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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
V: The Champion V
"The Champion"
TV episode
Written by Paul F. Edwards
Directed by Cliff Bole
Original Airdate: February 8, 1985

Donovan helps a town set up its own Resistance; Diana places Lydia on trial for the murder of Charles.

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

Didja Know?

Starting with this episode, the opening theme changes. There is new music reminiscent of that from V: The Final Battle, a narrator's voiceover describing a very basic setup of the series, and a reduced cast list since many characters were written out during the last couple episodes. The voiceover is as follows:

They arrived in 50 motherships, offering their friendship and advanced technology to Earth.
Skeptical of the Visitors, Mike Donovan and Juliet Parrish infiltrated their ranks and soon discovered some startling secrets.
The resistance is all that stands between us...and the Visitors.

Also starting with this episode, there are no Freedom Network reports by Howard K. Smith.

The end credits from this episode on, list Science Fiction Consultants. At the time the ongoing series of V was airing, many fans of the mini-series criticized the weekly series for being based more on soap operas than on science-fiction. This may be why these consultants were brought in as the show struggled for ratings. The consultants listed are Michael Chase Walker, Jeffrey B. Walker, and Thomas Scortia. Michael Chase Walker is a Hollywood writer and producer currently working on a number of animated projects and is the author of the graphic novel Circus Galacticus: Circus of the Beyond. Jeffrey B. Walker has been an actor, producer, and writer since the late 1960s. Thomas Scortia was an author who also worked in the aerospace industry; he wrote the novel The Glass Inferno on which the movie The Towering Inferno was based; he died in 1986.

Didja Notice? 

During the new opening credit sequence, we see several still shots of motherships over major world cities. There is a shot of Paris, France (identified by the Eiffel Tower), but the nighttime image is so dark, you can't see the ship! Only by turning up the brightness a lot in a photo editor is part of the ship visible!
Paris mothership Paris mothership (brightened)
Shot of Paris from the opening credit sequence Brightened shot (notice the center indentation of the ship on the left and part of the rim of the ship at top center of image).

The title of this episode, "The Champion", may refer to both the potential winner of the battle between Diana and Lydia, and Donovan, who is hero-worshipped by young Jessie Courtney when he helps to establish a resistance group where she lives.

The resistance must be really hard up since the Visitors took over Los Angeles. As they drive towards Tucson, Arizona in the pickup, Donovan and Kyle are sharing a cup of coffee from the same cup!

I guess it takes a really long time to drive to Tucson on the back roads. Kyle comments that Donovan has been driving since midnight; it's daylight now, and Donovan tells the Sheriff that he was driving fast because they are due in Tucson by tomorrow. By freeway it would only take 7-8 hours to drive from L.A. to Tucson. Sure, using only back roads would make the trip longer, but two days? It might be argued that they are coming from somewhere other than L.A. with the weapons shipment, but they are, at least, still in California because the Sheriff vehicle that pulls them over has a CA plate. (And later, when Kyle returns to L.A., he mentions having left Donovan at a farmhouse just west of San Bernardino. That would be less than 60 miles away!)

Donovan and Kyle's truck has CA license plate K482743 (though in some shots the truck appears to have no license plate at all!).

Speaking of license plates, the license plate number on the Sheriff vehicle changes during the chase! At 4:52 on the DVD it reads 37174 and at 5:23 it reads 46708.
sheriff vehicle sheriff vehicle

The bearded sheriff's deputy holds an Ithaca 37 shotgun on Donovan and Kyle.

During Donovan and Kyle's gunfight with the sheriff's deputies, Donovan wields his M1911A1 pistol.

At 6:13 on the DVD, the boom microphone is visible at the top of the screen.

Cathy Courtenay aids Donovan and Kyle in their gunfight with a Winchester 1866 "Yellow Boy" Carbine. Her daughter Jessie uses it a few times later in the episode, saying it used to be her late father's. Donovan refers to it as a "30-30" near the end of the episode on account of the type of ammo cartridge used in it.

In her cell, Lydia wears a belt that appears to keep her confined within the glowing poles. Her prisoner's garb also has an unusual Visitor symbol on it.
Lydia imprisoned

Diana gives Lydia a box with a scorpion in it should she choose to commit suicide rather than face trial for the murder of Charles. Apparently scorpion poison is just as harmful to Visitors as to humans, if not more so.

At 12:13 on the DVD, some men are at the Desert Dollar Bar and Grill drinking beer from cans that look like the Coors design of the time, but the cans are actually generic Hollywood props; notice the cursive logo actually says "Beer", not "Coors". Desert Dollar Bar and Grill appears to be a fictitious establishment.
generic Coors

As Lydia is to be escorted from her cell and prepared for trial, the guard turns off the power poles and enters to place handcuffs on her. But, since the belt Lydia wears prevents her from walking between the poles and allows others to pass through, wouldn't it have been safer for him to just walk through, cuff her, then have his companion guard turn off the poles? As it is, Lydia could have potentially made a break for it.

