Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review: True Blood "Someone I Used to Know"

Non Spoiler Review:
Coming off of last week's hot mess, Someone I Used to Know was a much more restrained and evenly paced episode. Sam and Andy deal with the vigilante situation while Luna discovers something about herself. Alcide and J.D. have their contest. Sookie, Jason and the fairies begin the search into their past. Salome begins her new direction for the Authority, but questions Bill and Eric's loyalties.

Despite more wacky fairy stuff, a new mystery begins over the identity of the murderer of the Stackhouses. We get a nice Bill flashback, and another gem of a Tara/Pam scene. Even Terry and Patrick's tedious story finally gets some significant movement.

Over-the-top and just plain bad acting is becoming increasingly notable—from Nora, Russell and Newlin's grandiose monologues, and now an especially rough scene with Luna this week. One expects a bit of that from True Blood, but it's really grating at times.

Spoilers Now!
The vigilante orderly is escorted away by Andy while Sam has to deal with Luna freaking out about the haters hunting them. Luna (in some of the worst acting of the season) gets out of bed after he leaves to go on her own vigilante mission but abruptly begins to shift into Sam as she stares at herself in the mirror (the dirty little skinwalker that she is). She finds some clothes and leaves the hospital.

Bloodied and still high, the reveling vampires return to the Authority headquarters, only Eric seems to have regained his senses. Bill grows pensive, but the others remain entranced with their vision and seem converted to the cause. Nora believes their path has been sanctioned by God and they can move forward with a clear conscience. Salome tells Newlin to get the guards to round up humans for food. Eric leaves, but Bill won't join him. 

Salome later summons Bill to her chambers where she has a human tied up, asking if he wants a late night snack. But he's not hungry, and Salome insists Lilith has commanded it. He refuses to be bullied and can't take a woman away from her children. He then has a flashback to Baton Rouge 1910, when he visited his daughter in the hospital. She asks to be made like him so she can live without aging, but he refuses, despite her begging him. Immortality is a curse, he tells her. Despite her cries he can't. Back in the present Salome declares his refusal as blasphemous, so he acquiesces and feeds from the woman. 

Jason runs up and stops Sookie from looking ridiculous firing off fairy blasts into the sky. He suggests being special hasn't been all bad—seeing gran one last time, for example. He figures it will never feel right until they find out what happened to their parents, and they may need that power in their search.

The two of them return to the fairy night club to discuss Sookie's secret powers. Hunter doesn't know who killed their parents, but there is a way to find out, so he tells them to meet him at the bridge where they were murdered. At the site they explain the accident sent ripples in time that can still be accessed. Sookie tries to inhabit her mother's memory to experience what happened, and relives the horrifying attack from both her mother and the vampire's perspective. She sees Claudine attempt to save her.

Hunter is repulsed that she made a psychic connection to a vampire. Jason doesn't care. He just wants to find him. Hunter warns them to be cautious. Sookie remembers Claudine saying the name of the vampire—Warlow. Clearly she knew who he was.

At Fangtasia Jessica is approached by a fangbanger, so she escorts him into the back. Hoyt and the vigilantes arrive at their home where they show him their surprise—Jessica is bound with silver. They decided to let Hoyt kill her—with their wood/silver bullets, and leave him to his task and lock the door, refusing to open it until she's dead. Jessica admits she tried to regain her love for him but couldn't. He opts to set her free, but won't accept her thanks.

At the sheriff station Sam interrogates the orderly by turning into a cobra. Luna (as Sam) show up and talks to Andy, asking if he's seen him. Sam get the address and shifts back only to find Luna walk in and tell him she's shifted into him and can't change back.

Jessica can't go outside given it's daylight, but Sam, Luna and Andy arrive. Hoyt had left to get help, but no one has seen him. Luna can smell the presence of a large human woman, then goes into convulsions. Sam takes her home to care for her and admits he loves her. She finally shifts back to Luna, but then has another seizure.

Lafayette drives home, looking through Jesus' first aid kit, but finding some V inside to heal the wounds on his lips. He has a vision of Jesus sitting next to him. When he gets home he runs into Arlene and Holly who need his help with Terry, and explain the situation. Lafayette is sick of doing his magic shit for free, so asks for $300. 

At Fangtasia Tara has to serve one of her high school classmates. The woman takes the opportunity to try to bully Tara like she did in high school, but Tara doesn't put up with it. Pam shows up to apologize for Tara's behaviour. Pam then leads her away to discuss her attitude, but brings her to the dungeon where the woman is bound. Pam glamors her—telling her she's worthless and exists only to serve Tara. She leaves Tara to have fun with her gift. Go Pam!

Alcide and Rikki have sex. Later, Alcide and J.D. battle for the pack leadership but Alcide realizes the contest is to track live prey—a teenager. J.D. suggests Alcide forfeit but Alcide steps in to save the boy and the two fight. J.D. nearly kills him but Martha, Rikki and the pack show up. Martha advises him not to start his tenure by killing his challenger. J.D. acquiesces and tells Alcide to find himself a new pack.

Arlene gets Patrick and Terry to show up at home but it's a ruse to perform a ritual with Lafayette. They agree to participate. He intends to contact the dead woman to remove her curse. Lafayette manages to summon her and she's pissed, but doesn't want to forgive them. She possesses him and declares she'll lift the curse if Terry kills Patrick. Patrick runs out.

On the road, Hoyt flags down a truck, happy to find a friendly face, only the driver pulls a gun on him. Sookie has a vision of a shadowy Warlow saying he's coming for her. Eric returns to find Nora praying to Lilith. He attempts to reach through to her about the insanity of the whole thing, but she renounces Godric instead. 

Eric and Bill join Salome and the chancellors. She's ready to start crushing the mainstreamers. Bill has an idea—rather than working the political angle, why not blow up the True Blood factories. There are only five of them. And mainstreamers will be forced to feed on humans. Everyone loves it. Eric asks what he's doing. Bill says evolving.

The Verdict:
Overall, this week was a winner, despite the aftertaste of In the Beginning's outrageous over-indulgences. A few tedious storylines are finally getting some advancement, including Jessica and Hoyt, the vigilantes, and Terry and Patrick.

The reveal that the head of the vigilantes is (most likely) Maxine Fortenberry doesn't come as too much of a surprise, but it's likely a decent plot choice to resolve a lot of the Hoyt problems. His character is suffering this season and he needs some direction.

The whole battle for the pack seems pointless, and just another retread of the Alcide/Marcus conflict. If Alcide is going to end up as the pack leader (probably by the season end?) just get to it.

