Falling Skies was back last night after a 2 week hiatus and it was… kinda boring. The title of the episode was “Death March”. and yet there was no marching and (except for a random that Fucking Lourdes was being too terrible to hydrate a patient) no death. A better title would be “Riding in Cars With Backstory”. I get that this was the set before the spike of the last two episodes of the season, but still. That makes two episodes in a row where the 2nd Mass pretty much just sat around talking instead of… I don’t know, blowing shit up.
Not that it was a terrible episode. We got a tiny bit of awesome interaction between Pope and Maggie (my favorite dynamic) and got to know more about the Berserker named Tector (played by the amazing Ryan Robbins). Also Matt got to bond with a harnessed girl for awhile until she peaced out to rejoin her Skitter family.
Even though I’m itching for some explosion-y action, and I think they could incorporate the character development seen in this episode into a more exciting plot. Anyway, let’s sketch out what each person decided to sit and talk about in “Death March”.
In general, everyone was dealing with either skepticism that they would even make it to Charleston alive, or if they did, what would happen when they got there, or generally just being the Living Worst like Lourdes. Little ten-year-old Ben actually wrote out a will and gave it to his Dad in case he died. Tom tried to keep up a hopeful front for everyone else, while secretly being skeptical, and Anne was the ultimate comforter, hopeful without being unrealistic.
Matt made a friend for a little while in a girl named Jenny. She hit the windshield of Weaver’s car, and while she survived, her harness was damaged. They decided to keep her, but restrained. She and Matt bonded over canned peaches and journal reading. I think it revealed a lot more about Matt and his desperation for friends, his sadness over missing Ben and Hal. Jenny talked about her family, her Skitter family. It sounded sort of nice when Jenny was talking about having a real family for the first time, except for when you remember that it’s all manipulation because of the doping chemicals in the harness. It’s Stockholm Syndrome combined with dealer-addict dependency; the family connection is false and gross and sad. It made it even worse when Tom was talking about what will happen to all the harnessed kids if/when the aliens are gone.
Weaver decided to ride with Tector, who inexplicably now has a Southern drawl and a rat-tail (which reminds me of the 90′s and elementary school, which was the last time I knew someone with a rat-tail). Weaver sort of berates Tector into revealing that he is an Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was a gunnery Sargent who lost men when he was ordered to take a patrol into what ended up being an ambush. Weaver decides to pull a sort of reverse psychology version of Good Will Hunting on him, and also reveals that he considered abandoning the 2nd Mass after the pre-season disaster of Fitchburg, but couldn’t because he knew they needed him.
So the character development of Tector = important role in the season ender. Is he going to be a 2nd Weaver? Or is he going to go out in a sacrificial blaze of glory?
Pope, Maggie and Hal are on advance scout duty, where Pope sits in the back of the pick-up, slamming beers and using the empty cans as breadcrumbs. A radiator problem derails them, but allows for Pope (and Maggie) to show how well they really know (and understand each other). As much as Maggie wants to pretend with Hal that she’s a shiny person now, she is all dark and twisty inside. I’m biased, but agree with Pope that she is going to go stir-crazy if she has to sit in Charleston and be domestic and placid and “normal”.
Maggie’s story is that after the the whole cancer thing, she was disillusioned with the world and decided to cope by becoming a drug addict at 18 (which, btw, is the age that Hal is now, which sort of reinforces the uncomfortable age gap between them). She and her addict boyfriend started breaking into people’s houses to steal to pay for more drugs and she got busted and sent to prison. Then, once in prison, she found out she was pregnant and gave birth to a son while in the clink.
That is, understandably, a pretty heavy thing to deal with, but Maggie gets pissed that Hal is having a tough time processing it. I’m more interested in how Pope knew about Maggie’s past. Basically, I just want to know everything about the time right before and during Maggie’s time with Pope’s gang, how he saved her from being a “Mech speck”, his degree of complicity in the rapes she endured within the gang. My dream version of this show would be that and watching Karen and Ben being Alien-powered Ninjas.
Anyways, Pope-Maggie-Hal get ambushed by a bright light, but then it cuts away. The rest of the 2nd Mass. get to Charleston, except that the bridge into town is bombed out, and Charleston is less a town and more a post-apocalyptic pile of rubble. The dream, it is dead!
Tom and Weaver take it especially hard, but Anne and Tector, respectively, give them a pep talk. Tector’s encouragement helps Weaver give a rousing, inspiring speech, right before – surprise! – who appears from the bushes but Colonel Porter (remember, he was the one who though up the brilliant idea of pairing odd couple Weaver and Tom to lead the 2nd Mass in the series premiere). He has fresh strawberries (what the fuck, isn’t it winter? It was snowing in the the last episode) and the happy news that, jk, Charleston is what Churchill promised it was, it’s just disguised to keep other groups of survivors from finding the new Capitol (or maybe it’s more like the camouflaged Lockheed Air Terminal from WWII, which is crazy and cool and you should read about it). Also Hal-Maggie-Pope are with them – they were ambushed by the good guys – and the Masons have a mini-reunion (sans Ben).
There weren’t any very good quotes in this episode. Most of it was cheesy bullshit. But Dai’s ridiculous “who goes there?” was random and hilarious. As was Maggie’s “you don’t have enough dark in your soul.”
So, next week. Looks like we’re finally going to get some action again. John MotherFucking Locke is the Laura Roslin of the new government (hope they don’t have any airlocks!)! Things are not what they seem! Blood-spattered Pope! Hopefully Ben comes back! Let’s end this season with a bang, y’all!