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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com

V: The Overlord V
"The Overlord"
TV episode
Written by David Abramowitz
Directed by Bruce Seth Green
Original air date November 30, 1984

In order to mine much-needed cobalt for her troops’ weapons, Diana enlists the aid of a tough motorcycle gang to enslave a small town in a red dust contaminated area.

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

Notes from the V chronology

Although it originally aired before "The Dissident", I have chosen to place this episode after it due to the fact that the Visitor character of Daniel (no relation to Daniel Bernstein!) is alive and well in "The Dissident" even though he was killed "previously" here. So the air order must have been a snafu on NBC's part, right? Well, not so fast, because Lydia "dies" in "The Dissident" (actually she fakes her death, but she is gone for a couple of episodes) and yet is seen here in this episode! So, really, these two deaths wind up completely contradicting both of these episodes! I think I recall reading somewhere that the producers realized they had made a mistake with the two deaths in these episodes due to the fact that episodes and scenes are often shot out of order, so it can be confusing to keep the script chronologies intact; I believe they decided that viewers noticing guest-star Daniel's brief "return from the grave" was less likely than their noticing major character Lydia's, so the episodes were presented "The Overlord" first, "The Dissident" second. But another aspect of "The Dissident" story makes me present the two episodes in the opposite manner: Elizabeth's stowing away with Kyle for the adventure, upsetting both Kyle and Donovan. Here in "The Overlord", Elizabeth finally stands up for herself and insists on accompanying the rest on their mission and stating how she resents being protected all the time. Kyle and Donovan finally accept this and allow her more freedom to participate. Since Lydia's scene in this episode's story is so brief, I think we must simply overlook the appearance and pretend she was never there.

Didja Know?

Most of the story takes place in Rawlinsville, CA. This is a fictitious town.

At one point in the story, Elizabeth pretends to be a bored girl from North Flats, CA. This is also a fictitious town.

Didja Notice?

In the Freedom Network report, Howard K. Smith reports that Bangkok, Thailand has fallen to the Visitors; the fight for Birmingham, Alabama continues; the Freedom Network's Medal of Valor goes to Dr. Harvey Wachman of Kansas City, Missouri for freeing a dozen boys from a Visitor Youth Corps camp and reuniting them with their families in Chicago.

At 3:41 on the DVD, Gil's Garage, the Ice Cream Cone, and Rawlinsville Hardware and Appliance are seen in the background in Rawlinsville.

At 4:00 on the DVD, an out-of-place "alto" sign is seen on the ground in Rawlinsville. Alto is Spanish for "stop".

At 5:18 on the DVD, we see a Jeep-mounted laser gun that is different from the type seen previously in "Visitors' Choice". (The screengrab below is from 43:45 in the episode, after Elias has pulled it off its mount.) At about 6:49, the underside of the gun can be as decorated with simple pieces of black tape!
Elias holds a Jeep-mounted laser gun Jeep-mounted laser gun "Visitors' Choice"
Jeep-mounted laser gun in "The Overlord" Jeep-mounted laser gun in "Visitors' Choice"

At 6:47 on the DVD, the futuristic crates in the mothership's storage room are obviously just simple Styrofoam packaging!
mothership storage room

The white armband worn by Kenneth has two triangles on it. It must be the symbol of medical personnel because he says he is a medic and in the "The Dissident" there are a couple of Visitors wearing a similar white band (we never get a close look to see if there are symbols on them) assisting the injured after Donovan and Tyler's attack.
Visitor medical armband

The hologram image of Amon is almost entirely covered in clothing, including to the point of wearing gloves! We see only his chin, upon which it is difficult to tell whether he has a beard or just very wrinkled skin. Since the image is grey-toned, his skin color or hair color is not even discernable. Why all the secrecy? And, if he does have a beard, we've seen no previous evidence that the Visitors have any hair at all. Could Amon be a human or another life form?
hologram of Amon close-up of Amon
Kenneth tears the dermoplast off his chest in supplication to Amon. But the size of the tear changes!
Kenneth in supplication to Amon Kenneth in supplication to Amon
At 7:09 on the DVD At 8:06 on the DVD

Kenneth tells Amon that he is just back from Charleston, where the fighting has been terrible. Presumably, he is referring to Charleston, South Carolina.

Apparently the main covenant of the Zon religion is: Zon is the cause for which I would die. But there is no cause for which I would kill.

Willie seems to be in the habit of preparing bizarre mixes of food for himself. First there were the unusual smoothies he blended in "The Sanction" and Death Tide, and here he dips cherries in mustard and eats them! Perhaps he is trying to recreate the flavors of foods on his homeworld.

To prove to Elias that she is human, Glenna grabs a champagne bottle from the bar and smashes it in half in order to use a glass shard to cut her hand and show the red blood. But notice that when she smashes the bottle, no champagne spills out of it!

As part of a code phrase she uses over the phone with Donovan, Julie says her aunt is visiting Dover on the fourth. This could refer to any number of cities in the U.S. or around the world.

Julie learns from her research that the Visitors' laser pistols are powered by a cobalt base, but it has an irregular molecular structure.

Does anyone else think that Willie in drag looks like Tootsie? (Or maybe a thin Mrs. Doubtfire, thought that film came almost 10 years later.)
Willie Tootsie
Willie Tootsie

At 14:21 on the DVD, Willie walks past a store called Pat's.

At 14:58 on the DVD, Willie stops a GMC delivery truck with CA license plate 2J01843. Seconds later, Donovan and Tyler show up in a police squad car with license plate 21772.

