Victims, and Victory"
V (the mini-series, part
1, hour 2)
50:06-1:42:22 on Side 1 of the DVD
Written and Directed by Kenneth Johnson
The Visitors allege a conspiracy
by the world’s scientists; Donovan makes some startling
discoveries aboard the
(This episode begins with the scene in Caleb Taylor's
apartment in which Ben chastises Elias' lifestyle and ends with
Abraham spray-painting a V on the
I came up with the triple-V title for this hour
because, to me, the series title V
stands for all three and this hour is where some of our human
protagonists begin to realize that all of Earth is falling
victim to the aliens and Abraham Bernstein introduces the
V-for-victory symbol to the children at the end of the episode.
Ben asks his brother, Elias, when he's going to stop his "poor
man's Richard Pryor" act. For those of you too young to
remember, Richard Pryor was an extremely popular
African-American comedian in the 1970s and '80s; he would often
put on a "hip brother" act as part of his comedy. In response,
Elias refers to Ben by three different names in rapid
succession: "Dr. Kildare" a fictional character
dedicated to the medical arts, known on film, radio and television; "Uncle Tom", a reference
to the character Uncle Tom, a suffering but dutiful servant to
his white master in the 1852 novel Uncle Tom's Cabin
by Harriet Beecher Stowe; and Sidney Poitier, the
Academy Award winning black actor.
I'd always thought that Harmony was just an employee of the
catering service that served the chemical plant. But at 53:05 on
the DVD, it can be seen that the catering truck actually says "Harmy's
Gold Star Catering", so she must be the owner/operator.
We see here and in numerous other instances that the Visitors
eat live food or, occasionally, raw vegetables. Why do they
always refuse offers of cooked meat? Is it actually harmful to
Caleb has gone from saying "damn, stupid alien" in the previous
episode to saying "damn scientist" in this one, after the
Visitor P.R. machine "reveals" a conspiracy against them by many
The Visitor Youth program run by the Visitors for young humans
is similar in name and function to the Hitler Youth program of
Nazi Germany. It provided a haven for disaffected youth while
indoctrinating them to the cause of the Nazi Party.
Tony realizes that a couple of the scientists who have confessed
to being part of the conspiracy against the Visitors have
suddenly become left-handed when they were right-handed before.
This is later explained as a side-effect of Diana's conversion
process. But metaphorically-speaking it may be a hint, a
reference to the Latin word for "left" which is
At 1:00:45 on the DVD, Brian is seen playing the Space Invaders
video game on an Atari 2600 gaming console at the Maxwell house.
Ironic considering the Visitors are space invaders to the Earth.
At 1:01:41 on the DVD, Daniel interrupts Robin's and Brian's
conversation on the street by commenting on her father's career
as an anthropologist. Given the Visitor's revelation/fear of
Earth scientists conspiring against them, this is most likely an
attempt on his part to put some distance between Brian and Robin
out of jealousy and his own attraction to Robin.
At 1:03:11 on the DVD, there is some Visitor writing on
the door of the chemical transport ship. And again on
some kind of machinery on the transport at 1:03:24.
When Donovan sneaks aboard the transport and it takes him to the
mothership, it is supposed to take place in Los Angeles. But the
matte painting of the city used in the background as the
transport enters the hanger is the same one used as New York
during the first hour of the mini-series ("Arrival").
When we see the exterior of the mothership as the chemicals are
being vented back outside at 1:04:11 on the DVD, figures can be
seen silhouetted in the ship's windows, though they are
During Donovan's brief time on the hanger deck after he has
snuck aboard the mothership, a female voice is consistently
heard speaking English over the P.A. system, announcing
transport schedules. And he also overhears Diana and Steven
speaking English during their incriminating conversation.
Although it might be argued that each mothership's crew has been
instructed to use the dominant language of the country they are
assigned to at all times for practice and gaining fluency (as
ordered by Supreme Commander John, according to the novel), it
seems foolhardy for exactly this scenario in which a suspicious
human is eavesdropping. (Also in the novelization, when Donovan soon
after fights with a Visitor and the artificial skin is torn to
reveal a reptilian face, he realizes that they can't speak their
own hissing, slurring language while wearing the prosthetic
At 1:04:42 on the DVD, we can see that the video camera Donovan
is carrying is
a Betacam. Remember those? (Scott Sheriff of
SST Digital Media pointed
out to me that he is carrying a
BVP-3 Betacam in the
publicity shot below and sent a
photo of his. Thanks, Scott!)
