferty is an author and podcaster. She is the host and producer of the Tor.com Story Podcast and I Should Be Writing and the author of Playing For Keeps, among other things. You can find all of her projects at Murverse.com.