V Series “Heretics Fork” – Analysis Focus: An Assassin’s Life

Greetings, V Fans!

Here is a recap/review with analysis of the latest V episode. Hope you like it!Click to visit V Series on ABC!

Click to visit Warner Brothers Television!In this episode, we continue to follow the stories of Ryan (Morris Chestnut) and his pregnant girlfriend, Valerie (Lourdes Benedicto); the Visitors’ favorite reporter, Chad Decker (Scott Wolf); the sinister plottings of Anna (Morena Baccarin); the growing relationship between Tyler (Logan Huffman) and Lisa (Laura Vandervoort); and Erica’s (Elizabeth Mitchell) struggle to effectively combat the V’s while keeping her son safe.

Click to visit V Series on ABC starring Morena Baccarin
Last week, Ryan was frantically searching for Valerie after she found his hidden stash of weapons and passports and took off.  With the help of Erica’s FBI access and a cell phone trace, she was found to be at a V healing center.  Ryan was able to get her out of there, but not before the V discovered that she is carrying a human/Visitor hybrid baby (the V doctor didn’t share this information with Val, though).

Episode Recap/Review:

In this week’s episode, Ryan and Val continue their escape from the V healing center.  Val is understandably confused, angry, and a little freaked out by everything that is happening.  Ryan confesses that he is, in fact, a Visitor.

V Ep. 109 - Val finds out Ryan is a V

Val gets it right away that his being a Visitor probably means their baby might be a bit unusual.  She wants an explanation—about everything, and right now—but now is not the time.  The V want their baby and they need to get away.

On the New York mother ship, Anna (Morena Baccarin) formally greets the new recruits for the Visitors’ live-aboard program.

V Ep. 109 - Anna greets live-aboard program participants

V Ep. 109 - Marcus tells Anna about hybrid child

Marcus (Christopher Shyer) interrupts with the information that a human female is pregnant with a hybrid child.  The always-composed Anna shows a rare glimpse of emotion at the news and, once she ditches her guests, instructs Marcus that his top priority is to find and capture the hybrid child’s parents.  She says “I need them alive” (we’ll get back to that line later, so don’t forget).

Back at Ryan and Valerie’s apartment, Ryan wants to grab the essentials and get Val to safety, but she doesn’t trust him and wants to call the police.  While they argue, two guards from the V health center show up but their fighting skills are no match for Ryan, who easily puts them down using the guards’ own blades. Unfortunately, one guard’s face is sliced open during the fight and Val sees the reptile-like skin underneath.  She realizes that Ryan must look like that too and wonders what their baby is going to look like.  All Ryan can say about that is, “Don’t look.”

V Ep. 109 - Visitor skin revealed

Anna, Marcus, and doctor-on-board-the-mothership and Fifth Columnist Joshua (Mark Hildreth) attend a virtual meeting of the top doctors from all 29 motherships.

V Ep. 109 - V doctors' meeting

Anna is unhappy that the V doctors were wrong about the impossibility of a human-Visitor hybrid child.  She worries that the Fifth Column could “breed an entire generation” of “mongrels,” hybrid children with human emotions to fight against the Visitors.  To protect against this threat to their species, Anna tells the doctors that they must accelerate the “initiatives” of the live-aboard program and to “commence extraction procedures” on the human residents immediately. Hmmm.  We are left to wonder what Anna’s ‘initiatives’ might entail and what the doctors could be ‘extracting.’

At this point, Anna seems to change her mind about how to handle the fugitive parents.  Remember, she previously told Marcus that she needed them alive.  Now, however, she tells him to “dissect” them in order to find out how the pregnancy happened and how to stop it ever happening again.  Oh yeah, and destroy the baby.  So do Ryan and Valerie have to be alive when dissection begins?  Or did Anna change her mind about their ‘wanted dead or alive’ status?  Anna’s thought processes are far beyond those of this lowly, merely human, reporter.

Back with Ryan and Val, who run from the V health center to Dr. Leah Pearlman (Lexa Doig), the V doctor that first appeared in Episode 5 (“Welcome to the War”).  Val wants an abortion but is told the pregnancy is too advanced.  Val realizes that Dr. Pearlman is a V in human disguise, like Ryan.

