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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
V: Serpent's Tooth V
"Serpent's Tooth"
Written by Gregg Hurwitz
Directed by Steve Shil

 

Anna confronts her long imprisoned mother; Erica has Tyler's blood analyzed; a fringe of the Fifth Column gets violent.

 

Read the detailed episode recap at IMDB.

 

Didja Know?

 

The title of this episode is borrowed from a passage in Shakespeare's 1605 play King Lear. Notice, from the passage below, that the title here may represent several subtexts of this episode such as: the Visitors' reptilian nature; Ryan's, Erica's, and Anna's children; Anna's infertility; Agent Malik's tooth.

It may be so, my lord.
Hear, nature, hear; dear goddess, hear!
Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend
To make this creature fruitful!
Into her womb convey sterility!
Dry up in her the organs of increase;
And from her derogate body never spring
A babe to honour her! If she must teem,
Create her child of spleen; that it may live,
And be a thwart disnatured torment to her!
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth;
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks;
Turn all her mother's pains and benefits
To laughter and contempt; that she may feel
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child! Away, away!

 

Didja Notice?

 

 

Anna's mother is not named in this episode, but she is designated as Diana, the same name actress Jane Badler's character had in the original V.

 

Is there a particular reason Diana would still be wearing her human skin while imprisoned for 15 years?

 

The large plant in Diana's dungeon home, at 1:06 in the episode, looks like an unhealthy version of the one seen in the entryway to Anna's executive suite in "Red Sky".

 

At 2:31 in the episode, Erica is going through the records of her pregnancy. They list her as a patient of New York Medical Services Clinic at 13524 91st St., Queens, NY. This is a fictional clinic and address. The phone number listed for the clinic has a legitimate New York area code (212), though it's not one of the ones used in Queens. The 555 prefix of the phone number is a long-time convention in Hollywood TV and film.

 

The medical records give Erica's birth date as 5/23/1971.

 

Notice the yellow highlights on Erica's comprehensive metabolic test show a phosphorus content not in the normal range, as she stated was the case during her pregnancy, in "Red Rain".
Erica's metabolic test

 

Near the end of "Red Sky", it seemed as if the Visitors' medical technology had managed to bring Joshua back to life shortly after his death. But, here, Lisa reveals that they saved him before he would have died from his injury. 

 

At 3:12 in the episode, there is what appears to be a wall-hanging of Oriental glyphs on the wall of Erica's house. They almost look like characters from the V alphabet actually, especially the second-from-the-bottom, which looks like the V character for J.
Oriental glyphs Visitor alphabet

 

It appears that the shadow of the microphone may be just barely visible on the ceiling beam right above Erica's head at 3:19 in the episode.

 

In his news report, Decker says that, with Anna's explanation that the red skies were a gift to humanity, the Visitors are once again being largely embraced the world over. Is this true or just V propaganda? Even if the red skies had been a gift to Earth (which we know it wasn't), the manner in which Anna unveiled it and refused to speak to world leaders for several days while the event was going on, is enough to make a large segment of Earth's population suspicious, I would think.

 

In this episode we are told that the fringe Fifth Column group attacked V healing and peace ambassador centers on 6 continents in all 29 cities in which the V's have a ship. Again, like last episode, why no mention of the additional ships that arrived at the end of "Red Sky"? Did the ships re-cloak themselves, becoming invisible to Earth detection equipment?

 

Valerie's mother points out that Ryan isn't crying at her funeral. In this episode, it's somewhat played towards the question of whether the Vs have souls, but it may be an indication that they have no tear ducts, similar to the Visitors of V80, as revealed in the novel Death Tide. However, at the end of the episode, we do see Ryan shed a tear over the pain his child is in; was this from a tear duct existing as part of his human skin or a legitimate V tear?

 

Anna explains to Marcus that she is putting human skin on Ryan's baby in order to prey on his loss and make him think of Valerie every time he looks at his child. Of course, the real reason is that it's cheaper to hire a real baby for the role than it is to constantly pay for the CGI rendering of the reptilian baby! 

 

Why does the hybrid baby suddenly sound like a human baby just because it has been sheathed in cloned human skin?