Donovan's Betacam in the episode
(may be a fake; see the fight
scene reference and screengrab a
few paragraphs below)
holding a BVP-3 in a
At 1:04:43 on the DVD, an old Hollywood trope is called out,
that of ventilation ducts that are large enough for a person to
sneak about in. In the real world ventilation ducts that run
through buildings and ships are generally quite small and would
allow only small animals to pass through. In
V's defense, we see
that there is actually standing room and ladders throughout the
system of ducts, so it must be used as maintenances crawlspaces as well. Still, for security and
privacy reasons, entrance to the duct system should not be so
easily gained as Donovan manages.
|At 1:05:22 on the DVD, there is
some Visitor writing on the electronic door lock.
In the scene at 1:05:52-1:07:35 on the DVD, Donovan witnesses
Diana and Steven conversing and eating live food in what appears
to be a sort of alien automat! A little later, Donovan sees
another mini-automat in what appears to be a crewman's quarters,
so it would appear all quarters are equipped with these small
"automat cages" and kept stocked with live food.
Though it is creepy, the fake head used at 1:07:26 to depict
Diana shoving a live guinea pig into her mouth is not very
convincing. However, the effect of the ripple moving down
actress Jane Badler's throat seconds later is quite good.
After removing his fake eyes which help him to appear human, a
Visitor crewman sees Donovan through the air duct grill. This
may suggest that the Visitors are able to see much better with
their naked eyes than through the humanoid contact lenses. (In
the novelization, Donovan later comments on it as well,
speculating their real eyes can see farther into the infrared.)
At 1:08:26 on the DVD, during the fight between Donovan and the
crewman, the camera Donovan is holding looks like a fake made of
Styrofoam or something (notice the pitted look of the surface).
Probably the producers did not want to risk damaging a real
camera during the tussle.
At 1:08:32 on the DVD, although it goes unremarked upon, there
is a faint spray visible as the crewman's lizard tongue flicks
out at Donovan. Is this an early example of the Visitors'
ability to spit venom (which we don't officially see happen
until the next episode, "Betrayal and Reward")? (The novelization does say in this
scene that the reptilian's tongue spatters drops of burning
At 1:09:03 on the DVD, the crewman's left eye (screen right)
appears crooked! (In the audio commentary, Kenneth Johnson says
the alien contacts did have a tendency to roll out of
At 1:09:14 on the DVD, the crewman's reptilian face appears to
have several protruding ridges on the forehead and brow line. The
Visitors must have the ability under normal circumstances to
keep these protrusions "retracted" to keep them from bulging the
humanoid syntho-skin outward (or, possibly, the syntho-skin
keeps the ridges pressed down). (The novelization reveals in a
later scene that the Visitor crewman is called Jerome.)
|At 1:09:57 on the DVD, there is
a Visitor symbol on a pillar on the hanger deck.
When Donovan brings the videotape he shot of what he witnessed
on the mothership to the network, we see that the network is
currently broadcasting a movie with a scene in which two
dinosaurs are fighting. It appears to be
The Valley of
Although it's never explicitly stated, it would appear that the
network Donovan works for (or, at least, brings his startling
footage to) is NBC. There were only three American broadcast
networks when V was made
and, when we see the network go offline, one of the technicians
says "so have the other two" and we see a bank of screens with two
of them labeled ABC and
CBS, the other two American networks. This would make sense since
V was originally
broadcast on NBC.
It may be unintentional, but as Daniel polishes his new Visitor
laser gun while sitting in front of the TV, he holds it near his
groin and the polishing motion along the barrel could almost be
mistaken as masturbatory! Guns have often been interpreted as
phallic symbols in stories, especially when interpreted in a
visual medium. It could certainly also be said that Daniel gets
a feeling of power and prowess by associating with the Visitors
and being allowed to handle a weapon.