As for all the vampire business, I'm doubtful Bill's loyalties to the new cause are genuine, and he's pursuing a more strategic plan to undermine the sanguinistas. How this will all resolve in a believable way remains to be seen. If too much public damage is done to the mainstreaming, I can't see it all being wrapped up neatly in the finale.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Review: Falling Skies "Homecoming"

Non Spoiler Review:
Events come to a head as the 2nd Mass runs into Karen which prompts debate over her loyalties (and Ben's). Weaver's wound at the harness factory gets the best of him, all while the 2nd Mass is on the verge of running out of fuel, putting their refuge in jeopardy, as well as the final stretch to Charleston.

A more tense and ominous episode which worked quite well with Karen's return and all the problems it caused for the group, especially for Hal and Ben. Anne had her work cut out for her this week, but it would be nice to see her do more than just fixing up every wounded character that comes into her operating room.

However, many of the characters behaved so obtusely with what was obvious to the audience, it detracted from what could have been a far better hour. But things are moving briskly, at least, which helps overlook that and the continuing sketchy details of how the 2nd Mass continues to manage to evade the aliens.

Spoilers Now!
Tom and Anne wake up together in their hospital refuge. They've been there two weeks, and commiserate about missing their respective spouses, but they're grateful for what they have now. He heads to Weaver's debriefing where he's discussing how complacent the 2nd Mass has become. Tom notices Weaver has the shakes and then he abruptly has some kind of seizure and breaks out in a red rash.

Weaver asks Tom to take over as Anne attempts to treat him. The antibiotics have had no effect on the harness bite and they're unable to see what has infected him. Tom apparently had no knowledge of the extent of Weaver's condition and is more than annoyed with Anne for not being forthcoming. He advises her they're leaving that night.

On patrol, Maggie continues to rebuff Hal that she's not the right person for him and nothing can happen between them. She's even asked Weaver to partner her with someone else. Their conversation is cut short as they find a dead child in the leaves, and proceed to uncover a whole pile of dead children that had been harnessed. Then Maggie finds Karen, who abruptly wakes up.

Tom addresses the troops that they need to get back on the road to Charleston. Jamil explains they can't leave by the nightfall given they don't have enough fuel to get there. They've had no luck searching for more fuel, and the generators will only run for another twelve hours. Tom sends Dai out on scouting parties for supplies.

Maggie and Hal bring Karen back to Anne. Ben warns them not to let her stay because she's still attached to them. He can hear it in his head. Karen is taken to the psych ward. Anne talks to her, but Ben continues to warn them not to trust her. She remembers them torturing Tom and being able to do nothing to stop it. She doesn't remember who the other kids are, just that she was on the ship and then she saw Hal's face. She has no idea how her harness was removed but guesses that she had served her purpose.

Anne thinks the toxin from the harness has attached itself to Weaver's blood stream, needing time to mature—perhaps gestate larvae. Tom orders her to put him in the fastest vehicle and get him to Charleston. She balks at him giving her orders so he apologizes. They don't have the luxury of a lovers spat. She wants until midnight to come up with a solution.

Ben wants to stay with Karen to find out what's going on. He reminds Hal that thing is not his old girlfriend. Karen is happy to finally meet Hal's younger brother. He tells her she might be able to fool the others but he can hear her. She admits to hearing something in her head, but it's a distant noise. She doesn't feel connected anymore. She also points out he was just paired with the scitters, while she was with the overlords, which was ten times worse.

Heating Weaver's body has slowed the pathogen, which gives Anne an idea to pump out his blood, warm it and put it back in his body. It's been used to treat cancer in the past. They need Jamil to come up with a solution to find a heating element to help it work. Tom figures there is no other choice while they prep for Charleston.

The fuel expedition finds no fuel, but does find Pope and Anthony injured on the road. Anthony explained Pope was being chased by scitters and a mech got a shot off near them. He picked up Pope and ran.

Ben finds himelf bonding with Karen simply for what they share in their abilities to overhear conversations and impressive feats of strength. When they move close together their spikes glow and they kiss. Hal walks in at that moment. Karen faints. She tells Hal they were just talking and she felt a connection.

Jamil has rigged a way to transfer the blood but it will take eight hours to circulate. Tom apologizes to Anne again. Then the power starts to fail. Jamil gets it working while the other expedition hits the jackpot with fuel supplies.

Hal believes Ben is trying to recruit Karen with whatever he's doing with the scitters. Maggie figures Ben is the one in danger and sends Hal off to find him. She goes to relieve the guard on Karen and pulls her guns on her, telling her they're having a girl talk. Karen gets in Maggie's head about Hal and when her guard is down Karen does a back flip and tosses Maggie at the wall. Ben comes running and Karen throws herself against the wall, pretending to be attacked by Maggie. She explains Maggie tried to shoot her and doesn't trust him either.

Ben decides to take her with him to a place he knows they can be accepted. They run up to the roof but Hal follows. Ben needs to go for the protection of the 2nd Mass. He apologizes to Hal before knocking him out. He and Karen jump off the roof and head into the woods.

With enough fuel to last for a few more days, Weaver is responding to the treatment. Pope wakes up and reveals the aliens are on their way to Tom. The scitters had him pinned down and he found himself staring at an overlord who wanted to know where they were. Karen was with them. There was talk of a scitter rebellion. Tom finds Maggie, then Hal on the roof, and his son and Karen missing.

The Verdict:
The relative tranquility of the hospital deteriorates quickly in the absence of fuel. Weaver's wound from the harness was bound to run off the rails, but I wonder if it has any longterm plot development or if it was simply for dramatic effect this week. He's certainly right about the 2nd Mass getting complacent. It seems no one follows orders anymore.

Ben made a ridiculous mistake by forgetting what we were reminded of—Karen worked for the overlords, while he was tied to the scitters. It seems an odd error given he has access to the scitter mind. Wouldn't it seem obvious to him she would still be serving her masters? It was certainly obvious to the audience (and Maggie) that Karen was a spy, so that really stood out as a bit hard to swallow given the circumstances.

Again, the deus ex machina makes an appearance with discovered fuel supplies to save the day. But I still question why the overlords don't just nuke the area, given they haven't had a problem with doing that in the early days of the attack, rather than these small assaults that always lead to the 2nd Mass getting away at the last moment.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: Falling Skies "Love and Other Acts of Courage"

Non Spoiler Review:
Maggie and Hal bond while searching for medical supplies. Ben is missing, leading to Tom and his berserkers discovering a confusing alien battle, as well as someone thought dead. That leads to a revelation about what's going on within the alien ranks and provides a lot of debate among the 2nd Mass.

Falling Skies ups the mythology quotient by providing another reveal about the scitters and giving Tom and Weaver much to think about. The relationships continue to evolve and remain interesting without falling into cliche—Anne and Tom, as well as Maggie and Hal, are proving good subplots to the story without getting in the way of important plot. Ben also continues to shine as a growing character.

