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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
V: Plan for Resistance "Plan for Resistance"
V (the mini-series, part 2, hour 2)
48:16-1:31:25 on Side 2 of the DVD
Written and Directed by Kenneth Johnson

The L.A. resistance makes a daring attack against a Visitor armory.

(This episode begins with Julie's pep talk to the resistance members before their hit on the Visitor armory and ends with them setting up the broadcast for help into outer space.)

Read the story summary of the mini-series at the V Wiki

Didja Know?

I slightly modified chapter title 13 on the DVD, "Plan of Resistance" as the title for this hour. This episode is where the resistance really begins.

Didja Notice?

The Visitor who jumps aboard the transport with Donovan at the last minute is the same one who tried to talk to him in "Betrayal and Reward" and realized Donovan was not one of them. Although Donovan gets away with it this time, the observant alien catches him out later in the episode. (In the novelization, Donovan gets aboard the shuttle the same way, but he never encounters his Visitor "pal").

At 53:11 on the DVD, there is Visitor writing repeated along the length of the catwalks above the hanger deck. V writing

The on-set panning shot of the hanger deck from 53:12-53:24 makes it appear that the production had 5 full-size shuttles to use during filming.

At 53:15 on the DVD, their are two Visitors standing on top of a shuttlecraft. What are they doing there? One of them is sort of looking down and around like he might inspecting it for damage, but the second one looks like he's kind of kicking back while he reads something on a clipboard.

At 54:22 on the DVD, the two cops who have stopped the kids who vandalized the Visitor posters are Bob and Randy again, the same two cops whom we have seen repeatedly at the checkpoint on the road out of town.

In the scene mentioned above, Saeger's Photo Service and Valley Cleaners are seen. As far as I can tell, Saeger's Photo Service is a fictitious business. There are a number of businesses with names similar to Valley Cleaners.

The police car seen parked in front of the Visitor fighter when Ruby tosses a Molotov cocktail into the ship is a 1977 Plymouth Fury.

At 55:26 on the DVD, there is Visitor writing on the water storage tanks. V writing

The Resistance members use a Ford LN-Series truck with CA license plate 2B51602 during the attack on the National Guard Armory (later during the attack/heist the license plate changes to 1X30184), along with a Western Star trash truck, CA license plate 2BZ1921. The Ford has a Waltco liftgate on the back. The trash truck appears to be from Western Refuse Hauling. There was an actual Western Refuse Hauling company at the time in the Los Angeles area, but the phone number listed on the side is fictitious, 555-7721; The 555 prefix of the phone number is a long-time convention in Hollywood TV and film.

At 56:52 on the DVD, as the resistance members crash their trucks through the gates of the armory, Julie sees Visitor soldiers on the rooftop and warns, "Watch out for the snakes on the roof!" It goes by so quickly I never noticed it before, but she is obviously using "snakes" as a derogatory term for the reptilian Visitors. (In the novelization she merely says "Look out for the two on the roof!")

During the battle at the armory, the resistance members cleverly use mirrors to reflect bright sunlight into the faces of the light-sensitive aliens.

Some Remington 700 rifles are used by the Resistance during the armory attack.

M60 and Browning M1919 machine guns are seen in stock at the armory.

At 59:27 on the DVD, Robert Maxwell jumps into a 1952 Willys M38 A1 military Jeep at the armory and takes off in it to warn the mountain camp about an impending Visitor attack. Lucky for him the keys just happened to be in it, I guess!

When Donovan realizes that the Visitors came to Earth to steal the water, Martin tells him that water is the rarest, most valuable commodity and, unlike most planets, Earth is blessed with an abundance of it. He also says that besides needing it for sustenance, water is needed by the Visitors to power their fusion generators and the Leader's weapons. Do they use what is called deuterium or heavy water (H3O) in a cold fusion process? In the real world, there has been some speculation and experimentation of mastering cold fusion with heavy water.

Martin warns Donovan that still more motherships are on the way to Earth to take away water, a plan that will take a generation to complete, while Donovan comments that Earth would become a desert and humanity will die. This sounds like a natural lead-in to the events of Kenneth Johnson's own sequel to V as a novel, V: The Second Generation.

At 1:01:14 on the DVD, a sign for the Harbor Freeway is seen. This is the 110 Freeway in the L.A. area, going from San Pedro to Pasadena.

At 1:01:21 on the DVD, Daniel is whistling the tune of the Star Wars theme.

When Mr. and Mrs. Bernstein are allowed to return home after their interrogation aboard the mothership, Daniel asks his father what happened to his arm and receives the response, "I burned it." In "Betrayal and Reward" we saw that Diana's interrogation room had a flaming blowtorch among the interrogation tools.

As Daniel leaves his house for work, he is carrying some fruit and what may be 3 Musketeers candy bars.

The pods that are holding the humans in cryo-storage aboard the motherships appear to be part machine and part organic. There are tubes that look like giant coils of intestine connected to the pods.

The man that Donovan sees in the pod at 1:02:34 on the DVD, looks like Dr. Quinton, Robert Maxwell's associate who disappeared in "Arrival". (In the audio commentary, Kenneth Johnson confirms it is the head-cast of that actor.)