V Ep. 109 - Valerie and Ryan with Dr. Pearlman

Leah questions Valerie about her experience at the V healing center.  Val reveals that she was given a “vitamin shot” that was really R6, a substance that will enable the V to track her.  Luckily, Leah has been working on something to neutralize the tracking function of R6, but the function fades over a period of up to 24 hours so they’re not safe yet.  Ryan and Val have to find a place to hide.  Leah decides to go along for the sake of the baby, saying, “There’s nothing more important than this baby.”  She doesn’t say why, though.  Does she share Anna’s belief that a generation of hybrids could be a threat to the Visitors?

Ryan calls Erica to let her know that he is taking Val to safety and they won’t be coming back.  He also tells her he was wrong to keep the truth from Valerie and suggests that Erica consider the same might be true for her son, Tyler (Logan Huffman).  Ryan also tells Erica to contact Joshua on the ship if she needs help.  I guess I’ll have to go back and revisit some prior episodes, but I don’t remember Leah or Valerie having been trusted just yet with Joshua’s identity.  Isn’t this kind of risky, talking in front of them and over a cellular phone?  Am I reading too much into this, or have the writers intentionally left a door open for later betrayal or discovery?

V Ep. 109 - Erica on phone with Ryan

V Ep. 109 - Ryan on phone with Erica

Back in New York, intrepid reporter Chad Decker (Scott Wolf) goes on the air to announce that today he will have surgery to repair the brain aneurism the V said he would have in the future without treatment. The announcement reads a lot like an ad for V medical treatment, with Chad telling the viewing public that “maybe, just maybe, if you or someone you love is in need of medical care, the Visitors will save your life too.”  Strong words, Chad.

V Ep. 109 - Chad making announcement

When Erica gets home, Tyler is watching V-related news on his laptop.

V Ep. 109 - Watching V News

He is obviously still upset with his mom, thinking that she cheated on his dad and lied to him about his father.  Never mind that Erica insists the tests were wrong and the man he always thought was his father is really his father.  But I digress….While Erica tries to talk to Tyler, the online news source is reporting that V enthusiasts have banded together to try and buy an abandoned church for something called the Church of V.  Erica is outraged by this announcement, but Tyler sympathizes.  He says “people are looking for answers,” and we can see that Tyler himself is looking for something to grasp onto.

Tyler asks Erica to “name one bad thing the Vs have done since they got here,” a question that she will be asked again later in this episode.  It looks like she is about to tell him the truth but he gets up and puts on his Ambassador jacket (the one with the little V spy camera in it) so she has to switch gears.  Tyler tells Erica that he is off to meet Lisa and Erica says she’d like to meet Lisa sometime (Erica isn’t counting the earlier underwear incident in Tyler’s bedroom).

Back on the ship, a different mother-child conversation is taking place. Anna tells Lisa that she wants Tyler to take part in the live-aboard program and she expects Lisa to make it happen.  Lisa wonders aloud what will happen to Tyler when Anna is finished with him, but not for long—Anna gives her “the look,” and walks away.  We can probably guess what that means for Tyler.

V Ep. 109 - Lisa and Anna

Anna visits a big, round room on the ship where a group of live-aboard humans are being processed in.  Joshua reports that their plans have been accelerated as ordered and V doctors are already experimenting on the humans.

V Ep. 109 - Live-aboards being examined

V Ep. 109 - Joshua reporting to Anna

Marcus hurries over with news that the two guards sent to retrieve Ryan and Valerie were killed.  (Remember them? The ones from the V healing center that Ryan killed in his and Val’s apartment?)  Anna is fed up and ready for some real results.  She orders Marcus to release a “soldier,” a shocker to Marcus and Joshua because of the violent mess the soldier is expected to leave in its wake.  Marcus is supposed to follow it around and clean up its messes.

Anna and Lisa give Tyler the good news that his application for the live-aboard program has been approved. Yay!  However, he worries that mom won’t like it so Anna suggests Lisa might be able help change her mind.

