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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
V: The Secret Underground V
"The Secret Underground"
Teleplay by David Braff and Colley Cibber
Story by David Abramowitz and Donald R. Boyle
Directed by Cliff Bole
Original Airdate: March 15, 1985

Diana wraps a fiendish plot for revenge around the Visitor celebration of Ramalan; Donovan and Julie must recover a list of Resistance leaders hidden by a Fifth Columnist aboard the L.A. mothership.

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

Didja Notice? 

At 2:46 on the DVD the tip of the microphone is visible at the top of the screen. 

   At 4:32 on the DVD, a Ramalan decoration has a symbol in the middle of it. What does it mean? It's not a standard character from the Visitor alphabet, though it is kind of like a flipped version of their letter "I". Is it an official symbol of the Ramalan celebration?
   Meanwhile, notice that the tube-structured gong next to the Ramalan decoration looks like a sideways "U" in the Visitor alphabet.
  Ramalan gong V letters I and U

To keep it out of Visitor hands, the Fifth Columnist Jonathan hides the resistance's computer diskette, containing the names of resistance leaders, in the Ramalan decoration that is referred to as the volcano. Curiously, the volcano appears to be the same prop used as the Mentamorph in "The Littlest Dragon"!

There appears to be Visitor writing on the lab beakers at 5:13 on the DVD.
V writing

Dr. Maitland is being forced by the Visitors to develop viruses to use against humans. Earlier, in "Hero", Diana tested a virus against humanity as well that the Resistance found an antiviral for. Perhaps Diana had Maitland captured because she thought a human virus expert might know how to create a more virulant strain.

There is Visitor writing on the sheets of paper on Diana's table at 10:35 on the DVD, but it is too blurry to make out.

We learn that Julie was once romantically involved with Dr. Maitland. Julie must have a thing for tall, blond men since Marc Singer (as Donovan) is 6'2" and Maitland (actor John Calvin) appears to be about the same height!

Philip arranges for Donovan and Julie to pose as Visitor scientists in order to sneak aboard the mothership to search for the diskette. You'd think by now though that the faces of Mike Donovan and Julie Parrish, two of the resistance's most well-known leaders, would be required memorization by all Visitor personnel. Yet they board easily without recognition!

As Oswalt begins to escort Donovan and Julie to the laboratory of human studies he says it's, " the X wing. That's room 113, I think." This may be an oblique reference by the writers to George Lucas' Star Wars saga (X-wing fighter craft) and his stand-alone film THX-1138.

For some reason, Dr. Maitland has a couple of posters of Rudolph Zallinger's famous 1947 fresco The Age of Reptiles on the wall of his lab on the mothership. The original fresco is on the walls of the Yale University's Peabody Museum of Natural History, depicting the Devonian through Cretaceous periods, covering 350 million years when ancient reptiles and dinosaurs ruled the Earth.
Zallinger mural
Zallinger mural

Lydia's brother Nigel says he was born on the 9th of Zendi, the 11th cycle of the 43rd sequence. Zendi must be the name of a Visitor month.

Visitor writing appears on the monitor at 15:50 on the DVD. V writing

Julie tells Maitland that she and Donovan are "just friends", with no time for anything but the war. This is the first confirmation we've had that their relationship as apparently cooled off.

When Lydia walks in on Philip to seek help against Diana, he seems to be in a sort of meditation, holding a glowing geode in front of his face. He even seems momentarily oblivious that Lydia has entered the room. This strange mental state he seemed to be in is never explained.

When Diana catches Donovan and Julie in the lab on the mothership, Donovan gives Julie a subtle look and a nod. Presumably, he was indicating to her that they should go with their plan to pretend to be Visitors and pull off their human masks, revealing Visitor masks that trick Diana into letting them go.

Even though they're speaking in a corridor, when Diana delivers her sinister warning to James, the ship's command center set is seen behind her at 24:32 on the DVD.

Nigel comments that those who die in the feast of Ramalan have their names inscribed in the Book of Heroes.

