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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
V: Liberation Day V
"Liberation Day"
TV episode
Written by Paul Monash
Directed by Paul Krasny
Original air date: October 26, 1984

One year after Earth was liberated from the Visitors, Diana is brought to trial for crimes against humanity; Elizabeth begins to undergo a metamorphosis.

Read the summary of this episode at V: The Series Interactive Website

Didja Know?

Dennis McCarthy provides a new V main theme for the weekly series (though it borrows from queues he'd already established in V: The Final Battle).

Throughout the course of the weekly TV series, the reverberating sound of the Visitors' voices is absent without explanation. At the time the series was being made the producers decided not to use this aspect of the aliens because, during the shooting of the two mini-series, it was found to be fairly time-consuming and expensive and the effect was not always pronounced in the voices of the various actors who portrayed them. For the sake of continuity, I like to pretend the strange quality of the Visitors' voices remained.

The story of Diana's capture told in this episode differs greatly from that depicted in the V novel The Pursuit of Diana. In this episode there is just a quick prelude that opens immediately after the end of "The Final Battle", as the novel does, but they differ almost immediately in that, here in this episode, Donovan chases the fleeing Diana down in another squad vehicle and she is taken into custody on Earth. I prefer the version of events in The Pursuit of Diana in that it also discusses many other factors that Earth has to deal with in the immediate aftermath of the Visitors' evacuation from the planet.

Didja Notice?

   The first 44 seconds of this episode at first appear to be directly borrowed from the end of "The Final Battle", depicting Donovan telling Martin to take them and the captured L.A. mothership back to Earth and the flight of Diana in an escape shuttle. But the shots on the bridge of the mothership are actually reshots on the modified version of the set made for the TV series; the consoles have more color on them and the walls have added designs on them. Also, as Diana flees and looks out the window at Earth, the scene has been cut just before the slight smirk she makes in "The Final Battle".
At 2:19 and 2:20 in the episode, there is Visitor writing on Martin's monitor screen depicting the warning that an escape shuttle has launched. V writing V writing

The clip of Donovan rotating the squad vehicle towards the doors within the hangar bay from 2:57-3:01, is borrowed from "Plan for Resistance". It doesn't fit in with this episode because you can see all sorts of Visitor crewmembers working in and guarding the hangar bay!
Donovan in hangar bay

Apparently Diana decided to head back to Earth rather than rendezvous with her fleet behind Earth's moon, since that is where Donovan catches up with her. Why? Earth is poisoned to her by the red dust now! (Another reason The Pursuit of Diana is a better version of Diana's escape and capture.)

Since Jane Badler (as Diana) still has the straight hairstyle in these scenes instead of the frizzy perm she sports in the "1 year later" part of the story, I'm under the impression her escape and capture was shot during the filming of V: The Final Battle in the event V was picked up as a series and they needed to depict Diana's immediate capture.

The exterior shots of Donovan's chase of Diana in the squad vehicles over the coastline and hills from 3:10-4:41 on the DVD are also borrowed from "Plan for Resistance".

At 5:28 on the DVD, there are Visitor symbols on the fuselage of the fighter as Donovan climbs out, but they are too blurry to make out. Notice also that the exit hatch looks like a pretty uncomfortable and flimsy means of entrance and exit!

It's nice that the producers remembered that Diana lost her gun back in the command center of the mothership in "The Final Battle"; when she tries to flee from her crashed craft, her holster is empty.

Diana does not seem to suffer any ill effects from the red dust when she crashes on Earth, but that is easily explained as the dust not having filtered into this wilderness area yet; remember it is still V-day as this action is taking place.

How is it that Diana has suddenly lost her human eye lenses after Donovan has tackled her?? Did they pop out during the tackle?!
Diana's eyes

Did Diana try to spit venom at Donovan during their tussle? There are a couple of noises that sound a bit like a spit, but we don't see any venom on Donovan's face or clothes.

As Donovan is struggling with Diana, two hunters run up to assist and one of them fires his rifle. Then the next scene is a smash cut to 1 year later and there is no mention of what happened with that gunshot! Did either Diana or Donovan get hit by the bullet?

As the news reporter at Elias' new Club Creole restaurant begins her segment, she remarks that it is the first anniversary of Liberation Day, "the day the Visitors were driven from the Earth, never to return." She seems to be ignorant of the fact that the Visitors have "returned" (in small numbers) in the novels that take place in between "The Final Battle" and this episode, The Chicago Conversion, The Alien Swordmaster, and The Florida Project. Not to mention that even if the events of those novels had not occurred, a mere one year is not really a basis for claiming the Visitors are "never to return".