Martin explains that some of the humans in storage will be used as food and some as troops against the Leader's enemy.

The burning police car at 1:04:15 has CA license plate 95637. It's a 1977 Plymouth Fury.

Sancho mentions that his grandfather fought with Zapata. Emiliano Zapata (1879-1919) is a national hero in Mexico and an instigator of the Mexican Revolution of 1910 alongside Pancho Villa, Porfirio Diaz, and Pascual Orozco.

At one point, Donovan points at the bruised and beaten Sancho and asks Martin if that looks like "a Sunday afternoon in Disneyland". How likely would Martin be to understand a reference to the theme park?

Just before Donovan and the rest escape the mothership in the fighter craft, Martin tells him the craft will almost fly itself. The line was probably written by Johnson to explain how first-time pilot Donovan (though an experienced pilot of Earth aircraft) could outfly the Visitors in their own fighters in the chase scene to follow.

When Donovan flies the stolen Visitor fighter upside-down at 1:08:48 on the DVD, you can tell it's just the camera turned upside-down inside the craft because Robin's hair stays in place!

When Sancho fires the fighter's rear lasers at the pursuing fighters at 1:09:20 (and elsewhere) on the DVD, an authentic touch is added by the calloused thumb we see pressing the trigger. That's a working man's hand!
calloused thumb

There seems to be a running gag through the series of people calling Sancho by Spanish names other than Sancho! At the roadblock/checkpoint in "Visitors, Victims, and Victory", the cop calls him Pedro and in this episode Donovan calls him Cisco!

After Donovan flies the Visitor fighter through a mountain tunnel, Sancho shouts to him, "Where'd you learn how to fly?" Possibly, Donovan was a pilot in Cambodia during the Vietnam War, as he mentions time spent there with Tony in "Arrival".

As the Visitor attack on the resistance's mountain camp begins, Polly and Katie Maxwell are playing at a table set up outside. We see they have the same Mousetrap game and E.T. stuffed figure we saw them playing with in "Visitors, Victims, and Victory". To the right there appears to be a toy school desk (I remember it from when I was a kid) by Playskool or Fisher-Price. And to the left is one of the giant 23.5" tall Shogun Warriors by Mattel; I think this one is Mazinga.
Shogun Warrior

The little girl playing Katie Maxwell in the scene above looks genuinely startled by the noise of the blast that happens behind her. Maybe Johnson didn't warn her what was going to happen in order to get a real reaction!

When Sancho says he needs a little luck to shoot down the final pursuit fighter, Donovan suddenly pulls out his son's Dodgers cap and puts it on. His idea of a good luck charm, I guess!

When Donovan evades his pursuer by flying through a highway tunnel it looks like the producers just shot the same tunnel opening from a slightly different angle for both his entrance and exit!
Entrance Exit

And when we see Sancho's view from the rear gun port, it looks like they've exited from a different, shorter tunnel! Notice you can just see the opening of the other end of the tunnel (near Sancho's head) and it appears to be a shorter distance than the tunnel we saw them enter.

During the Visitor attack on the Resistance mountain camp, the Resistance members largely defend themselves with M-16 rifles just stolen from the National Guard Armory.

A nice bit of detail occurs at 1:13:39 on the DVD as a laser bolt from the Visitor fighter strikes the tank of the water tower; a blast of water shoots up from the top of the tank.

Elias uses an M72 LAW anti-tank missile launcher against a Visitor fighter.

When I originally posted this study, I had commented that at 1:17:08 on the DVD, Donovan's escape craft has been so badly damaged in the fight there is twisted metal sticking out of the rear. But PopApostle reader Greg P. pointed out that the metal sticking out is actually the rear laser gun of the fighter, (also visible in the screenshot posted two comments above this one). Though the rear gun is not seen in other shots of Visitor fighter craft, it does appear to be the case here. I suspect it was added just for this shot since the rear gun plays an important role in the scene.

At 1:17:21 on the DVD, we see some Visitor writing on the panel next to Diana. V writing

At 1:17:45 on the DVD, Josh is seen to be wearing a Puma sweater.

Do our heroes actions in escaping from the mothership remind you a bit of the escape from the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope? In both cases our heroes, after marching into the detention area, rescue a prisoner (actually two in
V, Sancho and Robin), they get separated and meet up in the docking bay, sneak aboard a ship to flee (although with Martin staying behind), and their ship is chased by enemy fighters which they finally manage to destroy just in time to arrive at resistance/rebel headquarters and save it from a Visitor/Imperial attack!

The scene of Julie pulling out her Heckler & Koch P9S pistol and firing at the fighter craft overhead is similar to the scene in the first episode ("Arrival") of the rebel leader in El Salvador. In both cases, they are bent over a fallen comrade and, as an enemy aircraft approaches, pull out their pistol and fire at it.

The Visitor uniform that Marc Singer wears appears to be made of a different material than most of the others. There is no evidence of the "square snowflake" pattern seen at certain angles and lighting as mentioned in the episode study of "Arrival".

