May 29, 2018
V “War of Illusions” (part 3 of 4)
Back on the bridge of the Mothership, Lydia and Philip are just kinda hanging out, when a Visitor enters and delivers a message to Lydia. Strangely, the message is on a sheet of paper. Of the future!
Lydia crumples the paper, obviously troubled by the contents. I’m guessing the message is that the hacking attempts are still ongoing, but she never actually says. She complains to Philip about Diana’s “foolish insistence” on letting Lt. James capture the hacker.
And June Chadwick being British, she calls him “Leftenant James” instead of “Lootenant James”. And I know that we Americans have our own weird pronunciations of words, but “leftenant”? How the fuck did that come about? Regardless, I do think the entire cast of V should have picked one pronunciation and stuck with it.
After another dead, awkward pause, Philip warns this kind of incompetence might reflect poorly on Lydia. So Lydia says that Philip, being in “legal affairs”, should know that Diana is not “military attaché”, and therefore, her “field decisions regarding Earth missions are absolutely inviolate!” I have no clue what any of this means.
And then Diana is in her quarters, and… Oh, Jesus. Are they kidding me? There’s a line of three male bodybuilders standing there, all shirtless, and Oswald is going down the line and saying, “Eenie, Meenie, Miney…” He trails off and says, “I’m afraid there’s no Moe!”
Diana complains that these men are “not good enough”, but Oswald says it was the best he could do on “such short notice”. He says he had no idea she had gotten over her “fascination” for a certain someone, but Diana cuts him off. “Please, no names!”
I guess that… Diana is looking for men to take James’ place, now that James has moved on to Lydia? Or something? I have no clue what’s going on here.
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Diana finally decides that one of the bodybuilders would do “in a pinch”, but then she gets a call. And I do mean a call, because she goes over to a desk and picks up a telephone. I’m serious. The aliens who crossed the galaxy to conquer Earth use telephones on their spaceships. I’m just going to assume that Radio Shack was giving away free phones with the purchase of every TRS-80 Model 100.
And no, the handset is not actually connected to anything.
Diana is called to Lydia’s quarters, but before she goes, she walks down the line of men, leering at them suggestively. She tells Oswald, “Have them scrubbed and oiled! I’ll make my choice later!” Eww. Oiled? Really, lady?
So it would seem that the writers had given up on serious drama, and were just going for pure camp at this point. And failing miserably at that, too.
Over in Lydia’s quarters, Diana is looking over more sheets of paper. And guess what? Lydia’s hungry, so she reaches into a box full of live beetles and begins munching on a beetle.
Diana gets one of the more memorable (though not in good way) lines of this series with, “If you have to eat sweets, at least have the courtesy not to smack your lips!” Beetles are sweets, are they? You know, I think I’ll just take her word for it.
Diana looks at her papers and sees that one of the men they rounded up is Dr. Atkins, who was once a “psycho-cybernetics professor” at Caltech. Obviously, “psycho-cybernetics” is not a real academic discipline, and in fact, the writers seem to have gotten things mixed up with a self-help book. According to Diana, Dr. Atkins has confessed to being the hacker, which she finds rather strange, because someone is still trying to hack into the Battlesphere.
Lydia suggests calling him in for an interrogation, and they have a weird bit where Lydia continues to eat her sweet beetles while staring at the phone, waiting for Diana to pick it up and call the guy in. Diana sighs, and actually dials the phone, complete with touch tone sound effects. Amazing. Maybe one day the Visitors will upgrade to wireless. Wouldn’t that be crazy?
Next up, Diana and Lydia have Dr. Atkins strapped into an interrogation chair, with electrodes wrapped around his head. They want him to demonstrate how he hacked into their computer systems.
Atkins types away, but only gets an “Access Denied” message, in both English and Visitorese. And here’s an interesting fact I just learned from this screen capture: Apparently, there’s a one to one correspondence between the letters in the Visitors’ alphabet and the letters in the English alphabet. What are the odds?
Diana suggests Dr. Atkins is not guilty of the crimes he confessed to. Atkins responds with a completely unconvincing, “No, no, it was me. I’ve been, uh… interfacing with your computers for months.” Yes, yes, interfacing. That’s it. That will do nicely.
Diana says it’s no use lying, because “I’m privy to your innermost thoughts!” She touches some buttons on a console, and Dr. Atkins clutches at his temples and winces in extreme pain.
She demands to know who he’s trying to protect, while a whining noise in the background gets louder and louder, and eventually, a perfectly clear image of Henry Atkins appears on a computer screen. I have to say, this is really some incredible technology the Visitors have. Not only can they read minds, but they can also convert your thoughts into CGI. And they still use phones hooked up to landlines?
Diana looks at her console, which tells her the image shown is Dr. Atkins’ son, and she also knows he’s the real hacker. Okay, so I guess the Visitors actually can read minds. How exactly has the Resistance been able to keep anything a secret all this time? With that, Lydia leaves to alert Leftenant James of the true identity of the hacker.
