Welcome back rebels! Last week was the explosive two hour season premiere for Falling Skies. A lot went down in those two hours. Tom told the aliens where they could put their offer to relocate then returned to the 2nd Mass with a little wiggly friend caught in his eye. Ben has become the groups very own Rambo. Pope’s got a gang again. And the 2nd Mass squeaks by an enemy trap.
SYSTEM WARNING – SPOILERS
The episode opens with Jimmy and Ben on patrol. (This almost seems like two boys out in the woods past curfew up to no good.) They get the drop on a solitary Skitter. When they go to take a closer look they learn it’s not quite dead yet. Ben takes care of that like a military pro. (Is it me or is Ben getting a wee bit psychotic?)
Meanwhile, the 2nd Mass has taken up refuge in an airport hangar. Dr. Glass has a growing number of sick folks on her hands – the damp drafty hangar is perfect for germ growth and spreading. She finagles Tom into helping carry some things. Tom wants them to move out soon. It’s not good to stay in one place too long. When they get to the med bus Dr. Glass checks her watch – midnight. That’s one more day to mark off the calendar; one more day they’re alive.
Weaver wants to head north to the Catskill Mountains to hide and rest through winter. Tom wants to press on with the fight. (There are slight odd moments that tell me there’s something different about Tom since his return; something wrong. He’s more into fighting then running now. He’s prone to violent out bursts like Weaver. I’m sure I like this new Tom.) Weaver doesn’t think the people should fight in winter. It’ll be hard enough just trying to survive. Tom thinks that will send a message of surrender to the aliens.
As Tom’s leaving Weaver’s tent he hears glass break and goes to investigate. Pope and his gang toss a bag over his head and head out of camp. Pope’s decided to take matters into his own hands yet again. He gives Tom a choice: get a bullet in the head or take off. Before Tom can decide, Jimmy and Ben fire off a few shots and then take Pope at gunpoint. (Colin Cunningham is absolutely brilliant! I can actually see Pope’s side in all of this!)
Anthony swears he didn’t know anything about Pope’s plan. Weaver wants to leave them all behind. Anthony doesn’t necessarily agree with Pope’s tactics but he’s got to admit that Pope has a point. They don’t know if Tom is safe. A lot of folks in camp think the same thing. Tom is the first to agree with them; he has thought the same thing since day one of his return. He also argues the need for Pope; the benefit of giving Tom a weapon far outweighs the risk of him being a liability – the same needs to be said for Pope. Tom then has the lane brain idea to be assigned to the Berserkers. It’s the best way to keep an eye on them and vice-versa.
Pope laughs his ass off at first. He reminds Weaver that it was he and the berserkers that pulled the 2nd Mass outta hell in Pittsburgh. Weaver reminds Pope he’s still the commander. So Tom gets assigned to the Berserkers. On threat of permanent imprisonment Pope agrees with open arms and a smile. (Never trust Pope when he smiles. Never.)
Jimmy and Ben come across 3 Skitters in the woods. One of them is ol’ red-eye. Jimmy’s got a nice new toy – a fancy little flame thrower with Dragon ammo. Let the cockroach roast begin! They’re able to take out two. Ben tries his new Rambo moves on Red-eye but gets knocked to the ground like a gnat. Jimmy’s up to bat next. He tries to shoot it but it just pulls a Neo and moves out of the way of the bullet. Jimmy then learns what it means to be a true tree hugger as the Skitter tossed him 20 feet into a tree. Ben tries for another attack but Red-eye raises a hand and Ben stops in his tracks. The spikes in his back begin to glow blue. Red-eye takes a long look at Ben and then just walks off. (This can NOT be good.) Ben falls to his knees. Jimmy got a little too close to that tree – he’s impaled on it.
Ben gets him back to the med bus along with the branch. Dr. Glass and Lourdes have their work cut out for them. Weaver wants to know what they’ve been up to in the woods because it’s definitely more than just patrolling. Ben admits to hunting. Ben wants every last alien dead. Weaver goes a little nuts beating up furniture in his tent. He’s pissed that two kids could endanger the entire group. To make sure they’tre still safe he has Tom wake Pope and have the Berserkers sweep the area.
The Berserkers come across the two toasty Skitters. Tom finds Jimmy’s compass. Tom hears something that no one else hears. Skitters have come back to collect their dead. Tom won’t let anyone fire which pisses off Pope. As if things couldn’t get worse a Mech shows up. (If skitters and Mechs are within walking distance of camp how are they not seeing the lights of the 2nd Mass? And how do they have electricity?)
Everyone’s waiting in the mess hall. Tension is running high between Hal and Ben. Tom gives the compass to Ben to return to Jimmy when he wakes. Dr. Glass arrives to let them know she’s done and it’s all up to Jimmy now. Ben takes off. (We gotta remember uner all of those Rambo moves he’s still just a kid.) Hal goes out to look for him but nada. Just as he and Tom are about to get into a fight a PLANE lands. A frakkin bi-plane! Once it taxis to a stop in front of them a woman pokes her head out the window and says she’s Avery Churchill and she’s been looking for Weaver.
