Chad Decker is one of the most morally complex characters on V. Is he a sell-out betraying his own race to further his career, or a prisoner of a clever psychological trap designed to keep him on a leash? In fact, Decker’s lack of a clear bearing on his moral compass makes him one of V’s most ‘human’ characters. I had the opportunity to talk with Scott Wolf about Chad’s varying moral poles in advance of tonight’s episode of V, “Pound of Flesh” – which my friends at VisitorSite.net say is pretty much the best V episode of the season. Check it out at 10pm EST on ABC.
Chad seemed to start off with a strong moral center, but he’s suspended that for the sake of his career at times. Does he regret any of that?
Right away he seems to be a guy who was willing to do a lot to get ahead. In there, is a real journalist who wants to take care of the people who are counting on him to deliver the truth. I think we’re seeing a guy who is willing to turn a blind eye or not look too closely at his subject, just in case it is going to get in the way of him moving forward. He’s been engaged in this dance with Anna and he’s been out to prove to her that she needs him as much as he needs her. Chad knows that any sense of power or control over his own destiny is going to lie in whether or not Anna believes he is necessary to her. As this dance has gone on, at the end of the first chapter of this story, we see, basically, her say ‘checkmate, you’re going to die. You’re going to develop an aneurism and it will kill you. We’ll heal you so long as you give over to us.’When we jump back in, we see Chad scrambling and trying to figure out what it means. Is he really going to get sick? Are they just manipulating him or is that real? Is he really willing to play chicken with his own survival?
All along, I think, the fun of Chad is this kind of ambiguity of him where almost everyone else in the story has picked sides, for or against the visitors. He’s less concerned, so far, with whether they’re here of peace always or whether they’re going to annihilate us. He is just trying to get ahead and stay in the center of things and be the story, as much as anything. Because now they have almost threatened him this way, the light is going on for him and he’s realizing that it’s time to start looking at what’s going on beneath the surface and what Anna isn’t tell him.
As the human that is most inside the V’s inner circle, it would seem logical that the resistance would want to recruit him. He’d be a valuable asset…
I feel that one of the things we see is Chad begins to have this growing concern and interest in now getting to the real story, not just the story that Anna is giving him, but the real story the one she’s not talking about; the one he might need to be afraid of, that everyone needs to be afraid of. As that begins to grow, we start to see Chad, without cutting off his ties to Anna because his entire world now is hinged upon her and her willingness to keep giving him the story, as he starts to dig through beneath the surface to try to find out what they’re really here for. The resistance realizes he is as inside as any human being and that he is worth dealing with.
It’s hard to have this conversation without giving too much away. I can say that yes, there is a pull from the resistance and, as there is a pull from the resistance, there is an equally powerful pull from Anna. The more she sees that she can control the feeling of the world through the message she conveys through Chad, the closer she draws him in. The exciting part of that is that we get to see the escalation of this Chad and Anna relationship, not just on a professional level, but there is sort of an interpersonal thing between them, that escalates. I think it is just another way for Anna to control him and he’s vulnerable to that. In the end, I don’t know whether Chad is going to be part of saving the world or be part of destroying it. It is fun to be playing a character who literally has that much at stake, and not know which way it’s going to go.
Now that the V’s seem to be using scare tactics to keep Chad on their team, is the Anna/Chad sexual tension going to continue?
Yes, and it’s sort of what we were just talking about. From the beginning, the big central story is this battle between the visitors and humans. It begins as a battle of hearts and minds and seems to be brewing into a full scale war. Between now and then is a lot. One of the fun things is watching Anna sort of figure out what it means to control people and Chad is the closest person to her. We see a lot of her tactics; one of her main experiments is Chad. I think Chad, in his own way, is experimenting on her. There is this mutual kind of dance or game they are playing with each other. They both have so much they are telling each other and that they know the other person wants and they want, but then there is this whole other world underneath it that they aren’t sharing with each other.
One of those things is some sort of attraction; they seemed to have identified something in each other that they recognize and that draws them in. That relationship intensifies, not just on a professional level, but seemingly on a personal level. It’s been really exciting to tell that part of the story because it’s really seductive. In a big, epic story of good versus evil, it’s fun to see an intense, but very interpersonal, dance or battle between these two characters. I think they both believe that they will find a way to win in the end, even though it seems that Anna holds most of the cards at this point. I don’t think Chad ever really engages with anyone, including the leader of an alien population, without thinking he’ll find a way to win in the end. I don’t even know what winning means for him; whether winning means conquering her or joining her.
Tune in to V “Pound of Flesh” tonight at 10pm EST on ABC.