At 15:47 on the DVD, in the back of the truck transporting weapons for Bates, there is a box labeled Boothe Fruit Co. with a date of March '57! This may be a real world box that the prop master found. There was a real Boothe Fruit Company that existed in 1957 and some of their products were even packaged as C-rations for the U.S. military at the time.
Boothe Fruit Co.

At 16:45 on the DVD, Diana is reading the Book of Zon she took from Kenneth, but the Visitor print on the pages is too blurry for us to see clearly. She calls it religious nonsense, a collection of myth and fairy tales.

The reptilian skin make-up worn by the actor playing Kenneth looks better than it typically does in other episodes of the weekly series.

Apparently Julie has moved out of the house we saw her in in "Breakout". Here we see her entering an apartment instead, and the interior is definitely different than what we saw in that earlier episode. There is a book seen on a shelf that says something about "Laura Ashley" and "Home Decorating". Laura Ashley lived from 1925-1985 and was a popular designer of women's clothing and home furnishings. The style of Julie's interior decoration here appears to be similar to the old-fashioned style of Laura Ashley. Julie also has a large painted portrait of a woman above her mantle; possibly this is a portrait of Laura Ashley, but we don't get a close look at it.
portrait in Julie's apartment Laura Ashley
Portrait in Julie's apartment Laura Ashley

Garrison tells Diana she'll get the first delivery of cobalt Willow Point the following day. He may be referring to the small community of Willow Point in Northerin California, which may suggest the approximate location of the fictional Rawlinsville in the mountains nearby.

At 19:14 on the DVD, we see a mansion-like house that must be the location of Julie's apartment.

Glenna says the resistance force will be able to take Rawlinsville "like Grant took Richmond". This is a phrase that was popular in the 20th century (though increasingly less used) referring to the Union forces' taking of the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia during the U.S. Civil War. General Ulysses S. Grant was the General-in-Chief of the Union Army at the time, though it was actually General Godfrey Weitzel who led the force that took the city on April 3, 1865.

Michael Ironside (as Ham Tyler) seems to make a small dialog gaff at 23:08 on the DVD, referring to Nathan Bates' company as Science Frontier instead of Science Frontiers.

At 23:34 on the DVD, after Chaing has successfully picked the lock of Julie's apartment door and let himself in, he doesn't bother to close it all the way as he looks around for evidence to use against her. This is an old Hollywood plot-trick to tip-off the intruder's presence to one of the protagonists in advance. But I refuse to believe that an intelligent professional thug like Chaing would make such a stupid mistake! Here, it allows Robin to see him without being seen herself and she is able to inform Julie of what happened.

When Diana invites her assistant (and latest sexual target) Daniel to dinner in her quarters, the glasses of water they drink each have a live goldfish in them!
water glasses with goldfish

When Robin disguises herself as a cleaning lady at Science Frontiers, I wonder if she was inspired by the disguises worn by Ruby in the work she did for the resistance in the mini-series. Also, note that Robin speaks of her deceased husband, Max...this is a play on her own last name of Maxwell.

Chaing discovers a floppy disc copy of Bates' weapons shipment information in Julie's apartment, but just before he can show it to Bates, Robin manages to swap it out for a disc that is merely a worksheet of Julie's tax return for 1982. We see some of Julie's information on the screen at 29:30 on the DVD:

  • 1982 would have been before the Visitors' arrival and it shows that Julie was a biochemist, earning $25,222. Presumably, she would have been in medical school at that time and must have had a biochemistry job while she was attending.
  • The numbers on her tax return don't quite add up and the tax program seems to be in love with the number 22 at the end of every figure! It shows her gross income of $25,222 minus her itemized deductions of $7,222 equals $18,222. Nope, that would equal $18,000. And it shows her refund due as $822. Nope, if figures of "tax withheld" and "tax from Schedule D" are correct (doubtful), her refund would be $800.
  • The zip code listed on her address is fictitious, it does not exist in the real world. Looking up the street address on Google Maps, there are two 518 W. 1st Streets in two zip codes in Los Angeles; one appears to be a business district, the other does have a house at that approximate address.
    Julie's tax return

It looks like Faye Grant delivered a real slap to Lane Smith at 29:35 on the DVD, judging from the reaction on his face!

At 30:27 on the DVD, Garrison's thug has a black widow spider patch on the back of his jean jacket.

At 30:31 on the DVD, Elizabeth leads the thug into the Rawlinsville Inn where her Resistance friends are waiting for her.

At 30:43 on the DVD, a poster-sign is seen leaning upside-down against a wall in the Rawlinsville Inn. The sign advertises a rodeo in Huntsville, Texas.

Near the end of the episode, the Resistance and Garrison's gang have a showdown at Rawlinsville Cobalt Mining Co. (RCM).

During the confrontation at the cobalt mines, Elias appears to be carrying a Kalashnikov rifle, Donovan his M1911A1, Glenna an Uzi, one of Glenna's men an M16 (he is later a guard at the jail, still carrying the M16). Kyle also carries an M16.

Diana tells Daniel to send a hyperlight cable to the Leader. This must refer to the Visitors' faster-than-light communications.

The RCM truck at 39:02 on the DVD is a Chevrolet C60, approximately 1980 model.

There is Visitor writing on a sign at 40:39 on the DVD. Presumably the Visitor words correspond to the English ones above it. Red dust contaminated area
At 43:09 on the DVD, some of Glenna's men are sheltering behind a Ford Maverick during the firefight.
At 43:52 on the DVD, Simmons Apartments is seen behind the battling Kyle in Rawlinsville.
Memorable Dialog

Zon teaches compassion.wav
Zon is the cause.wav
I'm not some freak.wav
I know what men want.wav
that's the trouble with you Ham.wav
you are a genius.wav

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