Spoilers Now!
At sunrise, the scitters in the city appear to be performing some ritual by raising their hands to the sky and chanting. Ben runs to the rooftop and does the same. 

Maggie looks off towards a ruined city as Hal joins her. Weaver wants them to scout pharmacies and hospitals. Suddenly they see an explosion in the city. Back at camp the commotion rouses the survivors. Weaver sends Tom and the berserkers to check it out. They can't find Ben, so Tom tells Matt to help guard the med bus. Tom's team comes upon a host of mechs and scitters burned up. The holes in the mechs suggest it's alien weaponry. Hal finds a dead scitter and glowing spikes beneath, thinking it's Ben but discovers it's Rick.

Anne and Weaver get into a dispute over how to handle Rick's return as he recovers. Weaver wants him interrogated, but she views him as an innocent victim. Weaver experiences some pain in his leg which has become infected from the harness bite.

Hal and Maggie reveal the Ben situation to Tom. Tom goes back into the city to work on the supply problem, but is stopped by Matt as Rick has woken up and panicked. He asks about Ben and tells Tom he's in danger. Ben was with him and is hurt bad. Tom will take the risk to find his son, so a few of them follow Rick back into the city.

Rick says Ben is near. They find a trail of blood leading inside a building where they find him. Rick explains he brought them. His spikes are glowing like Rick's. Ben says he won't let them hurt him—him being the red-eyed scitter. Tom recognizes it from his captivity. Rick explains the scitter saved Tom from death and they must talk.

The scitter tells him they are fighting the same enemy. Both the scitter and Rick collapse. They're about to kill it when Ben pleads they take it prisoner. Tom agrees. It was there when he was interrogated and might know everything.

Hal and Maggie continue their hospital search when they run into mechs that pass them by, though not before Maggie and Hal huddle in a car and flirt. Their final hospital is a mother lode of supplies. Maggie doesn't go into the hospital because of her cancer history. She admits she had brain tumours. They share a kiss but she dismisses it as anything more than partners. Hal wants there to be more, but she says there can't be.

Weaver and Tom return with their prisoner. Ben tells Anne she has to help it. Tom takes Ben off to have a chat. Ben explains it's a scitter rebellion and he's been in communication with it since Jimmy died. Tom lets him talk.

Some of the scitters have been able to resist the harness effects and have been rebelling for over a hundred years. Now they feel they can combine forces with the humans and have a chance. Ittortured Tom so they wouldn't question his loyalty and so it could get access to the battle plans of the overlords. Tom is alive because he saved his life. It believes the human race is the best chance they have through forming an alliance with people like Ben and Tom.

In the morning, Weaver and Tom speak to the scitter via Rick. It wants to talk to Tom alone so Weaver agrees. Rick/scitter explains Ben is very important to him but there is little time tell him. A death squad is on its way to kill everyone in the camp. Twenty of his comrades fell in battle the previous morning. Tom isn't convinced.

Their planet was much like Earth's but the overlords laid waste to it and they were pressed into slavery with the harnesses. Now they've been forced to do the same to human children. They've seen how Tom's species fights. Together they can do what they couldn't do alone.

Tom says he's seen how easy the scitters can destroy. There is no regret or remorse. It counters that the fact is the humans have substandard weapons and don't understand the overlords' tactics. So they can fight them alone and die, or join them.

On the way home Hal and Maggie come under attack. Tom hears the explosions and the scitter warns it's the death squad. Maggie falls off her bike so Hal goes to get her. They barely make it out and she's annoyed he risked himself to come back for her.

Weaver arrives and wants to kill the scitter for leading the aliens to them. Tom says no, and tells him he needs to hear what he's said. Weaver demands he move out of the way, then the scitter breaks out. In the commotion Rick is shot trying to save it. Rick tells Ben it's okay. He just needs to talk to his father and make him believe. He dies. Tom pulls Ben away.

Hal brings Maggie in to Anne. Weaver tells them they have to move so Hal takes the driver's seat. The 2nd Mass goes to the hospital where they got the supplies. Maggie is put up in a bed. As she recovers she berates Hal for coming back for her. But people depend on them both, he says, and he needs her. She asks him to sit with her until she falls asleep.

Anne continues to treat Weaver and needs him off his leg. She's pleased to be in a hospital where she has the proper tools and medicine. Tom comes in to talk with him, given Weaver is pissed. Tom admits to disobeying a direct order. Weaver accepts his apology but is worried about Ben and the risk he poses. Tom admits he's right but doesn't know what to do. When the time comes he doesn't know how he'll be with the hard choice. Weaver would just as soon not to have to make it for him. He admits he's come to respect Tom.

They're still two weeks from Charleston and the hospital will prove to be a welcome respite. Anne wants to know how Ben is. He seems to be more sure of himself than Tom. Tom propositions Anne to explore the rooms in the hospital. Meanwhile, Ben sits out on the roof staring at the stars. Matt joins him. Ben asks if he can keep a secret. He says he has to go away for awhile, he just doesn't know when.

The Verdict:
Another strong episode, and I really enjoyed the Hal and Maggie scenes, which handled differently could have come across pretty cheesy. All the Mason children are evolving so well, and even Matt is a strength for the show. 

The idea of rebellion within the alien ranks is a decent one for the series and helps give the humans at least a fighting chance against obviously superior forces. The ongoing criticism is the relative ease the 2nd Mass continues to make their escapes (AGAIN) and only on to their hospital full of all the creature comforts they need. Coming off of last week's break from the harness factory, it's lazy writing.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review: Walking Dead 100

Non Spoiler Review:
Issue 100 delivers a very dark and disturbing climax to the Something to Fear storyline. Negan's men prepare for an attack against Alexandria as Rick, Michonne, Maggie, Glen, Heath, Sophia and Carl head to the Hilltop to consult with the people about the threat. Everything goes wrong.

Kirkman delivers a chilling tale that feels uneasy from start to finish. What comes next is anyone's guess given the game has certainly changed, not only for all the survivors, but particularly for Rick who must come to terms with another catastrophic decision.

Spoilers Now!
Rick and crew head to the hilltop, unaware they're being watched and an attack on Alexandria is being planned in their absence. On the road the trip is taking longer than expected so they're forced to find a place to camp for the night.

While taking watch Rick is ambushed from behind by Negan's men and reinforcements that show up in a truck, including Negan himself.

Negan lectures his captives about their new reality, and proceeds to choose someone to make an example of, ultimately ending up on Glen. They're forced to watch while Negan beats Glen to death with a barbed wire bat. Rick vows to kill him, but Negan calls his bluff, and he can do nothing. Negan prepares to leave, advising them the life they knew is over, and they'll be coming for their first offering in a week.

