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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
V: Prisoners and Pawns V
Prisoners and Pawns

Written by Howard Weinstein

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, paperback edition, published March 1985)

The L.A. resistance must return three valuable resistance members to their own regions of the world under the noses of the Visitors while simultaneously picking up a needed weapons shipment and preventing a dastardly new invasion scheme of Lydia's.

Story Summary

Lydia and her security personnel have managed to capture three of the resistance's most valuable intelligence agents in the world; an American named David Durning, a gorgeous British spy named Susan Coopersmith, and a Japanese martial artist named Kyoshi Maragato. Thanks to a tip from a fifth columnist called Barry, the L.A. resistance group learns of the secret transfer of the three prisoners from Earth to the L.A. mothership and intercepts it, taking back the agents. Now they have to figure out how to get the three back to their respective territories.

Posing as a married couple, David and Susan are able to make their way to Visitor-free New York where David is safe to resume his intelligence work and Susan is helped back to England. Getting Maragato back to Japan is more difficult since it means travelling through Visitor-controlled portions of California to a small fishing town on the coast where they will set out into the ocean and rendezvous with a U.S. Navy sub that will ferry Maragato back to his island nation.

Meanwhile, Diana is furious at Lydia for the loss of the prisoners. She is also unhappy with her agreement with Nathan Bates that establishes L.A. as an open city and yet she must still continually deal with armed resistance forces within the city. She delivers an ultimatum to Bates that if he cannot control the smuggling of weapons into the city, she will abrogate the agreement by nuking the L.A. basin.

As the resistance prepares to move Maragato, Chris begins to notice that the Japanese agent doesn't always seem to be all there. He informs Tyler of his suspicions that Maragato may have been converted and they agree to just keep an eye on him for now. Then Tyler's contacts inform him that the desperately needed weapons shipment from Central America they've been waiting for will arrive in California and needs to be smuggled into the city in two days. Thus, they are forced to split into two groups to both pick up the weapons and deliver Maragato.

On the mothership, Lydia enlists Barry in a new plan to take control of all the toxin-free zones of the U.S. via a continent-wide electrical blackout and nuclear EMP in the atmosphere to halt all of the country's electrical devices and communications.

Bates' security team learns of the resistance's imminent weapons shipment and informs him. Bates tells Julie about it and also about Diana's threats and recommends that if she is still in contact with any or her old resistance allies she should warn them to stop their attacks. Julie goes to Donovan and tries to convince him to hold back the resistance, but it turns into an argument that ends with the two of them not speaking to each other. The resistance group votes on whether to abandon the weapons shipment and the decision is to proceed against Julie's wishes.

Barry gets word to Donovan about Lydia's new plan and agrees to meet him at a mine in the Skokie Mountains (where the resistance is meeting a boat captain to get Maragato out to the sub) and give him the plans. After Barry leaves the mothership to meet with Donovan, we learn that Lydia is aware that he is a traitor and is using him to set a trap for Donovan and Tyler, tapping the homing beacon of Barry's skyfighter. But fellow fifth columnist Zachary is suspicious of Lydia and rigs a block on the homing beacon for Barry's safety.

Julie, Kyle, Elias, and Elizabeth all make the trip to Castillo Beach for the weapons shipment where they are to take a boat out to dock with a larger one for the pickup. But Elizabeth has a premonition of danger for Julie and the two of them remain at the marina while Kyle and Elias make the short trip out. Upon reaching the cargo ship, they find Nathan Bates and his men aboard. Father and son argue and Bates allows them to leave with a warning to the resistance and, of course, without the intercepted weapons. If Julie had gone, her cover at Science Frontiers would have been blown; Elizabeth's premonition is thus confirmed.

Donovan, Tyler, Chris, and Maragato travel to the small town of Crow's Fork and hire an old acquaintance of Tyler's to guide them up Skokie Mountain to the mine. Chris and Maragato remain at the guide office while Donovan and Tyler travel with two guides, Annie and Alex, up the mountain to meet their contacts. They reach the mine and meet Barry with his plans but the boat captain never arrives, frightened by the appearance in the sky of four Visitor skyfighters. Soon, Barry's pilot radios back to him about the Visitor skyfighters and that they must sit tight until the coast is clear.

