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.

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