Part two of the iconic science fiction mini-series V, written and directed by Kenneth Johnson, aired on 2 May, 1983. It aired the following night after part one, no week’s wait, not even a couple of days. This was an event, and for two nights it ruled television.
Continuing it’s sci-fi retelling of Nazi Germany and the Third Reich, the concluding episode sees the alien Visitors speeding up their plans to gather the resources they need, and the reveal of what they are looking for is truly troubling.
Donovan (Marc Singer) discovers that the entire town where his son and ex-wife lives has been wiped out, everyone is gone. Juliet (Faye Grant) is slowly assembling her Resistance team in a hidden location of the Los Angeles underground. And betrayals by human and Visitor alike begin to pile up as the story rockets along.
We watch humans selling one another out for alien trinkets as the Visitors comtinue to cement their hold on the planet. No one but the Resistance believes the truth that they are lizard like aliens who are here for some insidious purpose, The aliens control the media, the message, and the people as they strip away freedoms one at a time.
Donovan, sneaking aboard the mothership, gets a glimpse of the truth.
The mini-series doesn’t hold anything back, as we see people getting loaded into transport cars, and the seemingly unstoppable power the Visitors have. There are familiar images represented here withing science fiction trappings. This story isn’t so much about the Earth fighting back, as it is a look at past history and seeing how things like the French Resistance came into being during World War II.
The resistance is small, ill-equipped, and whether they truly have a chance of winning, they are determined to fight back.
The Visitors, led by John (Richard Herd) and Diana (Jane Badler) have dissension in their own ranks, as Martin (Frank Ashmore) informs Donovan. There’s a Fifth Column at work, that may ally itself with the Resistance.
But more trouble arises as teenaged Robin (Blair Tefkin) is caught and brought to the mothership, where Diana creates a strange experiment involving Robin and the alien Brian (Pete Nelson).
Much like the first part, the story takes its time to spend time with each of the characters, give them all a bit of a character arc, relationships develop, character beats, little moments to flesh out the world.
As the Resistance begins their fight the story comes to its conclusion with a betrayal in the human ranks, and Juliet sending a signal out into space in search of an ally, someone who may have encountered the Visitors before and can help in the fight to come.
As cheesy as some of it is, constrained by a television budget, I loved this when I first saw it, and I love it now. Though I was never allowed to stay up late enough to watch it all, it definitely fired my imagination. But it wasn’t until the sequel mini-series came along that I really got hooked into it. By that time there was a VCR involved, and I could watch it to my heart’s content, thanks to someone having recorded it when it aired.
Next week, I join the Resistance and revisit that oft-watched videotape (now as a DVD) as The Final Battle begins, which is not how Johnson saw the story playing out, but the studio had different ideas.
But the fight rages on…