During Lydia's trial for the murder of Charles, he is referred to as Commander Charles.

As Donovan and Kyle say goodbye to Kathy on her front porch, she mentions that Jessie is in the barn feeding the horses. But when the house is shot at by the local enforcers a minute later, Jessie comes out of the house, not the barn, to return fire! Since the barn is to the side of the house, she may have run from the barn to the house and through a back door when the commotion started.

In the courtroom of the mothership, there are two large lizards tethered on top of the judges' bench! The center judge then vaporizes them, apparently a symbolic act of having found Lydia guilty.

The initial scenes of Donovan and Kathy on horseback being chased by a skyfighter are new, but when Kathy's horse falls and Donovan is left running solo, the scenes are stolen from the similar chase scene in "Unity".

There is Visitor writing on Lydia's blindfold (which she refuses) at 20:25 on the DVD.
V writing

The Inspector General and special envoy of the Leader who arrives on Earth in this episode turns out to be Martin's brother, Philip, and they look exactly alike. Philip explains that the two of them were developed from a mutual zygote. A zygote is a the cell formed from the fertilization of two gametes during sexual reproduction.

We learn from Diana's exchange with Philip that she has concealed Martin's betrayal of the Visitors and membership in the fifth column, presumably to protect herself from appearing incompetent at allowing her personal assistant to deceive her for so long. It seems unlikely though that Martin's betrayal could be kept secret considering he seems to have been somewhat known on Earth during the year after the red dust drove the Visitors away (in "Liberation Day", Nathan Bates mentions that his company manufactures the antitoxin that allows Visitors like Martin and Willie to live on Earth).

The disintegrator with which Diana's court plans to execute Lydia appears to be the same model as the one seen in "The Hero".

At 26:22 on the DVD, for the first time we see a wanted poster for Mike Donovan!
Wanted: Mike Donovan

At 27:37 on the DVD, Julie is seen wearing a neck brace. Later, Kyle mentions that she is still on "injured reserve" and Julie protests that it's just a pulled muscle, but no explanation is given as to how she got it. Perhaps actress Faye Grant was injured in her personal life and had no choice but to wear it even during shooting.

The ridiculous make-up Diana and Lydia wear during their mortal combat makes them look like female versions of members of the rock band Kiss!
Lydia joins Kiss Diana joins Kiss

At 31:51 on the DVD, Philip, presiding over the mortal combat ritual, speaks some Visitor words to begin the combat between Diana and Lydia. It sounds like "Maloch kon pombe."

At 32:21 on the DVD, a subordinate shows Phillip something insdie a carry-bag that makes Phillip decide to end the combat between Diana and Lydia. We never learn specifically what is was, but in the later episode "The Wildcats", Philip recovers fingerprints from the bottle of cat poison that killed Charles, so it may have been that bottle that was shown to him.

We learn that the Courtney farm is just west of San Bernardino and on County Line Road. This may put it near Chino Hills, CA.

The van Kyle, Elizabeth, and Willie arrive in is a Ford Econoline. Kyle brings his MAC-10 machine pistol with him this time.

Cathy Courtenay's truck is a Chevrolet C/K Silverado with CA license plate 1W65172.

The shot of James lifting off and escaping in the skyfighter at 41:06 on the DVD is obviously a rewound version of a previously shot scene of the craft landing because after lifting into the air, it flies off backwards!

As Donovan and his fellow L.A. resistance members leave the farm at 41:38 on the DVD, Willie is carrying a basket of fruit with him, with a pleased look on his face. It may have been a gift from the Courtneys to him since he is a vegetarian.

There appears to be some Visitor writing on a panel above Lydia's head at 44:11 on the DVD, but the words are too blurry to make out.

After stopping the mortal combat between Diana and Lydia, Philip invokes the Interguardian Rule which makes the two each responsible for the other's well-being. If anything untoward should happen to one, the blame will automatically fall on the other.

Memorable Dialog

we take care of the lizards.wav
in the spirit of fairness.wav
try to show a little character.wav
no lizard's gonna eat our horses.wav
I saved the best part for you.wav
you wouldn't dare.wav
nice try.wav
none of those chickens.wav
I think the reason is obvious.wav
none the worse for air.wav
never defeated.wav
fear of the inevitable.wav
ok, Mom.wav
a bit gamey.wav
you'll think you're a pencil.wav
you lizards got style.wav
don't lick my boots.wav
like most of your attacks.wav
the Leader is wise.wav

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