At 1:15:59 on the DVD, we see Donovan spying on the goings-on at
Davis Air Force Base (the novelization says it is in southern
California). I can find no evidence of an actual Davis Air Force
Base in the United States (though there is a Monthan-Davis Air
Force Base in Arizona).
Apparently Kathleen Maxwell is an artist (whether amateur or
professional is unclear) because at 1:16:16 on the DVD we see
her working on a painting of a mothership over an ocean with
beach in the foreground. Some other natural landscape paintings
in the same style are seen hanging on the wall behind her.
The painting behind her and to the left looks kind of like
Vasquez Rocks, a state park in Los Angeles county which has been
seen in numerous Hollywood productions, probably most famously
in the "Arena" episode of Star Trek in which Captain Kirk fought
hand-to-hand with the reptilian Gorn, a sort of forerunner in
look to the Visitors.
I wonder what ever happened to Julie's stock broker boyfriend
Denny? When it becomes clear that numerous scientists are
disappearing, she says goodbye to him and we never see him
again. The article "Fight or Die" in the British V Annual
1986, states that Julie was considering joining the Peace
Corps before the Visitors arrived and she wondered whether it
would end her relationship with Denny...as it turns out here,
she left for war instead!
The Second Generation
reveals that Denny later spoke vehemently against Julie and the
When a rock is thrown through the window of the Maxwell house at 1:19:13
on the DVD, Polly and Katie are playing with the boxed game
Mousetrap and Katie grabs up a stuffed E.T. figure (from the classic 1982 film
E.T. The Extraterrestrial) when
the crash frightens her.
While watching the scene of Julie and the other recently
disenfranchised people meeting to discuss their options in a
world that is becoming totalitarian, it is interesting to note
that by confabulating a fake conspiracy of humans against them,
the Visitors have caused that very thing to happen.
When the fleeing man is shot at the Visitor checkpoint and falls
against the windshield of the Maxwells' car, it can be seen that
the rearview mirror is missing, only a piece of the holding
bracket remains. This is common in cars used in film and
television production; the rearview mirror is often removed so
as not to obstruct the actors faces when shooting from an
The scene of Donovan being chased at 1:26:33, and Ben and Elias
walking at 1:27:55, both take place at the same intersection! Notice
the 76 gas station and skyscrapers in the background.
At 1:39:59 on the DVD, Abraham Bernstein says auv shalom while
speaking about his long-dead wife. I have not been able to find
the exact meaning of this phrase in Yiddish or Hebrew. Shalom
means peace, but I can not find auv in online dictionaries.
From the context of the scene auv shalom would seem to mean
"rest in peace."
Abraham makes a very stirring speech to his son
about why they must allow the Maxwells to hide in the
Bernstein's pool house. Still, it is hard to accept that Abraham
really thought they could get away with it while his Visitor-collaborator grandson Daniel was living with them.
When Daniel discovers Robin in his house, he has just returned
from drinking with some of his Visitor Youth friends and
comments that while Brian was there, he doesn't drink. Is this
just due to Brian's consummate professionalism? Or does alcohol
not mix with the Visitors' body chemistry? (Though we do see
Steven apparently imbibing liquor with Eleanor and Arthur Dupres
in a later episode. And the novel
Crisis contains several instances of Visitors getting drunk
How much time has passed since the Maxwells moved into the pool
house and Daniel discovers Robin there? It seems like later the
same day, at night, but then Daniel comments that sometimes
Brian asks about her and wondered where she went and that Daniel
himself wondered especially. That statement makes it
seem like several days have passed.
After the medical equipment heist, when Julie drives up with the
fatally injured Ben, Elias, in his grief, seems to forget that
Ben asked him to help with his street connections. Elias says,
"What? The doc? Stealin' stuff? Oh, bro! Man, you ought to come
to me, man, I'll show you how to do it!" and "Brother, I just
don't understand, man! Why'd you wanta go and try to pull a
heist for, bro, man, without your little brother's expertise,
man?" As he tries to deny the truth of what has happened, he
talks as if Ben will be all right and the two of them will be a
team, described almost as if from a '70s blacksploitation film;
two badass brothers who are brothers called, "...the Doctor!
Yeah! The Doctor and uh...Doctor and uh...Doctor and the other
one...the other one..." He realizes he has not made anything
worthy of his life. It's a good moment in the script and in
Michael Wright's performance.
