Jeff Jensen
November 10, 2009 AT 12:00 PM EST

Having dazzled us last week with extravagant spaceships and enticingly exotic ETs, V’s second episode scaled back the pricey pseudo-cinematic ambition and shifted to a more sustainable gear–a Trust No One paranoid thriller like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, tailored for a culture coached to worry about sleeper cells in the suburbs. (Be honest: How many of you really sweat that?) V’s second episode left me disappointed me, but not so much to diminish my interest or my belief that there’s a really good series somewhere in here. Elizabeth Mitchell can make me believe in anything–even when she’s given clunky lines and suspect motivations.

The Visitors–embodied by Morena Baccarin’s inscrutable Anna–continue to be a metaphor and mystery worthy of parsing and theorizing. My take: Anna is sincere about wanting to bring peace, love and universal health care to the world–but her advisors are conspiring against her. And has the subject of V’s much-discussed political subtext shifted? Forget the Obama allegory. After last night, I’m now wondering if Anna = Naïve Commander-in-Chief and her chief deputy Marcus (Christopher Shyer) =  Hawkish Vice President Who’s Puppet-Mastering His Boss From His Secret Torture Chamber Bunker. But the most encouraging development –and here’s your SPOILER ALERT IN CASE YOU HAVE NOT YET WATCHED TONIGHT’S EPISODE–was the apparent return of allegedly dead Dale, aka Erica’s treacherous, lizard-in-disguise partner, played by the marvelous Alan Tudyk. In the second episode’s final scene, we saw Dale popping back to life. But was that truly Evil Alien Dale–or could that have been a Human Good Dale, abducted long ago by the V Conspiracy as part of their invasion prep plans? I’ll have some more thoughts about how to read that that climactic beat when my full recap posts in a few hours (UPDATE: Click here for Jeff Jensen’s complete V recap), but for now, rejoice–Alan Tudyk Lives!–and start the conversation in the boards below.

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