V Ep. 109 - Tyler approved for live-aboard

Back at the (hideout? interrogation chamber? New York Fifth Column Headquarters?) Father Jack and Kyle Hobbes (Charles Mesure) get word from Joshua on the V ship that Anna has sent a soldier after Ryan and the baby.  Jack calls Erica with the news, and Erica shares equally disturbing news that the sniper is a trained killer, ex-military.  Erica decides to visit the sniper’s house, interview his wife, and try to find more information that can help Ryan and Valerie.

V Ep. 109 - Jack calls Erica

Meanwhile, Ryan, Val and Leah arrive at the Thompsons’ place where they are hoping to receive help with their escape.  The Thompsons (played by Philip Granger and Sarah-Jane Redmond) offer their place in the Adirondacks, which they say is fully stocked with supplies.  Sweet!

V Ep. 109 - At the Thompsons'

On the ship, Marcus reports to Anna that something is interfering with the R6 in the human mother’s body and they are unable to track her, but—good news!–the soldier has finally located the fugitives.

V Ep. 109 - Anna and Marcus

Also on the ship, reporter Chad Decker is undergoing treatment for his as-yet-undeveloped brain aneurism.

V Ep. 109 - Chad's medical procedure

When he wakes up, he finds Anna is there to greet him.  She smilingly tells him the procedure was a success.  At his surprise that she would be there herself, she tells him she didn’t want him to wake up alone, and asks if there isn’t any family or someone he is close to.  He answers that there isn’t anyone and shares that his mother is deceased and he doesn’t have a good relationship with his father.  A more intimate and caring relationship now established between them, Anna confides that there are people out there called the Fifth Column who want to hurt the V.  Chad looks very sincere when he offers to help by running a story on them.

V Ep. 109 - Chad promises to help

Erica, Jack and Kyle head for the Thompsons’ place, hoping to get there in time to help Ryan and Val.

It’s dark at the Thompsons’ place.  Ryan and Valerie are getting ready to leave, headed, probably for the Thompsons’ cabin in the Adirondacks.  Suddenly the lights go out and they all know they’re in trouble.  It’s the V soldier dispatched by Anna.  Mr. Thompson takes a rifle from a gun rack on the wall.

I am sure I’m missing something obvious, but I was a little confused as to why he was using the light on the rifle’s scope.  They were all tiptoeing around the house trying to be stealthy, but this guy is shining a light around in the dark.  Did he want the intruder to find him more easily?

V Ep. 109 - Using the light

The soldier kills him, then his wife (she’s using the light too).  The soldier seems to be able to hear their heartbeats and he sniffs the air like he also has a heightened sense of smell.  Ryan, Val and Leah making their way quietly downstairs, but the soldier comes down through the ceiling and a big knife fight begins.  Ryan is good! But the soldier is better and Ryan is about to be killed.  Fortunately for everyone, Erica and Jack burst in, guns blazing, and take the soldier out just in time.  But where is Hobbes?  Everyone runs out of the house toward the cars, but the soldier is right behind them!  He isn’t dead after all.  Just in time (again), Hobbes jumps out of the cover of the trees and hits the soldier in the chest with an axe.  That ought to do it but no, the soldier is trying to pull the axe out of his chest.  Hobbes runs to the car, jumps in, and they all take off.

V Ep. 109 - Soldier with axe

Ryan, Val and Leah plan to continue their journey by train.  With everyone at the train station, Erica, Jack, Kyle, and Ryan discuss their encounter with the soldier at the Thompsons.’  We learn that Visitor soldiers are bred for fighting, but Ryan is different; he was bred for working.  Ryan sure has great fighting skills for a worker, don’t you think?  We also learn that when Ryan was on the ship, Joshua told him that Anna already laid thousands of soldier eggs.  The group worries that time is short before those soldiers are unleashed on the human population.

It’s time to go.  Leah boards the train, but Val tells Ryan that he won’t be coming with her.  He tries to convince her, for her safety at least, to let him come along.  But she can’t forgive him, she never wants to see him again.  He tells her that everything he ever did was for her, then she tells him goodbye and boards the train.  He watches them go.

