In the V season finale, we finally reached the place where the show should have begun: With open hostilities mounting between the V and humans. But this triumph was undercut by cheesy, incoherent mumbling. Why is this show so bad?
Before I answer that question, let me outline for you the salient plot features of this episode.
Ten microplots in last night's season finale of V
1. A lady impregnated by Ryan the turncoat V is kidnapped by a deer-chomping V soldier while giving birth, and is then killed by Anna. Ryan is now Anna's toy again.
2. The near beard terrorist guy who was framed by the V was actually working for the V, but didn't know it. Now who is he working for? And why does he care what a "clutch" is?
3. Erica goes to the ship to have dinner with Anna, Lisa, and Tyler. In between chatting about single motherhood with Anna, she sneaks out and murders all of Anna's babies. This was awesome.
4. Lisa is torn. Loyalty to psycho mommy, or loyalty to the Fifth Column? At least if she becomes Fifth Column, people will call her "queen." OK, she'll do it!
5. Anna is experimenting on people who are part of the "live aboard" program. For reasons never explained.
6. Chad the journalist is Anna's lap dog. But he's sorta Fifth Column. But sorta lap dog. But also possibly a free agent.
7. Anna is so stupid that she can't figure out that Erica and Chad are not loyal to her.
8. Tyler wants to live aboard ship and have sex with Lisa a lot. He does not call her "queen," but he probably would.
9. Anna's plan, mentioned in microplot 1, is to figure out how to win back Ryan the turncoat V's loyalty, and expunge his human emotions. "That means anybody can be turned," she gloats. So, she wants to make humans into Vs? Or make emotional Vs into unemotional ones? What?
10. At the end, Anna cries when she sees that her babies have been killed and then orders her ships to create a really pretty red sunset over the Earth that is ambiguously menacing. See clip.
Why is this so bad?
1. The Vs have a muddy, incoherent motivation.
Are there here to eat us? Dominate us? Steal our resources? What? Why are they using this "we're your best buds" tactic? Why are they implanting us with spyware and then never using it?
2. Why do we give a shit about the Fifth Column?
The Fifth Column is a rebel group among the V, who have somehow managed to get a few humans involved. But why do we care about a rebel group when there has not been an invasion yet? We've had menace, paranoia, and Anna's creepy lipstick. But this isn't a Terminator scenario, here. And we don't know enough about the V's political system or society to care strongly about schisms within their ranks. The whole "inside the world of terrorism" thing feels shoehorned.
3. The V just aren't scary.
They don't munch on rats, and they all look really hot. When they do mean things, mostly they just torture other lizard people. Yes, they've injected spyware into our DNA but they seem utterly incapable of using it. Mostly they're just setting up embassies and hospitals. When are they going to do something seriously creepy or scary? When will we hear about their nefarious plans to drain the planet of water, or write cookbooks about human chow fun?
4. The humans are not very compelling either.
With the exception of Erica, who basically lights up the screen every time she appears, most of the humans are either flat stereotypes like near beard terrorist guy and Chad the slick TV dude. Or they're boring and awful like Jack, who is the least convincing priest ever and gives terrible sermons. Why do we care about these people? I'd rather have the whole show center on Erica and Tyler's relationship with the Vs, with Erica trying to kill them and Tyler trying to have sex with them.
5. The season arc was more like a jagged line.
Seriously, what was the season arc? "Getting to know the V"? "Finding out stuff"? "Running around screaming"? There was no coherent line to follow here: We meet the V and the Fifth Column, and then pretty much ran in place while people slowly found out what we already know, which is that the V are creepy and have an incoherent plan that is perhaps unknown even to them.
I want to like this show, and I want to give it another chance. But it's hard when there's so little to work with.