The reporter seen here works for the same TV station that we soon see that Donovan works for, KDHB Channel 6. In the real world, there is no KDHB television station in the Los Angeles area, though there is a KDHB-AM radio station in Las Vegas,

During the news interview with Elias, he mentions he also has a line of footwear called Space Busters, "the foot gear for galactic heroes." And he says he is the technical advisor on the new film Lizard Kill. Presumably, Lizard Kill is a movie based on the Visitor occupation and human resistance.

At the end of his brief interview on the news, Elias puts out the message that if any of his old friends ever need a helping hand, they know where to come. This is a foreshadowing of the Club Creole becoming a secret base for the resistance when the Visitor invasion is renewed in the next episode.

At 7:23 on the DVD, Willie gives a shy wave to the camera as the reporter signs off to the next correspondent.

We see that the captured L.A. mothership has been landed in the Mojave Desert north of Los Angeles and that a corporation called Science Frontiers has been awarded the contract by the government to research and back-engineer its technological secrets. Julie is now a doctor and works for the corporation, directly under CEO Nathan Bates, and she is the head of the mothership research division.

Science Frontiers also manufactures the red dust.

Ironically, Martin, who is now Donovan's assistant on reporting assignments, is wearing a "visitor" badge (as are Donovan and the reporter) during the report at the mothership at 7:37 on the DVD.

The newscopter that flies to Robert Maxwell's mountain home to hound Elizabeth is from the same television station Donovan works for, KDHB. I wonder if he's aware of the harassment!

After completing the mothership report for KDHB, Donovan tells Martin he is the best assistant he's ever had. So soon is Tony Leonetti forgotten!

Some English language signs have been placed throughout the mothership now that human scientists are researching it. One such sign appears on a door, "Danger High Voltage".

Julie reveals that she and her cohorts at Science Frontiers have not been able to break Diana's security code on the mothership, stalling their investigation.

Donovan reveals that his son Sean is at a state school in Ojai, CA, where they are attempting to rehabilitate him from the damage done by the Visitors' conversion process. This would seem to indicate that the de-conversion performed on him in The Pursuit of Diana was not entirely successful.
Ironically, the symbol on the Science Frontiers logo looks a bit like a UFO! Science Frontiers symbol

As Nathan Bates watches the KDHB news report in his office, the news anchor is Hal Fishman, a long-time newsman in the L.A. area from 1960-2007.

We learn that right after V-day a year ago, Ham Tyler started up his own security agency. The Florida Project depicts him and Chris Faber as working for the CIA instead; possibly Tyler's company was simply contracted by the CIA for the operation.

Bates remarks on Tyler's past as a covert agent in Central America, Angola, and the Middle East.

There is a glass or crystal object on Bates' desk that seems to have a photo in it that changes. Possibly it changes by viewing angle? And who is the person in the photo? It appears to be a blond girl or boy and not Bates' son, Kyle. At first I thought it might be the reflection of one of the production's crewmembers off camera, but it appears again in the episode "Visitors' Choice". crystal object   crystal object

During his conversation with Tyler, Bates seems to confirm the statement in The Pursuit of Diana that the Visitors never got around to giving humanity the cure for cancer they had promised.

Martin seems to be having a bit of difficulty with the concept that Diana is going to get a fair trial for her crimes on Earth. He says that on his planet, justice is swift and final.

When Martin's watch alarm goes off to remind him to take his antitoxin pill, he comments he must take it every 12 hours to counteract the red dust toxin on Earth. This roughly corresponds with the antitoxin time limit depicted in The Pursuit of Diana. The novel The Chicago Conversion, on the other hand, indicates the antitoxin lasts an indefinite amount of time, with the events of the novel taking place over the course of about 2 weeks and the antitoxin taken by a squad of Visitor troops never wearing off in that entire time!

The antitoxin Martin takes is in the form of capsules.
red dust antitoxin

At 15:38 on the DVD, we see that Martin has only two antitoxin tablets left and tells Donovan to remind him to get a refill. But why they hell did Martin let his supply get so low in the first place considering his life (theoretically) depends on his taking them every 12 hours?!

Robin remarks that she's headed for Santa Cruz for a break, leaving Elizabeth and her father at their mountain cabin.

As the escort procession of Diana's prison van drives to the courthouse for her trial at 17:29 on the DVD, a Shakey's Pizza can be seen in the background.

There is a small crowd of protestors outside the L.A. courthouse where Diana is being brought for trial. Many hold signs denouncing her, such as "Death to Diana".

