I recognize that I’m over the Mason family drama, and somewhat unfairly so, seeing as Tom Mason is the main character, but this is one episode that I didn’t seem to mind it one bit. Yes, it was 90% Tom Mason when I’m dying to know about Peralta, Lourdes, Pope and Matt, but this episode was different. I think it is largely because I don’t like being taken along for the ride, but rather sat down in the middle of the ride and letting me figure out what all has happened, or what is happening.
That’s how this season started so strongly, and here in the middle, is how it started to do so again.
What do I mean? Well, this episode starts with Tom Mason waking up in bed…. a clean bed… with a woman who is definitely not Anne Glass. Don’t be too confused for too long. Turns out she’s his wife! Immediately, you’re left trying to figure out it if this is a flashback, dream, or some sort of mind-reading from the Esphensi who you’ll remember captured Tom last episode.
At first, it’s haunting. Dan Weaver shows up as a homeless man promising the end, and the question of which place people are going to for vacation is constantly “Boston, New York, Chicago, or Jacksonville”. It jars Tom when he hears it, but he continues to live his life peppered with characters we know in consistently unlikely places, culminating in Pope as a philosophy professor spouting off platitudes about the Simulacrum, where one cannot tell the difference between dreams and reality.
Even Dai comes back, which was a small, but sad relief. I remembered how much I wanted him to be a real character beyond someone who’s death was easily forgotten, and while it seems that Tom still remembers him, Dai was still just as useless in this story as the husband of the mysterious Anne Glass accusing Tom of an affair. While I was glad to see him back, all this scene did was remind me of how much more Dai I wanted in the story that was beyond his two minute backstory in the first season.
Tom moves through this ‘Inception’-like world warily, and confounds all of Karen’s attempts of dreams within dreams to get the information she wants: which part of the Esphensi defense grid will the Volm attack? Boston, New York, Chicago, or Jacksonville?
The dreams afford interesting imagery, and places the character we know and love in different environments as a half reflection of Tom’s mind and maybe that of Karen. His lack of hesitance to shoot Karen between the eyes, or Dan Weaver when he realizes he’s being tricked, is in stark contrast to the Tom we know, and one wonders if we will see more of that in the future. With Anne and Lexi ostensibly dead (but really, do we actually believe that?), maybe we will.
Meanwhile, back at Charleston, everyone is getting ready to go to battle against the unknown tower while the Mole (presumably Lourdes) strikes again, and nearly assassinates Dan Weaver with a booby-trapped radio. Also, Weaver and Pope enter an uneasy truce based on their distrust of Peralta. All I can say about that is that it intrigues me.
We end with Tom hallucinating about his long dead wife, who tells him that there is nothing left to for him here. It’s unclear where here is, if it’s a dream or if he is actually somehow back in Boston.
I may not have loved this episode the way I did with the first three or four, but it has certainly got my interest back after the doldrums of the mid season. Things are coming to a head and there are a lot more players that are going to come into play in the next few episodes than there ever has in the first two seasons, so I’m fairly excited.