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.

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