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.

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