The Verdict:
Glen's death really elicited a visceral reaction, much like Carl's shot to the head. It was such a brutal and disturbing end to the character, so in that respect, Kirkman certainly delivered a reality check. I should have known he was the one given such a focus on his future plans and dread about remaining in Alexandria. But that's the reality of this series, and it was driven home effectively.

Negan's appearance lived up to expectations. He measures up to his cultlike status, but we'll really need to see some further insights as to why he warrants loyalty from so many (especially given the bickering we saw in the opening scene between his men watching Alexandria). 

The whole issue was permeated with a sense of impending doom, and we didn't even get an attack yet on Alexandria, which will likely be its own blood bath. But is Negan aware that his men are planning a separate attack? One wonders given his plans to retrieve their first offering in a week, and he can't really do that if the town is destroyed.

Where does Walking Dead go next? Do we find our characters existing under a totalitarian society for some time to come?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: True Blood "In The Beginning"

Non Spoiler Review:
Roman's death leads to a change in direction and new alliances within the Authority. Sookie learns some information that could change her life. Jason and Hoyt both make some decisions about their love lives. Alcide takes a shine to Rikki. Tara gets a visit from her mother. 

In the Beginning was one of the messiest episodes in awhile, and that's saying a lot. While I needn't go on about how much Pam and Tara's scenes steal the show, the vampire politics stuff simply went over the top by the end of it. Jason and Hoyt weren't just dumb, but both behaved out of character. Terry's story continues to drag. It felt like someone ate a True Blood script and threw it up on screen, complete with enough fairy blasts to fill a season of episodes.

Spoilers Now!
The lights go out, creating mayhem in the council chambers before the Authority guards arrive and silver Russell. Roman is very much dead.

The fairies are looking after Sookie testing her power levels, which are depleting. Hunter provides an infodump by explaining his family has been watching over her's for centuries. As she's only half fairy, her magic is finite and she'll run out. Sookie wonders if being human would be so bad. They offer to teach her more if she's ever curious to learn. She and Jason return to the Bontemps.

Sam gets the sent of the vigilante masks in the back of the shop. Then later at the hospital he sniffs out an orderly he recognizes from the shooting and punches him out.

Meanwhile, Hoyt is with his friends and is feeling more acceptance in their hate group than anywhere else. One gets a call that Junior has been killed (the shop owner). Hoyt joins them on their next ride after musing how much he hates Jessica.

Eric and Bill are back in their cell and realize they were used to deliver Roman's killer to him. Nora must have had an accomplice. They're summoned to Salome's chambers where Nora and Russell are waiting. Russell wants to extend the olive branch. Salome admits to digging Russell up, and explains she had followed Bill and Eric when they initially buried him (having learned what was happening from Nan). She wants to share power with all of them. Neither Bill nor Eric are willing to follow these fundamentalist vampires. The next night they're having a ceremony, so Salome wants to offer them the opportunity to participate.

Alcide and his new second, Rikki, spar for training. She suggests he use vampire blood to level the playing field, but he refuses, and much prefers to try to make out with her. Martha arrives to lecture Alcide about J.D.'s right to run the pack.

Arlene confides in Holly about Terry's claims of a smoke monster. Holly doesn't think that sounds so unusual. They watch the video of Arlene's wedding which occurred during the year gap. Meanwhile, Terry and Patrick remain out in the woods drinking. The monster appears and seems to mock them, then disappears. Terry realizes it's just tormenting them now, and wants an end to it all.

Lafayette goes to see Don Bartolo, but finds Jesus' head instead. Bartolo captures him because Jesus gave Lafayette the demon and he wants it back. He ties up Lafayette and sows up is lips and cuts his forehead to transfer the magic into his unborn son. But his girlfriend has other ideas and abruptly stabs Bartolo and kills him, then cuts Lafayette free. 

Tara's mother shows up at Fangtasia to find her in the middle of a strip show. She's offended Tara would do such a thing to her given she's a minister's wife, and so she's dead to her. Tara warns her she'll be seeing her again and shows her fangs. Pam later tells her she's a better dancer than a bartender, and her mom's a real bitch. Tara gives her a big hug. 

J.D. reveals to his pack that his vampire friend warns the end of days are coming—a war between vampires and humans. He wants to join the vampire side and offers them the blood. He gives some to Emma but Martha arrives and puts a stop to it, telling him she doesn't know him anymore. 

Sookie decides to deplete her powers so fires off random blasts into the sky. At the Compton mansion, Jason confides in Jessica what he learned about his parents. But he realizes she was feeding before he got there, and the guy is still there. He freaks out and says vampires are all the same. She gets mad and feeds on him, so Jason shoots her in the head (!). She heals and kicks him out. When he leaves he can see the light coming from Sookie's place.

Salome believes Lilith forgives Russell given he's had a change of heart. Salome offers everyone (the Authority members plus Newlin) to drink from the vile of Lilith's blood (though several, including Bill and Eric don't believe it's genuine). Dieter accuses them of blasphemy. Russell kills him. Salome drinks first and passes it around. They later go out on the street with a big blood high. They crash a wedding party and proceed to feed on the victims. As they kill the room, they watch a drop of blood fall to the floor and a woman emerges from the pool—Lilith. In the midst of the blood orgy Eric has a vision of Godric telling him this is wrong and to save Nora. That apparently shakes him out of his hallucination as he can no longer see Lilith.

The Verdict:
A big hot mess. In fact it has me worried for how the show can continue if it keeps up this level of crazy, coupled with bizarre character behaviour. Jason and Hoyt's turnabouts regarding Jessica just did not make sense.

As much as I love Pam (and her hair) and Tara's scenes, they alone cannot be the glue to hold the show together when they're surrounded by such outrageous plotlines that seem engineered more for effect than some grand plan. Who knows, maybe it will all come together in the end, but Jesus' business with Bartolo, the ridiculous antics of Hoyt and Jason, and then the icing on the cake—the fairy scene with Sookie testing her illumination? Argh.

Yes, Eric giving Bill a piggy back ride was cute, but it would seem the mainstreaming movement has taken an incredible hit. What's next once word gets out of the wedding massacre? The Authority is fully fundamentalist now, so is a vampire/human war on the way?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review: True Blood "Hopeless"

Non Spoiler Review:
Russell's capture raises Bill and Eric's stature in the Authority. Sookie and Jason go on a search about the truth of their parents' death. Alcide makes a move on the pack, while the fallout of the shooting leads Sam and Andy to search for who is killing supernaturals.

The season is getting a sense of direction and motion with the official return of Russell to the fold, and the vampire politics are continuing to be interesting. However, we do get a healthy dose of the fairies this time, and that whole set up and mythology remains cheesy at best (at worst confusing).

