V “Reflections in Terror” (part 3 of 3)
And now, Diana is meeting with famed Visitor tracker Laird, and giving him his orders to find the Starchild clone. And Laird is played by Anthony James, one of those Hey, It’s That Guy! actors who’s done a million bit roles. And I don’t want to be cruel, but Mr. James has… some skin issues. Let’s just say he makes Edward James Olmos look like the next spokesperson for Neutrogena. The thing is, the Visitors are supposed to be wearing fake, manufactured human skins. So why would someone intentionally create skin this bad? Yes, I am putting way too much thought into this, thanks for noticing.
And now the Elizabeth clone has found her way into a concrete tunnel, and is undergoing a metamorphosis. This primarily allows the producers to reuse stock footage of the real Elizabeth transforming in the pilot episode, complete with the icky cocoon, and the prosthetic Jenny Beck head with air bladders in the cheeks.
Cut to Julie down at Science Frontiers, wearing granny-style glasses, complete with a neck strap, while doing science-y things like looking into a microscope and typing on a computer. The computer identifies the presence of dioxin in Elizabeth’s blood sample. Dioxin! I knew it! That dioxin is nothing but trouble.
Next, Laird shows up at the concrete tunnel, but all he finds is an empty cocoon. So he flips down a lens over his sunglasses, which allows him to see in Predator-Vision, and he can now see the clone’s tracks leading away from the tunnel. What’s funny is that her green, bloody tracks are already clearly visible before he flips down the lens. And just think, he’s the best tracker the Visitors have.
Cut to the grown Elizabeth Clone standing in front of a store, and here’s Jennifer Cooke in a stunning dual role! She’s frightened by her reflection, and starts smashing mirrors. Interestingly, she’s wearing the same clothes as Jenny Beck, which means the clone transformed into an adult, and then actually took the time to put her clothes back on. Also, just as interestingly, the clone’s hair is the exact same length as the real Elizabeth.
A store employee comes out to try to stop her from smashing up the merchandise, so she sticks out a pathetic, fake, forked tongue. She’s the evil version of Elizabeth, and Elizabeth is half-reptilian, so it should only follow that her evil twin has a forked tongue, right? For some reason, this tiny little tongue, which looks to be made out of red felt, freaks the hell out of the store employee, and he locks himself inside the store.
Back to the Resistance hideout. In someone’s strange idea of a joke, a TV is showing footage of stop-motion dinosaurs fighting from Planet of the Dinosaurs. Julie is explaining to Robin how she found traces of dioxin in Elizabeth’s blood. That damn dioxin! Actually, something of importance is finally mentioned here, which is that dioxin could have been used to preserve Elizabeth’s blood. And that’s the last time dioxin is mentioned in the entire episode. No, there really was no point to any of that.
Just then, a reporter breaks into the broadcast with a special report. And the reporter is Tawny Schneider AKA Tawny Little, longtime Los Angeles anchorwoman and former Miss America. At the time, she was the wife of Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider, and they even got married on the Dukes set. Can you believe it didn’t last?
Next to her is a picture of the Elizabeth Clone, and Tawny says the woman is a suspect in the killing of a cop. Julie turns off the TV, and two seconds later figures out that Diana must have “created Elizabeth’s double!” I mean, sure, Diana’s the most likely suspect in this scenario, I can buy that, but how can Julie already be 100% certain of it?
Over at Science Frontiers, Bates is looking over the secret photos of the Resistance taken at the Club Creole. He sees a photo of Julie, which finally confirms the suspicions he’s had all along that Julie is still with the Resistance.
Meanwhile, Mike and Ham and Chris arrive at the Club Creole to unload their van full of orphans. Pigtail Girl tries to be nice to Ham, but he just growls at her to “Get lost!” As he goes off to brood, Chris finally reveals what’s gotten under Ham’s skin. Back when they were both in ‘Nam, Ham married a Vietnamese woman (who Chris strangely refers to as “a local Eurasian girl”) and they had a kid. Ham hid them in a church, and they were supposed to be airlifted out before the fall of Saigon.