 

In this episode, we finally get a reprise of the famous guinea-pig-swallowing scene from the original V ("Visitors, Victims and Victory"), this time with a rat. The new scene goes the original one further by depicting Anna regurgitating the rodent into the mouth of the hybrid baby as a method of feeding! Note also that Anna's tongue is not the forked variety seen at various times in V80.
Anna eats a rat Diana eats a guinea pig
"Serpent's Tooth" "Visitors, Victims and Victory"
 
Anna gives Ryan what I am referring to as the "V-card" (don't leave home without it!). It allows her to communicate hologrammatically with him. There is V writing on the card that appears to spell out "THO A OF SH BODY". There's obviously some omission and jumbling of letters going on, but it seems to be an approximation of the phrase printed on some of the doors on the mothership and Peace Ambassador Centers: THOSE OF THE BODY ONLY. This phrase has not yet been explained, but perhaps it is the actual slogan of the Visitors, referring to a sense of superiority over all other life forms? (Not the obviously untrue "We are of peace. Always.")
V card THOSE OF THE BODY ONLY
The V-card from "Hearts and Minds"

 

At 15:50 in the episode, a military ammunition box is visible on a shelf just behind Ryan in the New York Fifth Column hideout. (I was able to identify it because I have one just like it; it was originally my grandpa's.)
military ammunition box

 

When Father Jack recognizes the photo of the bomber, he tells Erica he lived in Hell's Kitchen. Hell's Kitchen is an area of Manhattan, once known as a poor and rough part of the city. The area has since been gentrified, but the old nickname continues to stick.

 

At 20:04 in the episode, Hobbes finds a copy Sun Tzu's The Art of War while searching the bomber's home. This is a real book written in the 6th century BC by the Chinese general Sun Tzu, still studied today in military academies. Hobbes then shoves the book into the waistband of his pants, behind his back. Why does he keep it? A professional mercenary like Hobbes has probably already read it! It's even available to read for free at Sonshi.com! Later, he is seen leafing through a book at the hideout; we don't see if it's The Art of War, but I presume it is. He finds a list of names on a sheet of paper inside it. So, I guess he took the book thinking there might have been some notes in the margins, etc. that may have led to other Fifth Column members or hints about their plans.
The Art of War

 

Searching the bomber's home, Erica and Hobbes find a connection to Israel and Erica mentions Mossad. Mossad is the national intelligence agency of the nation of Israel. 

 

While Erica is rifling through the bomber's bookshelf at 20:45 in the episode, we see a copy of Prelude to Terror by Helen MacInnes. This is a real novel, in the Robert Renwick series, published in 1978, about the world of international terrorism.
Prelude to Terror Prelude to Terror

 

The map that Hobbes finds in the trash at the bomber's home is a map of Manhattan.
map of Manhattan

 

Anna refers to the pills that are capable of disintegrating a living Visitor body as "immolation pills".

 

Anna's mother asks her for a necklace that allows her to hear a piece of Earth music that has been in her head while imprisoned for 15 years. (If anyone knows the name or author of this music, let me know at enik1138 at popapostle dot com).

 

The Visitors track the New York bomber to a company called Five Brothers Textiles. This is a fictitious company. Note that the "Five" in the name is a reference to the Fifth Column using the number five as a code symbol in public discourse.

 

At 28:57 in the episode, Erica shows Melanie Singer, the second attempted bomber, the V-shaped cut behind her ear. She received this in "Pilot", a cut made to prove she (and others) were human and not reptilian underneath.
V cut

 

At 30:21 in the episode, we see a Mood Bead spinner display in the warehouse of Five Brothers Textiles. Mood beads are beads covered with a thermotropic liquid that causes them to reflect different wavelengths of light depending on the body temperature of the person wearing it, changing the bead's color.

 

When Agent Malik pulls the broken fang out of her mouth after getting clobbered by Hobbes, we see red blood on it, seeming to confirm that the V's have red blood, as I speculated in the study of "Red Rain".

 

At 34:28 in the episode, Hobbes is standing next to two newspaper dispensers, for USA Today and The Local Dispatch. As far as I can tell, The Local Dispatch is a fictional paper. USA Today is a real newspaper, published in editions for all 50 states, many U.S. territories and a few foreign countries.

 

Hobbes and Kendrick both separately uncover evidence that the fringe Fifth Columnists may have a connection to Ossining. Ossining is a town in Westchester County, New York state. 

 

This and later episodes seem to imply that humans are the Visitors' first introduction to the concept of individuals having a soul. Yet, it is also later implied in "Birth Pangs" that the Visitors have been advancing their own evolution by incorporating DNA from other species for some time now. Can Earth really be the only civilization that has developed the concept of having a soul?

 

Memorable Dialog

a generation of Vs.wav
it's Earth or nothing.wav
say hello.wav
embraced the world over.wav
the Visitors' plans.wav
a bigger threat than I anticipated.wav
we need to recruit them.wav
bang for the buck.wav
music on Earth.wav
the single greatest threat to our species.wav
suffers like a human.wav
one day you'll feel the sting.wav
tick tock.wav

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