Spoilers Now!
Alcide is dragged away by another wolf and Eric and Bill go to his aid, leaving Sookie to a reinvigorated Russell. She blasts him with her fairy powers. Eric and Bill dispatch the wolves and pin down Russell. Before they kill him, Bill suggests taking him back alive so they needn't have to die. The Authority special forces with Kibwe abruptly arrive to take over from there.

Russell is bound and led off while threatening the soldiers and commenting their belief in Lilith is foolish. The Authority orders them to glamor Alcide and Sookie, so they comply to make it seem they never met (though Sookie cannot be glamored, of course). Eric also adds to Alcide that he must always protect Sookie but never touch her romantically because she disgusts him. Eric instructs Sookie to live her life in the sun with other humans and forget they were ever together.

Kibwe rounds up the human survivors who remember who the woman is who brought Russell to the hospital. They're to be interrogated. Kibwe sends Bill and Eric back to the Authority, but then proceeds to kill all the humans.

At Fangtasia, Tara and Jessica's battle expands into the bar until Pam shuts it down and drags Tara out. She lays down the law that Tara works for her, but comments she did good out there fighting and made her proud, like a well-trained dog.

Hoyt tells Jessica to butt out of his life because he's happy being a fangbanger and accuses her of still being in love with him. He just wants her to be a vampire with him. She denies it. Outside, he's getting drained by a vampire when the vigilantes show up and kill it. They recognize Hoyt and take him with them.

Sam and Luna are rushed to the hospital, both alive. They were hit with wooden bullets. Both will recover, but Sam vows to find Emma, who in her wolf form has run to Martha's. He tells her the attackers were human, but he did smell whiskey. Martha arrives with Emma. Luna acquiesces to let her keep her daughter safe until they find out who is after them.

Sam tells Andy his theory they're being hunted by humans and can help find them. Andy goes to interrogate the owner of the vampire weapons store. He sells the same sort of bullets used in the crime. Sam comes in as well to sniff out the place. Sam grabs a crossbow and saves Andy by shooting the owner when he's about to shoot him. 

Alcide drives Sookie back but doesn't seem to remember anything, or why she's crying. He wakes up at Sookie's and wonders if they had sex, but she assures him they didn't. When she touches his hand he recoils for her, and she realizes immediately Eric is behind it. She grabs him and forces him to remember the previous night. 

Lafayette was called by the hospital to see his mother Ruby, given she had a seizure. She tells him Jesus is in trouble and visited her, asking her to tell her son Don Bartolo is behind it. She admits she always saw things.

Terry and Patrick rush back to the cellar but it's consumed by flames, and the Ifrit rises out and dissipates. They return home to Louisiana. Arlene confides in Holly about Terry running off about something bad that happened in Iraq. Terry returns to Merlotte's with his bad news about the curse, and confessing to what he did in Iraq. It was the Ifrit, not ghost Mavis that set their house on fire. Despite all she's seen, Arlene doesn't believe him and tells him to leave if he won't get help. He does so for their protection.

Jason has another dream about his father and swears he'll find the vampire who killed him and his mother. Back at work Jason explains what he's learned about their parents to Sookie. She wants to be taken to the fairy nightclub to get Hadley and Hunter. When they go to the meadow, Sookie can sense the presence of the nightclub and the two find the portal inside. She's reunited with Hadley, as well as with the fairy who helped her escape from the fairy realm.

Hunter escaped to the human world before the last portal closed because they don't believe in the harvesting of humans. Hunter only knows what Claudine told him. A vampire was drawn to their parents by something she smelled in the backseat of the car—Sookie's blood on a bandage. Sookie gets angry and is about to use her powers, but a bunch of fairies fire their blasts at her.

Alcide visits J.D., the current head of the wolf pack, accusing him of being on V, and telling him Russell's wolves are dead. Alcide claims the role of master of the pack. J.D. denies it so Alcide challenges him. He needs a second before he can challenge the master. A woman named Rikki steps up to throw in with Alcide.

Bill and Eric return to the Authority and are congratulated by the chancellors. Roman is apparently impressed and their devices are deactivated. Eric learns that Nora confessed to being a sanguinista. Roman arrives and is in a jubilant mood and thanks them for what they've done. Now he knows they're on his side.

Salome wants to continue interrogating Russell, but Roman announces he's to be executed. Salome suggests she give him another dose of silver and bring him to Roman. Eric requests permission to visit Nora, revealing she is his sister.

Nora is praying as Russell is led to his execution. Eric is watching but she won't acknowledge his presence. But she's happy because god's plan is being made manifest by Lilith. She tells him she never released Russell.

Roman and the Authority prepare the execution while Russell thinks both they and the sanguinistas are hypocrites. Roman prepares to kill him but the app doesn't work, and Russell is free and on Roman before he can react, staking him with the Judas Tree. Nora says "Praise Lilith."

The Verdict:
Roman's death and Russell's release was probably the most anticipated twist. And a sad one too, given Chris Meloni was too interesting a character to have been dispatched so easily. But it marks True Blood moving the season into high gear with Russell's full-fledged return.

Other stuff got advanced—I'm surprised Luna survived. However, the fairy plot is starting to get confusing, given I'm having a hard time remembering who Hunter is, much less which are rebel fairies, and the really bad ones. Do we really need another vigilante subplot in addition to Terry's Ifrit and Lafayette's quest for Jesus?

There were a lot of messy bits, too. The whole glamor thing seemed extremely contrived for no good reason (Sookie can't be glamored and she released Alcide immediately after). Arlene's seen enough supernatural goings-on that her dismissal of Terry was ridiculous considering they tried an exorcism last season. Yet she's willing to throw her marriage away on it. But on the plus side the little character scenes continue to shine through. Particularly, Lafayette and his mother, and of course Tara and Pam.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: Falling Skies "Youngbloods"

Non Spoiler Review:
As the 2nd Mass heads to Charleston, Ben and Hal get their bikes stolen and stumble upon a group of adolescent survivors, one of whom has a connection to Weaver. Tom's also the new head of the berzerkers, and takes issue with how they're using Matt on their missions.

A rather straightforward episode, it still carried a decent emotional arc. It also delivered some creepy alien chills and a more detailed look at the harnessing process.

While Falling Skies has pretty much nailed the character stuff, it has developed a rather annoying (and potentially damaging) trend at glazing over the tactical situation, allowing the characters and the 2nd Mass as a whole to enter and escape dangerous situations with very little explanation.

Spoilers Now!
Matt is exploring an empty town as a scitter pursues him. He finds himself surrounded. Then both get their head's blown off by the berzerkers. He's covered in blood, but thinks it was all pretty  awesome.