V Ep. 109 - Valerie and Leah on train

V Ep. 109 - Ryan watches Valerie leave

Chad Decker approaches Father Jack in the church as he is finishing his prayers.  Jack asks about Chad’s medical procedure and how he is feeling.  Chad says he doesn’t feel any different at all, and questions whether the diagnosis was real or a lie.  He tells Jack that he thinks Anna is keeping secrets and asks for the priest’s help.  He says Anna is worried about the Fifth Column and asks whether Jack has ever heard of them.  Warily, Jack says no.  Chad suggests one of Jack’s parishioners might have heard of them.  Chad says he is worried about the Visitors and needs to know he isn’t alone.  Jack promises to tell Chad if he hears anything.

V Ep. 109 - Chad and Jack

So who is Chad lying to?  Is he deceiving Anna, making her think that he trusts her and is on her side?  Or is he trying to deceive Jack, pretending to be suspicious of Anna?  Chad’s face has an unreadable but very creepy expression as he leaves the church.

On the ship, Marcus reports to Anna that they have now completely lost the R6 signal and can no longer track the mother and baby.

Chad tells Anna he has begun his investigation into the Fifth Column and he might have something for her; he will let her know when he has more information.

V Ep. 109 - Chad reports back to Anna

Erica pours herself a drink at her kitchen counter and leans against the refrigerator, exhausted.

V Ep. 109 - Erica at home

Lisa shows up at the door looking for Tyler, who isn’t home.  While they wait for him, Erica and Lisa have a little chat over tea.

V Ep. 109 - Erica and Lisa having tea

Lisa tells Erica that Tyler is really interested in the live-aboard program.  Erica looks worried and says she feels like Tyler is slipping away from her but she wants him to be happy.

V Ep. 109 - Erica, Tyler and Lisa

When Tyler comes home with flowers for Lisa, Lisa takes him aside to talk.  She tells him that she doesn’t think that it’s a good idea for him to join the live-aboard program.  She tells him it’s because she thinks his mom needs him.  Tyler tells Lisa that what he wants is to be with her and he thought she wanted the same thing.  Lisa gives back the flowers and leaves.  Angry, Tyler confronts Erica and demands to know what she said to Lisa.  He tells his mom that he is moving up to the ship and there is nothing she can do about it.

V  Ep. 109 - Tyler

In the egg chamber on the ship, Anna is displeased with Lisa.  She thought she had made it clear how important it was to have Tyler on the ship and Lisa has acted to prevent that.  Lisa defends her actions, saying she thinks it’s not a good move for them to make at this point.  She believes Tyler’s mother isn’t ready to let him go, and that she can be more effective with Tyler if she has his mother’s cooperation.  After a pause, Anna says she trusts Lisa’s judgment.  But does she?

V Ep. 109 - Lisa explains to Anna

Analysis Focus: An Assassin’s Life

“Heretics Fork” centers, in part, on the sniper that appeared at the end of last week’s “We Can’t Win” (Ep. 108).  His name is Jeffrey Barnes, he has a wife and daughter, and he not only trusts the Visitors, he reveres them.  He believes that the V are a peaceful race and it is up to people like him to fight in their defense.

Barnes is played by the very talented Ty Olsson, a Canadian actor that has appeared in many of our favorite shows including Human Target, Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural, and Stargate SG-1, in which he played a certain Col. Barnes.  Wait—Barnes.  Is that a coincidence?

V Ep. 109 - Interrogation

At the start of “Heretics Fork,” sniper Barnes is being questioned by FBI agent-cum-Fifth Column resistance leader Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell), who demands to know why this human would take the side of the Visitors against his own race.  But the critical information Agent Evans is after is what happened to the stolen hard drive.  Names and addresses of Fifth Column operatives are stored on that hard drive and she and the others are determined to find it and warn the other cells that the V are onto them.

While hard-core former soldier/mercenary Kyle Hobbes (Charles Mesure—LOVED him as the Archangel Michael in Xena) is enthusiastically willing to resort to extreme physical violence in order to wrest the information from their prisoner, Father Jack Landry (Joel Gretsch) can’t bring himself to support the violence and stops Hobbes (for now).