Meanwhile, Phillip is lurking through the one and only “mothership corridor set” they built for the original miniseries, which they damn sure got their money’s worth on. He ducks and hides as Lydia and various guards walk past, and then he sneaks into where the Battlesphere is kept. From a compartment underneath the glass ball, he pulls out a big blue Hershey bar that slides open like a scroll, which we’ll find out later contains the Leader’s computerized battle plans. As well as delicious nougat.
Cut to Mike, Kyle, and Elizabeth down at the Atkins Deluxe Market, which is now all boarded up. Elizabeth, using her wacky Starchild powers that do whatever the plot demands, is able to “feel” that Atkins and his son were here recently. “It was an attack… A man, and a boy…” But that’s all she can sense. So that was kinda pointless.
Mike decides to kick down the front door, while Kyle circles around back. Once Mike’s inside, Henry leaps out with a toy gun, or a hair dryer, or something, and yells, “Freeze! Reach for it, hauhnh?” That’s exactly what he says. “Reach for it, hauhnh?” God, he’s awful.
But then Kyle comes through the back door, and tells Henry to drop it, and he even knows Henry by name. With the tension defused, introductions are made, and Henry tells them the Visitors came and took his dad away. Kyle wants to know why, so Henry takes him into the back room to show off his TRS-80.
Henry says he was working on some other project when he “stumbled across the access code for the lizards’ main computer bank!” Funny how that happens, isn’t it? I can’t tell you how often I’m working on something completely different, updating my Facebook or whatever, and it’s like, whoops! I just stumbled across access codes to an alien computer system!
And the way the actor says “main… computer… bank” is so bad, it defies description. He’s got his head cocked so far back that it looks like he’s having some type of seizure. Henry types away for a while, and Kyle asks what he just did. Henry says in his lifeless monotone, “I’m not really sure. But it must be drivin’ ‘em nuts.”
Kyle asks how he knows the Visitors are even noticing what he’s doing. Henry reminds Kyle that, you know, they came and took his dad away and all. Which you’d think Henry would take as a sign to stop randomly fucking around with the Visitors’ computers, but that’s Henry for you.
Just then, Mike runs in and says there’s a “Visitor patrol” heading this way, and they’ve got to get out of here now. Outside, the Visitor jeeps again pull up to the store, which is strangely no longer all boarded up. It’s almost like they just reused the shot of them pulling up the first time. Nah, couldn’t be.
Henry tells the guys there’s another way out, and reveals there’s a secret rotating panel in the back wall. Yes, for unknown reasons, the small mom and pop grocery store has been outfitted with a secret passageway. Henry and Mike and Kyle all run through the secret door just as James and his men burst in. The Visitors are completely confused, wondering where the hacker went, somehow unable to see the obvious door-shaped seam in the wall.
Back from break, Mike is using a camera with a telephoto lens to scope out a military base, and I’m pretty sure this is more stock footage from the first miniseries. Next, there’s a shot of a restaurant on Venice Beach, which I can assure you is nowhere near any military bases. Kyle and Elizabeth sit at a table, while behind them playing video games are Henry and Willie. Wait, Willie? Damn, they actually shelled out the cash to get Robert Englund to show up for this episode?
The video game is a strange game, because it’s just live action footage with superimposed crosshairs. But this has to be a real arcade game, because there’s no way they could afford to mock something up just for this episode. Elizabeth says Henry is pretty good at this, so the jackass says, “Any dope can play video games!” And he’s living proof.
Mike comes in and says he’s found the prisoners in an “abandoned maintenance shed” near Hansen Air Field. Why would the Visitors be keeping their prisoners in a shed near a military base? Do they not have enough holding cells up on the Mothership? I mean, it’s not like it’s a big hassle to get up there or anything, seeing as how Lt. James popped up there earlier for all of thirty seconds.
The Resistance members hatch a plan, and that night, Mike and Kyle and Elizabeth and Willie sneak onto the base. Tagging along for some reason is Henry, who has his stupid mouth hanging open the whole time. I guess they figured that if worse comes to worst, Henry can always make an excellent human shield.
They ambush a couple of Visitor guards, who seal their fates by saying standard pre-ambush guard talk to each other, like: “Just another night!” and “I could sure use more sleep!” I swear, these are the actual lines, folks. You have to wonder why they didn’t just cut to the chase with, “I sure wish somebody would jump me!”
Abruptly, a sad, maudlin violin plays as we cut to the four prisoners being held in that shed. For some reason, the camera slowly pans across the group, giving us lengthy close-ups on each person as they sit there looking hopeless and distraught. What the hell? Did this suddenly become a silent movie? Also, you can’t tell me this one old man is not fucking creepy.
While the others hang back, Mike and Willie move toward the shed. They knock out one more guard right outside the shed. Well, Mike knocks him out. Willie only helps out by lifting the guy’s visor, right before Mike punches him in the face. Willie is a devout believer in non-violence.
Finally, Mike gets into the shed and frees the prisoners. As they run back to the others, Henry bizarrely refers to Mike as “Big Time”, and says in his bad chin acting way that his dad is not among the rescued prisoners. Mike looks stunned, as if this was some kind of massive screw up on his part.