Ben and Hal survey a factory that the aliens are using, wondering what's going on inside. Then their bikes are abruptly stolen by two kids. Ben uses some mysterious abilities to hear their engines, and determines they're heading east.

Ben and Hal track the bikes to a warehouse where a bunch of teens and kids are holed up. Hal enters with hands up and is told to get the hell out. Ben has them all in his sights, so they stand down. They introduce themselves to the leader, Diego, and are told to just take the bikes and go. Hal realizes there are no adults. Hal invites them back to their camp, so Diego brings a few to come check it out and get a warm meal.

Tom brings Anne a chocolate bar he found and they share a kiss that's interrupted by Lourdes. Apparently Tom is aware of Matt's mission, too. Matt's become a minor celebrity among the berzerkers celebrating their scitter kill. Tom realizes that Matt led the scitters into a trap, not just a runner as his father intended. Tom is furious and punishes those involved with sanitation duty, with Matt sitting out the next few missions. Matt's angry with him.

Hal and Ben return with their guests and Weaver and Tom greet him. Only Diego's second in command Jade is Weaver's daughter and they enjoy a happy reunion. Later they discuss her mother's death when she ran out of her medication, as well as Weaver's tendency to let his anger get the best of him.

Diego gives them intel on the factories and are invited to join them on their march south. He'll consider it and thanks them for their help. Diego tells Lourdes that her part of Mexico was destroyed. He and Jade lead a convoy of supplies back to the rest.

As night falls they come upon a burning truck in the road and their warehouse torn apart. They find a survivor who says the scitters took everyone. Back at the 2nd Mass they discuss a plan of attack against the factory which they assume is a harness facility. Weaver and Diego get into a heated disagreement about a plan of attack, upsetting Jade. Diego goes off without their permission and takes his people with him. Matt tags along. Weaver gathers their forces only to realize Diego has left. 

The 2nd Mass gets to the factory, while inside Diego, Jade and the others (including Matt) have all been captured and are in their harnessing facility. Matt and Jade watch one of the boys get harnessed. Next is Matt, but Tom arrives to kill the scitter in time and removes the harness before it can merge with him. 

Ben walks up to the harness incubator where he sees them swimming inside. His implants glow as one comes towards him. He fires into it and blows it apart. Maggie has freed Diego and the others. A scitter jumps on Weaver's leg. Jade tears it off and they kill it. 

They manage their escape from the factory. Weaver gets mended by Anne. He tells his daughter she was right his anger let them all down. She's thankful that he's a great leader and appreciates him as a father. Diego and the others don't want to be part of the resistance, hoping for survival by avoiding the aliens. He gives her his (Jimmy's) compass. As his meds kick in she stays with him, then leaves a note and rejoins Diego. Weaver finds it and learns she's not coming with them to Charleston and she has her own life with Diego and the others. They need her like the 2nd Mass needs him.

Lourdes fills Jamil in on her family in northern Mexico. He tells her not to stop hoping for a better life. Hal finally confronts Ben about what's going on with him, given he saw his spikes glow. Ben prefers to ignore it but won't sign his death warrant with the rest of the survivors who will never trust him. Hal needs to back off.

The Verdict:
Another emotionally heavy episode. The harnessing process was suitably grotesque, especially with the scitter lovingly stroking the hair of the victim. Jades appearance was yet another coincidence, especially considering how far the 2nd Mass must have moved from Boston since the invasion. But at least it ended on a decent note with her leaving with Diego.

Another weak thread was the sketchy attack and escape from the factory was highly glazed over. And the level of coincidence we're experiencing almost suggests the aliens are pulling the strings with everything.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review: True Blood "Let's Boot and Rally"

Non Spoiler Review:
The search for Russell comes to a head as Eric and Bill enlist Sookie and Alcide to form their own Scooby Doo Mystery Team. Lafayette loses control of his dark side. Terry and Patrick find out the truth about Iraq. Andy and Jason investigate the shifter murders and Sam stumbles onto a greater threat to his kind.

Another strong episode, and again the strength lies in Tara, Pam and Jessica's evolving relationships and the vampire politics goings-on. Jason seems to be embarking on a new quest that will hopefully become a meaningful storyline for him. 

Again, too many characters. But once Russell is back perhaps they'll winnow down the cast. However there has been movement on all of these plots this week, including Lafayette and Iraq, so there's still hope they could grow into something more interesting. The title Let's Boot and Rally rang true, as it did not feel like filler at all.

Spoilers Now!
Alcide and Sookie head upstairs to the bedroom. But when they get into it Sookie throws up, and Bill and Eric appear in the doorway. Lafayette comes home to see his demon face in the mirror. He attempts to pray it away. Andy and Jason both wake up naked in their respective homes. Jason has a vision of himself as a child with Sookie having breakfast with their parents. Bite marks appear on their necks. Jason wakes up to a phone call alerting him of the shifter murders.

Terry and Patrick are tied up and asked if anything followed them there. Evan explains what happened with the others who burned in the fire. After they got back from Iraq he was crashing on their friend's couch and the house caught fire one night. Evan watched the flames move and intercept them, and he saw something looking at him. He ran. It's an ifrit (obviously), a being of smoke and fire that's coming for all of them.

Terry has another flashback immediately following the massacre. Terry had found a woman alive but Patrick ordered him to kill her. She cursed them that the ifrit burns them all and those they love. Terry shot her and they burned all the bodies. Terry saw the ifrit in the fire.

Terry realizes it was waiting to get them all together in one place, so they need to leave. Evan frees them but Patrick punches him out. Terry tells Patrick he isn't lying, but Patrick doesn't believe anything. Terry climbs out of the cellar and has a cigarette outside while Patrick tells him there's no such thing as an ifrit. In the cellar the smoke appears and burns Evan alive.

Debating the Russell situation leads to an argument between Alcide, Bill and Eric. Sookie realizes the madness is never going to end no matter what choice she makes. She agrees to help hunt Russell. They go to one of Alcide's employees involved in the burial and she attempts to get into his mind to see if he's been glamoured. He saw a woman dig Russell up with her hands and she has a necklace with a bat—a female member of the authority. Nora is wearing the same necklace. 

Salome continues to watch her torture. She notifies Eric and Bill they have until dawn to find Russell or be terminated. She then finds Roman in the vault pensive about Drew's betrayal. The chamber contains the supposed actual blood of Lilith which the secular Roman doesn't believe. Salome suggests he throw the religious base a bone and control the message. But later on Roman informs his chancellors about the choice ahead of them. He will not stand by while zealots hijack their cause.

