Eric Finch has just arrived at the Victoria subway station. He walks underground, and is shocked to find a subway train full of lilies—the same train V showed Evey.
We now realize, without a doubt, that the Shadow Gallery is located near the Victoria subway station, which has been abandoned for many years. There’s something almost amusing about the fact that V has been hiding out in a place that’s painfully obvious by contemporary standards (hundreds of people “hide out” in subway stations every day).
The Leader sits in the back of a limousine, staring at the cheering people of London as he’s driven to make his speech. Other people, the Leader thinks, simply aren’t real: the only real things are God and the Leader himself. As a young man, the Leader talked to God for long hours while his colleagues mocked him. For a while, the Leader believed he had found “God on Earth” in the form of the Fate Computer—now, however, he realizes that he’s been betrayed. Seeing people waving at him from outside his car, he waves back, blank-faced.
Susan has no respect for humanity whatsoever, and he can’t force himself to sympathize with anyone other than himself. The Leader also lacks any charisma in this section, waving at his followers, blank-faced and emotionless. Clearly, Norsefire has ceased to inspire any real enthusiasm in the people: as Dominic says, everything “is going to bits.”
Mr. Finch walks toward the subway car he’s just discovered. He hears guitar music, and discovers V playing the guitar, sitting on the ground. V greets Mr. Finch by name and stands up.
V, as usual, is playing games, taking on the persona of the homeless vagrant. That he knows Finch’s name is sinister but unsurprising, considering his access to Fate.
In the crowds around the Leader’s car, we see soldiers ordering people to “wave harder.” Suddenly, Rosemary Almond steps out of the crowd and walks toward the Leader’s car. A soldier is about to stop her, but Mr. Creedy orders him to allow Rosemary to pass through—he explains that Rosemary is “high party.” As Rosemary approaches the Leader’s car, the Leader extends his hand. Rosemary produces the gun she bought, and fires it at the Leader. Guards tackle Rosemary, but they are too late to save the Leader’s life.
Here, we realize that even the people who’ve come out to see the Leader speak have been ordered to do so at gunpoint. We also finally see why Rosemary bought her gun: she wanted to get revenge on the man responsible for her misery. Susan becomes a victim of his own greed and cruelty, as his exploited subject rises up against him. Rosemary had her own kind of “vendetta”—a personal one, but one that is just as powerful in collapsing the government as any of V’s plans.
In the Victoria train station, at the same time that Rosemary is attacking the Leader, V and Mr. Finch attack each other. Finch raises his gun, but V is too quick for him—he stabs him in the shoulder with a knife. Finch fires his gun blindly, unsure whether he’s hit anything. V, still standing, whispers to Finch, “you cannot kill me. Ideas are bulletproof,” and walks away.
V’s quote here is one of the most famous in V for Vendetta, and it’s a good way to sum up the power of symbols at V sees them. Because they can be communicated to others, symbols and ideas rise above individual lives. We’ve already seen evidence of this first-hand: V’s ideas have already been passed on to the people of England, and to Evey.
Mr. Finch pulls the dagger out of his shoulder—he’s survived his struggle with V. He sees blood on the ground, and realized that he’s shot V after all. He yells out, “I killed you, you monster!”
In apparent contrast to his speech, V himself is mortally wounded. Finch assumes that he’s dead, but we have more experience with V’s superhuman qualities.