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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
V: Visitors' Choice V
"Visitors' Choice"
TV episode
Written by David Braff
Directed by Gilbert Shilton

In an attempt to curb Resistance strikes within the open city, Nathan Bates imposes a dusk-to-dawn curfew on all citizens and a death penalty for possession of firearms; the Visitors introduce a new food processor.

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

Didja Know?

I'm not sure why this episode is called "Visitors' Choice" unless it's a play on words of the coffee brand Taster's Choice, since the episode features the Visitors' introducing a new method of processing humans for food.

Didja Notice?

The Freedom Network report tells of battles against the Visitors in Texas in the Rio Grande Valley, Brownsville, and at the Alamo (which is destroyed in the battle). Touching on the new food processing theme of this episode, the aliens have established food processing centers in Dallas, El Paso, and San Antonio (possibly the Dallas food processing center is the one later seen in the novel The Texas Run). Newscaster Howard K. Smith refers to Texas as the former Lone Star State. Why former? Within the waging of the war is it no longer considered part of the U.S.?

The Freedom Network posthumously awards Miguel Ramirez for blowing up the Alamo! (He did it rather than let it fall into Visitor hands. As Seth Meyers would say, REALLY!?! Is it that important to keep the Visitors away from it that a national shrine should be destroyed instead?)

There is Visitor writing on the pages being read by Raoul at 2:52 on the DVD. The Visitors sure do use large print! V writing
At 3:37 on the DVD, the Resistance member's car that blocks the roadway has CA license plate 9HB676. This license plate later show up on one of Kyle's pick-up trucks in "The Dissident"!    
At 3:51 on the DVD, the Visitor limousine has CA license plate 252MWM.    
The car Donovan drives at 4:14 on the DVD is a Pontiac Trans Am.    
At 4:52 on the DVD, a Mobil gas station is seen in the background.    
There is Visitor writing on the folder and pages in Willie's hands at 4:29 on the DVD. He is reading the same file folder that was taken from Raoul's cold, dead hands by Tyler.
V writing   V writing   V writing

The new machine for processing humans for food is called an encapsulator.

The Visitors' food processing meeting takes place at Playa del Mar. This town on the California coast is fictional.

Nathan Bates sarcastically jokes that he's St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis (1182-1226) was the founder of the Catholic order of the Franciscans and is known as the patron saint of animals and the environment.

   At 8:37 on the DVD, Kyle is driving a different Chevy pickup than previously seen, a black one with CA license plate 1FWI483.
   A store called Sports Center is seen in the background in this shot, with a phone number on the sign that appears to be in the Hermosa Beach area.

At 8:59 on the DVD, Chaing and his henchman are in a Chevy sedan with CA license plate 4T8740. A Sears Savings Bank is seen in the background, a real world bank owned by Sears Holdings at the time which seems to have gone out of business or was sold to another bank in the late '80s.

At about 9:46 on the DVD, McKinley's Shoe Repair, Shoes 4 Less, and a business called Hooper are seen in the alley Kyle drives through to escape Chaing with Robin and Elizabeth. In fact, Kyle drives past McKinley's twice!

At 9:49 on the DVD, Chaing's vehicle can be seen losing a hubcap from one of the driver's side tires. And then, about 25 seconds later, the car loses both driver's side hubcaps!

In this episode, in response to resistance attacks against the Visitors in Los Angeles, Bates declares a 9:00 p.m. dusk-to-dawn curfew in the city and that possession of firearms is now punishable by death. Presumably these ordinances remain in place for the rest of Los Angeles' (brief) existence as an open city.

After escaping from Mr. Chaing, Kyle takes Elizabeth and Robin to hide out at the flat of his friend, Mongo. Mongo is not home, but Kyle lets himself and his friends in anyway to spend the night. Mongo must be an artist because his flat has several large painted canvases leaning against one wall, a couple of head sculptures, a small human body figure, etc.

Kyle reveals that his father has repossessed his house. Presumably it was retaliation for Kyle walking out on him in the previous episode ("The Sanction").

At 11:37 on the DVD, we see a previously unseen visitor weapon, a large, mounted laser rifle.
Mounted Visitor laser gun

The Boddickers' skate shop is called Pipeline Skate Shop. Signs and stickers on the door and windows advertise Kryptonics skateboard wheels, Ross Bicycles (no longer in business), BankAmericard (now Visa), Master Charge (now MasterCard), and American Express.

Donovan and Julie are referred to by the codenames Romeo and Juliet in Skip Henry's dedication on his radio show. Barry remarks to them, "Let's hope you don't end up the same way they did." This is a reference to Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, in which the star-crossed lovers both wind up dead. Possibly, our two heroes were given these codenames by the Resistance because they are known to be lovers. Ironically, "Juliet" is Julie's actual first name anyway!

Skip Henry also mentions the Jolly Green Giant in another dedication. The Jolly Green Giant is the corporate mascot of Green Giant vegetables.

Kyle is apparently a bit of a world traveler. He comments to Elias that he has been to London, Paris, and Monte Carlo. Perhaps the travel was for motorcycle races he participated in.

Donovan, Julie, Tyler, and the Boddickers arrive at the Visitor compound in Playa del Mar in a Volkswagen van with CA license plate 4T8740...this is the same license plate that was on Chaing's sedan earlier in the episode!

