On November 6, 1998, the police force is overwhelmed by the wave of crime throughout London, and resort to using tear gas to subdue the people. As we hear police officers calling for backup, V, carrying a mysterious suitcase, walks toward Evey. Evey asks V if London has become the “Land of Do-As-You-Please.” V denies this, saying that at the moment, London is the “Land of Take-What-You-Want.” The absence of leaders doesn’t necessarily imply a lack of order—eventually, V maintains, the people will voluntarily choose order. For the time being, however, London will experience an era of “Verwirrung”—total chaos.
In this opening section, V effectively answers the question that Moore raised at the end of the last chapter: V does want the people of England to riot, at least in the short term. But ultimately, V wants them to voluntarily choose peace and security for themselves. There is nothing wrong with order, V maintains, as long as it is rationally consented to (this parallels Rousseau’s notion of the “Social Contract”). It’s not clear what sort of authority V wants the people of London to agree to, but perhaps this is the point: V has no control over what they do. He wants them to choose for themselves.
At the Head, the Leader sits staring at his computer, reasoning that he’s entitled to some “tenderness” while England runs its course. The Leader watches and moans with pleasure as the Fate Computer tabulates the destruction of the world. Outside, the guards hear his moaning, and look at each other, disturbed.
The Leader seems weaker and more childish than ever. While his kingdom collapses around him, Susan selfishly turns to the Fate Computer and rejects humanity altogether. Even Susan’s guards are beginning to doubt if the man they’re protecting is worth obeying.
Outside the Kitty Kat Killer Club, Rosemary Almond meets Alistair Harper, who’d agreed to sell her a gun. He gives her the weapon and advises her to go home immediately—there will be riots in the streets soon.
It’s still not clear what Rosemary intends to do with her gun, but Moore uses these sections to continue to build up suspense.
As Rosemary leaves, a group of Fingermen, including Mr. Creedy, approaches Harper, whom they address as Ally. Creedy tells Ally that he’ll be paid for recruiting gangsters to work for the Fingermen—the Finger has been recruiting “peacekeepers,” since they’ve been stretched thin lately.
In an ironic twist of fate, the law enforcement officers of England are now turning to criminals for help running the country. This makes explicit what was already clear from the start: the law enforcement of England is criminal.
Conrad and Helen Heyer discuss the state of London with each other. As Conrad washes Helen’s back, Helen explains that Mr. Creedy is waiting for the Leader’s forces to crack so that he can stage a coup. Helen insists that she wants Conrad to become the new Leader of England. Helen smirks, and tells Conrad that she could almost admire him—if his success wasn’t entirely due to her efforts.
An obvious question arises here: why doesn’t Helen Heyer make herself the ruler of England? Why would she have to engineer a situation where her foolish husband becomes the Leader? The obvious answer is that Helen Heyer is a woman—in the harsh, sexist society of Norsefire, she has no chance of being taken seriously as Leader.
In the Shadow Gallery, V leads Evey down into a room Evey has never seen before, explaining that he’s taking Evey to meet his “secret mistress.” As V leads Evey, we cut to Mr. Finch’s house. Dominic leaves a message on Finch’s answering machine, begging him to come into work—everything is “going to bits.”
The people are now rising up against their rulers and each other. Some authorities, such as Adam Susan, pretend that all is well. Others, convinced that the government is falling apart, desperately try to take advantage and seize power for themselves.
V leads Evey into a room. As they walk, V explains that he and the Leader have loved the same woman for many years. The Leader stole this woman away from V, corrupting her and mistreating her. V will avenge this cuckoldry, he explains, by stealing back the Leader’s other lover, with whom he’s been having “an affair” for many years. With these words, we see V sitting before a vast computer screen that looks like the Fate Computer.
In this section, we learn the truth about V: he has been secretly controlling the Fate Computer all along. This helps us understand how V has been able to blow up government buildings, escape Fingermen’s detection, etc. It also explains why the Fate Computer said “I love you”—V hacked into it and used it to drive Adam Susan insane.