Blaming himself for betraying the camp's location to the Visitors after his wife dies in front of him, Robert Maxwell sees and picks up a Colt MK IV Series 70 pistol and appears to be contemplating suicide until he hears his daughters calling for him and he is snapped out of it.

Donovan's mother, Eleanor, remarks that she is from a hick Louisiana town.

Eleanor makes a comment that she is a survivor and that's how she made it through his father's drunkenness. We also see his current stepfather drinking quite a bit as the episodes go on. I would suspect Eleanor was the major factor for the drinking in both cases! (In fact, Donovan makes a similar comment to her in the novelization.) The novel Death Tide reveals that Donovan's father died a few years ago, after which Eleanor married rich industrialist Arthur Dupres.

At 1:29:01 on the DVD, the brand name of the reel-to-reel tape player at the satellite dish is covered over with black tape.

When the resistance sends its message out into space hoping to contact the enemy of the Visitor leader, what's to prevent the Visitors themselves from intercepting it, tracking it, and shutting the broadcast down?

At 1:30:00 on the DVD, it's obvious that there is a paper covering over the double doors of the satellite dish station when Elias spray paints a V on them; a corner of the paper can be seen sagging slightly in the top left corner.


Notes From the Audio Commentary by Kenneth Johnson

The music during the closing credits of this episode are a modification and combination of Beethoven's 5th and 7th Symphonies.

V novel Notes from the V mini-series novelization by A.C. Crispin

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, paperback edition, published May 1984)

Pages 181-213 cover the events of "Plan for Resistance"

Page 185 reveals that Harmony is a pacifist due to her father having died in the Korean War and her brother in Vietnam.

On page 188 Martin says that Visitor life-spans approximate human ones.

On page 191 Martin says to Donovan, "I'm not going to say that I'm a vegetarian--that's not our way." Is that meant to imply that the Visitors can't survive on vegetables alone? In later episodes, Willie is said to be a vegetarian, though whether he always was or became one to appease the humans he now lives with is not stated.

Also on page 191, Martin says that when the expedition was first mounted the crew was told the inhabitants of Earth were like cattle and not intelligent. When they arrived and saw otherwise those who protested were disposed of.

In the mini-series itself, when Martin escorts Donovan through the dark corridors of the detention area to see Tony's body, Donovan is not wearing the sunglasses to conceal his face. During the same scene in the novel, he is. Either way poses risks to Donovan, I suppose. Going without the sunglasses risks a passing Visitor recognizing him. Wearing them in the dark corridors of the ship begs the question why wear them where they are not needed?

Page 192 describes the detention area in which Tony's body is being stored as smelling like blood and excrement. And in the mini-series Tony's body goes unseen; we see only Donovan's reaction to it to sell that something horrible was done to him. Here on page 192 of the novel, his body is described as having been cut open with surgical skill but not sewn back up; the body is resting inches deep in blood.

Pages 193-194 expand on the scene after Donovan and Martin find the beaten and bruised Sancho. Martin leaves briefly and returns with some medical supplies to patch the man up.

On page 195, after Martin explains the controls and functioning of the shuttle, Donovan says, "You ought to sell these babies in New England. Make a fortune." It seems like kind of an odd thing to say...why specifically New England? Am I missing some in-joke or pop reference?

On page 199, Randy (the good cop) secretly makes a "V" sign behind his back for Ruby's benefit as she sneaks away after having blown up the Visitor shuttle parked on the street.

Oddly, the novel entirely omits the scene of Julie and Elias setting up the broadcast of their space message to the Leader's foes. Perhaps Crispin chose not to include it because there is no pay-off as the rest of the novel covers V: The Final Battle, in which the resistance drives off the Visitors without any extraterrestrial help (other than the Visitors' own Fifth Column).

V: East Coast Crisis Notes from the novel V: East Coast Crisis by Howard Weinstein and A.C. Crispin

The events of V: East Coast Crisis take place concurrently with the two mini-series
V and V: The Final Battle and details the goings-on in the area around New York City.

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, paperback edition, published September 1984)

Pages 204-239 take place concurrently with the events of "Plan for Resistance"

On page 221, Jennifer reveals that humans are being taken by the Visitors for three reasons: as food, as breeding stock for more food, and to act as conscripted soldiers in an interplanetary war against a power that had defeated several of their worlds early in their Great Leader's military career, the only defeat their civilization has ever suffered. She also says that their current military government overthrew the previous civilian republic government which she says was much like that of the United States. On page 222 she goes on to say that many of her people still do not know the true purpose of the Visitor mission to Earth; they were misled or lied to. Jennifer herself is part of a group called the Alliance, a holdover from the old government. Presumably the Alliance is part of what we will come to known as the Fifth Column.

Page 226 reveals that the Pope has been converted by the Visitors.

Unanswered Questions

How far away is the Visitors' great enemy? At speed of light of radio broadcasts, it would take several years or much more for the Resistance's signal to reach Sirius or wherever they are located.

Memorable Dialog

hate to lose you.wav
you're here to take the water.wav
what enemy?.wav
let 'em have it, Cisco.wav
they ain't so tough.wav
you sound like mom.wav
whatever became of her.wav
if the Visitors do have an enemy.wav

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