Man, I wish I was an Ashveni, because then I probably would have been able to better follow the warp-speed plot of this episode.
The good news is that for the finale, we finally got back to seeing some real action scenes, seeing the 2nd Mass kick some ass (and get their asses kicked, a little, too). We got Ben back, and Karen too!
It’s also interesting to look at the parallels between this finale and the finale of Season 1. Both had a specific, significant alien target that the rebels were ultimately successful in destroying. However, this time, even though they had a much greater advantage with the intel and weapons, they still managed to get ambushed and have a Mason get compromised in some way.
So, let us review the events of “A More Perfect Union”, and at the end there will be a surprise discussion. Who’s excited?!
We jump in right where we left off last time, with General Bressler taking over control and giving Tom and Weaver permission to go meet the rebel Skitters, but Tom is exactly like I said, all “no I don’t want a coup”. Bressler’s all “whatevs, lock ‘em up”, but then! Security breach! Skitters is the mess hall! Skitters in the mess hall! Just thought you ought to know.
It’s the rebel Skitters, who apparently got tired of hanging around (get it? Because they sleep upside down? Ha…) waiting for Tom, so they decided to come to them. Bressler and the military are ready to shoot, until up pops Ben, and the 2nd Mass creates a human shield in between the rebels and the soldiers and they stand down.
The leaders head into the conference room (which is an amazing visual, big old alien Skitter Red Eye crawling across the carpet). Through Ben, we get an avalanche of info, so much that it would best be bullet-pointed.
- The fishheads are named the Ashveni. I’m happy to have their real name. Wish we had one for the Skitters.
- Apparently the “overlord” Ashveni they captured in Molon Labe was the regional manager of military operations in the Eastern North American section.
- This part’s a little fuzzy, but I think the idea is that the Ashveni have the intellectual capacity to store a ton of information (which means they don’t need computers), which allows each of them to control “huge sections of their interplanetary operations”. However, because they communicate telepathically through the harnesses with their underlings (like the Skitters), they don’t share information between overlord Ashveni’s. (And I guess their intellectual capacity isn’t so great that it keeps certain information from being shared, so score one for computers and their passwords, imo. And if the Ashveni are unable to block that information from being shared, how are the rebel Skitters who are undercover able to not reveal themselves?)
- Due to that, if they had killed the Ashveni they had captured, the “alien operations of this part of the world would have been thrown in to complete chaos”. (Which might not have been a great thing? Because power vacuums are dangerous for both sides?)
- So even though the 2nd Mass screwed that one up, the rebels have gained access to the travel plans of the Ashveni through their operatives (?), and he’s going to be inspecting a weapon being constructed about 500 miles from Charleston IKEA.
- The Skitters have also discovered underground tunnels to covertly access the weapon, but they need the humans to go to destroy it because the Ashveni would sense the Skitters before they even got close, and because the Skitters don’t have the necessary firepower, hence the risk of coming to IKEA.
After that info dump, Ben, Red Eye and the rebels leave to let the humans discuss. Bressler ain’t having it at all, but Tom and Weaver basically say they and the rest of the 2nd Mass are going to be pains in the ass, so he might as well let them go. Of course after they leave, Bressler tells his 2nd in command to go attack the rebel Skitter camp, I guess because he really wanted the Asshat of the Episode Award.
Hal goes to visit Ben at the Rebel Base to apologize for the awkwardness with Karen in Homecoming, I guess, and for the spike stuff. Ben also tells him that being with the Rebels makes him feel like he actually belongs, even more than being with his brothers and his Dad. It’s bittersweet, but I think Hal understands.
Anne and Lourdes prepare to head out, talking about how they prefer being on the front line to being stuck, doing nothing. And then Anne throws up. PREGNANT! Thank goodness Lourdes is TV savvy too, and immediately calls her on it. I was worried they were going to drag that out. She asks if Tom knows, but Dr. Anne plans to wait until after the mission to break the news.
Locke got let out of lock-up and he and Tom talk it out. Locke admits he made mistakes, but also calls Bressler out on being equally as terrible. Tom talks about his bromance with Weaver, and how he would not have expected it in the beginning, until Ben bursts in, yelling about the attack on the Rebel camp.