From the Audio Commentary by Kenneth Johnson
Johnson comments that the
miniature model of the Visitor chemical transport ship cost
about $20,000 to make. He still has it in his personal
collection. He also has the Visitor key that Donovan gives to
The fight in the crewman's cramped quarters was inspired by the
fight in the railroad car in the 1963 James Bond film From Russia
The scene in the NBC network studio was actually shot at Los
Angeles station KTTV, an independent station at the time, now a
Fox affiliate. Johnson also used this same studio in one of his
Alien Nation TV movies.
Besides the Visitor symbol looking very similar to the Nazi
swastika, their guns were patterned after the German Luger.
Johnson comments that the Visitors creating their own havoc and
blaming it on someone else as an excuse to go after them was a
stratagem also mastered by Hitler and the Nazis.
Johnson reveals that his original script was a movie screenplay
called Storm Warnings with no alien presence, just a
homegrown fascist takeover of the United States.
Julie Parrish is based on a real woman named Andrea DiJon, who
was a 24-year old nurse's aid who became a leader of the
underground resistance in Nazi-occupied France during WWII.
The pharmaceutical company the resistance steals equipment from
near the end of the episode is named Stamos Pharmaceuticals
after actor John Stamos, on whom Johnson's daughter, Julie, had
a crush at the time.
Notes from the V
mini-series novelization by A.C. Crispin
(The page numbers come from the 1st printing,
paperback edition, published May 1984)
Pages 73-136 cover the events of "Visitors,
Victims and Victory"
Page 74 suggests that Dr. Metz may have felt the same love that
Ruth admitted to Julie she had for him. After her disappearance,
Dr. Metz becomes withdrawn and begins chain smoking when he had
not smoked a cigarette since giving them up in 1963.
Page 75 states that the Visitors finally did give the world's
scientists the promised scientific seminar but managed to give
out only about 10 minutes of new information in a half-day's
time. Shortly after this, the "conspiracy" of the world's
scientists is uncovered, giving the aliens a reason not to
continue the scientific seminars.
For the announcement of a scientific conspiracy on the
television news, Crispin uses Howard K. Smith as the newscaster
instead of replacing him with Dan Rather as she had in previous chapters
of the book.
The book goes further into the Visitors' actions against
scientists after the "conspiracy" revelations. They
U.N. and world leaders to push through a registration of all scientists
and their families as to their names and whereabouts. After
some initial reluctance, the world's nations acquiesce to the
On page 106, Julie comments on the difficulty of making
long-distance calls, needing a special permit to do so. She
says, "...anyone in the life sciences doesn't have a prayer of
getting one. Better not to even ask."
Page 111 reveals that Sancho's last name is Gomez.
Page 113 reveals that the cops seen by the Maxwells at the
checkpoint are named Bob (the one who follows orders) and Randy
(the one who seems a bit recalcitrant about Visitor authority
and who later allows Sancho to smuggle the Maxwell family
through the checkpoint).
Notes from the novel V: East
by Howard Weinstein and A.C. Crispin
The events of V: East Coast
Crisis take place concurrently with the two mini-series
V: The Final Battle and
details the goings-on in the area around New York City.
(The page numbers come from the 1st printing,
paperback edition, published September 1984)
Pages 75-154 take place concurrently with the events of "Visitors,
Victims and Victory"
On Page 76, Lisa reveals that the Visitors' homeworld has two
moons, both smaller than our own.
Pages 97-106 go into more detail about the "conspiracy" of
scientists uncovered by the Visitors. When President Morrow
argues against the registration of scientists, saying
police-state tactics are not the way things are done in America,
Pamela points out there is a precedent, the government-sponsored
internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. Later, it becomes
obvious that many of the world leaders who have agreed to the
registration have been put through the Visitors' conversion
process, including members of President Morrow's cabinet.
On page 143, newscaster Denise Daltrey reminisces that she had
worked with Donovan in the past and even dated him a little. One
of her thoughts is that he was short, but with a good build.
Excuse me, Donovan short? Actor Marc Singer, who
portrayed Donovan on the series, stands 6'2! Why would the
authors choose to alter the character's height for their book
when the TV show upon which it is based clearly depicts him