The four skyfighters land in Crow's Fork and Lydia announces to the populace that she knows Donovan and Tyler are there and demands they be turned over or she will begin killing the townsfolk. Maragato turns out to be a Visitor in disguise and Chris ends up killing him.

On the mountain, Alex goes for a walk and encounters some townsfolk fleeing the Visitors in Crow's Fork. He decides to head to town and tries to strike a bargain with Lydia to turn over Donovan and Tyler. His plan backfires on him and he is taken prisoner himself. Meanwhile, two teenage boys try to throw a monkey wrench into Lydia's plans by setting off homemade bombs, successfully destroying one of the skyfighters. Shortly after, Chris manages to team up with the two.

Slipping off on their own to a quiet place in the woods, Tyler and Annie make love, renewing an old relationship. Afterwards they encounter Frank, another one of the guides from the office in Crow's Fork, and he informs them of the goings-on in town. To save the townsfolk, Donovan decides to give himself up to Lydia. Frank pretends to have captured him and brings him to Lydia to exchange for mercy on the town. But Lydia is not satisfied with just Donovan, she wants Tyler too. Donovan, Frank, and Alex are all tortured for information on his whereabouts. Alex actually resists until death. Frank finally breaks and tells the Visitors the general area they last left Tyler, Annie, and Barry.

Meanwhile, on the mothership, Zachary has decided that Barry's mission must have failed and heads to L.A. and Club Creole. He informs Julie and the rest of what he knows and gives them another set of Lydia's invasion plan. The group takes Zachary's skyfighter up to Crow's Fork in hopes of finding the missing people.

Chris and his crew manage to destroy another of Lydia's skyfighters on the ground, leaving her with only two with which to find Tyler and Barry. Both take off and soon encounter Barry's pilot trying to make her way to them; she destroys one of them before she is killed when the remaining fighter shoots her down. Then the Visitor fighter crew spot Tyler, Annie, and Barry on the ground and begin strafing them. Annie is killed. Then Zachary's skyfighter arrives and shoots down the remaining ship. The resistance members keep Lydia and her crew under cover of their guns and Lydia laughs at them, explaining that her insane invasion plan was false, just a ruse to get Barry to lead her to Donovan. But the resistance gets the last laugh as they force Lydia and her crew to strip in order to keep the uniforms and send them walking on their way with only their bioplastic skins to cover them. Meanwhile, Chris' crew take down the skeleton crew of security guards watching Donovan and Frank, freeing them.

Tyler brings Annie's body back to the town, where she'll be buried in the local cemetery.



Didja Know?

In the Author's Notes (which begin on page v!), Weinstein comments that as of that writing, the show had not even premiered yet and he hopes that by the time the book sees print the show will have proven popular and will still be on the air. The book was published in March 1985, unfortunately just weeks before the final episode of the canceled series aired!

Notes from the V chronology

Page 2 of the novel says that many months have passed since the Visitors reinvaded Earth. But the circumstances of the novel (the open city, Kyle and Elizabeth's tentative relationship, etc.) seem more like they fit in just a month or so after the invasion at most.

Didja Notice?

The back cover of the novel is headlined: TRUST NO ONE! The phrase later became associated with another alien-themed TV show, The X-Files, which premiered 8 years later.

The book continuously describes the reverberation of Visitor voices. When this book was written it must be that the producers of the TV series had not yet elected to do away with the reverberation effect for the series.

Also on page 2, while discussing the rumors that Diana murdered Pamela and John at the end of the first invasion, a Visitor captain mentions that the Leader rose to where he is by murdering superior officers. He also mentions it's a part of life in the fleet.

Page 4 mentions that, like Ham Tyler, Chris Faber is ex-CIA.

Besides Willie's usual malapropisms, page 5 depicts him giving a thumbs down as a sign of optimism.

Page 7 reveals, in Lydia's musings, that after Diana was rescued from Earth and reached the fleet in "Liberation Day", she declared herself Supreme Commander of the fleet. In The Florida Project, Medea is depicted in that position during Diana's imprisonment on Earth; the later novel Symphony of Terror reveals that Medea has been demoted to to a mere city commander in Phoenix, Arizona.

Page 8 introduces a Visitor character called Lt. James. This is apparently not the same Lt. James whom we later see in episodes of the weekly series and who becomes one of Diana's lovers and conspirators. In fact, the James in this novel is actually a lover and conspirator of Lydia's!

