V: “Hearts and Minds”

V is over for the season! And yet we’re behind in our recaps. I blame TiVo, the rhinovirus, and streptococcal pharyngitis. So first we’ll cover “Hearts and Minds,” then “Fruition,” then the season finale, “Red Sky.”

“Hearts and Minds” starts with the old “here’s how it ends, then we’ll show you how it begins” ruse. First we find Ryan, Hobbes, and Father Jack shooting down a V transport, then discovering charred humans, complete with a heartstring-pulling teddy bear (and later we see a pink Nintendo DS JUST LIKE MY DAUGHTER HAS), not V soldiers. Uh oh. Then we see Anna and Marcus crowing in their very subdued, elitest, V way, that the Fifth Column took the bait and shot down the shuttle with human remains.

Flashback twelve hours, and Joshua is calling Ryan to warn him about the shuttle. He tells Erica, Father Jack, and Hobbes that they have to bring it down. Jack prays for guidance and is interrupted by Chad, still doing a clumsy and direct, “Hey I wanna join your SEEKRIT CLUB! Can I join it? I understand it’s SEEKRIT,” attempt to get into the Fifth Column. Father Jack breaks when Chad mentions how he rides the shuttles. He tells him to stay away from the shuttles, as his parishioners are whispering.

Chad runs to Anna and squeals, but is unwilling to give up Father Jack. Anna and Marcus come up with other plans for the day’s shuttle schedule, and plan to tighten security on the ship even more.

Erica checks on Tyler, and then the Fifth Column meets in the basement to argue. “Either we value life, or we are the Vs,” says Father Jack. He leaves, unable to continue with them. Hobbes says to the remaining two, “Do you wanna be the guy who gets knocked down, or the guy who gets back up?”

Erica has to deal with her bosses trying to find out who the terrorists were, realizing Father Jack’s van went through a toll booth with security cameras, but as she flips through photographs she realizes that the bones show that the bodies on the shuttle were already dead. It’s wonderful! It’s exonerating! It’s… gone. The photos disappear from her computer, “This file has been deleted.” She sees her boss go offline and look at her, all menacing-like, and leave. She tells Ryan to go to the security firm and kill the footage. Hobbes talks Ryan through finding the right server, and wipes it.

Chad, who I’m starting to think of as “that little weasel,” finds Father Jack. He tries to dig for more info, but Jack is pissed and flatly denies being Fifth Column, but Chad lets it slip that he talked to Anna about the attack.

Ryan tells Erica at work that they wiped the footage, but her boss then tells her they had a backup, and got one suspect: Father Jack. During his interrogation, her boss goes to get the evidence and she takes the moment to tell Jack they’re being set up, that no one died. Father Jack gets his confidence back and makes up a reasonable lie, and they let him go, grudgingly.

Lisa finds out that the humans on the ship are being experimented on, and Tyler is in the list for experiments. So she dumps Tyler to keep him safe, lying that her mother liked him and she only slept with him to see what it felt like. Later, Tyler tearfully apologizes to his mom for her being right about the Vs.

Anna has a press conference, playing shock and distress. The FBI watches and Erica’s boss sends someone to the ship to assure Anna that she has their full support. He creates a task force with Erica at the head, with Agent Serita Malik as her partner. Malik is the one heading to the ship, of course, to report to Anna that her plans are in motion and she can now hunt Fifth Column to keep “our people” safe. (Malik is played by Rekha Sharma, who some might remember as also a hidden “alien” type from another show…)

Jack arrives to tell the Fifth Column it was his fault, that Chad gave him up, but he promises he’s been “careful” and hasn’t told him anything. They welcome him back, and Erica and Jack share another Thorn Birds look.

Lisa tells her mom she underestimated Erica’s hold on Tyler and she failed to get him on the Live Aboard program. Anna proceeds to beat her, commanding her lackeys to break Lisa’s legs, banking on the emotional response of human men to get Tyler on board.

Commentary: It’s clear Lisa’s main goal now is to protect Tyler, and I don’t think even she knows how deeply she’s affected by these foul human emotions.

Father Jack is reminding me of Book from Firefly. He’s got reserves that no one knows about, although we do know a little more about his past. Once he realized he was not in part responsible for a gross act of terrorism, he got his wits back and dealt with the interrogation with charm and flair. I think the dear man just needs to know he’s on the right side. Erica seems to read him well, not giving him any advice on how to deal with the interrogation, just giving him the information he needed, knowing he’d deal with it. I expected/hoped she would give him a glimpse into a way out of it, but she is in a tough place. She’s hunting herself, and her friends, essentially.

Chad Decker continues to flail about, looking indignant and intelligent while being a bumbling oaf.

One thing I’m seeing in V that’s starting to bug me is how can they know every nuance of our societies—remember, the V are in all the countries—well enough to manipulate us? Sure, they’ve been here for 10 years, but I am sure there are protocol experts who’ve worked their whole lives in learning just one or two other culture’s societal quirks. The V manipulate humans in a way that implies they understand us and yet, among themselves, the V explain confusion with emotional responses.

I loved the moment with Erica and Father Jack and the sweaty, punchy bit. And Hobbes hit it right on the head with the “Thorn Birds” comment. That was hysterical. More Jack punching things, please.

Again, the magical computer OSs of Hollywood continue to astound me. No one uses a mouse. A handful of keystrokes can bypass any password. And if you’re looking at a file, and it’s deleted at the source, it automatically goes away from your monitor. And no one uses backups (unless it’s convenient to the plot, I mean.) I’m not a computer scientist, but I’m pretty sure that’s not how things work.

Question—why didn’t the Vs just send live humans on the shuttle? I don’t have the feeling they really care about our well-being. Why stock the shuttle with “remains?” (Although I suppose if I had a filet mignon, I’d put gristle into a shuttle before the good beef…)

Coming soon, “Fruition.”

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.


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