Chris says, “One flyboy jumped the gun. Dropped his napalm early.” Ham came back to find the church in ruins, and he never found a trace of his wife and child. And that’s what bothering Ham this week. And I know this seems like more filler, but it actually becomes an important plot point in next week’s episode.
So Mike tries to bond with Brooding Ham, mentioning how his own son is missing, after being taken by the Visitors. Thankfully, Ham just blows him off and walks away. Chris appears and notices a power company van and a phone company van parked outside, and Mike spots window washers across the street. They insert a shot of the street here, which shows absolutely nothing they just described. Regardless, Mike and Chris realize that something is up.
Over at Science Frontiers, Julie walks into Nathan’s office. And by the way, Nathan’s office has huge Star Trek-style doors that slide open automatically. No wonder this show cost a million damn dollars per episode.
Julie starts to ask something, but Bates cuts her off, telling her to stay away from the Club Creole today, because he’d hate to “find your body… among the others in the wreckage”. He reveals that the Club Creole is about to be destroyed, and then is basically all “so, what’d you want to ask me?” Julie can’t even keep up the pretense long enough to come up with a bogus question, and she just says she has something to do in her lab, la la la la, and hightails it out of there to warn the others. Bates watches her go, lighting a cigar with the hugest lighter I’ve ever seen. What’s the deal with rich guys and huge lighters?
Bates then uses a remote to turn on the surveillance monitors in his office. One of these is connected to a camera in Julie’s lab. Julie runs in, goes to her phone, and dials the number for the Club Creole, but Bates has hacked into the phone line so that the call connects directly to him. Damn you, Bates!
He tells her she’s too late to save her friends. So Julie takes off her granny glasses, which is when you know the shit is about to go down. And then she pulls a can of mace out of her purse, which Bates somehow doesn’t see, even though he’s watching her on his monitor. Julie confronts the guard at the door, maces him in the face, and runs off.
The Science Frontiers guards give chase, but Julie easily outwits them all and escapes. Because if the woman can escape from a goddamn alien mothership hovering 1,000 feet in the air, she sure as hell can get past some rent-a-cops.
Back at Kyle’s house, he’s taking a shower. Somehow, the Evil Elizabeth has tracked Kyle down to his house. I have no idea why she decided to come here, but I would guess it’s got something to do with all that crazy Starchild voodoo. Evil Elizabeth enters the bathroom, and Kyle sees her through the shower door. He thinks it’s the real Elizabeth, so he grins and says, “Come on in, the water’s fine!”
Except, that’s not what he says. The line is dubbed over with “Hold on, I’ll be out in a minute,” but you can read his lips and see he’s actually saying “Come on in, the water’s fine!” (Also, it makes no sense for a guy to grin mischievously after saying “Hold on, I’ll be out in a minute.”) It would appear NBC felt the notion of men and women showering together was a little too risqué for the 8 PM viewing hour. But then again, the woman in question is two years old, so maybe Standards and Practices was onto something there.
Over at the Club Creole, a big group of guys in J.C. Penney outerwear enter, and they’re all carrying rifles. Elias smiles and asks if they’d like some “egg nog”. The guys immediately start shooting up the place, and that’s kind of how I feel about egg nog, too. Just then, Ham and Chris jump out from behind the Christmas tree in the corner, and return fire.
Outside, Julie runs up and hears all the gunfire coming from inside the Club Creole. But honestly, how long can a gunfight last when everybody’s crammed into one room? I’m reminded of that episode of Police Squad!, where Drebin is in a shootout with a bad guy, and the camera pulls back to show the two guys are standing three feet apart. I’d imagine that’s what the gunfight inside is like.
Cut to inside the club. All the Resistance guys run into the walk-in freezer, and Donovan has a detonator in his hand.
And then it’s back outside, where the Club Creole “blows up” through the time-honored art of making scratches on the negative, followed by unrelated footage of a real explosion.