Page 9 reveals that the three intelligence agents captured by Lydia and freed by the resistance are liaisons between the various resistance groups around the world and the governments in Visitor-free parts of the world.

Page 10 reveals that one of the things that occupied Tyler during the year after "The Final Battle" was that he supervised some of the military tests of the Visitor skyfighters captured during the occupation.

Page 10 also introduces a Visitor vehicle called a sand rover which has a swiveling boring device on its nose that allows it to burrow and tunnel through solid ground.

Page 19 suggests that Elias is known for wearing a trademark white suit and panama hat at the Club Creole. Since this book was written based on an early version of the series bible, it suggests that Elias' trademark suit may have been an affectation of the character that was ultimately discarded before filming of the series began since we never do see him dressed that way in any televised episodes!

On pages 19-20, Elias muses on how he thought of the year after the first invasion and his greeting of guests into the Club Creole during that time, as being like Fantasy Island to him, up to and including the wearing of the white suit! Fantasy Island, of course, is a reference to the 1977-1984 TV series in which Ricardo Montalban played Mr. Roarke, always wearing a white suit.

Page 20 reveals that the Club Creole even occasionally caters food for parties at the Visitor embassy. As long they pay me, Elias muses.

Page 20 also describes the speakeasy of the Club Creole as being Art Deco in design. From the couple of rooms we see on the series, I would guess that the concept of it being Art Deco was abandoned before filming; the speakeasy is pretty blasé looking.

Page 20 also describes the secret doorway to the Club Creole's speakeasy as being in Elias' office. During the series the door is found at the back of one of the walk-in refrigerator rooms of the restaurant's kitchen.

Page 21 mentions that Lauren Stewart and Pete Forsythe will take care of things on the New York end for David and Susan's trip home. Lauren and Pete are characters from the earlier novel East Coast Crisis, co-written by Weinstein.

British spy Susan is described as being beautiful and on page 21 Elias even comments that she looks like a Playboy Bunny. The Playboy Bunnies were beautiful waitresses who wore revealing, bunny-themed outfits at the Playboy Clubs that existed from 1960-1988 (and occasionally seen at Playboy functions).

The novel The Alien Swordmaster refers to the Visitors' fake human skin as dermoplast. On page 22 of this novel it is referred to as a bioplastic skin, but the two terms are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Page 22 mentions that after being forced to walk through the hot, dry air of the desert for an entire day, Lydia and James' bioplastic skins have suffered some cracks.

On page 26, Donovan mentions a fishing town on the California coast called Castillo Beach that's so small it's not even on the map. That's because it doesn't least not in the real world.

Page 26 also mentions the coastal city of San Clemente, which Donovan comments he used to refer to as San Clemency when President Richard Nixon retired to his mansion there after being pardoned for his crimes by President Ford in the mid-1970s. This provokes a comment from Tyler about "you pinko liberals", nicely contrasting the twos personalities and why they have difficulty getting along.

Page 28 has Kyle thinking of Elizabeth as looking 18 years old, though he knows she's really only 18 months old. In "The Sanction", Mr. Chiang guesses her age as 16 years.

Page 28 also describes some of Kyle's confused feelings for Elizabeth. He is attracted to her but knows she's not just another girl to be taken to dinner and then to bed. But he also feels like a big brother to her.

Also on page 28 is the revelation that, in many eyes, Nathan Bates is the most brazen human collaborator of the Visitors on the planet. Kyle has even considered changing his name to cut the ties and avoid associations with his old man.

Page 30 reveals that Nathan Bates built the Science Frontiers corporation into one of the world's most successful scientific research and development companies. When he is in his executive office at the Science Frontiers building at sunrise or sunset he always spends the time alone to watch the horizon and meditate and contemplate.

Page 34 reveals that the Visitor legation was formerly a Soviet embassy! In the real world, the building used for exterior shots is a building on the grounds of Alverno High School in Sierra Madre, CA.

Page 34 also describes Diana offering Nathan some wine at the embassy that was left behind by Soviet officials when they left the building. Perhaps that is also how the resistance found the champagne they celebrated with after the Visitors fled the building during "The Final Battle" and The Pursuit of Diana.

