Original V femme fatale Jane Badler strolled onto the greenscreen set of V 2.0 last night, and wowzer, she completely tore the greenscreen roof off the place. Besides finally giving Morena Baccarin’s Anna a worthy opponent, Mama Diana’s first scene was an info-dump of far-reaching mythology. We learned how the Visitors originally came to Earth — the detonation of the first Atomic Bomb was like a beacon shining across the universe. Even better, we learned that the seemingly all-powerful Visitors have a problem: We knew they had to figure out a way to keep their species going, but now we know they’re running out of time. “The next viable planet is too far away,” said Diana. “It’s Earth…or nothing.”
In a thriller, there is no more elemental tension than the ticking clock. The new V creative team clearly realizes this, because last night’s episode injected all manner of tick-tock tension into the proceedings. At the start of the episode, we saw a Fifth Column suicide bomber detonate himself in New York. Turns out, there was a whole network of detonations across the world — and the timer was resetting. (One of the Feds literally looked at his smartphone, which was apparently set to the website fifthcolumnsuicidebombcountdown.com, and said “The timer is resetting!” Cheesy, but exciting-cheesy.)
Our lovable rebel band was in a bind. On one hand, they didn’t really support the actions of the suicide bomb squad — they were killing innocent civilians, and perhaps more importantly, they were handing the Visitors a PR home run. But Hobbes rightfully noted that this new branch of the Fifth Column had a global network, whereas our lovable rebels have a church cellar, a fantastic wardrobe, and nothing else. Meanwhile, Father Jack was suffering from the knowledge that his anti-V sermons had indirectly led to all the violence — the first suicide bomber was one of his parishioners.
Last night also continued the season 2 trend of alien grotesquerie, which I love. Anna put human skin on Ryan’s baby — to remind him of his dead wife, and also because animating an adorable little dinosaur creature would put a serious dent in the V budget. But the little hybrid baby was hungry! So Anna opened up her serpent mouth, chewed up some vermin, and regurgitated the animal bits into the hybrid baby’s mouth. Pardon me while I regurgitate with joy. (Later in the same episode, Rekha Sharma pulled a disgusting serpent’s tooth out of her blood mouth. I imagine that an adolescent boy who watches V will be extremely confused by women for years to come.)
Let’s be honest, though — the best parts of the episode were all Badler. Whether she was half-swooning over Mendelssohn (“I first heard this music on Earth. No, I didn’t hear it. I felt it.”) or taunting Anna over the possibility of her daughter’s betrayal, she injected a much-needed sense of camp grandeur into the show. I’m less certain about Anna’s newfound existential quest, which can be summed up with the most incredible/ridiculous line of the night: “The soul is the single greatest threat to our species!” So, Anna’s plan now involves isolating the human soul and destroying it. This could either be fun (like an Ayn Rand novel) or incredibly belabored (like an Ayn Rand novel.)
Viewers, there are eight episodes left in this season, and given last week’s ratings, they might be the last eight episodes ever for this version of V. Will you stick around for the rest of this season? Think they’ll ever let Diana out of the sewers?
Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich