Teleplay by Scott Peters
Story by Kenneth Johnson and Scott Peters
Based on the miniseries by Kenneth Johnson
Directed by Yves Simoneau
With promises of
advanced technology, a visiting alien race quickly builds a
following across Earth. But do they have a hidden agenda?
Read the detailed episode recap at
the V Wiki.
Kenneth Johnson gets a "created by" credit for the series and
story credit for this episode. If I've understood the
Hollywood news correctly, Johnson was not directly involved
in this incarnation of
V, but is
getting credit for creating the original concept and the story
elements used here.
This episode is named "Pilot". Gee, how original
for the pilot episode of a series.
Elizabeth Mitchell (Erica Evans) is known for her
role as Dr. Juliet Burke on the TV series Lost.
Joel Gretch (Father Jack) is known for his role
as Tom Baldwin on the TV series The 4400.
Morena Baccarin (Anna) is known for her role as the beautiful
Inara Serra, the space prostitute in the
science-fiction series Firefly. Alan Tudyk (Dale
Maddox) is also known as Wash, pilot of the Serenity, on the same
Laura Vandervoort (Lisa) is known for her role as Kara
(otherwise known as Supergirl) in the TV series Smallville.
was known for the disingenuous phrase "The Visitors are your friends."
The current incarnation's phrase seems to be "We are of peace. Always."
The episode begins with the questions "Where were
you when JFK was assassinated?", "Where were you on 9/11?" and
"Where were you this morning?" The first two questions relate to
real world events which are etched in the minds of American
citizens and each have a number of elaborate
conspiracy theories attached to them (which may or may not be
true). This would imply that the third question also relates to
an event (the arrival of the Visitors) which will be etched in
the minds of people all over the world and, possibly, lead to
a number of elaborate conspiracy theories. But
will they or will they not be theories that turn out to be true? In the world of fiction we
usually get a final, satisfactory answer to our questions. Do
the first two questions imply that this series may not give us
final answers, leaving theories of the Visitors and their plots
open-ended? (Update 2/2015: Since the series was canceled after
its second season, we'll never know!)
As the three questions appear one-by-one on the
screen, our view is an aerial shot moving slowly over the city
of New York. Presumably this is a POV shot of the Visitor
The opening scene takes place on Tuesday, 6:30
a.m. This episode also premiered on a Tuesday.
Our main character appears to be Erica Evans. We
immediately see from her identification card on the nightstand
that she is an agent of the FBI's Counterterrorism Division.
Erica's son's name is Tyler. Might series
developer Scott Peters have borrowed the last name of Ham Tyler
from the original V and
used it as a first name here?
On television throughout this episode we see that newscaster Chad Decker is the host of
a news program called Prime Focus. This is a fictional
At 1:24 in the episode, Decker discusses the foreclosure crisis
and falling house prices. The news crawl at the bottom of the
TV screen says something about "health care system" and
something about the Vice President. Later in the episode, health
care becomes one of the important trades the Visitors make in
exchange for Earth's help. Of course, health care, foreclosures,
and house prices are major topics today in the real world as
While purchasing an engagement ring for his fiancée, Ryan
Nichols asks the jeweler if getting down on one knee for the
proposal is too corny. This could be an early indication that he
is actually a Visitor (as later revealed) and he is still
somewhat unsure of appropriate behavior and traditions of
humans. Moments later, when the vibrations occur throughout the
city, he asks, "What was that?" Did
he really not know? Or did he suspect it to be the
arrival of a Visitor mothership?
The scene at 4:19-4:29 is a nice introduction to the mothership
as it is, at first, seen by Ryan only in the reflections of the
glass sidings and windows of the New York skyscrapers around
As Tyler puts on his helmet and hops on his motorcycle to race
home to check on his mom, am I the only one reminded of Kyle
Bates from the original
As he steps outside the church and sees the mothership overhead,
Father Travis crosses himself.
At 6:10 in the episode, the television reporter says there are
29 ships now hovering over the major cities of the world; in the
there were 50 ships. There is also a news crawl at the
bottom of the TV screen, but it is too small and distant to
At 6:20 in the episode, we see on the TV images of the ships
over New York and Los Angeles. The reporter says, "The sheer
mass of the ships moving through New York and L.A. was enough to
rock both cities for miles." This may suggest that these are the
only two ships hovering over the United States. The news crawl
at the bottom of the screen says, "...will not confirm or deny
whether the President has been..." As Valerie Holt changes the
channel to the Prime Focus show, the scrawl there may
confirm the presence of just 2 ships over the U.S.: "...over the
major cities of the world, including L.A. and New York. Still
no..." Valerie changes the channel again to another news report,
but the crawl is too small and blurry to read.
Decker's newscast indicates that NORAD has reported that the
first jets to encounter the spacecraft experienced full
electrical failure, which explains the jet fighter we saw
a few minutes earlier
into the New York street near Ryan. Presumably, this is a
self-defense mechanism of the motherships.
NORAD is the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a joint
operation of the U.S. and Canada to provide early warning and
defense against air and space offenses against the two nations.
At 6:32 in the episode, two teen geeks are interviewed for
man-on-the-street reactions. The first kid excitedly says,
"Dude, this is Independence Day!" and the
second replies, "Which was a rip-off of any number of alien
invasion predecessors." This, of course, is a reference to the
Independence Day. It was accused of being a
rip-off of previous alien invasion predecessors, including the
At 6:47 in the episode, it is now 9:55 a.m.
The female leader of the alien fleet says her
name is Anna. Di-ana anyone? (Of course, Anna's mother
is introduced later in "Red Rain" and
is called Diana, even being portrayed by the original series'
Diana, actress Jane Badler.)
As she makes her introductory speech to the world
from the giant view-screen on the bottom of the ships, Anna says
that until now they thought they were the only intelligent life
in the universe. She says, "We are overjoyed to find out that we
are not alone." The phrase "we are not alone" as
a reference to extraterrestrial life was popularized as
the slogan of Steven Spielberg's 1977 film Close
Encounters of the Third Kind.
Anna says she is the leader of her people, which seems to imply
that she is the leader of more than just the fleet that has
arrived on Earth. However, she is later called High Commander.
The title is similar to John's title of Supreme Commander in the
series. This may suggest she is not the leader of all her people
after all, just of the fleet now on Earth. (However, later
episodes reveal she is apparently the queen of the Visitor
Anna admits they need our help with obtaining
water and a mineral abundant on Earth in order to sustain
themselves; in the original
V the Visitors kept their
need for water secret, saying only that they needed to
manufacture certain chemicals with our help.
At 8:55 in the episode, the news crawl at the bottom of the TV
screen says "...House
will not confirm or deny whether the President has..."
During Anna's speech, we see cities around the world which are
the locations of some of the other 29 Visitor ships. We are
shown Paris, France; Rio de Janiero, Brazil; and Cairo, Egypt. After
the speech we are also shown London, England and Moscow, Russia.
In the episode "Pound of Flesh",
we learn of ships over Sydney, Australia; Mexico City, Mexico;
Shanghai, China; and Madrid, Spain. In
"John May", we learn there is a ship in Tokyo, Japan.
In "Red Sky" we see ships over Hong
Kong, China and Florence, Italy. In "Red
Rain" we see ships in Rome, Italy and Beijing, China. A
Fifth Column map in "Unholy
Alliance" indicates the 29 locations (although if we
add up these cities with others seen in the previously mentioned
episodes, we get 31, thus 31 motherships, not 29!):
Los Angeles, US
New York, US
Mexico City, Mexico
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Johannesburg, South Africa
New Delhi, India
Hong Kong, China
Seoul, South Korea
I noticed that during Anna's speech that not only is the speech
broadcast in the different languages of the cities shown, but we
can see that
Anna's lips move according to the words/language spoken in
the United States and France (in the other countries we don't
see her face during the speech).
Did she pre-record the speech numerous times in different
languages so they could all be broadcast at once? Or is the
image we see from the ships a live computer simulation of her
that can show the desired lip motion at any location? We receive no
indication whether she is speaking live or pre-recorded, though
she does make mention of the turmoil their arrival has,
I've been trying to decide what
the motherships in this version
remind me of. I've
decided they most closely
resemble a horseshoe crab, which
itself resembles the facehuggers
of 20th Century Fox's Alien
At 10:06 in the episode, it is now Wednesday, 9:20 a.m.
At 10:07 in the episode, Father Jack is bewildered that in just
one day the Vatican has accepted the Visitors, saying we are all
God's creatures. Father Jack comments, "Rattlesnakes are God's
creatures too, doesn't mean they're good for us." The Vatican's
quick acceptance of the Visitors may indicate that the Visitors
have already converted key people on Earth, such as Vatican
officials, ahead of their public arrival. We do learn later in
the episode that there has been a Visitor presence here for
At 10:46 in the episode, Fathers Travis and Jack find that their
congregation has grown overnight. This is probably a realistic
portrayal of how many otherwise non-religious people would feel
the need for spiritual comfort in the event of an
extraterrestrial announcement on Earth.
At 11:02 in the episode, the news crawl at the bottom of the TV
screen reads, "...relief felt around the world following Anna's
broadcast. Scientists baffled by alien technology..."
Erica notices that terrorist cell chatter went down when the
aliens arrived except for one cell whose chatter spiked. Later
we learn this cell is a previously planted Visitor cell.
There is a news crawl on the TV at 11:41 in the episode, but it
is too far away to read.
At 11:54 in the episode, the news crawl at the bottom of the TV
screen reads, "...begin to return home to major landing site
cities. Cellular networks..." This may indicate that many people
fled the cities at which the spacecraft had arrived, but were
mostly now mollified by Anna's announcement and are returning to
in the episode, the news crawl at the bottom of the TV screen
reads, "...later today. Leaders around the world react
positively to Anna's statement." This may be another indication
of world leaders already converted before the official arrival
of the aliens.
There is a news crawl on the TV at 12:33 in the episode, but it
is too far away to read.
At 12:58 in the episode, the news crawl at the bottom of the TV
screen reads, "...message of peace toward humankind. Statement
expected from U.N. later today..."
At 14:03 in the episode, a Visitor holoscreen shows Decker's
report on Prime Focus. The news scrawl at the bottom of
the screen reads, "...questions from reporters at U.N. Building
in New York..."
At 14:31 in the episode, it is now 3 weeks later according to
Decker's broadcast. It is in this broadcast we first hear the
Visitors called the V's. He also mentions the Visitor Healing
Centers to which people are flocking to seek treatment for the
65 ailments the V's are capable of curing. Also, he reports
officials have begun talks to open Visitor embassies. The
news crawl at the bottom of the TV screen reads, "...react
positively to Anna's statement. Anna reiterates message..."
At 15:04 in the episode, we see Agent Dale Maddox drinking
coffee and eating a sandwich. Since he is revealed to be an
undercover V later in the episode, this would seem to indicate
that they can eat normal human food, unlike the Visitors in
suppose the fact that the "fifth columnist" Ryan has a human
fiancée would also be an indication that they can eat normal
food since it would be hard for someone who was secretly a
Visitor to develop a close relationship with
a human without eating with them frequently.
At 15:07 in the episode, the news crawl at the bottom of the TV
screen reads, "...major world capitals. Armed forces of the
world providing security perimeters..."
When Tyler and his friend Brandon board the mothership for the tour, I
was pleased to see that it has a futuristic, high-tech look
throughout. I am tired of many modern science-fiction TV shows
that, for budget reasons, depict most of their spacecraft or starbase interiors as looking like warehouses with corridors.
Thank God for CGI greenscreen!
mothership, Tyler and Brandon are introduced to the
Visitor Lisa. Might series developer Scott Peters have borrowed
the name Lisa from the Visitor character who is a crewmember of
the New York mothership in the original
East Coast Crisis?
Well, probably not, but who knows?
Erica discovers that the terrorist cell she's
been following since the arrival of the V's was printing fake
documents, passports, and ID's, the best forgeries she's ever
seen. Presumably these were used to allow the previously arrived
V's to assimilate into human society.
