Following the abrupt ending to last week’s episode, Gen V Episode 5 delivers on figuring out the mystery of Marie (Jaz Sinclair) Andrea (Chance Perdomo) Emma (Lizze Broadway) Cate (Maddie Phillips), and Jordan’s (London Thor and Derek Luh) missing memories. Despite the stage being set to make it look like they simply blacked out from an all-night rager, they’re quick to realize inconsistencies in the memories and gaps where there shouldn’t be as they try and retrace their steps. After a few episodes of worldbuilding and setup, Gen V delivers on expanding that mystery further so that the stakes are dramatically increased as the core characters realize that not all among them can be trusted.
While they all wake up discombobulated, Jordan immediately being suspicious makes sense and speaks to the understanding of the characters. They want to be in heroics for a reason that goes beyond their physical capabilities and they’ve already shown a keen eye for deception. As they tell Cate and Andre, it’s not that they lost a night and blacked out that’s troubling them, it’s that they’ve lost days in their memory. Even as they continually have their memories wiped as they near the truth, they continue to figure out small clues and inconsistencies that lead them on the right path, from Marie discovering a tracking chip in her neck, to Jordan realizing that Marie doesn’t remember a conversation they had. There’s none of the convoluted writing that dumbs characters down for the sake of elongating a story and it’s that quick clip and strategic pacing that makes Gen V so watchable. We’re never bored.
This is true even when the answer to the memory gap is obvious from the outside, making Cate and her ability to mind control a likely culprit. It’s not just though that Cate has wiped their memories from the past few days. We discover, via Sam (Asa Germann), that she’s been using her skills on her friends for years, most notably when she wiped Luke’s memory so he wouldn’t remember what had happened to Sam. Cate’s been one of the more interesting characters on a series full of them, namely due to how her powers can and are weaponized amongst many whose powers are more physical and easy to spot — you can’t really hide blood-bending or shrinking to the size of an ant. Cate’s, however, have a different type of baggage with them which is doubled now as her friends realize she’s been working against them.
That said, there’s been little chemistry or charisma between Phillips and Perdomo, making their characters’ interactions trite and dull. It’s why the pairing of Jordan and Marie works so much better. Sinclair has chemistry with both Thor and Luh and the dynamic between the two is engaged and playful, their chemistry electric as it’s fired up by mutual attraction and admiration along with former competition. The two wake up in bed together at the start of the episode, and their ongoing give and take is one of the best elements of the series that easily could’ve forgone romantic entanglements.
It’s clearly a show that wishes to mainly pull on the threads of expectations, evident in the scene where Sam envisions an entire room of soldiers as puppets, something of a call back to The Boys and Black Noir’s own hallucinations. The scene is brutal, made more so by the omission of explicit violence due to the utilization of puppets. While we watch puppet Sam pull the puppet soldiers apart by the limbs, we’re left to envision the carnage until the end of the sequence where we see their dimly lit remains. It’s a haunting sequence that plays into how Sam has been manipulated and traumatized by his stay in the woods.
It also speaks to the greater message of the episode of who is and isn’t a monster. Of all of the characters we witness in this episode, the ones most easy to define are the Dean who looks to emotionally manipulate characters such as Cate to do their bidding, or the psychic student who sexually assaulted Cate and erased her memories of it years ago. Cate and Sam, however, though both capable of monstrous acts, have been built and transformed by those in power who were meant to protect and guide them to brighter futures. Instead, Cate’s been used as a weapon against her friends, being told that she’s the only one who can save them, while Sam’s been kept in an elaborate test tube due to powers he didn’t choose to have. Their actions are horrific, but the story makes sure to depict them as human.
Gen V Episode 5 leaves us on another cliffhanger as Andre realizes what Cate’s done, with Marie and Jordan looking on, with Emma having found Sam. It’s a solid episode that makes quick work with what could’ve been an unnecessary backtrack to tease out the big reveals and instead allows for greater character insight and relationship development as we come to learn the truth. From Emma’s backstory and her troubled relationship with an abusive mother to Marie and Jordan trying to figure out what they are to one another, the script is tightly written with emotional moments that aren’t ever undercut by the violence and the mystery being unraveled. It’s smart, engaging writing that makes up for the series’ visual shortcomings.
Gen V Episode 5 is available now on Prime Video.
Gen V Episode 5
Gen V Episode 5 is a solid episode that makes quick work with what could’ve been an unnecessary backtrack to tease out the big reveals and instead allows for greater character insight and relationship development as we come to learn the truth.