Episode Title: "Red Rain"
Writers: Gregg Hurwitz & Scott Rosenbaum
Director: Bryan Spicer
Previously on "V":
FBI Agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) was assigned to protect the alien Visitors, which made it easier for her to get on to their mothership openly as a guest of Anna (Morena Baccarin) in her quest to prevent Anna’s super soldier children from being hatched. Her unlikely ally in this mission was Anna’s own daughter, Lisa (Laura Vandervoort), who was recruited to the Fifth Column resistance by Joshua (Mark Hildreth).
However, the misguided attempts of Father Jack (Joel Gretsch) to gain TV news maven Chad Decker (Scott Wolf) as an ally led to the deaths of almost all of the Fifth Column Visitors on the mothership. Erica used the detraction to destroy Anna’s eggs (and even outran an explosion in heels), which led to a violent emotional from Anna. In response, Anna prematurely triggered the Visitors’ plans and changed the color of Earth’s skies to a sinister shade of red.
After the red rain falls from the sky, Erica discovers that the world has been overcome and her son Tyler Evans (Logan Huffman) dies in her arms from the exposure. She then wakes up from her nightmare, but in reality the skies are still red and people are panicking in the streets. Even alien mouth piece Chad Decker is on TV claiming that the good works of the Visitors have been wiped away by their actions and mysterious silence. On the mothership, Anna learns that the other Visitor captains are worried about her rash behavior and that they are on their way to confront her. Before they arrive, Ryan Nichols (Morris Chestnut) attempts to escape from the ship with his hybrid child, but he is recaptured and exiled without his offspring.
Chad reaches out to Father Jack about the things that he saw on the mothership, but Jack is unwilling to accept him after his previous betrayal. At the Visitors Center, Tyler calls his mom and tells her that a riot is breaking out there. Shortly after her arrival, Erica uses Tyler’s relatively minor injuries to get them on the last shuttle to the mothership. Meanwhile, Anna makes an example out of one of the other captains by killing him with her tail and warning the others not to question her. When Erica and Tyler arrive, Erica takes Lisa aside and tells her to look into the truth behind the red skies.
When Anna comes to check on Tyler, Erica confronts her about the red sky. But Anna is ready to quell her fears and begins a world wide broadcast which claims that the red rain was a gift to humanity that cured global warming, among other things. Before leaving the ship, Erica learns from Lisa that the Visitors are targeting a scientist who may have gotten too close to their plans. Tyler also insists upon staying with Lisa on the ship, who is ordered by her mother to seduce him. Following up on Lisa’s lead, Erica, Ryan and Kyle Hobbes (Charles Mesure) find that Sidney Miller (Bret Harrison from "Reaper") is the Visitors’ real target.
Upon dispatching the Visitor spying on Miller, the extremely young man shows the group his findings which include the body of a Visitor which indicates that they’ve been on Earth for a long time. Sidney also shows them his research which leads Erica to believe that the Visitors may have experimented with her when she was pregnant with Tyler. They then forcefully recruit him into the Fifth Column. Back at the church, Chad returns once again with video testimony that the Visitors are torturing and experimenting upon the humans living on the mothership. He offers to air it and expose them but Jack tells him to keep his ties to Anna and spy on her for the Fifth Column.
Back on the mothership, Anna lets it slip to Lisa that Joshua was revived by the Visitor doctors. But when Lisa slips in to see him, he doesn’t seem to remember his role in the resistance. At the same time, Anna attempts to prove that her human emotional outburst isn’t affecting her by coldly disconnecting the life support of her remaining super soldier children. She then travels deep within the ship to visit her mother Diana (Jane Badler), who is apparently Anna’s prisoner as well.
After so many months away, it’s still not clear if "V" will be able to reinvent itself in its second season. A while back, we offered up a list of 5 Ways to Improve V, but for the most part, the only thing from that list that came to pass was the casting of original "V" star Jane Badler (and Marc Singer, who will be showing up later this season). All of the other problems remain largely in place.
The biggest thing to come out of this episode is the reason that the Visitors came to Earth. In the original series, it was because they wanted our water and they also wanted to eat us. In the current series, the Visitors apparently have intergalactic fever. In short, they want to mate with us. Which is fine. That’s kind of what we do. Just get some wine, some good music, maybe a paper bag and we’re set. What’s the problem with that? Well, there is that eating the male’s head after sex part. That may not go over well.
The idea is actually intriguing and the notion that the Visitors’ interest in Tyler stems from earlier experiments done on Erica actually does make some sense. As a character, Tyler is still one of the stupidest guys on TV. He’s not quite as dumb as Jason Stackhouse from "True Blood," but he’s definitely a contender for king of the idiots. And he’s part of the larger symptom of this show: the men are so useless in this world that none of them seem to have any backbone of their own.
The worst offenders are Father Jack and Chad Decker. After showing some fire in the finale with his anti-Visitor sermon, Jack’s growth is completely glossed over here and he’s back in the church with literally no mention of his previous actions or any of the promised repercussions. And Scott Wolf (henceforth known as "The Dude From ‘Party of 5’") is just completely unconvincing as a television personality. When it comes to playing a weasel, TDFPo5 is at least somewhat believable. But once again, the only dip into our world’s media comes from Chad Decker and TDFPo5 is just not a good fake newsman. He has no gravitas on camera or even the strong, wildly partisan view points of most TV commentators. He’s just so… bland.
I keep expecting Kyle Hobbes to get a bigger role in the series, but Charles Mesure barely gets anything to do here. One of my colleagues refers to Mesure as "Hugh Jackman-light," but I prefer to think of him as "Hugh Jacklight." He’s got the potential to be a real main character on this series instead of a glorified guest star, but he needs some focus.
On the other hand, Lisa has actually become far and away the most interesting character on the show, even if her conversion to full blown Fifth Columnist was a bit rushed. Let’s face it, most of the Fifth Columnists were killed last season because of the blatant incompetence of Father Jack and the rest of the NYC resistance cell. Leaving Lisa as the only active resistance member on the mothership is at least a good follow through on that, although I don’t know why Joshua is being kept on the show if he’s just going to get the old amnesia storyline.
Mitchell and Baccarin are still the legitimate stars of the show and Erica and Anna are to their credit, both fun to watch in a campy, over-the-top way. It was hilarious that Erica used Tyler’s relatively minor injury to get on to the ship. And Erica’s more motherly relationship with Lisa also shows some promise. Anna is still fairly effective as the overall villain, but I’m curious as to how that will be affected now that Badler’s Diana is being introduced to the show.
The dilemma of "V" is that it’s entertaining enough to watch every week, but I’m not convinced it will eventually lead to a good story. However, I would love to be wrong about that. There’s not enough sci-fi on TV any more (thanks, Syfy!); so for now, I’ll take what I can get.
Crave Online Rating: 7 out of 10.