It is November 7, 1998. At the new Nose building, Dominic has taken over as the new head—Mr. Finch has been mysteriously absent from his post. Dominic explains to one of his subordinates that mysterious poems have been circulated throughout England. In Manchester, there have been riots over food shortages—shortages which were caused by a computer error.
In a nice touch of dramatic irony, V has apparently used the Fate Computer to cause riots throughout England. While we recognize this fact, the people at the Nose do not: they continue to believe that Fate is utterly unbreakable, thus putting their trust in a dangerous “false idol.”
At the Kitty Kat Killer Club, Alistair Harper proceeds with recruiting gangsters to help him subdue the rioters. Mr. Creedy greets “Ally” and asks how his work is going—Ally explains that he’s recruited many so far. Creedy compliments him on his efforts, and hints that he’d like to have a permanent “auxiliary force” headed by Ally. Ally also notes the stack of cryptic letters that the club has received recently—letters similar, we recognize, to those that Dominic was just discussing. We then see a close-up of V, stacking dominoes on the floor.
It had already been suggested that Peter Creedy was trying to use his private army to wage war against the Leader, and here Creedy makes his plan even more explicit. With our omniscient view as readers, we can watch Creedy and Harper futilely conspiring to control the government at the same time that V—a far cleverer man—is preparing to destroy government altogether.
Ally goes to meet with Helen Heyer, whom he knows is the wife of Conrad Heyer, the head of the Eye. Helen explains to Ally that Creedy is planning a military coup, to be fought with Ally’s private army. Ally pretends not to know what Helen is talking about, but Helen insists that she’ll pay him more money to fight on Conrad’s side, not Creedy’s. Helen tells Ally that if he listens to her, he’ll be running the Eye soon enough.
Helen cleverly and efficiently sways Harper’s loyalty: she offers him better money and a better position. Harper seems like “Exhibit A” for V’s critique of English society: he’s utterly amoral, and totally imprisoned by his desire for money and power. This makes him extremely easy to manipulate.
We cut to Rosemary Almond, still performing as a showgirl at the Kitty Kat Killer Club. She thinks about how at one time, she and Derek were going to settle down in the country. Then, in 1992, Derek joined “the party.” Now that he’s dead, Derek has left Rosemary to humiliate herself—she can barely sleep anymore, and keeps a gun beneath her pillow.
It’s unclear if Rosemary is planning to use the gun to kill herself or someone else. In any event, it’s poignant to see how Rosemary’s life has been ruined by the influence of the Norsefire party.
We cut to Mr. Finch, who is walking through the country outside London. Finch thinks about Delia. Eventually, he comes to Larkhill Camp, and thinks, “This is where it ends.”
In a strange turn of events, Finch decides to get into V’s mindset by following in V’s footsteps, and going to Larkhill Prison.
In the Shadow Gallery, V continues stacking dominoes. Evey enters the room, and notes that V is “almost finished.” V nods, and notes that soon, everyone will be able to see the “grand significance” of V’s plan. As V talks to Evey, we cut to Dominic, still puzzling over the letters that have been circulating throughout the country. Suddenly, he seems to have an epiphany—his jaw drops. Dominic runs out of his office, and we see the letter he’s been reading: “You say you have a clockwork love who feeds and cares for you. But I’ve read all her diaries. And I know that she’s untrue.”
In a good example of the “cut-up” technique, V comments on the “grand significance” of his plan at the exact moment that Dominic realizes it as well. We can sense that the “clockwork love” V refers to is the Fate Computer: Dominic has finally deduced that V can control Fate. At the same time, the poem reminds us of Delia’s diary, especially because of Finch’s current presence at Larkhill. Subtly, Moore reminds us that Delia’s diary may have been “untrue”—forged by V to throw Finch off the scent. (Ironically, this would made Finch’s trip to Larkhill futile.)
V stands up, looking at the rows of dominoes he’s set up. The dominoes are arranged in the shape of his trademark “V” symbol. V notes, ironically, that it’s taken a long time for the Leader to build up his “pretty empire.” Now, with a simple push, V will be able to bring it all down.
Throughout the graphic novel, we’ve seen the weakness of the English Norsefire party contrasted with the strength and wiliness of V’s enterprises. Now, it seems, V is about to dismantle Norsefire forever.
As the chapter begins, Dominic bursts into the Leader’s office. Without any introductions, Dominic explains that he knows how V has been orchestrating his terrorist attacks: V has had access to the Fate Computer for years now. In this way, V has engineered food shortages in Manchester and distributed “subversive” leaflets throughout England. As Dominic explains this, he notices that the Leader is burying his face in his hands. He looks at the computer screen, and sees a “V” symbol.
Adam Susan’s emotional reaction to the news that V controls Fate parallels Prothero’s emotional reaction to the destruction of his dolls. V is an expert at manipulating his enemies, using their loves and obsessions to drive them insane. The V symbol on the screen of Fate is like a flag V has planted there—he’s finally defeated the Leader, stealing Susan’s “lover” away from him.