‘V’ Episode 1.02: ‘There Is No Normal Anymore’

Episode Title: “There Is No Normal Anymore”

Written By: Scott Peters & Sam Egan

Synopsis: FBI Agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) and Father Jack Landry (Joel Gretsch) must decide whether or not to hide their knowledge of the Visitors’ true intentions — a particularly difficult decision for Erica given the fact that she had to kill former partner Dale (Alan Tudyk), who was secretly a Visitor. Journalist Chad Decker (Scott Wolf) attempts to control the public perception of Visitor spokesperson Anna (Morena Baccarin), while secret Visitor Ryan Nichols (Morris Chestnut) tries to find a way to repair his damaged flesh.

Don’t Trust Anyone: Tonight’s episode reinforced the theme that everybody is suspect — after all, if you can’t trust Alan Tudyk’s face, then who can you trust? There are already some suspicious characters in my mind including Agent Malik (Rekha Sharma, one of the elite final five on “Battlestar Galactica”) and Father Travis (Scott Hylands). If old man Travis is one of the Visitors, then that would seemingly indicate that the infiltration happened a long time ago, which is actually pretty cool. I’d also caution you to keep an eye out on Ryan’s girlfriend Valerie (Lourdes Benedicto), as series regulars are rarely hired without a purpose. While Valerie might not be a Visitor, there’s definitely something fishy going on with her.

Bad Excuse: Initially, I enjoyed the fact that the FBI was investigating Dale’s disappearance. It introduced an awkward element for Erica, who is already dealing with her knowledge of what the Visitors are actually up to. But not only was this plot wrapped up fairly quickly, it was wrapped up ridiculously. Erica’s explanation of her recorded phone call was haphazard and ludicrous — I certainly hope that a real law enforcement agency would lock her up immediately after such a discovery, rather than sending her back onto the field to prove herself as was the case in “V.”

Dino Damage: Does secret Visitor Ryan really need to visit a black market medic whenever he gets injured? What if he gets a paper cut — it’s not going to heal on its own? Are we supposed to assume that he hasn’t been injured without having to visit this shady guy? I’m not gonna stretch this hole too widely because I dig the character and his potential, but this struck me as kind of bizarre.

The Lynchpin: The United States isn’t the only lynchpin for Anna’s plans — it’s a lynchpin. Another essential ingredient is her partnership with media-savvy Chad Decker, who attempted to one-up the Visitors’ leader in this episode with mixed results. Chad is no closer to a superior position than he was before, and I can very much see the day where he freely responds to Anna’s every beck and call. I’m also wondering how he’ll tie into Erica’s story — when the two inevitably meet, will they be friends or foes? This media man’s likely downward spiral is one of my favorite aspects of the series thus far.

Everybody Loves Erica: Elizabeth Mitchell has first billing in the cast, so it’s no surprise that Erica has taken a front-and-center role thus far. But her importance seemingly extends beyond the show’s narrative — she clearly has a role to play with the Visitors. They had Dale infiltrate the FBI as Erica’s partner for several years and one of the Visitors is taking an extreme interest in her son. We’re bound to find out more and more connections, but it strikes me that Erica is yet another lynchpin for the Visitors’ plans.

V Is For Verdict: “There Is No Normal Anymore” was a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, certain characters and stories were very compelling — the mythological implications of earlier Visitor invasions has me intrigued — but there is plenty of unbalance as well, particularly in the show’s continually rushed pace. With only two more episodes to go before a lengthy hiatus, “V” is in serious danger of pushing itself too far without stopping for a much needed breath.

Further Invasions: Anna and other Visitors sojourn to the surface world, forcing Erica to unravel an assassination plot. Erica’s son Tyler (Logan Huffman) and sexy alien Lisa (Laura Vandervoort) break some of their sexual tension, and Dale makes a comeback.

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!