On page 37 an unnamed resistance member begins to sing some lyrics, "I want to be around to pick up the pieces when somebody breaks your heart". These are from the song "I Wanna Be Around", written by Johnny Mercer and performed by numerous other singers and bands over the years like Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, Tony Bennett, and the Count Basie Orchestra.

On page 38 Maggie Blodgett appears. Maggie was a character seen throughout the V: The Final Battle mini-series but is not seen in any of the weekly series episodes.

During a discussion on page 38 of an incident in Tyler's past regarding the defection of a North Korean fighter pilot to Japan, MiGs are mentioned. MiGs were Soviet military planes during the Cold War, mostly fighter jet models. MiG is the abbreviation of "Mikoyan and Gurevich", the founders of the Russian Aircraft Corporation who built the planes.

Page 39 reveals that Tyler wouldn't mind taking advantage of any mistakes Donovan might make as a resistance leader to "knock him out of the box and run this show myself."

Page 41 reveals that, somehow, there are a maze of passageways under the streets to allow resistance members to make their way to the speakeasy from several blocks away. In the later episode "Reflections in Terror", Kyle comments on there being sewer access to the location, so this may be what is meant by "passageways".

Page 42 mentions several places in San Luis Obispo County, California, like the Panza mountain range, the town of Santa Margarita and Route 58. These are all real places. There is also mention of a small town called Crow's Fork, also (like Castillo Beach mentioned earlier) so small it doesn't appear on a map; this is a fictional town.

On page 45, Lydia comments to Barry that when he sent the fleet to Earth, the Leader did not intend for Diana to be in charge and now that she is there is nothing he can do about it. Why? Since there seems to be some FTL communication taking place with the Leader on occasion throughout the series, why can't he place some other officer in charge if he so desires?

Page 47 reveals that Julie has a photo of Donovan on her desk at Science Frontiers. Wouldn't that almost confirm to others that she is still involved with him and blow her cover of being a fully-retired resistance member and loyal employee of Nathan Bates? Since Donovan is known to have resumed his career as a resistance fighter against the Visitors she would need to keep her ongoing relationship with him a secret.

Pages 55-56 seem to suggest that the fifth column cells on the motherships have a rather informal protocol for introducing members of one cell to another. Here, fifth columnist Captain Barry calls Lt. Zachary to his quarters to give him a mission to meet with Donovan. Though Zachary was not aware of Barry being a fifth columnist before this moment, he makes only one protest that he doesn't know what the captain is referring to before taking him at his word and accepting the traitorous assignment.

On page 60, Maragato comments on Tyler possibly having watched Shogun on TV. He is referring to the top-rated TV mini-series that aired on NBC in 1980 based on the 1975 novel by James Clavell.

Pages 61-62 describe San Clemente Island, about 75 miles off the coast of California. This is a real island owned by the U.S. Navy. Here in the novel, Nathan Bates has a small private navy docked in Pyramid Cove there.

On page 62, Donovan mentions taking Route 5 ("the back way") to the area around Santa Margarita. Technically he must mean Interstate 5, which is definitely a "back way" to reaching the area, going about 60 miles out of the way!

Page 64 mentions the ta'iyta, a triangular stringed musical instrument of the Visitors.

On page 65, Barry comments that he wishes he could go swim in the Lantan Hot Springs. Presumably this is a hot spring on the Visitors' homeworld.

Page 69 reveals that Kyle has been around water and handled boats since he was a little kid.

On page 71, Julie muses on Elizabeth's growth. Julie seems to accept that Elizabeth has the physical body of an 18-year old. It is also revealed that Elizabeth's powers have been growing: she's demonstrated a healing touch that dated back thousands of years in Visitor legend according to Willie (though it's not demonstrated in the novel nor the series episodes, except that she does bring Willie back to life immediately after he dies of a gunshot wound in the later episode "The Betrayal"); and begun to have premonitions, as seen in this novel.

Page 75 mentions that the mine is located on Skokie Mountain. There is no such mountain in California (though there is one in Massachusetts).

Page 83 reveals that Donovan has loved horseback riding since he was a kid.

On page 86, Julie and Willie discuss Elizabeth's knowledge of things that the Masters of the Preta-na-ma religion knew long ago. How could she have learned them? Julie speculates on whether Diana, after engineering the conception between Robin and Brian, could have conditioned the fetus prenatally.