At Fangtasia, Tara makes her appearance. Pam seems proud to see her out and about and wants her to bar tend. She immediately feeds on a willing patron which raises Pam's ire about her feeding in public. If she does anything to mess with Fangtasia she'll silver her and stick her in a coffin.

Jessica witnesses the altercation and orders a drink, then attempts to commiserate about being turned. She offers to hang with Tara if she wants a friend. Tara says she feels crazy in her head. Jessica assures her the feelings aren't bad and succeeds in making Tara feel better. Tara sees Hoyt outside and they share a cigarette. He's a fangbanger now. She tells him to go home when he propositions her. But later in the bathroom Jessica hears Tara feeding on Hoyt and the two get into a fight.

Jason and Andy arrive at the murder scene of the two shifters. Jason wants to know what Andy remembers about the night before, and explains they had a fairy encounter. Andy says they won't talk about it anymore because he doesn't want to mess up his good thing with Holly. Andy then interviews Sam and he admits the victims were shifters like himself.

Lafayette wakes up and sees Jesus' head on his coffee table with his mouth sewn shut. His mother also has the same vision in her hospital bed and seems to have a conversation with Jesus. She says she'll tell Lafayette and starts calling out to him.

Sam informs Luna about the deaths. When he goes to leave there's a truck of masked men calling out shifter and shoot him. He goes down and sees Luna come out. She gets shot too. Emily comes out and runs, changing to a wolf and scampers off. Sam sees the attackers drive off and passes out.

Alcide, Sookie and his employee head toward an old hospital with Bill and Eric, following the trail from his memories. Sookie gets a flash of someone taking Russell inside the hospital. Alcide senses wolves have been there. They come upon a room full of drained victims. Next they find several living people tied up and they arrive in Russell's room finding him nearly healed lying in bed. Eric tells him they've come to finish what they started. Russell tells them to give it their best shot. Alcide abruptly gets pulled out the door.

The Verdict:
Let's Boot and Rally was a stronger episode, with plenty of great vampire scenes, including a touching one between Tara and Jessica, and a nice closing monologue from Roman. Too bad Sookie and Alcide's hook up was derailed.

While Terry's plot has gotten some explanation, do we really need yet another supernatural subplot that's not apparently connected to anything else? At least the shifter crimes might be tied to the vampires or werewolves, but the Bellefleurs seem to be off in their own world for the moment. But on a positive note, all of them got advanced, and the scenes with Jesus' phantasmal head making it's rounds was pretty effective. Most important, it looks as though the Russell teases are finally over and whatever is behind his return will be revealed. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review: True Blood "We'll Meet Again"

Non Spoiler Review:
Tara continues to adapt to her new life while Pam has a reunion with Eric. Romans struggles to get more information out of Nora about the sanguinistas, while realizing the conspiracy runs deeper among the Authority. Bill and Eric start their search for Russell. Sookie comes to terms with losing nearly all her friends.

Another full episode, this one was an improvement on the last. There's still quite a muddle of characters, and even though Terry's plot gets a lot more development it still remains very uninteresting with the host of other stuff going on. The Pam and Tara stuff is a pleasant surprise. It's quickly growing into one of the great relationships on the show.

Spoilers Now!
Pam rescues a horribly burned Tara and commands her never to try it again. Tara just wants release. She returns to Fangtasia to find Eric and Bill waiting—both have been freed by the Authority for their mission. That leads to explanations how she's turned Tara. Bill counsels Tara on her new life. She's definitely not a fan of Sookie anymore and warns him to stop worrying about her because there will always be some fool to take a bullet for her.

Eric suspects Pam of freeing Russell but she vows she's never betrayed him and had just about enough of him. She tells him to just release her and get it over with if that's what he wants. Eric rejoins Bill and admits he believes Pam. Bill suggests Nora might be behind it given no one else would know of Russell's imprisonment.

Meanwhile, Alcide takes off in a huff as Lafayette walks out to realize Sookie told him everything. She wants to start doing right, but he calls her the angel of death and storms off too, leaving her to cry and run to Jason's. She wants to turn herself in for Debbie's murder. He gets filled in about Lafayette and Tara as well, which leaves him with a lot to absorb. Jessica overhears and comes out.

Meanwhile the Authority is pondering if Eric and Bill actually killed Russell and are just using this as ruse to rally the sanguinistas. As Salome comes to bed, Roman is watching Nora's torture on video. He needs her to talk to her to get more information.

Sookie finds it difficult to work with everyone's minds thinking on how horrible a person she is. Lafayette has another transformation into his demon persona and tears up Sookie's car. While driving home the car accelerates on its own and she jumps out at the last minute. She gets home and gets drunk.

Alcide talks to Debbie's parents about the truth of her death, that she was killed by Marcus. They tell Andy they got what they came for and return to Mississippi. Jason is only too happy to hear that, but Andy smells a rat. He decides to get a search warrant. Jessica abruptly shows up and glamours Andy to close the pelt case. Problem solved.

In South Dakota Patrick and Terry are on the trail of their missing comrade. Terry flashes back to Iraq when they got drunk in a prayer tower. When a man tries to stop them, they shoot him. That brings out a crowd of people and when shots are fired that leads to a gunfight and massacre of the civilians.

They find their comrade's home seemingly abandoned but a compartment under the floor with a room covered in drawings of a fire monster. But he's still there and pulls a gun on them.

Pam rises and watches Tara sleep. Eric comes down to chat. He confesses the Russell search is a suicide mission. He doesn't want her there when the end comes and admits she's right. He has to release her. But only because she is his only progeny and he wants a legacy. She understands. Pam later gets Tara up, bringing a girl to feed her. Tara resists at first, but Pam commands her and teaches her to feed.

Bill and Jessica look for bugs in the mansion to find the source of the leak. Jessica asks if he's still king, and he tells her so. He finds a cigarette and she admits she had a party. She asks if he's going to see Sookie as she's had a rough couple of days. He warns her not to make a habit of rescuing her like he did. But Jessica thinks Sookie's falling apart, and it's different between her and Bill. He hugs her and tells her he's done well with her, then leaves.

Roman and Salome talk to Nora one last time. Nora accepts her death but Salome won't see her martyred. Roman doesn't see her as a leader and wants to know who recruited her. They threaten to kill Eric. Salome swears on the blood of Lilith to ensure their safety if she betrays who the true infidel is.

Sam gets a visit at Merlotte's from two of his shifter friends. They want him to come back and run with them. Sam shows up later to join them, but both have been shot in the head.

Roman addresses the Authority about his suspicions that another has betrayed them, while holding an elaborate stake made out of the Judas Tree. He's having their quarters searched. The guards return with a laptop belonging to Chancellor Drew which has a video of a human being tortured and fed on, and sent to known enemies of the Authority with a message of solidarity. Drew protests he was infiltrating them. Roman kills him and warns there will be no further rebellions.

