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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

V S2E3: Laid Bare

Torture is bad for the soul.

Having spent hours trying to figure out a way to write up this episode, we hit upon what we wanted to say just a few seconds ago. It's this: We're sticking with this show.

This may not seem like a very exciting declaration to you, but considering we spent all day expressing the sentiment that we can't possibly stick with this show any longer, we've made a dramatic and exciting turnaround. Well. To us, anyway.

Here's what: this "soul" business they're insisting on pursuing is just plain dumb. Painfully, insultingly dumb. You can't construct a decent story around wholly metaphysical concepts unless you spend some time establishing the veracity of that concept within the world of the story. There's a reason Tolkien spent so much time writing poems and describing clothing. It's so you can buy a story where the ultimate evil is an eye and the ultimate weapon is a piece of jewelry. You can't just say "The key to humanity's strength is the soul," and then follow it up with "Behold! My soul-killing machine!" Actually, that's not true. You can, it's just that you will be saying it to an audience heading for the exits.

Also somewhat insultingly stupid are the hamfisted attempts to inject relevance into the storyline by going to the current events well. Last season it was "universal healthcare;" this season it's "terrorists" and "torture." The problem is, there's never any real examination of these concepts. They're just thrown in, like buzzwords. No one was all that reluctant to rip off Malik's skin and no one seemed to care after it was done. Just some grim faces, screaming, and loud music trying to take the place of decent writing.

Further, we couldn't possibly care less about Ryan and Jack, the two male characters getting any real story time this season. Jack is, frankly, an ineffectual idiot. Ryan is the whiniest lizard you'll ever meet and also, not particularly effective. That there is any focus on these characters at all is another big check in the "wrong direction" column. It doesn't help that the remaining male characters - Chad, Hobbs, Tyler - aren't any more interesting. The scientist has potential, so of course he has the least number of lines each episode.

So why are we sticking around? Well for one, it's only got another seven episodes to go, so it's not that much of a sacrifice. For another, we just can't shake the feeling that everyone involved with this show is ... Trying. So. Damn. Hard. There has always been a perfect concept in the middle of V; it was always a matter of dressing it up correctly and propelling it forward. Even though we're hating a lot of the developments, things are at least moving in certain directions and a general shape to the story is coming into view. It may not be the direction we would like to see the show go, but playing armchair script writer is fun only for a little while. They clearly have an idea of what they want to do and the show is moving a bit faster than it did last season. Plus, there are just enough subplots to keep us interested, namely the Diana/Ana thing (even though it's gone past camp into silly) and the Lisa story. Here's hoping the rest of the show can come together in the time they have left. We're doubtful that it will, but we'll stick it out to see what happens. Also, we want a Diana/Anna throwdown, not to mention a Lisa/Anna one and an Erica/Anna one. Basically, we want kickass lady fights.

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