Stars: Elizabeth Mitchell, Morris Chestnut, Joel Gretsch, Logan Huffman, Laura Vandervoort, Morena Baccarin, Scott Wolf, Charles Mesure
Writer: Rockne S. O’Bannon
Director: Dean White
Airs: ABC, Tuesday nights
Original Telecast:February 1, 2011

Something strange and wonderful happened with V last night taking its regular story about aliens and the human resistance fighters trying to take them down and mixing it with the hot button issue of “religion.”

Religion in science-fiction is a no brainer (not without its own controversy), and to find such an intelligence, smart and still entertaining way of integrating it into a network show takes balance and tact which writer Rockne S. O’Bannon handles effortlessly.

“Unholy Alliance” finds V leader Anna (Morena Baccarin) wanting to crumble the reputation of Father Jack Landry (Joel Gretsch) who has been preaching negatively about the V’s and who Anna believes is part of the radical anti-V group The Fifth Column.

To try to get him to stop, Diana visits the Vatican where she makes a plea to the Cardinal that if he can renounce any negative rhetoric against the V’s, the V’s will consider adopting Catholicism as their religion.

There are so many interesting layers to this subplot – one of which includes a sleeper V agent in the Vatican who went undercover for his leader, Diana (Jane Badler), to investigate what the human soul does to the V’s. What he discovered – it’s wonderful and important to the V’s survival. Anna feels differently – she wants to vanquish the human soul and has been trying to uncover a way to extinguish it. Looks like there’s going to be differing opinions between Anna and Diana in the coming weeks of how to proceed with this “soul” thing.

Meanwhile, Father Landry may not be part of the Fifth Column, but he’s now on their radar, and the remainder of the episode is about him and his ragtag group making contact with the Fifth Column’s radical leader (and former Mossad agent) Eli Cohn and making an “unholy alliance.”

Add to that, F.B.I. agent Eric Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) finally having her bosses suspect she’s not who she seems, and her son, V ambassador Tyler (Logan Huffman) becoming a vandalizing little snot (he targets Father Landry’s parish). Yes, the show is starting to really gain some traction and momentum.

One of the best parts about “Unholy Alliance” is actually getting Anna out of the CGI created interiors of the spaceship. So many of the episodes feature a rather stilted Baccarin barking orders or doing something sinister within the confines of her own ship. Shipping her off to the Vatican, and giving her the opportunity to interact with others on their home turf really opened up the show visually and dramatically.

Mitchell is also getting more play time with her character who I wouldn’t be surprised completely severs F.B.I. ties within the next couple of episodes to go completely underground with the Fifth Column. We also learn that Landry has a dark past (he was in Iraq and he’s killed), which should make him a formidable force if he decides to go all Rambo on the V’s in the near future.

Overall, “Unholy Alliance” features the kind of writing more sci-fi shows should aspire to (look at how excellent BATTLESTAR GALACTICA was on Syfy and heck, look at LOST in general). V has so much potential, and it’s still finding its way, so when such a cool little oasis as this episode pops up, it reminds you of what the show could and should be – and hope that it stays on this wise course long enough to secure a third season.

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