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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com

V: The Dissident V
"The Dissident"
TV episode
Written by Paul F. Edwards
Directed by Walter Grauman
Original air date: December 7, 1984

In collaboration with Bates, the Visitors erect a force field around the perimeter of Los Angeles to keep the residents in and freedom-seekers out.

Read the summary of this episode at V: The Series Interactive Website

Notes from the V chronology

Although it originally aired after "The Overlord", I have chosen to place "The Dissident" before that due to the fact that the Visitor character of Daniel (no relation to Daniel Bernstein!) is seen alive and well here even though he was killed "previously" in "The Overlord". So the air order must have been a snafu on NBC's part, right? Well, not so fast, because Lydia "dies" in this episode (actually she fakes her death, but she is gone for a couple of episodes) and yet is seen in "The Overlord". So, really, these two deaths wind up completely contradicting both of these episodes! I think I recall reading somewhere that the producers realized they had made a mistake with the two deaths in these episodes due to the fact that episodes and scenes are often shot out of order, so it can be confusing to keep the script chronologies intact; I believe they decided that viewers noticing guest-star Daniel's brief "return from the grave" was less likely than their noticing major character Lydia's, so the episodes were presented "The Overlord" first, "The Dissident" second. But another aspect of this episode's story makes me present the two episodes in the opposite manner: Elizabeth's stowing away with Kyle for the adventure, upsetting both Kyle and Donovan. In "The Overlord", Elizabeth finally stands up for herself and insists on accompanying the rest on their mission and stating how she resents being protected all the time. Kyle and Donovan finally accept this and allow her more freedom to participate. Since Lydia's scene in "The Overlord" is so brief, I think we must simply overlook her appearance and pretend she was never there.

Didja Notice?

On the Freedom Network Report, Howard K. Smith reports that Athens, Greece has been taken by the Visitors (and referring to the resistance there as the Pan-Hellenic Resistance); and in Florida, Janet Weinberg of Daytona Beach, FL led a raid on a detention camp in which over 250 captives were freed.

For the meet-up with the munitions truck, Tyler carries his MAC-10 machine pistol. Kyle carries a Heckler & Koch HK94, chopped and converted for fully-automatic fire.

In this episode we see what must be Kyle's new house (the one seen previously was revealed in "Visitors' Choice" to have been repossessed by his father). It seems that Kyle and Elizabeth are staying with him more-or-less permanently at this point!

After the munitions truck is vaporized by the force field surrounding the city, Kyle and Tyler run up to the smoking spot on the road where it had been. It seems like the Visitors should have seen them considering they were monitoring the exact location by video feed during the test!

At 5:44 on the DVD, Kyle has yet another pick-up parked in his driveway, a Chevy Blazer from the 1973-1980 models. The license plate on it, 9HB676, was previously seen on a totally different Resistance member's car in "Visitors' Choice". However, at 40:45, the same truck has a different license plate, 1ARI685 (this plate was also seen on several different vehicles in episodes of the 1985 TV series Stree Hawk.

At 7:38 on the DVD, we again see Bates' map of the L.A. area freeway system. It can be seen that it is not a digital vector map as I had first stated in "The Deception", but a glass overlay onto a neon outline of the freeway system.
Bates' map

At 8:00 on the DVD, we see the Science Frontiers symbol on Bates' neon map. Is it meant to mark the location of Science Frontiers headquarters? If so, then judging by the freeway patterns, Science Frontiers is located approximately in the greater Los Angeles city of Whittier.
Science Frontiers on the map

As they plot to set up the force-field around Los Angeles, Diana states she will allow Bates to choose his own combination code of four letters, saying that the chances of someone discovering the 4-letter combination being a half-million to one. In today's computer age, we now know that a 4-letter code would be easily cracked by a hacker program within minutes, so, realistically, the Visitors' advanced computers could do it in seconds or less.

At 8:55 on the DVD, we get another look at the Visitor writing on the outer wall of the embassy (seen in previous episodes).
Visitor legation

At 9:00 on the DVD, Donovan drives a Ford Econoline van to kidnap the Visitor officer.

After kidnapping the Visitor officer, Donovan and Tyler seem to play good cop/bad cop with him, a long-time cliche in Hollywood films and television, in which two people interrogate a suspect/enemy, one acting tough and belligerent, the other sympathetic to the target, as a psychological manipulation tactic for getting information.

Willie says that Jacob is the father of the Visitors' technology. If true, that would suggest that they have not had their current level of technology for very long. In "Arrival", Diana comments that they've had the gravity drive technology for about 100 years; is this what Willie is speaking of?

When we see Jacob, he is wearing a human disguise like the rest of the Visitors. But there is even less reason to disguise him than there is the typical Visitor since he has refused to participate in the war and was never intended to be seen by humans.

Donovan tells Kyle to meet him and Tyler outside of city limits at Decker and Mulholland. I believe this refers to Decker Canyon Road and Mulholland Highway in the Santa Monica mountains.
Decker and Mulholland

At 17:08 on the DVD, Kyle puts his HK94 and an Ithaca 37 shotgun in his truck for the meet-up with Donovan and Tyler.