V Ep. 109 - Jack stops Kyle

But when Erica and Jack leave to pursue other parts of our story (as detailed above), Hobbes introduces Barnes to the Heretics Fork, a double-ended fork that is strapped to the subject’s neck so that the tines simultaneously press up into the flesh below the jaw and down into the base of the throat.

V Ep. 109 - Heretics Fork

The person wearing it would not be able to fall asleep or even to relax their neck at all without stabbing themselves with the tines.  In this reporter’s opinion, the Heretics Fork is kind of a strange choice of torture device for Hobbes.  He strikes me as the type of guy that would prefer quicker methods, unless he had the luxury of time that does not present itself here.  Hobbes doesn’t get to play with his toy anyway because Father Jack comes back in the nick of time, then the little ball that is the V phone starts glowing and ringing—a call from Joshua (Mark Hildreth) on the V ship, warning that Anna (Morena Baccarin) has dispatched a V soldier to go after Ryan (Morris Chestnut), Val (Lourdes Benedicto) and the baby.

V Ep. 109 - Call from Joshua

Cut to: Erica at the sniper’s home, interviewing his wife (Sonya Salomaa).

V Ep. 109 - Sniper's wife

It is here and in a later interview with Barnes himself that we learn why Barnes feels indebted to the Visitors.  Barnes’ daughter (Havana Guppy) had been hit by a car, the driver busy with his cell phone and not paying attention to the road.  The little girl was paralyzed from the neck down.  But then “the V came” and healed her.

V Ep. 109 - Sniper's daughter

It isn’t clear from their story whether the Barneses took their daughter to a healing center, or if the V somehow identified this family as potential allies and offered to heal the girl.  The second scenario is creepier, but it’s probably more straightforward than that and my imagination is simply running wild.

Now that Erica has her information, it’s time to search the house.  She asks to use the bathroom before she leaves and takes the opportunity to snoop around.  The stolen hard drive is located in an upstairs room behind a desk.  She grabs it and hurries back to the others.

V Ep. 109 - The stolen hard drive

Back at the interrogation hideout, Hobbes prints what information is left on the recovered hard drive (nice color printout, by the way).

V Ep. 109 - Recovered data

Someone had attempted to erase the data, so only partial names and addresses are retrievable.  Erica recognizes the name “Thompson” from an earlier phone call with Ryan.  Ryan, Valerie and Dr. Leah Pearlman (Lexa Doig) are seeking help from someone named Thompson, which probably means they are headed for trouble.  Erica tries one more time to convince Barnes to talk.

V Ep. 109 - "It's people like you"

But Barnes is devoted to the V and asks Erica to “name one bad thing that they’ve done since they arrived.”  (Tyler asks her the very same question in this episode, and has the same response to her silence: “You can’t, can you?”)  Barnes becomes very emotional, revealing his fear that people like her will scare the peaceful Visitors away.  Understanding that Barnes will never willingly help them, Erica hands him over to Hobbes.

V Ep. 109 - Handing over prisoner to Kyle

“Time for all decent people to leave the room now,” he says.  Father Jack, obviously disturbed by what he knows is about to take place, nevertheless leaves the room and waits with Erica in the car while Hobbes carries out his interrogation.

When Hobbes comes out, he has the information they need: the Thompsons live on a farm just outside Nyack (about 30 miles north of New York City, along the Tappan Zee).

We leave our sniper for a while, presumably still tied by his wrists from the ceiling, suffering the aftereffects of Hobbes’ interrogation techniques.

Near the end of the episode and after a lot of very interesting action (discussed above), our Fifth Column conspirators are deciding what to do with Barnes.  Hobbes offers to make him disa

ppear into a “secret prison overseas,” unless someone else has a better idea.  No one does, and Barnes is consigned into Hobbes’ care.

V Ep. 109 - Into the woods

Of course, there will be no overseas travel or secret prison.  When next we see Barnes, Hobbes is leading him through the woods.  They come to a halt and Barnes asks Hobbes, “Is this it?”  But it’s not the end of Barnes yet.  Hobbes says, “No.  First you’re going to tell me everything you know about the Vs.  Then you’re going to beg me to kill you.”

V Ep. 109 - Not over yet

V Ep. 109 - You'll beg me to kill you

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