V “Reflections in Terror” (part 2 of 3)
Now we’re over at Science Frontiers, where Nathan Bates (Lane Smith) is in his office yelling at two of his henchmen. Lane Smith was Perry White on Lois & Clark, and he played another enemy sympathizer named “Bates” in Red Dawn, and he also had a memorable turn as Richard Nixon in a TV movie. Bates is hopping mad about all those cute orphans being smuggled into Los Angeles, because it’s making a mockery of his truce with the Visitors. He orders his men to find the Resistance members responsible, and “crush them!”
Meanwhile, Donovan and Tyler drive their van to a church. Once inside, they’re reunited with Chris Faber (Mickey Jones), a Resistance member who first appeared as Ham’s right hand man in The Final Battle, and who made sporadic appearances on the weekly series.
Chris introduces them to a young, generic priest named “Father Turney”, and Father Turney’s got a little girl with him. A cute, precocious little girl with pigtails who marches right up to Ham Tyler and asks why he “looks so grumpy”. Oh no. I can sense an oncoming attempt to warm my heart.
The girl jokes around with Ham, and she laughs at the name “Ham”, and lisps that it “stthhounds like a sthhhandwich!” Yeah, and you know what? It’s gonna sound like a knuckle sandwich in about a minute if you don’t shut it, little girl.
But Ham plays along, and you can tell his icy heart is being thawed just a tiny bit by the girl’s cuteness. Alas, the tender moment ends abruptly when three Visitors show up at the church. I wasn’t quite sure if the Visitors are supposed to be evil or not, but luckily the issue is settled when they start trashing the nativity scene out front.
Ham, Chris, and Mike run outside and jump the Visitors, who are thankfully too stupid to use the laser rifles clearly slung over their shoulders. The Visitors are all down for the count, and then Father Turney comes outside, and Mike warns him not to stay here. But Turney’s not worried. He tells them to “leave these three gentleman to me, and go with God!” I have no idea what a priest wants with three unconscious Visitors, and maybe I don’t want to know.
Next, Kyle Bates and Elizabeth are having a romantic nighttime rendezvous outside of Kyle’s house. And for those paying attention, yes, Kyle Bates is the son of Nathan Bates, and this show mined the “estranged father and son on different sides of the war” dynamic for all the melodrama it was worth.
Elizabeth says she has a special dream, but she can’t say what it is, because “when I was little”—so, what, a year ago?—her mom told her that if you want your special dream to come true, you have to keep it a secret. But Kyle already knows how to make her dream come true, and he kisses her. That’s right, he’s basically making out with a two year old.
Then Robin shows up, from… somewhere. This would be Elizabeth’s mother, Robin Maxwell, who of course looks exactly the same age as Elizabeth. This leads to a scene straight out of Soap Opera Hell, where Robin yells at the two of them for sneaking around behind her back. In case you couldn’t guess, the V writers have used their SORAS to set up a particularly sleazy mother-daughter love triangle, with Kyle Bates caught in the middle.
Robin storms off, and then it’s over to the Club Creole, which is done up in flimsy Christmas decorations, and Willie the Lovable Visitor is at the piano. Willie’s running gag throughout the show was that he didn’t have a good grasp of the English language, and was constantly mixing up words. Like here, where he attempts to sing “Deck the Halls”, and fills the song with evocative imagery like “Deck the halls with lousy folly” and “Holy moley, yuletide barrel”.
Although, you probably shouldn’t watch this scene too closely, because then you’d notice Willie isn’t actually pressing down any keys—he’s just sort of lightly touching them. And none of his singing matches his lips, either.
The crowd is getting annoyed, including a big bruiser of a Visitor who yanks Willie away from the piano and shoves him to the floor. But it appears this Visitor is a man of many talents: he can shove people around and tickle the ivories. He begins playing a series of random, dissonant chords, and all the Visitors in the club stand at attention.
Julie runs in, and Willie assures her he’s okay, and the guy “just injured my prize”. He further explains the dissonant chords with, “It is our national anthem.” Yes, it appears that the entire Visitor planet has just one national anthem. And also, that the Visitors actually took the time to arrange their National Anthem for the piano, instead of whatever instruments Visitors play.
Julie decides to counter this by standing up and singing, and Faye Grant gets to show off her Broadway musical skills by launching into a rendition of “America the Beautiful”. Just then, Mike, Ham, and Chris enter the club and join in with her, and now the entire club is righteously singing “America the Beautiful” and drowning out the Visitor Anthem. Soon, an invisible orchestra triumphantly swoops in. The Visitor at the piano looks defeated, and marches out.
If this sounds a tad bit familiar, it’s because it’s a naked rip-off of the scene in Casablanca where German soldiers sing a patriotic German song, but the whole club drowns them out by singing the French national anthem. Jesus, guys, why not just take the Casablanca screenplay, change a few of the character names, and call it an original script? That’s how they made Barb Wire.
