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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
V: War of Illusions V
"War of Illusions"
Written by John Simmons
Directed by Earl Bellamy
Original air date: March 08, 1985

The Leader sends the Battlesphere device to coordinate a massive blitzkrieg attack on the American Southwest.

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

Didja Notice? 

At 4:12 on the DVD, a dumpster appears to have Tolliver Construction Co. stenciled on the front. I've been unable to confirm if this was an actual business at the time.

While lying in bed with James, Diana asks if she can peel him another goldfish! No, it's not a sex term, there is a bowl of goldfish sitting next to the bed.

Donovan mentions that Julie is in Fresno and thus not able to help them operate the sophisticated computer at Science Frontiers to stop the Visitors' Battlesphere. Fresno is a city in central California. Perhaps Julie is still making her way back from northern California after the diphtheria epidemic in "The Wildcats" and her continued presence up north, with Elizabeth, as mentioned in "The Littlest Dragon". Obviously, Elizabeth came on ahead of her, as she has a prominent role in this episode.

At 7:01 on the DVD, the producers have reused the same scene of Lt. James ordering a trooper to check out the van from "The Rescue" here! The van Visitor trooper checks out is a Ford Econoline van with CA license plate 8M7Q86, the van Kyle was driving in that earlier episode!

The Visitors' Battlesphere allows the Leader to transmit his own battle plan directly to the combat craft remotely and assume all control. The Battlesphere seems to be just a common Earth-style plasma ball plugged into a computer!

At a party on the mothership, Diana says that they are celebrating the day of Sluta, the annual perigee of their sun-star. The perigee is the closest approach of a celestial object in relation to the orbit of another. Presumably the day of Sluta is the perigee of their sun to their world (said to be Sirius IV in The Chicago Conversion) or, since Sirius is a binary star system, the perigee of the two suns to each other. Is "Sluta" the Visitors' name for their sun? Or their planet? Neither?

Apparently Lydia has picked up some human slang. In response to one of Diana's pronouncements she says, "Well, la-dee-da."

At 9:41 on the DVD, there is some weird...thing...having a conversation at Diana's party! It's someone or something tall with some kind of contraption of pipes and lights on its head! Is it an alien not seen on the series before?
alien creature

At 9:45 on the DVD, a drunk Lydia appears to be putting the moves on Philip! He takes the first excuse he can to break away from her.
Lydia puts the moves on Philip

As the Leader's battle plans are being transmitted to the Battlesphere, the noises it makes are the same kind of sounds made by Pascal's counterfeiting device in "Unity" and stolen from the Enterprise bridge sounds of the original Star Trek! Within the context of V, perhaps the similarity of the sounds means Pascal's counterfeiting device contained Visitor technology? Maybe that's partly how he gained his reputation as such a good forger!

At 10:48 on the DVD, Visitor writing appears on the computer screen as a technician monitors the hacker interference while the Leader's battle plans are being transmitted to the Battlesphere. V writing

A sign for Buzzelli Construction is seen on the bulletion board at Atkins Market. This appears to be a fictititous business.

At 12:29 on the DVD, the Atkins' break into the mothership's master computer with their portable patch-in unit. Are the characters appearing on the small display supposed to be the PC's attempt to interpret Visitor characters?
 patch-in unit

At 13:02 on the DVD, we see what appears to be a nearly empty magazine rack in Atkins Deluxe Market. I guess it makes sense that with the Visitor occupation of large parts of the world, there would not be a lot of publications being produced. Atkins Deluxe Market is, of course, a fictitious business.
Atkins Deluxe Market

There appear to be sale ads for Kellogg's Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes on the walls of Atkins Deluxe Market, but the Kellogg's brand name is somewhat distorted out, probably for legal reasons since these are both real products made by the Kellogg Company. Corn Flakes   Rice Krispies

At 13:29 on the DVD, two "advertising signs" on the wall of the market in the background appear to be nothing more than flattened boxes for some kind of frozen food product!
frozen food boxes
At 15:15 on the DVD, there is a sign quickly seen in the background that says "USA Work Program". These signs were originally associated with the Works Progress Administration, created by the U.S. government during the Great Depression and which ran from 1935-1943. It's appearance here may be an indication that the Visitors have allowed some limited form of human government to exist in the occupied states.
USA Work Program sign on V USA Work Program
At 17:10 on the DVD, there is Visitor writing on a monitor in the Command Center, but it is too blurry to really make out. V writing

I haven't noticed previously if she consistently does so, but here Lydia pronounces "lieutenant" as the British often do, as "lef-tenant". This is common in the U.K. and its current or former Commonwealth. Since actress June Chadwick is British, it is likely to be her normal pronunciation. Also, Death Tide reveals that Lydia was originally assigned to work in Great Britain (hence her British accent) but was reassigned to southern California.

