Sunday, June 10, 2012

Falling Skies, Season 1, Episode 5: Silent Kill

Hal and Margaret return from retrieving the drugs Margaret knew about – a hidden stash she knew from one of the drug dealers. Margaret seems unwilling to involve herself in the bonding fluffiness of everyone else. Which Ann and Tom quickly dive into, preparing Tom for the worst that could happen if the surgery to remove Tom’s Harness goes wrong.

Time to discuss strategy with Captain Weaver (who maaaay be allowed to live). Weaver provides some practical criticism of Tom’s strategy (which gives u the advantage of surprise and requires the enemy to act as he wants them to) and they settle on a stealth tactic. Captain Weaver also shows a more human side as he looks at a picture his lost daughter drew and removes the record Scott is playing because it bothers him. he also starts taking pills.

Margaret tries to help Hal and Tom who are practicing with crossbows since they’re silent (she also gets very close to Hal to show him how to work it). Margaret knows the hospital where Ben is and gives Tom a lot more insight into its internal layout. She’s also invited by Lourdes to Sarah’s baby shower to try and help her fit in and join the community, but Margaret doesn’t have much time for it.

Ann and Harris (who hasn’t been eaten yet) are still debating on the treatment of the Skitter prisoner while Margaret is making new friends in the lunch hall (where, despite the absence of Pope, people seem to have learned how to cook). Scott (and his assistant Matt Mason) are trying to find ways to use radios – and the frequencies the Skitters transmit – as early warning systems to let them know when Skitters are around. Ann and Scott also have a heart to heart about Sam, her lost son who she lost in the invasion.

Harris (who hasn’t been eaten yet) gets too close to the Skitter’s cage and nearly gets his head pulled off – it’s not decapitation, but it does kill him. He hasn’t been eaten but I’ll take it! Captain Weaver wants to kill the Skitter in the aftermath to reduce civilian panic, but Ann argues to keep it alive. Weaver gives her a day to learn what she can from it, then he’s killing it. Ann and Tom discuss the death – Tom prefers her as a doctor because she cares more. Tom also encourages her  to put up something of Sam on the memorial wall.

Hal tries to talk to Ricky who is still adjusting to having his Harness removed. But he’s not very communicative or very reassuring – not giving much information or insight. But from what he does here, Hal wants to strap on Ricky’s Harness and pretend to be a drone to sneak into the hospital. Tom doesn’t like it since it risks Hal, Weaver does – but he leaves the decision to Tom to make.  The decision is moot, however, unless they discover a silent way to kill a Skitter. So they ask Ann who tells them about Mike hitting a Skitter in the mouth and that being a vulnerable spot to its brainstem. Of course, she’s not going to let Hal try that without testing! She takes out a level of Badass, forces the Skitter back with a cattle prod, enters the cage and stabs it in the mouth with a scalpel. Why, it works! Even better, even though she’s upset, Ann tells Tom it wasn’t hard for her – all it took is for her to picture her family. And that killing Skitters is a skill all humans need to learn. And she hasn’t put a picture up for Sam because she has nothing – not a toy, not a picture, nothing, not one thing to remember her lost son by – all she has is the bloody handprint she leaves planted on a newspaper article from the time of the first attack

That night they put the infiltration with the Harness plan into action with Hal sneaking into the hospital in an extremely tense scene while Tom worries outside with the patrolling Mech. Hal joins a queue of Harnessed kids pretending to be one of them while a Skitter watches, laying down with them while the skitter strokes their heads as if to comfort them. The Skitter goes to sleep with them, touching Hal.

Outside Tom can’t wait any longer and he and Maggie decide to go rescue him while Dai and Anthony wait outside. They arrive in time to see Hal stab the Skitter, not quite getting it right, but tom distracts it with a crossbow bolt giving Hal chance to finish it off. The tension maintained in this scene was incredibly nerve-wracking. Very well done.

They sneak all the kids out and it’s back to the school. Ann comes into her own and runs the almost production line procedure to free each of the kids from their Harness as their blood pressure and pulses start to drop – and one of the children dies before they can save him. She saves 5, but she dwells on the one she lost as anyone would.

Hal and Margaret have some more bonding time as we try to pry open more of her backstory – she had cancer which is why she knows the hospital and she took cannabis for the pain and to feel better, which is how she knew the dealer. We have some more Hal and Tom emotional scenes. Then on to the Baby shower with the most awesome hippy grandma ever.

Hal and Tom and Matt watch Ben sleep – and Weaver manages to completely melt to human and remember his own lost ones.  Ben wakes up – and recognises Tom. Big awww moment.

Why is the alien still in the sick room? Whyyyy? I mean, what logical sense does it make to keep your deadly dangerous predator with your wounded?

Ding dong Harris’s gone! I suppose it should be a bad thing for the team, but he annoyed me so much, I certainly won’t miss him. That’s the problem with making someone so completely unlikeable, it makes it hard to feel horror with their death. Or not to feel glee.

Ann in this episode… was incredible. This is what makes Falling Skies, not just the action and the explosions and the desperate fight for survival, but the emotional connections, the times when tom talks to Hal, the growing relationships and shared pain – and the loss people have suffered. And Weaver, and Hal and Tom and Matt with Ben – the emotional cost of this dystopia is always so very clear.