On page 87, Julie puts Elias in charge of the rendezvous at sea to pick up the weapons shipment and Elias responds, "What do I look like, Long John Silver?" And Julie responds innocently, "Did he own a restaurant, too?" Long John Silver is a fictional pirate character in Robert Louis Stevenson's 1883 novel Treasure Island. Of course, Long John Silver's is also the name of a chain of fast-food style seafood restaurants!

On page 90, Nathan Bates and his men intercept Elias and Kyle as they attempt to make the weapons pickup for the resistance. Nathan does not seem surprised to find his son there even though at this point in the V timeline Bates should not be certain of his son's involvement. He also knows of Elias' status as both resistance member and owner of the Club Creole, so he could easily have the restaurant shut down. Why hasn't he?

Also on page 90, after listening to Bates' demands of the resistance, Elias cracks "As long as we're taking requests, how about "Old Man River" played on water glasses at Club Creole every time you come in, hmmm?" He is referring to the song "Ol' Man River" from the 1927 musical play Show Boat. The song has also been performed by a number of musical artists over the years such as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Jim Croce. I'm not sure though if there is any particular significance to Elias mentioning this particular song; perhaps it is because the song deals in part with black laborers doing the bidding of rich white men (as Nathan is asking of Elias).

On page 91, Elias refers to Bates' security men as King Kong and Mighty Joe Young. These are two giant ape characters from the movies.

On page 92 Bates talks as if he thinks Elias will work for him someday, becoming a "valuable asset." Bates may be trying to impress on him that he has a respect for Elias for his accomplishments as a businessman.

On page 93, having already fallen on the launch earlier, Elias tells Kyle he's sitting and ready for a collision with the QE II. He is referring to the Queen Elizabeth 2, the famous Cunard ocean liner. It is now retired, but was still in service at the time the novel was written.

Page 103 introduces a Visitor land rover vehicle about the size of a mini-van. The vehicle is armored and has a slit running around its waistline for viewing and shooting. The armor goes down to only a couple inches above the ground, so that while observing it, Chris is unable to tell if it runs on wheels or treads.

Page 105 mentions the small town of Northville, CA. This is another fictional town.

After Maragato is revealed as a disguised Visitor, page 121 reveals that his reverberating voice was concealed by a surgical procedure that implanted an electronic filter to eliminate the extra sounds produced by the Visitors' multiple vocal apparatus.

Speaking of Maragato's revelation as a Visitor, shouldn't Tyler and Chris have immediately entertained the idea of a Visitor  disguised as Maragato? They already know the Visitors can be made to look like existing humans from the attempted assassination of Diana by a fake Donovan in "The Masterpiece".

On page 134...Ham Tyler gets laid!

On page 143, the Visitors place Donovan into a tube and he is strapped down, with electrodes attached to his chest. This is some kind of interrogation contraption that channels painful electrical surges into his body while they question him. Why do they not simply use Diana's truth serum? It has already been found to be very effective in both "Matters of Trust" and The Pursuit of Diana.

Page 149 reveals that during the invasion Diana has produced propaganda and doctored videos of barbarous acts of terror and butchery by humans on captured Visitors.

On page 174, after her plan has been foiled, Lydia recognizes Julie in the resistance group. Wouldn't she reveal this fact to Diana and Bates, blowing Julie's cover at Science Frontiers?

On page 175, as a vengeful Tyler grabs Lydia by the throat, Julie warns him about the venom on the aliens' tongues. On their tongues? I'd always figured the venom was released from glands in the throat and spit out.

As Tyler tears some of the skin on Lydia's neck on page 176, the narrative describes "the oil from her natural skin shining in the sunlight." This sounds like the alien skin effect seen throughout the mini-series. During the weekly series, the cheap effects depict a drier skin surface when exposed.

On page 178, Julie says, "We came as fast as we could. We came to save you. Jeez, I sound like Luke Skywalker." She is referring to a similar line of dialog spoken by Luke in Star Wars: A New Hope when he rescues Princess Leia from her cell on the Death Star.

On page 180, with the two fifth columnists Barry and Zachary's cover blown, Julie comments they have two new recruits for the resistance. Since we never hear of them again, perhaps they were sent to work with resistance groups elsewhere since L.A. already has the inestimable Willie.

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