V 2.1 (RED RAIN)

V, where the hell has you been?!  After a so so first season complete with as many downs as ups, V returned tonight, and I have to be honest…THIS EPISODE ROCKED!!!  It’s almost like the producers were listening to the Ninja’s podcast and took some of our advice to heart.  All kidding aside, the showrunners clearly learned something from it’s depleting fan base and took some serious measures to right the ship.  I’ll temper the excitement somewhat, as it was only one episode, but if this is what we have in store for Season 2, I am all on board.  Of course, if the show does get good but can’t recapture a foothold in the ratings, all bets are off that it will survive past this season.  Then we will have another Sarah Connor Chronicles on our hands and that will leave me sad.

The episode starts off with Erica awakening on the street in a very FlashForward meets The Walking Dead typesetting.  The eerie calm combined with all of the presumably dead bodies provided a nice effect.  Erica searches for her shithead son, Tyler, finding him kneeling in the street.  As she holds him, dude’s face literally starts to melt away as a red rain starts to fall (AND THEY SHOWED IT IN ALL OF IT’S GOREY GOODNESS!!).   As Anna appears, Erica begs her to explain why she has done this to her son.  Anna’s reply is pointed…”You killed my children”, harkening back to the Season One finale when Erica went all gangsta on Anna’s egg nest.  Predictably, this was all a dream as Erica wakes up at her desk at the FBI office.

We cut up to the Mothership where Anna is talking with her advisor, Marcus.  Does anyone get the feeling that this dolt has other plans in store?  He’s shifty.  Anyway, Marcus has informed Erica that a scientist by the name of Ellis Watts is becoming uncomfortably close to discovering the truth about who the Vs really are.  I liked the scientist’s reference here as an homage to the original series.  It really didn’t go any further than that, as to say that the Vs didn’t start rounding up the science community, but the reference was a cool nod nonetheless.

Marcus also shared some concerns with Anna from the commanders of the other 29 Motherships who feel that Anna’s release of the red sky (in the finale of Season One) was premature and they are concerned that the death of her children forced her into a vengeful rage as a result of being infected by human emotion, which is something the Vs just don’t do.  Anna lays those concerns to rest as she summons all of the commanders to her Mothership and proceeds to filet one of them on site.  They showed this guy with half of his skull ripped open and his Geiko Gecko innards on full display.  I guess the backlash from showing that stupid baby puppet tail at the end of last season forced them to give us something with a little more meat.  It’s quite clear that the makeup department increased its budget in the offseason.  Keep it coming.

Ryan, who we left at a crossroads at the end of Season One, what with his girlfriend dead and baby was taken away for experimentation, is banished from the Mothership by Anna, never to be allowed to return.  Thankfully they did not prolong any sort of drama on what Ryan would do (stay with the Fifth Column or rejoin the V).  I was curious at first why Anna wouldn’t just kill the guy, but she reveals her plan for him soon after his release.  This is sort of weak, as it might have sent a better message to the Fifth Column to have sent Ryan back to them in a hundred little lizard pieces, but I get that they can’t kill off the main character like that just yet.  I really sort of think that Morris Chestnut’s acting is a weak point in the series.  I think he’s a bit of an over-actor in many scenes.  He just doesn’t feel believable or natural a lot of the time.

Chad Decker has an epiphany.  Hey, these Vs aren’t really who they say they are.  Congrats on catching on so quickly, Chad, I mean you’ve only had carte blanche on that Mothership for 13 episodes now.  He ends up back in the church pleading with Father Jack to trust him and that he wants to help expose the Vs.  Father Jack is a hard sell, telling Chad he’ll have to earn his trust.  This seems a tad off in Father Jack’s character.  He’s always been cautious, but the priest in him has always seemed to be forgiving, so I found it a bit odd that he was so reluctant to embrace the new Chad Decker.  I guess that’s what happens when you transition from saver to soldier.

I have hated Tyler since day one.  He is annoying and whiny.  Now I’m glad they didn’t kill him off since his character is solely responsible for giving us a scene with Laura Vandervoort in her unmentionables.  She, of course, plays Anna’s daughter, Lisa, and has been instructed by Mommy dearest to “attach” herself to Tyler.  Suffice it to say that Tyler and Lisa “connect” and that Vandervoort looks mighty fine in her Fruit of the Loom.

Meanwhile, the Fifth Column pay Ellis Watt’s office a visit.  They miss the old guy but find his assistant, Sidney (played by Bret Harrison of Reaper!!).  Turns out old Sid is actually the one who has been studying the V all along, having come into possession of an old skeleton discovered in a mass grave from many years ago.  Suffice it to say that Sidney is surprised to learn of the true nature of the Vs and is recruited to sort of act as the “science guy” for the Fifth Column. No sign of Sock or the Devil.

The title of the episode, Red Rain, comes from just that, red rain.  From the red sky cometh the red rain.  Anna convinces the humans that the red rain is a source of good, that it will heal the planet, stop global warming, vegetate the deserts, etc.  What we find out is that it is really a phosphorus-based liquid that will help to protect the Vs eggs from being destroyed in the future.  Erica is distressed at this news as she recalls her pregnancy with Tyler, where she suffered from pre-eclampsia as a result of too much phosphorus in her system.  She goes all WebMD on herself and thinks that maybe she was a part of some sort of V breeding experiment back in the day.  Interesting, but I’m not sure that this was a necessary subplot.  I’m not overly keen on the way she just sorts of deduced that so quickly and jumped right into conspiracy theory mode.  That sort of goes against her character.  We’ll see how that pans out.

I enjoyed how they finally portrayed Anna to be the ruthless, no-nonsense bitch that she is supposed to be.  She was hardcore, taking it out on just about everybody.  Those she didn’t kill she gave the stink eye to as if to imply that she doesn’t trust anyone and they are all on notice, including those closest to her.

The final scene was one that fans of the original series have been jonesing for since last season.  The return of the original Diana, Jane Badler.  Anna, having just pulled the plug on the six surviving soldier children, takes the elevator down into the bowels of the Mothership (which oddly looks like the old set of Land of the Lost).  Out of some cocoon-like thing, pops an elegantly dressed Jane Badler.  Not too sure why she’s dressed to the nines in this scene, but okay, I’ll roll with it.  Anna refers to her as “Mother”, and I think this is a great way to plug Badler back into the show.  Well done.

All in all, a terrific first episode to kick off Season Two.  There were moments all throughout Season One in which I felt there could be something here, but every time, it just seemed to fall flat.  In this episode, I kept waiting for the bubble to burst, but they put the gas peddle to the floor and didn’t lift it.  As I said, it’s gonna take more than one episode to recapture me completely, but this is a good start.