V: Season 1, Episode 10

The Conversion (4 Jan. 1985)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
7.3
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Ham and Kyle are captured by Visitors, and Charles, the Leader's special envoy, assumes command of the alien forces.

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(as Gilbert Shilton)

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Title: The Conversion (04 Jan 1985)

The Conversion (04 Jan 1985) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Jennifer Cooke ...
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Lane Smith ...
Blair Tefkin ...
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Visitor Comm Officer
Vince McKewin ...
Visitor
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Ham and Kyle are captured by Visitors, and Charles, the Leader's special envoy, assumes command of the alien forces.

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brainwashed assassin


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4 January 1985 (USA)  »

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Debut of Duncan Regehr in his Greatest Role
19 February 2012 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

Human resistance fighters in their ongoing struggle with alien lizard invaders called "The Visitors" have a debacle followed by a reversal of fortune. Mercenary Ham Tyler (Michael Ironside) leads an ambush on a Visitor truck convoy which proves disastrous. Ham and colleague Kyle Bates (Jeff Yagher) are both captured and transported to the mothership.

Consummate series villain Visitors Science Officer Diana (Jane Badler) has only a momentary victory gloating over her capture of Ham and Kyle. Charles (Duncan Regehr), special envoy of the Visitors' supreme leader, arrives and relieves Diana of command.

He also restores Diana's arch enemy (it is telling that it should be another Visitor with whom Diana matches a personal grudge rather than any resistance fighter) Lydia (June Chadwick) freshly escaped from a trap set by Diana, to the position of his second-in-command. Lydia happens to be Charles' girlfriend though most visitor females seem to have a thing for him and he can pretty much have his pick.

No sooner is Lydia promoted than Diana sets another trap which results in her rival being captured by the resistance.

Meanwhile Charles, a master of experimental mind manipulation subjects Ham to tortuous nightmare hallucinations in which the wife and daughter he left back in Southeast Asia are killed by resistance colleague Mike Donovan (Marc Singer). Ham is brainwashed into wanting to kill Donovan which Charles looks to set him up to do at a televised prisoner exchange for Lydia. He hopes to plunge the resistance movement into chaos.

The events which follow don't really make much sense in terms the overall narrative of the episode or the show itself. Ham is rescued from a Visitors prisoner convoy van in a scene essentially staged solely to get him back with the resistance before the prisoner exchange. Kyle also escapes and is recaptured. None of this really needs to happen and the prisoner exchange could just as easily have gone off as staged without it.

The shoot-em-up ending leaves Nathan Bates (Lane Smith), Kyle's evil father who attempted to turn the Visitor invasion to his own advantage, apparently dead. Thus one of the few interesting Earthling characters of the series was nearly written out of the storyline.

When I was kid and saw the V miniseries and TV series I was overwhelmed by the creepy horror vibe it tapped into and titillated by the beguiling Visitor females like Diana and Lydia who only became more attractive with their machinations against each other. The point-counterpoint battle between the resistance and the aliens was all pretty formulaic sci-fi stuff.

But the Machiavellian scheming on the Visitor mothership by extra-terrestrial lizard J.R. Ewing Diana was pure hokey fun. Beyond enjoying what a breathtaking woman Jane Badler was continually I found myself cackling along following her machinations not so secretly hoping she would doom the boring humans to the grisly fate of becoming main courses on Visitor dinner platters.

British actress June Chadwick and Canadian actor (sculptor/painter/renaissance man) Duncan Regehr brought it to a tour-de-force crescendo during the lone season the story was a prime-time network series. Of course that kind of visionary science fiction never seems to last as long on American network TV as life-affirming human interest garbage.


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