Sookie gets a call from Lafayette who has found her car. He needs to talk to her but she assures him she's okay. Alcide shows up so she hangs up. He explains what he's done with the Pelts. She's grateful and offers him something to drink. Sookie and Alcide get drunk. They start making out, but Bill is watching from the window. Eric joins him and comments Sookie seems to be recovering nicely. Bill suggests Sookie could be useful in their search and this time they don't give her the choice.

Judge Clemens invites Andy to a party to celebrate his son's ticket being expunged. Andy and Jason get into a limo with Judge Clemens full of women and are taken to a meadow where one of the girls uses fairy magic to open a portal. They appear at an elaborate party. Jason is led off while Andy finds Morella and realizes seeing her wasn't a dream.

Jason finds his cousin Hadley. She's surprised to hear Sookie is alive and they need to go get her. She thinks Jason is a refugee from the vampires too, as this place is a safe house from the vampires. She warns the vampires will kill Sookie just like they did his parents. That comes as a shock, and the other girl sends Hadley away. Jason runs after but gets in a fight and both he and Andy are thrown out in the meadow. They get hit with a fairy blast.

The Verdict:
Pam and Eric have a great scene, and it's good to see the two reconcile. Now that Pam is a maker, her relationship with Tara shows a lot of promise. This is definitely one of my new favorite plotlines, and refreshing that Tara has an invigorating storyline. And, of course, more Bill and Jessica. So plenty of vampire sweetness this week.

While I do find the Authority stuff interesting, Salome looks to be the obvious traitor in the ranks, but it could all be a red herring just because it is so obvious. The Authority chancellors are all rather a weak set of characters compared to her and Roman, so Drew's loss wasn't a big deal. But vampire politics remains one of the more compelling plotlines.

I'm not sure what to think yet of the return of the fairies and how they're roping in Andy and Jason, though the twist regarding his parents is probably good for his character and gets him more intelligent storylines (no panthers ever again, please).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Review: Falling Skies "Compass"

Non Spoiler Review:
Jimmy and Ben have made a habit of hunting scitters, which inevitably backfires. The 2nd Mass makes preparations to move as winter is coming, but the question of where to go remains a source of contention. Pope makes his move against Tom, while the survivors get a surprising visitor.

Compass was a depressing episode and hammered home that Falling Skies is going to keep it dark. Lots of threads and questions emerge about what's happening with the scitters, the harnesses and the outside world. There's some hope on the horizon, but is it genuine? 

Spoilers Now!
Jimmy and Ben are out hunting scitters, managing to bring one down that Ben takes pleasure in finishing off. Meanwhile Weaver and Tom agree it's time to move from the aircraft hanger before winter, as the aliens are combing the countryside. Weaver wants to go north and disappear into the hills, but Tom says it will send the wrong message to the aliens that they're defeated.

Tom is ambushed by Pope and his men and taken into the woods. Pope offers him the chance to walk away because he won't have him in the 2nd Mass given his suspicion Tom was compromised. Before Pope can force him to leave Ben takes Pope with a knife and forces the others to disarm. He and Jimmy are on their way back from patrol. They take them to Weaver to pass judgement.

Weaver wants to leave Pope and his berserkers behind, but Tom suggests Pope is just the problem. Anthony plays devil's advocate and wonders if Tom is a walking time bomb. As a compromise Tom suggests he return to duty, assigned to the berserkers so he can keep an eye on Pope.

Jimmy and Ben track the scitter with the red eye. They're overpowered and the scitter manages to take control of Ben by accessing his harness (which glows on his back). It leaves, Ben regains his senses and goes to Jimmy's aid, who is impaled on a tree.

He's brought back to Anne. Weaver is furious to learn they've been hunting scitters. Tom and Weaver come to terms with the reality of their world that their kids will grow up fast and there will be casualties. Weaver orders the berserkers to sweep the area. On patrol, Tom finds Jimmy's compass at the site of the battle. The scitters return and they watch a mech come to collect the dead. 

As everyone waits to hear if Jimmy will live, a plane lands at the airport. Avery Churchill is her name, and she's been looking for the 2nd Mass. She's one of four pilots who left Charleston looking for survivors on direction of the new Continental Congress (elected by 3000 civilians in Charleston). She wants them to get to Charleston where the militias are assembling to form a united force. They have made contact with Europe, as well. Weaver is skeptical and needs to detain her until they move out. Tom thinks Charleston is a better option than the mountains. Avery has even heard of Tom and his time with the invaders. They need people like him in Charleston, she tells him. 

Ben is sitting with Jimmy when Tom finds him. Jimmy stops breathing and Anne is unable to save him. Weaver digs his grave while Ben and Tom prepare the body. Jimmy's compass is missing and Tom finds it with Pope. That inevitably leads to a fight. Tom finally gains the upper hand and has to be pulled off Pope. But he gets the compass. 

Pope goes to Weaver to demand some repercussions given Tom should be under his command, but Weaver tells him if he wants to leave then go. Pope tells Tom he should have killed him when he had the chance, but his berzerkers won't go with him, except for Anthony, who says he owes him. Anthony tells Weaver someone has to make sure Pope doesn't double back and endanger the 2nd Mass.

Anne, who has been keeping track of the dates, is upset that it's her daughter's birthday, and Jimmy died on it. They bury Jimmy and Weaver delivers a fitting eulogy. Avery flies off as Ben comes to see Weaver at the grave. He gives him the compass. Ben finally breaks down.

With only 176 people left, Weaver has changed his mind to go to Charleston. He owes it to Jimmy and everyone they've lost to stay in the fight and Charleston seems like a good place to do that, especially with winter on the way.

As Ben sits in the woods he's grabbed by the red-eyed scitter who seems to exert mental control over him then leaves. Hal arrives for Ben and he rejoins them.

The Verdict:
Overall this was a great episode, delivering quite an emotional punch and surprise with Jimmy's death. Ben also performed well, and the chilling aspects of how easy the scitters can control him do not bode well for the future.

Pope's behaviour was a mixed bag. I realize he's quite erratic to begin with, but the way no one seems to obey Weaver's orders these days doesn't speak well for the future of the 2nd Mass. Why Anthony is off with him seems an unusual step, as well.

The big news from Charleston is screaming a trap. Is Charleston and the Continental Congress real? It appears too good to be true, and too suited to Tom's military history background that it seems constructed just to rope him in. I also question the wisdom of having such a congested amount of people in a city. What is the alien tactical situation? Can they not locate this centre of government. It's almost as though they have no satellite or mother ships monitoring the planet anymore. Or are they allowing it to happen in order to get everyone in one place?
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