The long march to the promised civilization in Charleston produces an episode that’s mostly road trip, with the trucks barreling through the night – and somehow not attracting alien attention – while various revelations arise about Maggie, Tector, and a new girl Jenny. But is Charleston really intact and really a great human outpost with thousands of people working together to retain the last vestige of human civilization?
As with most long drives, this one offers everyone the chance to reminisce and discuss things that they rarely have time for on the day to day battles and work of keeping 2nd Mass together. Tom is troubled by Ben splitting off from the group, but after the revelations in the previous episodes, it sure seems to me that he should be glad to get someone who is clearly programmed to be a Skitter agent out of their group, particularly when they’re heading to the great enclave. Still, the episode opens with him remembering Ben’s promise to return to the family.
Matt has a big part in this episode too, first symbolically handing a will to Tom – who later laments a world where his 9 year old is writing out a will – then befriending the creepy young girl Jenny who appears by crashing into the windshield of the medical bus, then is content to be chained onto the back seat for much of the drive.
Problem is, her brother Tyler really wants her to come back, and he ends up leaping onto the outside of the bus twice, never clearly seen but definitely bug-like, and eventually convinces Jenny to leave her new pal Matt and return to the forest and, presumably, the Skitter control. First we learn that her harness was broken from the impact with the vehicle, but when she rips her chains out and barrels out of the bus, it’s clearly glowing and fully functional.
There are two great interpersonal revelations in the episode, however, one about Maggie and another Tector. Maggie, Hal learns rather to his chagrin, was a drug addict and burglar who ended up in jail, where she had a baby boy that was then taken away by the State. She has no idea where he’s ended up, but we also learn that the shifty Pope knew all about her jail time and sordid history and that he had (has?) kids of his own. Was he in jail at the same time? We don’t know. Hal, meanwhile, doesn’t know what to make of it all and the episode ends with him cool towards her and keeping his distance.
Tector and Weaver are in another truck and Weaver starts badgering Tector unti finally we learn that Tector was actually a Gunnery Sergeant who served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, not the yokel he presents himself as. This felt like one of the least believable discussions in the entire episode, but Weaver convinced Tector that the guilt eating away at him for losing three of his men in a combat situation, then the loss of Boone, aren’t his fault, he didn’t kill them, they’re just casualties of war. By the end of “Death March” Tector’s seemingly cured of his guilt and is saluting Weaver and giving him a pep talk. Gosh, that was easy.
The convoy finally arrives in Charleston just to find the bridge blown out and the city an apparent field of rubble. Now what? They rally around Weaver, who delivers a very short pep talk that “this doesn’t mean our dream is dead, it just means we’re going to have to work harder to make it happen.”
Then the surprise twist: A group of soldiers in desert camo come out of the bushes, led by Porter. He identifies himself as being a part of the First Continental Army and welcomes them to “the new capital of the United States, Charleston”. He knows both Weaver and Tom, and they exchange some banter suggesting that they have served together in the military.
The episode ends with him assuring them that Charleston isn’t what it seems. “Looks can be deceiving.” A warning of what’s to come?
All in all, a good episode, the first I can recall where there are no aliens of any sort, no Skitters, no Mechs, just people trying to find hope and salvation in a difficult situation. A classic Spielberg storyline that ends with a surprise twist and a hint of a very interesting episode next week.
Keep up the fight, rebels, and we’ll see you then!
Did you miss an episode? Check out our recap of the last episode: ‘Molon Labe‘.