Edmund the Messenger is dead, along with a bunch of others, but Red Eye, some other Skitter and some de-harnessed kids got away. Bressler’s like “whaa? I don’t know, I guess some Skitter-hatin’ peeps from Charleston someone got ahold of a bunch of guns and went rogue” and then cancels the mission to destroy the weapon. Gurl, please. Ben still has all the mission intel, and Tom and Weaver tell Bressler he can’t tell them what to do. Bressler lets them go, and walks away with an evil smile on his face, because he wants to them to die? Because he’s evil. Who knows, who cares.
2nd Mass is packing up and heading out, including Tector, who gave up his uniform, but not Jeannie, because Weaver is annoying and dumb. Thankfully, Anne won’t put up with that sexist crap from Tom for a second, so she’s going too.
Crawling through tunnels, more sexist bullshit from Tom to Anne, which she calls “sweet in a retro kind of way”. They blow through into the facility, but don’t immediately get attacked, so they start setting up the explosives. And then, Skitter attack, and poor Dai gets killed, and then Karen shows up.
All the 2nd Mass is tied up with all these dangling wire-tentacle-wine things. Before they all get killed, Karen and her Ashveni boss want to know how they knew about the weapon. Rather than just spike-melding with Ben, Karen decides to go the torture method and use that alien cattle-prod stick thing. She opts to awkwardly make-out a little with Hal until he goes unconscious; Maggie’s not thrilled.
About to shock Anne, Karen’s ninja hearing detects that Anne’s fetus and totally spoils the surprise for Tom, but it’s enough to break Tom into revealing their sources. But, it’s another Skitter attack! One gets at Karen, which causes all the vine-wires to release the prisoners. It’s the Rebel Skitters! Skitter fighting Skitter! Brother against brother!
Red Eye takes on the Ashveni and is doing okay until it slides a blade out of one of its tentacle arms and slashes Red Eye across the face. Tom picks up the shock stick and goes to town, killing the Ashveni. We don’t get the visual, but the sounds are sad. Karen’s undeterred, yelling “it’s not over Tom, you’ll never win! Never!”, before ninja spidering up the wall on out of there.
Sad again, Skitter Red Eye is dying. He communes with Ben silently, before having him tell Tom to “keep the fight going”. If you’re curious about what Red Eye said to Ben, Showrunner Remi Aubuchon revealed it in this interview (there’s also some interesting information about this season and the next, but nothing too spoilery).
The 2nd Mass comes back to IKEA, mission accomplished. When Matt asks Ben if he’s staying, he changes his tune from before, saying that he is (read the interview for more insight on that as well). Hal, however, isn’t doing so hot. There’s nothing medically wrong with his, other than that he is unconscious.
Anne and Tom have a nice little scene where they talk about the pregnancy. Anne wonders about the fairness of having a post-apocalyptic baby, but Tom’s more hopeful and then they are so adorable.
Way less cute: Hal get up from his bed and goes to a mirror, freaks out as he watches one of those bug things that got pulled out of his Dad’s eye a while back crawl out his own, but then gets super zen once it crawls into his ear, and presumably, his brain. I’m guessing that was a present from Karen’s kiss.
Locke and Tom chat and drink; Locke is being forced to resign, but it’s cool with that. He wants Tom to be the new leader, but Tom has decided he likes killing aliens more than politics. I do not blame you. Tom leaves to go have a totally adorable bromance moment with Weaver.
Their bromance is so strong it is earth-shaking. Just kidding, something’s coming! Everyone rushes outside to see lightning, and then there’s a loud ringing. Sadly, it is not Thor, it’s raining… glowy, metal pods. Ones lands into front of the group and opens; out steps… something. A new kind of alien I guess. More humanoid looking that the Ashveni, wearing some rad looking armor, and I like its wrinkly little face and its nice eyes. I think it even smiled a little when it opened its helmet. It/he kind of reminds me of a turian from Mass Effect, like Garrus Vakarian. And with that exponentially nerdy reference, I’ll end the recap portion of this post.