Julie looks horrified at the cheap special effects work. In a nearby car, Bates’ henchman is reporting that all has gone according to plan, even though the explosion is clearly something the Resistance guys set off. Over in his office, Bates and his gigantic lighter are very pleased.
So there you have it: Club Creole has been destroyed, because singing “America the Beautiful” will not be tolerated. Unless you’re Ray Charles. Bates loves him some Ray Charles.
Out on the street, Mike comes up behind Julie and grabs her, and Faye Grant gets a nice, believable acting moment where she’s overcome with joy to see that Mike survived the explosion. Those who watched the miniseries might recall Mike and Julie being something of an item. But by the end of the weekly series, their romance had been completely forgotten, and the Mike/Julie relationship pretty much vanished into nothingness, save for little moments like this.
Meanwhile, back at Kyle’s place, Evil Elizabeth is on the couch, sitting with her feet tucked under her, and looking like the feral child, and it’s the hottest thing ever. The Real Elizabeth comes home, and doesn’t look all that surprised to see her. Hell, when you’re the Starchild, you have to expect at least a few clones to be made of you every now and then.
Evil Elizabeth growls and hisses at Real Elizabeth, and shows off her goofy forked tongue some more. Real Elizabeth tells her clone she “sensed” her in the park today. Just then, Kyle comes out of the shower, and is a little freaked to see two Elizabeths in his living room.
Real Elizabeth promises that Evilizabeth won’t hurt him, and she slowly reaches out to touch her clone’s hand. And in case you’re wondering, split-screen trickery was obviously well beyond this episode’s budget, because all shots showing Elizabeth and her clone are accomplished through the use of a double.
Just as they link hands, the master tracker Laird bursts in, with his gun at the ready. The Elizabeth clone awkwardly jumps in front of his gun, heroically sacrificing herself to save the real Elizabeth. And as she collapses to the floor, she rips off part of Laird’s human skin, because you can’t have an episode of V without some human skin getting ripped off to show the reptile skin underneath.
Laird goes after the real Elizabeth, but he’s hit by a laser bolt. It turns out shirtless Kyle picked up Laird’s gun and saved the day. Elizabeth cradles the Elizabeth Clone in her arms as she dies, and that’s the end of that plot.
Back at the Club Creole, it looks like the underground Resistance headquarters survived, because the guys rigged the explosion to only destroy the club above. Everyone’s having a real rager of a Christmas party here, and Donovan is with the orphans and putting tinsel on a tree, and Elias has glasses of wine on a tray, and hell, even Father Turney is around to get this party started.
Julie finds Elizabeth deep in thought, trying to understand why her clone sacrificed herself. Along comes Willie, with some mumbo jumbo about “Zon”, who’s apparently the Visitor’s God, and something about how Zon said all living things return to their source, and Willie somehow brings it all back around to Christmas. Sorry, Willie, I’m just not buying the Zon thing. Can I tell you about the Book of Urantia?
The Resistance guys are talking, and Little Miss Pigtails asks where Ham is. Mike tries to gently break it to the girl that Ham is not exactly “in the Christmas spirit”, and then…
And then, this episode dares to have Ham Tyler show up in a Santa Claus suit, with a sack of gifts for everybody. Why? Why did they have to take the most badass character on this show and stick him in a Santa costume? And who the hell wanted to see Michael Ironside in a Santa suit anyway? You know what? Fuck this show.
Little Miss Pigtails jumps into Ham Claus’ waiting arms. Mike raises a glass “to victory”, and Robin raises a glass “to friends and family”, and Julie raises her glass “to peace”. But Miss Pigtails knows what’s really important here: “To Christmas!” We finish up with everyone heartily wishing each other a Merry Christmas, and the pain finally ends.
Okay, other than the ending, this honestly wasn’t that awful of an episode. It had some cringe-worthy moments and stupid clichéd monster movie moments, but at least there were enough different plots going on to maintain interest. If you want to know true suffering, just try and sit down and watch the last half of this series.