Diana announces that Dr. Maitland has pronounced the virus ready and so they will celebrate "the final solution to the human question." This phrase is deliberately borrowed by the writers from Nazi Germany's Final Solution, which was the plan for the systematic extermination of Jews, what Hitler referred to as "the final solution to the Jewish question".

More Visitor writing on beakers at 26:31 on the DVD. V writing

As Lydia and Nigel reminisce on the past, we learn that they once took a trip to the Crab Nebula and that Lydia was personally decorated by the Leader. The Crab Nebula is a supernova remnant in the Taurus constellation.

James is reading a page of Visitor writing at 29:56 on the DVD. We see the writing through the thin page, so it is backward. Below, I've provided the original scene and a flipped version so that the writing is "legible".
V writing V writing
V writing V writing flipped

James appears to have a painting of a planet and moon on the wall of his office. Is it the Visitors' homeworld?
Painting in James' office

If I'm not mistaken, a new shot of the mothership and L.A. background appears at 31:32 on the DVD, instead of the usual recycled images. The L.A. Bank of America building appears in the background.
Visitor mothership over L.A.

After rescuing Julie from the guards in the Ramalan feast chamber, Donovan tosses away his Visitor security helmet/visor. Why? He could have continued to use it to cover his face and maybe even pretend to be escorting Julie as prisoner to a cell if she was recognized.

Donovan and Maitland knock out two Visitors who are not wearing the dermoplast human skins. Then Donovan and Julie place human masks and wigs of themselves (provided by Philip) over the two as a decoy. But they don't apply the fake skin to the two Visitors' green, scaly hands...yet in the next shot (39:10 on the DVD) the two suddenly have human-looking hands!

The Donovan and Julie decoys are heard speaking Visitorese when Diana stops them. Listen: Visitorese

As Diana gloats over her impending sacrifice of Nigel, Lydia says, out of the blue, "If Philip had survived, he'd have seen your victory turn to ashes." Why does she think Philip is dead? The only thing I can think of is that James must have said something because Philip was present when Donovan and Maitland clobbered James and his men, but was absent when they regained consciousness in the corridor, so they must have thought Philip had been taken away and killed by the humans. Of course, when Philip quickly turns up alive, that would tend to lend credence to Diana's contention that Philip is a traitor.

Just before she is about to sacrifice Nigel, Diana says, "Hail, Ramalan!" and "Hail our hero!" and the gathered assemblage echoes her. This seems to imply that Ramalan was a person, a hero of Visitor history.

When Philip interrupts the sacrifice at 43:38 on the DVD, Diana refers to the ceremony as Throne Day. Perhaps Ramalan was a king?

The Visitors put on quite a fashion show during the Throne Day sacrifice!
priest and priestess Tattoo man
Priest and priestess Tattoo man
Lydia and Diana Nigel
Lydia and Diana (with killing implement) Nigel

This episode implies that Donovan and Julie's romantic relationship is over and has been for a while. She tells former flame Maitland that she and Donovan are "just friends" and that there's "not time for anything but war". But at the end of the episode she tells Maitland she wants to be with him again, so apparently she does think there's time for romance in war...just not with Donovan! Julie and Maitland have their separate obligations with the resistance though and must go their separate ways with a promise to hook up again whenever the war is over. However, in "The Prince and the Power", Julie seems to be thinking of the possibility of having kids with Donovan someday and, in "Blood on the Wind", the two even seem to renew their romance when they get a night alone together.

Memorable Dialog

lab animals.wav
orgies and random sacrifices.wav
bathhouses and barbarity.wav
a good time to be had by all.wav
imitation lizard.wav
you must be a collaborator.wav
an incompetent performance.wav
not time for anything but war.wav
don't let her kill my brother.wav
warped sense of humor.wav
did you see Diana's face.wav
the Book of Heroes.wav
Crab Nebula.wav
you've grown up better than me.wav
thinking of having some work done.wav
a reptile in a Donovan mask.wav
remember the conversion process.wav
sour grapes.wav
poor loser.wav

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