She’s been searching the last week and half for them on orders from the new continental congress. There are about 3,000 survivors in Charleston – the new capital. They’ve been able to make contact with Europe via short wave radio. Her mission is to continue north on hops and make it over to Europe to spread the word. She knows it’s all a lot to take in but the group is just going to have to take her on faith. Weaver can’t believe her nor can he let her leave so until further notice she’s traveling with them. No harm will come to her or her plane. She lets them know her plane is booby trapped (GOONIES!).
Tom thinks Charleston is a much better option than the Catskills. Weaver’s not buying it. They’ve been promised paradise before and there’s no way to know for sure.
Tom finds Ben with Jimmy. He’s just been wandering around thinking. Tom tries to reassure him that they still have each other to get through this mess. They must go on.
Avery is telling folks all about the wonders and happiness of Charleston; hot water, electricity, normalcy. Jamil reports in to Weaver that almost all of the vehicles are ready to move. He’s still looking for snow chains though. Weaver tells him to keep looking. The plan is to still head for the mountains.
Avery talks to Tom. She’s heard about him. She’s never met anyone that’s been taken aboard an alien ship and lived to talk about it. (How does she know about that? The 2nd Mass hasn’t had contact with anyone, especially her group, or they would have known about Charleston and her plane already – info works both ways. It all sounds TOO good to be true. I’m thinking Charleston is one of those reservations. Why doesn’t Tom see that?!) She tries to sell Tom on a leader story. They could use a man like him in Charleston.
Ben comes running to the back of the med bus. Jimmy’s taken a turn for the worse! Dr. Glass and Lourdes try to perform CPR but Jimmy’s gone. (Someone needs to train Moon Bloodgood to do CPR a wee bit more believable. I just didn’t feel the urgency of the situation. I mean Noah Wyle was right there in the scene! He couldn’t have shown her a few tricks?! Is this why I really don’t feel much for this loss? I liked Jimmy! Why can’t a cry for him?)
Weaver, appropriately, digs the grave for Jimmy in a playground. Avery gives her condolences. She gives him the “leader” sales pitch too. She tells him that he’s a good leader and his people need him. They also need Charleston. He tells her good luck and she’s free to go.
Tom and Ben are getting Jimmy ready to lay to rest. It’s odd seeing him in a new clean shirt. Ben notices that the compass is missing.
Tom goes to tell Pope he needs to get off his ass and get packing; they leave as soon as the funeral is done. Pope’s tired of Tom bossing him around. He and the Berserkers will pack when they’re ready. He then tells Tom to puts his arms around his half breed son and tell him he done good killing all those skitters. Tom notices the compass is around Pope’s neck. He demands Pope take it off. Pope simply says “no, it’s not like Jimmy’s going to need it.” The two men then get into a knock down brawl! Tom beats Pope to a pulp and takes the compass. (Way to go Tom!!)
Pope tries to state his case to Weaver but he’s siding with Tom. Pope’s done. He orders his troop to leave with him…but the Berserkers aren’t moving. Pope gives them all a piece of his mind, “screw you all.” Anthony decides to go with him. He owes him. Someone needs to keep an eye on Pope.
Tom’s in the med bus stitching up his fight wounds so he gives Dr. Glass the rundown of what happened. He’s ashamed because he snapped and nearly killed Pope. He lost control. (Now THERE’s the Tom from first season! The one that feels bad for stepping off his moral path.) Then he kisses her. She’s not completely into it. It’s her son Sammie’s birthday. All she wanted was for no one to die on his birthday. (NOW I’m bawling!)
They lay to rest another fallen soldier – Jimmy. Weaver gives a very touching eulogy – not long ago Jimmy was just a boy. He was forced to step up and become a man. He died a hero. Everyone in camp is there to say goodbye.
Later, Weaver stands over Jimmy’s grave as the bi-plane flies away. Ben comes to give the compass back to Weaver. His father had given it to him when he was an eagle scout. They share a small laugh because as Weaver puts it, “he was a good soldier that boy, but he had no sense of direction. He had no sense of direction at all.” Ben breaks down and finally cries. (This moment right here is our reminder that Ben is still human.) Weaver holds him tight.
Dr. Glass makes one more mark on her calendar and says happy birthday to Sammie. Weaver calls the order to move out, “Charleston is a long ways away people!” 176 souls are ready and counted for. So it looks like the 2nd Mass is heading for electricity and hot showers.
Ben’s at Jimmy’s grave saying his final goodbye when ol’ Red-eye shows up. It takes a long look at Ben and makes his back light up again. They hear Hal coming in the distance. Red-eye leaves before Hal can see him. Ben doesn’t say a word but he looks pretty scared. (What exactly is Red-eye doing?)
And so ends the third episode of Falling Skies. I like it but there’s just something missing. I can’t put my finger on it. I’m not feeling the same emotions about the characters this season. There doesn’t seem to be a reason or urgency to survive any longer. I still love it so I know I’ll hang in there until the bitter end but they need to step up the game a little.
If you can stand staying up late, try to catch Wil Wheaton’s “2nd Watch” at www.fallingskies.com immediately after Falling Skies airs. It’s a great follow-up interview with actors and/or directors.
Keep the resistance strong!
If you missed the previous episode, be sure to read our ‘Falling Skies: Season 2 Premiere’ recap to catch up.