At 18:15 on the DVD, Oswald introduces three hunks for Diana's consideration, calling them Eenie, Meenie, and Miny, "...but I'm afraid there's no Moe." It seems a bit odd that he would be using an Earth childrens counting rhyme, but the series was heading further and further into camp as it neared its end.

Diana has a jar full of living cockroaches which she apparently considers sweets.

Diana says that Dr. Atkins was a cybernetics professor at Caltech. This is the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA known for its strong sciences and engineering curriculum.

Diana straps Dr. Atkins into a contraption that is similar to the conversion apparatus used on Jacob in "The Dissident", but here there is a conductor strap placed around Atkins' head. In viewing the scene, this apparatus seems to be less a conversion device and more of a mind-reading one. 

From 20:46-22:27 on the DVD, we several instances of Visitor writing on the monitor screen as Dr. Atkins attempts to prove to Diana that he is the hacker for whom they're searching.
V writing V writing V writing V writing
At 23:57 on the DVD, there are some strange markings on a crate sitting next to Donovan. When Donovan pulls the planks off of the boarded up storefront, he bumps the crate so that the top is visible for a second and more markings appear there. They don't appear to be Visitor characters though. Perhaps an Oriental language?
Oriental crate Oriental crate

At 24:56 on the DVD, an ad for what appears to be Hefty Stemware is on the wall of Atkins Deluxe Market. I'm not aware of the Hefty brand having made stemware though! 

The gun that young Henry Atkins points at Donovan appears to be nothing more than a toy laser gun (or maybe a bar-code scanning gun, since the scene does take place in the Atkins Deluxe Market?)! This is further evidenced by the fact that Donovan picks it up and looks at it for a few seconds before chucking into the debris of the vandalized store.
Henry's gun Henry's gun

Kyle is carrying his usual MAC-10 machine pistol.

When the Visitor troops pull up again to the Atkins Market at 26:62 on the DVD, suddenly it's not all boarded up anymore and the crates are missing! The scene was obviously shot at the same time as the earlier scene from "The Rescue" mentioned above.

At 27:40 on the DVD, Henry and Willie are playing an arcade video game called Canyon Commando. This appears to be a ficitious game.

Donovan thinks he's discovered where Dr. Atkins is being held, at an abandoned maintenance shed near Hansen Air Field. He may be referring to Hansen Airport, a small private airport in the desert community of Adelanto, northeast of L.A.

At 31:32 on the DVD, the car used by Donovan and Kyle appears to be a 1982 Ford LTD.

During the standoff with the James and his troopers at Science Frontiers, Donovan is armed with his M1911A1 pistol.

As Henry taps into the Visitor master computer at 39:15 on the DVD, there is Visitor writing on the monitor. The monitor brand is NEC. V writing

Immediately after Diana and Lydia make a veiled insinuation of Philip being part of the fifth column, Philip says, "I've ordered a full inquiry into this blatant disregard for military procedure." But how could he have ordered it already when he just learned of their suspicions seconds ago? It would have made more sense for him say he's ordering a full inquiry.

There is a strange piece of sculpture behind Henry's head at the Science Frontiers annex at 41:09 on the DVD. From the horns, it looks like it might be intended as the head of a gazelle. Notice how the horns also form a shape very similar to the narrow version of the painted V logo, especially the horns' shadows cast on the wall.
gazelle statue narrow V logo

Henry seems to obey Elizabeth more than Kyle or Donovan. He must either have a crush on her or, seemingly being without a mom, has mother issues!

While helping Dr. Atkins escape from the mothership, Philip for the first time describes himself as a member of the fifth column.

Visitor writing appears on Henry's portable computer display at 42:44 on the DVD.
V writing

And some more on the monitor itself. V writing V writing
At 43:47 on the DVD, Henry is able to redirect the skyfighter attack simply by talking to the Battlesphere. The chevron of lights is intended to represent the attacking squadron of skyfighters.
V writing V writing
V writing V writing

The scenes of a skyfighter crashing above the mouth of a tunnel and a smoking skyfighter crashing in the hills are stolen from "Plan for Resistance".

At 46:10 on the DVD, it appears that a red laser beam from below blows up a skyfighter. Where did the laser come from? The skyfighters' laser bolts are always blue, so it doesn't seem to be from one of Henry's redirected fighters.
mysterious red laser 

The final scene of the episode, with Diana fuming over the escape of Donovan and Tyler and Lydia saying "Better luck next time," is stolen from "Breakout"! Lydia is even wearing the early version of her uniform with the '80s-looking puffy shoulder decorations.

Memorable Dialog

another goldfish.wav
talk of torture.wav
hardly worth my time.wav
nest of vipers.wav
perhaps you're suggesting.wav
immediate court martial.wav
what pleases the leader.wav
Philip came through.wav

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