Lisa tells Tyler about the Visitors' new Peace
Ambassador program where humans can act as V ambassadors in
their own communities. "You even get a uniform," she says.
Sounds a lot like the Visitor Youth program that Daniel
in the original V
series. Given the enthusiasm of both characters, is this a hint that Tyler is going to take the same dark
turn as Daniel? (As it turns out, he doesn't go quite so far as
Daniel, but he does wind up a Visitor meal just the same in
At 24:20 in the episode, Erica is watching an
online video at VIDShoot.com of her son spray-painting a red
V on a wall. It stands for
Visitor, not "victory" as in the original series. There are other
video links visible on the webpage which all seem to be related
to the V's, featuring V signs made from every day objects. One
appears to be a line-up of red apples in a V shape and another
looks like red jelly spread in a V shape on top of a slice of
peanut butter bread.
When the FBI searches the home of the dead Owen Chapman, a
victim of the Visitor terrorist cell, notice there are 3
televisions in his living room; a large flat panel mounted on
the wall and two cathode ray televisions on a stand below it.
Why? Is it significant? The agents don't comment on it.
At 28:47 in the episode, Erica and Maddox read a text message on
Chapman's cell phone which mentions a meeting taking place
tonight at 4400 Pier Avenue, Brooklyn. The address is an in-joke
regarding Scott Peters' previous series, The 4400.
The injured man who delivers the envelope to Father Jack says
he's right to question the V's. He goes on to say, "The V's are
going to obliterate us." We don't learn what happened to this
man. Did he die of his injuries?
During Anna's interview
on Prime Focus,
she tells us that their home planet is a world of great beauty,
vast cities, massive oceans. But if they have massive oceans,
why do they need our water? She goes on to say that her world is
not divided into countries as it is here, they are one united
people. She also states they plan to open a healing center in every
major city on Earth.
In the original
series, the reptilian aliens wore a realistic synthetic skin
made of a pliable plastic-like substance. Here, the V's wear
cloned human flesh grafted over their reptilian bodies.
At the resistance meeting, Georgie says the V's
have been here for decades, implementing a plan that will
exterminate every human on Earth. When Georgie says that the V's
have finally revealed themselves to "share friendship and
technology" only so they can position themselves as the
saviors of mankind, we see Father Jack react, as it goes back to
what he said earlier to Father Travis, asking why have they
shown up now, right when the world is a mess and in need of a
Given what we have heard about the V's in this episode, I am
left wondering if they are even necessarily interested in the
water as they claim. Anna said their world has massive oceans,
so the sea water could be desalinized for drinking; that would
certainly be less expensive a prospect than sending a fleet
across the cosmos. And both Georgie and the injured man at the
church talk about the V's exterminating/obliterating humans on
Earth. Is their real goal to get rid of humanity with a minimum
of damage to the planet and the cities and take it as a home or
colony for themselves? And could it be that, given their
reptilian nature, they are the evolved descendents of some
species of dinosaur that left Earth in the far distant past and
now have returned to take it back from us pesky humans? During
the ambush of the resistance meeting, presuming the ambushers
were V's, notice that they seemed partial to using knives as
weapons, cutting and slashing at the human resistors; maybe an
instinctual urge to cut and slash is left in them from a past
ancestral species like the taloned Velociraptor?
Perhaps when Anna said their world was like Earth, beautiful
with massive oceans and vast cities she was obliquely saying
that their world is Earth...and they want it back.
At 38:58 in the
episode, we see a V device, a
small orb that shoots shrapnel
all around, injuring or killing
many of the people attending the
resistance meeting. At 39:07 we
see it's computerized POV with
changing V symbology visible on
the screen. The
characters/symbols variations of
those seen in the Visitor
alphabet from the original V
After the ambush at the resistance meeting, Erica takes a look
under the torn flesh of her partner and we get a brief glimpse
of his slitted eye and scaly skin.
As Erica and Father Jack discuss their options at the end of the
episode, she comments that the V's are arming themselves with
the most powerful weapon: devotion. This goes back to Father
Jack's own fears which he discussed with Father Travis earlier
in the episode, that gratitude to the V's could morph into
worship or devotion.