- Hal: “Boy, you can be frustrating.” Ben: “I’m a younger brother, that’s what we do.”
- “What an unpleasant surprise.”
- “He doesn’t care anymore about you than you would care about a mosquito buzzing around your face, Tom. You’re just an irritant to him.”
- Wait, wasn’t the firs time Anne and Tom did it in the hospital? And there weren’t any condoms? In most cases, sure I understand that getting knocked up in a post-apocalyptic setting is somewhat unavoidable in most cases (even aliens/zombies/etc. cannot stop the power of sex) but they were in a HOSPITAL. I can’t.
- The pregnancy also brings in even more Walking Dead comparisons; it’ll be interesting to see how they deal with it here.
- Also, Moon Bloodgood, the actress who plays Dr. Anne is pregnant in real life! And apparently they’re starting to shoot Season 3 in a matter of days. I think it’s kind of cool that it worked out so serendipitously for the show and the actress. they don’t have to awkwardly try to hide her bump, or write her out of episodes, and it wasn’t a case of real-life forcing a plot change (since the writers didn’t know she was preggers when they wrote it).
- I want to know what the weapon they were constructing was really for. Apparently the Skitter rebellion (including Ben) knew; he said that it “will wipe out everything if it’s finished”, and that, pointed at the sky, “it wasn’t meant for humans”. This goes back to the question of what the Ashveni’s overall plan, the one that was vaguely referenced in Molon Labe. Hopefully this is something else we get in to next season. Perhaps it was a weapon designed to be used against different Ashvani enemies, and those enemies were the new team that rained down from the sky at the end of the episode.
- As for the weapon itself, the electrical sounds it made sounded exactly like the buses in Seattle do, as they run along the overhead electrical wires.
- The last time we saw a crawly bug like the one Hal has was the one that came out of Tom, and it flew back to Skitter Red Eye, so that makes me curious. Why did Karen choose to implant one in Hal via kiss; perhaps it was to throw the Ashveni off, and she’s actually, secretly, part of the rebellion?
- Not only did Ben get ninja skillz from his spikes, he got art skillz too.
The final thing that stuck me over the course of this episode was the ladies. I don’t want to get too into it, but as a sci-fi show, it’s not unimportant to consider the gender portrayals. Sci-fi tends to target more of a male audience, which tends to mean that you get problematic gender stuff happening. The themes have been building up over the course of the season, but this episode seemed to really put into focus how each of the female characters are getting more and more boxed into narrow, stereotypical female roles. (Warning: the next paragraph is full of TV Tropes links; if you’re unfamiliar with the site, just know that there is a strong likelihood you will lose hours clicking from trope to trope).
In this episode, Anne becomes Mother, trope wise that is Action Mom and Mama Bear; Maggie’s past fits her into the Whore box (especially with Hal’s negative reaction) with some Defiled Forever, plus she was already an Action Girl; Lourdes, now without Jamil, reverts to her Season 1 state of Virgin (remember her constant religious references?) In Season 1 she was a Wide-Eyed Idealist, post-Jamil she became Emotionless Girl. Jeannie’s introduction and return become the Child (Daddy’s Girl with Weaver as Overprotective Dad), and Karen rounds things off as the Dark Action Girl. We’ve already seen the Action Girl + Dark Action Girl = Designated Girl Fight in the Karen/Maggie fight in Homecoming.
I am not in any way making any sort of declarative statement about the attitude towards female characters on the show. I don’t think the creators or the writers are sexist, or are intentionally not taking the time to complexly develop the female characters of the show. We’ve talked before about the issues this show has with pacing and plotting; my suspicion is that it’s more a time issue. I was mainly just curious about y’alls thoughts on the subject, and since we are done with the season, I realized this would be my last shot at that discussion.
So, what do you think? Are the female characters on Falling Skies equally as complex and dynamic as their male counterparts? Are you happy about the pregnancy? Is Hal evil now? Who are the newcomers? Let’s gab.
And that’s that! I’ll see you back here this Fall for recaps of Revolution on NBC, which seems like it might be fairly similar to Falling Skies. At least it should fill the sci-fi holes in all our hearts.