Thursday, February 24, 2011

Step 1: ??? Step 2: Conquer Earth (V)


The current season of V is more religious than the show has been in the past. Now it’s all about souls. Only humans have souls, but Visitors get souls with their human skins, and this is the secret to conquering humanity or the reason why the invasion will fail. Now, I can handle religious themes, but it has to make some kind of internal sense. They keep talking about souls, but they don’t offer a decent definition of what a soul is.


A soul is a religious concept: a person’s identity stored in a metaphysical container, which inhabits the human body and can leave it after death to go on to an afterlife. This kind of soul is entirely hypothetical; no evidence exists for it, and it is a matter of pure faith. Ryan starts wondering if he has a soul, and he pursues the Christian faith. That’s fine. It’s a little weird, but fine.

But then there’s this other thing about human emotion, which is also counted as the soul. Visitors are essentially emotionless psychopaths in their natural state, but their human skins allow them to feel emotions like compassion. Anna tries to destroy the source of human emotion to keep her subordinates from committing insurrection, and she’s told that the source is the soul—and you can’t find the soul because it’s a metaphysical entity, so Anna will definitely lose.

That makes no sense. Emotion is a well-studied aspect of human psychophysiology. Maybe instead of looking to religion for answers, Anna should take a class on neuroscience. Emotion comes from the brain and is bolstered by physical body reactions such as an increased heartbeat. If you want to damage someone’s emotions, Anna, have your medical officer experiment with brain and spinal cord surgery.

As it is, Anna just tells her medical officer that she’s discovered that human emotions have a source called the soul, and the guy says that he’ll start looking for it. Anna then triumphantly tells Diana that she’s told her medical officer everything he needs to know. Only she hasn’t. What the heck? You can tell someone who knows nothing about geography that there’s a place called Atlantis and it’s where all goodness comes from because some believer said so, but there’s no way he’ll be able to find it.

So, then Anna’s learning about Christianity so as to better understand the soul. But what makes her think Christian mythology is right in the first place? There’s nothing to suggest the Visitors fit in with the mythology as devils or angels or what have you, so why do they zero in on this one Earth religion? It’s like a show about missionaries educating people in foreign nations, except the foreigners have come here… and are nonhuman. How do a bunch of nonhumans come to accept a religion that places humanity as just below God without first humans dominating the Visitors?

And why does Anna hate human emotion anyway? It’s not like humans can’t be subjugated. Humans often have been. The idea of freedom as something that should be seriously fought for is relatively recent, and it’s not like oppressive governments haven’t emerged even with the desire to pursue freedom. Aren’t normal human types easier to control than psychopaths, anyway? Why not embrace human emotion as an unforeseen but inevitable side effect of human skin and use it to further subjugate her people? Anna’s supposed to be the alien Xanatos, so why not incorporate it into her master plan?

Well, at least she was the alien Xanatos. Anna used to be really smart. Now she’s stupid. Now the whole show’s gotten pretty stupid. The writing’s definitely taken a hit. I’ll continue to watch the show because it’s Juliet vs. Inara, but its writing is seriously lacking this season and my overall enjoyment of it has gone down. In the immortal words of Kuni from UHF: Stupid! You’re so stupid!

No comments: