A great piece of Science Fiction is usually just a great Western minus the spurs, dust, and livestock. Feel free to tear apart this broad statement in the comments, but Joss Whedon gets it. Fine. Basically, I'm sticking with my The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly breakdown because the show continues to be all over the place, and this is the best way to write about it. If I hadn't already seen next week's episode with all of the craziness that goes down with Lisa's character, I probably would have been done after this one. And that would have been a shame because Lisa is going some crazy places.
Even though continuity was a little confusing,* Erica and Malik discovering that the other was a double while they were in a speeding car in the middle of nowhere was awesome. Watching them pick apart one another's lies while trying to watch the road was gripping, and when they both noticed the blood on Malik's shirt and what it meant, I was leaning forward on the futon. I only lean forward for The Wire, Mad Men, and Fringe so that was a high quality five second blip of television. V, please do this all the time. I want these cat and mouse games every week instead of the stagnant stuff that makes up most of each episode. Let's have betrayals stacked on betrayals stacked on car crashes!
*I feel like Erica should have known the truth about Malik after she learns that Malik beat her to the warehouse, but whatever. There was a car crash. I'll take it!
It's pretty clear that V and I are going to have some major problems this year, but the largest is by far Diana, Anna's mother and the deposed queen who's trapped in the swampy bowels of the ship. We only got a glimpse of her in the premiere, but now it's clear she's an exposition device they added because Marcus was starting to take on actual character traits, and there has to be at least one person on the show with nothing to do but listen to Anna's evil plots.
Diana is played by Jane Badler, the actress who played the character in the original series. Anna's pretense for returning to the swamp hold of the ship again and again is her mother's knowledge of human emotion, but the whole thing feels like stunt casting because we never learn much. The Diana scenes together are full of thinly disguised backstory and lines like, "You'll tell me everything you know about human emotion and how to defeat it." My eyes can only roll so much before they physically ache. That's right, I suffer for these reviews!
The plot is finally advanced when Diana is like, "Humans have these soul things you can't destroy" and Anna is all, "I'm going to destroy 'em anyway, Mom! You can't tell me what to do!" but I still feel like this whole storyline would have played better with Marcus, the man to whom she has to keep proving she has rid herself of emotion. Marcus is a threat and Diana just isn't. If she doesn't break free of her swamp pod and start mucking things up real soon, I'm going to wish Anna had succeeded in getting her to eat one of the immolation pills.
Sandwiched between the eye-rolling Diana soul speak and the Erica and Malik's Spy on Spy action were Ryan, Father Jack, and the fight for Ryan's soul! Yeah, it doesn't really deserve the italics. In a nutshell, Ryan isn't grieving hard enough for Valerie's parents, and Val's mother asks, "Don't you have a heart? Don't you have a soul?" You then see the wheels turning in his little lizard mind, and he's like, dude, I better go to the priest about this.
Father Jack insists he acknowledge his grief through prayer or something, but poor Ryan can't pray because when he's "vulnerable," Anna can remind him telepathically that she's torturing his daughter. And that's no fun. In the end, Ryan tells Anna he'll do whatever she wants to help his daughter like we knew he would, and all the soul talk was just to… add to all the exposition we got in the Anna and Diana scenes? Maybe?