And this whole scene makes no sense, mostly because Mike, Ham, and Chris are wanted fugitives, and probably shouldn’t be putting on big song and dance numbers in public. Also, Julie is currently leading a double life where she works for Nathan Bates, while hiding the fact that she’s still part of the Resistance. So her singing patriotic songs in public with known members of the Resistance is pretty stupid. Sure enough, there’s a guy in the crowd surreptitiously taking pictures of everybody with a spy camera.
Meanwhile, at the Visitor legation, a green blob of special effects goo grows inside a premie chamber. That same flunky warns Diana that she’s playing a dangerous game, and Diana yells, “I don’t play games, Dennis! I’m a scientist!” Okay, in that case, carry on.
In the secret Resistance underground hideout below the Club Creole, Elizabeth and Julie are having a conversation about Robin. Julie notices the “scratch” on Elizabeth’s finger, and notes the blood is not “coagulating”, and wants to “take a culture”. She pulls out a glass slide and rubs it across Elizabeth’s fingertip, and this whole thing is just so Julie. It’s all so Dr. Juliette “I’d like to get into his DNA” Parrish. Every now and then on this show, despite the dumb dialogue, there are still flashes of the characters we know and love from the miniseries.
Enter Elias, and Willie in a Santa suit. Elias is breaking it to him gently that he’s not fat enough to be Santa Claus, and Willie asks if this means he “won’t get to dress up and give out the pheasants”. That joke never gets old.
Next, we’re back at the Visitor legation. A shuttlecraft is landing outside, which you’d think would be an indication that a new character has just arrived, right? Wrong. No new characters show up in the following scene. I think it’s obvious they needed a shot of the legation at night, and the only stock footage they could find included a shuttlecraft landing, and they said, “eh, why not?”
Inside, a Visitor redshirt hears a noise and investigates. He finds that the premie chamber, which previously held the green blob, has now been smashed out from the inside. There’s green blood everywhere. He hears a growling noise, and cue Monster Movie Cliché #4,253, where all we see is a close-up on his face as he screams at the monster we can’t see. It’s good to know the Visitors train their soldiers to keep their wits about them when they’re under attack. And it’s also good to know that nobody bothered to keep an eye on the rapidly growing and expanding green blob in the premie chamber.
Diana and her flunky run in to investigate, and find the corpse of the redshirt, along with a big hole in the wall. Diana tells her flunky that they need their “best tracker”, a guy named Laird, to help find the escaped clone.
And now, Mike, Ham, and Chris are back in the red van, heading back to Father Turney’s church. They see a flaming car out front, and this, along with one line of dialogue later, is all the indication we get that the Visitors have destroyed the church.
They spot a Visitor wandering around. So Ham immediately gets out and bum rushes the Visitor, and starts pounding the hell out of him. The other guys try to stop him, but Ham completely goes off the ranch here, and snaps the Visitor’s neck.
Just then, cute little Pigtail Girl shows up, who somehow didn’t see the carnage. Ham yells at her for being outside alone, and shakes her a little too hard, so Mike steps in to chill Ham out. The girl leads them to a secret entrance, where they find Father Turney and all the kids hiding out in the church’s basement. There’s another tender moment between Ham and the girl, but it appears Ham’s mood has taken a dark turn. Something’s obviously gotten to him.
Now, we’re at a park, and Robin is standing on a bridge. Elizabeth shows up, saying she knew she’d find her here. “You used to bring me here when I was little, remember?” Given it was four months ago, I’m sure she can recall.
Mother and daughter have a heart to heart about the Kyle thing. Elizabeth says she and Kyle are in love, and Robin admits she knew deep down in her heart that Kyle didn’t love her, anyway. So, that’s all resolved, and they walk off hand in hand. Cue Monster Movie Cliché #4,254 as they’re observed through branches by a Monster POV Cam.
Elizabeth starts to “sense” something with her wacky Starchild telepathic powers, but they’re suddenly hassled by a cop in full uniform, hat and all. He tells them the park is off-limits after 4 PM, “Bates’ orders.” Nathan Bates closes public parks at 4 in the afternoon? Well, I guess we know who this show’s Mussolini analogue is supposed to be.
The women head off, and the cop spots the Monster POV Cam in the bushes. He comes towards the camera, asking, “Has the cat got your tongue?” Cue Monster Movie Cliché #4,255, as we cut to a shot of his patrol car, and hear his bloodcurdling screams from off-camera.
Cut to the dead cop lying there with a bloody wound on his head. Standing over him is a little blonde girl in a baggy sweater with a comically “evil” snarl on her face. So, that’s the big reveal they’ve been building up to? That’s what the Visitor redshirt was screaming at? A ten year old girl?
Fans of The Final Battle, as well as the movie Troll, will recognize this as Jenny Beck, the same girl who played Little Elizabeth in the miniseries. I’ll admit, it’s a nice touch bringing Jenny back just for this brief cameo as the evil version of Little Elizabeth. It almost makes me think the people in charge actually watched the miniseries.