While spying on the Visitors' meeting house in Playa del Mar, Julie spots a Visitor wearing gold chains around his neck (like a gangsta!). She says he is General Maxwell Larson (the "Butcher of Birmingham"). And she sees another Visitor, Mary Krueger (the "Dark Angel of Dallas"). Why would a Visitor have a first and last name? Most of them have just one human name. Did they pass themselves off as humans at some point in the past? Or is it just an affectation on their part?

The Visitor called Mary Krueger, the "Dark Angel of Dallas", is played by Sybil Danning. She was a well-known queen of B-movies at the time V was made.
Mary Krueger

A slight flub seems to occur at 20:59 on the DVD. As Mary Krueger prepares her demonstration of the encapsulator, a man under the influence of the Visitors' procorb drug willingly steps into the processor frame and, as the camera follows Mary to activate the device, we can just see on the left of frame that the man steps out of the processor again before she pushed the remote control button to activate it! I assume he was supposed to step out after he was no longer in camera view, but why was it necessary for him to step out at all until the entire shot was complete? It's not like it was a real encapsulator with lasers to instantly slice and dice humans! OR WAS IT??!

While describing her new processor, Mary Krueger comments that the need for freeze-drying has been eliminated. Freeze-drying? It's been stated before in the series that the Visitors eat only live or freshly killed meat. Whether that is due entirely for health reasons or just their preference is unknown. If just preference, they may have come to the realization, due to the shortages on their own planet, that they will have to change some of their eating and food-keeping habits. This may explain some similar comments about food preparation in the chronologically earlier story of the novel The Alien Swordmaster.

We see some examples of Visitor medals on many of the attendees of the food processing conference, though they are not close-up views that allow for much examination. The most notable are the ones worn by Mary Krueger and General Maxwell Larson.
Mary Krueger's medals General Larson's medals
Notice that, besides the medals, Mary is wearing a belt buckle with
some kind of design on it and, also, a ruffled black strip on the right shoulder.
General Maxwell Larson
Visitor medals Visitor medals
Visitor medals  

Mr. Chaing uses his "persuasive" techniques on a captured resistance member named Fisher and succeeds in getting information from him. Chaing also informs Bates that Fisher died while they were discussing the matter and the morally ambiguous Bates does not seem perturbed by this.

The Boddicker brothers in Playa del Mar comment that commodities like coffee, milk, and sugar are luxuries around there. Presumably this is true in all Visitor-held territories.

When Elias is explaining to Robin and Elizabeth that Kyle went with Tyler for some business up the coast, Willie adds, "Yes. They are playing del Mar." He is trying to say they went to Playa del Mar, but why would he mess up the name when he already knows it and spoke it correctly while reading the Visitor documentation folder they took from Raoul? Maybe Willie really is dumb, as Caleb Taylor commented in the novel The Pursuit of Diana! It's also possible that Willie just likes to intentionally flub words to amuse his friends.

Julie carries her Heckler & Koch P9S pistol during the raid on the Visitor processing compound.

Is it just me, or does this Visitor guard look like he could use a shave and a haircut? Do the Visitors have dermoplast that duplicates a human male's 5 o'clock shadow?!
shave and a haircut

After the Boddicker brothers kill the Visitor guard, for some reason there appears to be a twig sticking up from his chest along with the crossbow bolt as the brothers drag his body into the brush from 34:00-34:03 on the DVD.
Visitor body with twig

When Elizabeth uses her psychic powers to blow out the light bulbs in the interrogation room to help Kyle escape at 38:52-38:57 on the DVD, it appears the same image of an exploding light bulb is used 5 times with each proceeding image just slightly zoomed in from the one before to make it look different.

At one point Diana offers the guests some hors d'oeuvres in the form of a tray of live insects! Wouldn't the insects tend to just crawl away?

As the Visitors sit down for dinner, we see that Diana is wearing glitter in her hair and multiple colors of mascara on her eyelids. The Visitors seem to have quite a penchant for mimicking the 80's human culture of the time!

From 41:06-41:24 on the DVD, Donovan enters a room in the Visitor meeting house and immediately walks over to what appears to be a bed and seems to pick up a pouch or bag to look inside it. But then the door begins to open and, startled, he drops it. It turns out to be just Tyler and Barry entering. But then Donovan urges them all to go looking for the absent Julie and they leave the room without whatever that pouch was. What was the pouch all about?

At 41:54 on the DVD, the gun that Julie had set down on the kitchen counter earlier is now in a slightly different location even though no one has touched it.

At the end of the episode, the resistance makes off with yet another Visitor skyfighter!

I've noticed throughout these episodes that the resistance constantly uses Earth guns and bullets in their battles. They must have a number of Visitor laser weapons stockpiled by now, why not use them? They would be much more effective against shock trooper armor and allow the humans to conserve bullets which cost a lot of money and deplete their supplies. The real reason they use regular guns is that the laser bolt special effect costs the producers about $1000 a shot, but bullets shots are invisible and free!

Memorable Dialog

I'm St. Francis of Assisi.wav
don't tempt me.wav
runs in the family.wav
I wouldn't give you my name.wav
a school of piranha.wav
I was never very much of a student.wav

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