It is September 3, 1999 at the Nose. Mr. Finch has returned from his vacation. He’s sitting with Dominic, discussing upcoming deadlines and duties he must attend to. He acknowledges that he hasn’t done any work since returning from the beach. Dominic and Finch note that it’s been six months since they’ve heard anything from V—perhaps his work is “all over.”
We know full well that V’s work isn’t over at all: V is only preparing for a larger, more impressive “finale.”
In the Shadow Gallery, V sits at the piano. Evey walks into the room and kisses V’s mask. She thanks him for setting her free. V tells Evey that he didn’t do anything—she set herself free. Evey shows V Valerie’s letter, and notes that he put an extraordinary amount of work into making it convincing. V shakes his head—the letter, he insists, is real. He read it, just as Evey did, five years ago, and was transformed by it. He shows Evey Valerie’s movie posters and footage of her face.
Here, Evey makes it clear that she’s come to accept her “education.” This may be a difficult thing for some readers to accept. One of the more overt paradoxes in Evey’s situation is the fact that she’s been forcibly led to freedom. V shows that Valerie’s letter inspired him just as it inspired Evey.
Backstage at the Kitty Kat Killer, Rosemary Almond weeps, alone. She’s become a showgirl, entertaining the patrons of the club. The announcer bursts into the room, telling Rosemary that she has to go onstage soon. Rosemary explains that she’s feeling ill. The announcer nods, placing his hand on her shoulder. He tells her that he’ll “keep her company” backstage.
It’s jarring, after Evey’s transformation into a free agent, to see Rosemary still in the “cage” of society. Rosemary and Evey were both in distress in previous chapters, but where Evey has found new reserves of strength and courage, Rosemary has turned to domineering men for comfort and help.
Back at the Shadow Gallery, V shows Evey a huge garden of roses, and explains that he’s grown them in honor of Valerie. From time to time, he plucks a rose and gives it to one of his victims. V tells Evey that on the day he abducted her, she was about to kill a man named Alistair (“Ally”) Harper—one of the men responsible for killing Gordon. V says that if Evey plucks a rose and gives it to V, V promises to kill Harper. Evey is about to pluck the rose when she changes her mind. “Let it grow,” she tells V.
Part of Evey being truly free means that she can refuse to play by V’s rules. Instead of following V’s violent methods, she decides to spare Harper. Her statement, “let it grow,” is almost a pun (sounds a lot like “let it go”), suggesting that Evey is putting Gordon’s murder behind her—but it also might imply that she’s saving the rose for a more important victim. The full importance of this scene lies in the fact that Evey isn’t obeying V’s every command anymore. Although she’s come to embrace many of his views, she no longer regards him as an infallible father figure.
At the Head, the Leader sits before the Fate Computer. Suddenly, he sees a message on the computer screen: “I love you.” He is so surprised that he cries out. Guards burst in and ask if he’s all right—he replies that he’s fine, and they leave.
The more we see the Leader in his headquarters in the Head, the more he seems like he too is a prisoner. Just as Evey found herself trapped in a small cell, Susan never seems to leave headquarters, tied to a computer that seems to be coming to life.
At the Shadow Gallery, Evey asks V what he’s going to do next. V explains that it’s almost time for the “finale.” He’s going to give the world “what Valerie wanted”—roses. Abruptly, he presses a button, and the room turns into a dance floor, complete with a disco ball. He and Evey dance together, very slowly. He’ll need her services, he explains, but not for some time.
We end on a note of suspense: V is planning something, but it’s not clear what. In the meantime, we can savor Evey’s growth and maturity: she’s transformed from a frightened young woman to an intelligent, self-controlled adult, capable of making her own decisions and moral judgments.