When Diana is unloaded from the police van to be brought into the courthouse, we see that she is wearing a Visitor uniform. Why would the authorities have clothed in her it? It seems to me it could lead to accusations of an unfair trial to have her clothed in the uniform of Earth's recent enemy. Did Diana request it herself just to show that she was not afraid of human justice? At the end of the episode, we see that the uniform seemingly was able to stop several bullets...or maybe it is just Diana's thick reptilian skin that did it? Either way, if bullets were stopped then, why is Bates' tranquilizer dart able to penetrate in the faked assassination attempt on her here at the courthouse?

The policemen escorting Diana from the van into the courthouse are seen to be wearing shoulder patches that simply read "Metropolitan Police" instead of Los Angeles Police Department. These patches are seen on the cop uniforms throughout the rest of the series.

At 19:21 on the DVD, the ambulance that transports Diana after the "assassination" attempt is from Schaefer Ambulance Service.

In the scene from 19:34-19:36, it appears that a small battery pack for Donovan's video or sound hookup falls off while he is running, but actor Marc Singer deftly catches it in his hand so quickly it is almost unnoticeable that the glitch even took place!

Notice also in the screenshots that, while Donovan works for KDHB 6, there is another news van covering the trial for a rival station, KHBD 12! You'd think that would cause a lot of confusion with such similar station names in the same city!
Donovan's prowess
Donovan's prowess Donovan's prowess

At 19:58 on the DVD, Donovan is seen to be wearing the same (or similar) Casio digital watch he wore in "Unity".

The chopper Donovan "steals" to chase down Diana's ambulance is from his own KDHB, so they would probably forgive him if he gets the story! Additionally, the chopper appears to be the same one that visited Elizabeth earlier in the episode!

At 20:34 on the DVD, Donovan flies the stolen copter past the Bonaventure Hotel. The Bonaventure towers have appeared in numerous movies and television shows for their high-tech look.

At 21:48 on the DVD, the semi-truck carrying Diana's ambulance in the back runs through a stop sign! The semi is seen to be a Ford model at 23:05.

At 23:20 on the DVD, the tractor trailer is seen to be a Strick model.

When Julie first rolls up Elizabeth's pajama sleeve to examine the skin aberration on her arm at 24:12 on the DVD, the seam of where the fake skin appliance has been attached to the young actress' arm can be easily seen just below the wrist.
Elizabeth's skin aberration

As we see Diana without the air mask on for the first time, it's interesting to note that the authorities apparently allowed Diana to get a nice '80s hairdo while she was incarcerated!

Actor Lane Smith (as Nathan Bates) fumbles a word in his dialog while listing some of the Visitor science he expects Diana to deliver to him. He asks for her knowledge of "recombient DNA"; he means "recombinant".

We learn that Bates' deal with Tyler for faking Diana's assassination is that she will be turned over to Tyler (presumably to be killed) when she no longer has anything useful to give to Bates.

At 28:33 on the DVD, we see that Martin has retained his Visitor sidearm and apparently likes to carry it around!

At 29:54 on the DVD, we see that the fire has burned the dermoplast off of Martin's hand, exposing his reptilian skin.
Martin's hand

After Diana's escape from Bates' hideout, we see she has obtained a car and is wearing an '80s women's fashion ensemble. The car may have belonged to the men guarding her, but where did the clothes come from?

At 32:40 on the DVD, the local hick who drives up to Diana's broken down vehicle has KC headlight covers on his truck's foglights.

Notice that Diana picks up something from the backseat of her vehicle before accepting the ride from the local hick. It is her Visitor uniform!

After the local hick picks her up on the side of the road, some romantic favors in return are hinted at and he tells Diana he's going to take her some place that's "out of this world." Ironically, Diana is already from "out of this world."

At 33:15 on the DVD, we see that Diana's car has broken down at the intersection of Placerita Canyon Road. This places her on Sand Canyon Road in Los Angeles County. See the location on Google Maps.

At 33:56 on the DVD, Tyler pulls a MAC-10 machine pistol from under his jacket.

When Tyler ends his contract to work for Bates, he seems to blame Bates for Diana's escape. But, really, Tyler is just as much to blame for her escape and the return of the Visitors to Earth.

At 34:55 on the DVD, Diana is seen to be wearing a rather large digital watch on her right wrist!

