This review may contain spoilers
Taking a step up in the progress of the plot and in special effects, in the episode "Laid Bare" gives the audience a darker view on fear and consequences. For those who were waiting for Erica (Elizabeth Mitchell), Hobbes (Charles Mesure), and Ryan (Morris Chestnut) to take action rather than just talk about it, "Laid Bare" delivered.
At some point, Erica's Fifth Column group was going to have to get more aggressive. While she showed some signs of hesitation before, it took a threat to Tyler (Logan Huffman) before she was willing to go the distance. Having Agent Malik (Rekha Sharma) to pump for information finally pushed her to a level of action that may turn the tide.
Throughout the show, Anna (Morena Baccarin) has been the aggressor willing to do whatever it took. Now Erica showed her strength and leadership as well while Hobbes and Ryan fell into place as assisting soldiers so to speak. Does this make Erica Anna's equal, or does it mean that Erica could be failing in her strengths as a human?
There was not a direct answer to that question, but right after having Agent Malik killed after the torture for information Erica did lead the team to help rescue the humans being abducted. Giving the lost daughter back to the mother reminded the viewers of her own sense of motherhood.
Most of the actions taken by both sides are in reaction to fear. Anna fears the future for her species, but most of her fear is losing power. Erica represents the fear of losing all of humanity and being wiped out. Both women react to that fear, but their actions beg the question of whether or not those actions are justified if they're for the greater good?
Points of Interest
1. Although we already knew that the power structure of the V's is matriarchal, there was an interesting twist to the females' differences. Having seen Anna use her V tail to kill before, it was much more poignant to see Ryan cutting off Agent Malik's. The look on her face was priceless to show how that broke her.
2. For those remembering the special effects from the 1980s franchise, the representation of the V's true nature is much more sophisticated. Although seen in the previous episodes of season two, it worked seamlessly in the torture scenes. Gone are the days where we kind of laugh at the special effects. Now it is easier to buy into the fear of what lies beneath.
3. Considering that the reporter's role in the original series was huge, it's about time that Chad (Scott Wolf) took steps to be more active in the cause. However, having him taken down so quickly by Anna by unwittingly helping to silence Jack (Joel Gretsch) was a different way of stepping away from the narrative of the original show. Giving nods to the original but establishing its difference may help the show survive.
There was a nice twist in having Lisa look to Erica as a mother figure and Tyler attach to Anna. While Lisa is looking for a way to gain humanity, the openness of Tyler's biological status gives the viewers some room to imagine what may come next with Anna and Tyler. Is he open to her bliss? Could he himself be turned into a V? It was a nice move on the part of the writers to open up some doors with these attachments.
Of course, it was the final word from Diana (Jane Badler) that underlines the mistakes of motherhood and the expectations from their children. Diana is becoming the harbinger of doom to Anna, which is very satisfying to those who thought that Anna was too flat of a villain in season one.
What Didn’t Work
This statement does not necessarily belong under "what doesn't work", but more under "what makes us think". Clearly the writers are stepping up the action to get our attention. However, could there have been a thinly veiled attempt at referencing those in real life who use torture to gain information in the name of preserving a nation? Is it more palatable to watch it happen on a science fiction show where it's aliens and not humans?
It's not bad to make the audience question real-life situations. But is it dangerous for one of the few sci-fi shows still running on television to be so aggressively dark when the audience may be watching in order to escape the darkness of their own lives? "Laid Bare" was definitely written and performed to get attention. Hopefully that attention will push the show forward.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
“Laid Bare” was written by David Barrett and was directed by Gwendolyn M. Parker.
“V” airs at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
About the Author