The delivery truck Donovan and Tyler sneak onto the Visitor legation grounds on is a Ford LT900 with CA license plate 1L25205.

At 19:44 on the DVD, there is a Visitor sign outside one of the doors into the embassy. There is also an odd sign to the right of it that must be part of the real building on-location; PRX de Bon-something. Send me a note if you know what it means!
sign at Visitor legation

Donovan and Tyler clobber two Visitor guards outside the embassy, apparently to get hold of their uniforms. But the resistance should have access to plenty of Visitor uniforms by now so they could have come already dressed for the occasion!

During Jacob's interrogation on the mothership, we see a keyboard with Visitor characters on it in front of him so that he can be coerced into completing the force field activation. The keyboard layout looks remarkably like a human one, though there are subtle differences.
Visitor keyboard Visitor keyboard
 
When Donovan and Tyler bust Jacob out of the interrogation chair, we see what looks like a giant schematic of the mothership on the wall behind Diana and Lydia. It is similar to the one seen in the command center behind John and Diana in "The Final Battle".
mothership schematic mothership schematic

Donovan and Tyler are shocked to find out that Jacob is blind. Shouldn't Willie have told them this already?! Possibly Jacob was only recently blinded, perhaps by some of Diana's interrogation techniques?

Jacob mentions that his bracelet is made of saborium, a mineral lacking on Earth. It seems to have the useful property of channeling energy in many different ways.

At 27:58 on the DVD, we see a digital map of the perimeter of the force-field around Los Angeles. It appears to even extend a few miles into the ocean!
Visitor force field map


Throughout the skyfighter chase scene from 28:05-29:48 on the DVD, the bottom of the airplane or helicopter that shot the aerial footage can be seen (to a more-or-lesser degree) at top of screen.
skyfighter chase

At 29:25 on the DVD, part of the console of Donovan's skyfighter can be seen, with buttons and knobs labeled in Visitor writing.
skyfighter console

At 33:23 on the DVD, Donovan calls into base on his walkie-talkie, saying "Wilderness to Shiloh". When Elias answers him in the speakeasy of Club Creole he also says, "Hello, Shiloh, this is Wilderness." It seems like one of them messed up...they can't both be Wilderness! It would seem to make more sense for Donovan to be Wilderness since he is "out in the field" as it were. (When Julie later radios Donovan and his crew from Science Frontiers, he is still Wilderness, but she is now Shiloh. I would have thought the Shiloh codename would always represent the base at Club Creole.) After this, Elias says, "I read you five by five." The term "five by five" means "loud and clear." In the parlance of radio transmissions, a scale of one to five is often used to indicate the signal strength and clarity being received.

During his radio call, Donovan tells Elias they have crashed in the Santa Clara River Valley, northwest of Newhall. These are both real places in California and his description of their location is about right. Donovan tells Julie there's no way his team can make Decker with Jacob begin blind. I'm not sure what he's referring to by "Decker" unless it's Decker road or Decker Canyon in Malibu, close to 50 miles from them. Julie tells Donovan that Nathan Bates' programmed corridor through the L.A. force field is on the I-5 where it meets the county line if Donovan can make it there. Interstate 5 is an actual freeway that runs through L.A. but it crosses the county line at Gorman which is still about 30 miles north of their location at Newhall!

The two moles denoting the mark of Zon on Elizabeth's hand seen at 36:34 on the DVD, are smaller and less hideous than when seen in "Dreadnought".
Mark of Zon in "The Dissident" Mark of Zon in "Dreadnought"
Mark of Zon in this episode Mark of Zon in "Dreadnought"

At about 38:24 on the DVD, the shadow of the camera or another device can be seen on the hood of the truck, at the bottom right of the screen.

At 40:06 on the DVD, Julie pulls her Heckler & Koch P9S pistol on the Visitor who discovers her in the control room at Science Frontiers. Willie suddenly shows up to help save Julie's hash during the encounter, but how did he get into Science Frontiers, especially an area that should be employees only?

As Kyle flees the pursuing Visitors at 40:45 on the DVD, Kyle's truck has sprung a leak in the radiator, steam emitting from the front grill. From the single point of emission, it would appear that the radiator must have taken a hit from a bullet or laser blast, but we never saw that occur during the chase.

It's not too bright of Nathan Bates to use "KYLE" as his password for the force field!

Throughout the distance shots of the scene from 42:06-43:37 on the DVD, some kind of object can be seen at the left edge of the screen.
Elizabeth and Jacob at L.A. County line

According to Jacob, the high priest of Zon is Amon and the old man believes that someday the priest will find Elizabeth, who is "the future."

At 45:06 on the DVD, Visitor writing is on the screen as Diana prepares to blow Lydia's shuttle out of the sky.
V writing

Memorable Dialog

nuns and amateurs.wav
a new toy.wav
a PhD in death.wav
a confirmed pessimist.wav
I've always liked you.wav
it's wrong then.wav
concern.wav
the Leader won't be pleased.wav
aliens on board.wav
you would not survive long enough.wav
guard your body.wav
we didn't ask for this war.wav
the high priest of Zon.wav

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