When the local hick pulls his pick-up off the road and behind a hill, he expects Diana pay him back for picking her up. She agrees and caresses him seductively. Then the camera moves outside the vehicle and the man starts screaming in horror/pain while the vehicle shakes. What did Diana do to him? John Kenneth Muir suggests on his website that Diana performed "an act of fellatio that ends with a new definition of 'swallow.'"

Why are there a bunch of snakes outside the cave Elizabeth chooses when she is ready to go into a chrysalis stage? After she is in there it could be argued that native reptiles were somehow attracted to the presence of the Visitor/human hybrid, but why would they be there beforehand? Snakes are not really social animals that are going to hang out in large groups together!

Notice that, as Elizabeth walks through the snakes, into the cave, we see only her feet or only from behind, and her ankles and calves seem a bit to muscular for a little girl! I suspect young actress Jenny Beck didn't want to walk through the snakes herself and an adult double did it instead.

Robert's Jeep at 37:25 on the DVD with CA license plate 1BAK390 appears to be a Jeep CJ-7.

At 40:16 on the DVD, notice that a tear escapes Julie's right eye as she is witnessing the metamorphosis Elizabeth is being subjected to inside the chrysalis.

Donovan appears to be carrying an M1911A1 pistol at the tracking station. He continues to use this same pistol throughout the series.

When Donovan and Tyler bump into each other on the trail of Diana at the Southwestern Tracking Station, Donovan realizes that Tyler already knows about Diana's escape even though the rest of the world thinks she's been assassinated. Tyler tells him, "Never mind what I know." It seems that Tyler is covering up his involvement in Diana's abduction to cover his own ass! Did this remain a secret from his allies in the resistance through the course of the series? I don't recall that it was ever revealed to anyone.

At the tracking station, we see that Diana has changed back into her Visitor uniform. I guess she didn't want to be picked by her people in lowly Earth garments!

Diana sends her message to the fleet from a radio telescope facility, the Southwestern Tracking Station. I wonder if this is the same facility from which the resistance sent their message for help from other extraterrestrials in "Plan for Resistance"? The Southwestern Tracking Station appears to be a fictitious facility. In the V card set published by Fleer, the facility is referred to as Mt. Monash, also a fictitious name (presumably named after this episode's writer, Paul Monash).

There appear to be a bunch of large, loose tiles on the roof of the radio telescope facility. You can see them jiggling when Donovan jumps down on them and runs off at 44:37 on the DVD. They must have been something laid down by the production crew for some reason; perhaps they were used to cut down on the glare of sunlight on the rooftop for the camera?

As Diana runs toward the Visitor shuttle that arrives to pick her up, how is it that Donovan's gunshots do not penetrate her skin? In the V: The Final Battle mini-series, it was only through the use of a specially developed armor that the Visitor shock troopers were able to withstand the standard gunshot. If Diana had that armor on in the first place, the tranquilizer bullet she was shot with outside the courthouse wouldn't have penetrated either! Yet, a bit later, aboard the shuttle, she plucks one of the bullets from a hole in her uniform!

When the shuttle arrives to rescue Diana from Earth, neither the pilot nor the shock trooper aboard appear to have taken any precautions to prevent exposure to the red dust bacteria! Later, Diana comments she doesn't know why it didn't effect her or them. Since the limited effectiveness of the red dust in temperate climates is not yet known, the Visitor pilots should have taken precautions. My No-Prize explanation is that the two Visitors on the craft felt they could survive a brief exposure to Earth's air during the pick-up and then purge the bad air after lift-off and replace it with uncontaminated oxygen from their own life support system.

Near the end of the episode (though we don't see the end result until the next episode) Elizabeth's chrysalis is already cracking open with Julie and Robert still standing there watching! That means she underwent the metamorphosis in less than a day!

We don't know how many motherships were left behind in our solar system after the Visitors fled at the end of "The Final Battle". Diana asks her pilot that question and he responds with "Enough." This implies that it is not the entire 50-ship fleet that originally invaded which has stayed behind. When the camera moves past the moon to show the fleet hiding there, we see only 7 motherships, though it's possible that more are behind the camera's view. (Contrarily, the novel The Chicago Conversion implies the entire fleet stayed in hiding behind Earth's moon, unwilling to face the Leader's wrath for failure.)

Throughout the episode it is indicated that Robert has been caring for his daughter Robin and granddaughter Elizabeth at his mountain ranch. But where are his two younger daughters, Polly and Katie? There is neither sight nor sound of them and we know their mother was killed in "Plan for Resistance", so who is taking care of them? (Later, we learn that they have been staying with their Aunt Rebecca in Chicago in the novel Death Tide.)

Memorable Dialog


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