At the kid sanctuary camp, the kids are playing a game of football, but all isn’t perfect among the fun. Jimmy is very aware of Ben’s spikes and wants him to stay away from him - and Rick is sitting out with his dad. And Terry Clayton (who is going to get killed) is escorting the fighters who came with them back to the road to return to the 2nd Massachusetts, leaving the kids in Terry’s traitorous hands. Except for Hal and Mike. It also appears that Tessa and her father, Greene, are also in on the children selling.
Sanctuary is a much more established base, they’ve even begun farming much to Mike and Hal’s surprise – and Mike’s mild worry, since having so much makes it hard to move to run. We also drop in on Pope (who isn’t dead) who still hasn’t quite grasped the idea of post-dystopian survival and critiques the cooking (though I have to agree – boiled asparagus? Oh dear – mind you, not nearly as bad as devoting growing room to such a finicky vegetable) with Terry and Greene. Pope is very clearly a prisoner with no interest in converting - he has no wish to deal with the aliens. Greene and Terry Clayton think this is a way to survive – trading children for survival. Greene is left to kill Pope (since Pope killed his brother trying to steal supplies) but Pope has cut his bonds, disarms Greene and knocks him unconscious. But can’t bring himself to kill him.
Pope escapes and finds the bodies of the 2 guards Terry was supposed to be escorting back to the 2nd Massachusetts. Green and Terry let him go and go sit down for dinner to try and keep up the ruse. Rick continues to act as little more than a zombie and criticises Ben for eating human food. Tessa is definitely crushing on Hal which is putting Lourdes’s back up – Lourdes also finds Eli Russel’s backpack – the last kid the collaborators gave to the aliens.
She takes it to Mike and Hal – Eli Russel was the kid who was part of the family that tried to rob the clinic at the school. Hal is also suspicious that the sentries are watching the children but no-one’s watching the sky or the road and there are no patrols for aliens. But Mike knows Terry and trusts him and dismisses their fears. Still, despite that Mike is suspicious and at night goes to check the barn that is always locked. He finds more children’s clothes – including more with Eli’s name in them. And he finds Terry, with a gun.
Terry describes how the 7th Massachusetts was destroyed – overwhelmed and constantly on the run. When Megan fell behind and was captured they had to keep retreating – but they gained a week without being attacked which Terry took to be a thank you for not trying to get Megan back. Later Megan, Harnessed, found them and told them that the Skitters only wanted the kids. So he traded the kids for safety and the whole story of Porter’s orders and the attack was a lie.
Mike is, needless to say, not impressed. But Terry also invokes Rick and asks Mike to consider Rick’s survival. Later Mike talks with Hal and considers Rick – he hates that Rick was taken but he hates more that Rick had his entire personality erased. Deciding, he tells Hal to get his weapon and prepare the kids to leave, revealing Terry’s plan. They leave and run into Tessa – Hal demands to know she didn’t know about it but she protests that she would have kept Hal safe. Never mind the other kids – Hal stares at her in disgust and Tessa screams for her dad that the kids are leaving.
Mike hangs back to try and delay the soldiers who pour out to try and take the kids alive. A firefight ensues when Mike kills one of the collaborators and Hal tries to convince Mike and Rick to run. Mike sends Rick with Hal while he stays behind. Terry sneaks around Mike’s cover, we switch to the running kids and then we hear a gunshot.
Hal and the kids run but have to stop to camp in an abandoned farm house. (There’s only 12 of them including Hal and Lourdes?) Lourdes plays the piano while Hal examines the things the last owners left behind – which is faintly haunting since they seem to have left in the middle of a child’s birthday party. Ben wants to go ahead to the school, since he’s not tired (super Harnessed powers). Jimmy doesn’t trust the idea of the ex-Harnessed Ben going out alone – but Hal agrees (as much to show he trusts him as anything). Ben goes and has to work his way past the Collaborators’ search team.
Meanwhile with the 2nd Massachusetts at the school they’re preparing for an attack. Margaret is concerned that Sarah can’t really move quickly to escape if necessary being heavily pregnant. Weaver is also worried that she won’t be able to keep up but Margaret makes it clear she’ll look after Sarah (albeit in snarky style).
Going into labour, Sarah asks Margaret to stay. We learn that Sarah is a single working woman who used a sperm donor to get pregnant before the alien invasion (it also puts a very short time line on when the alien attack actually happened and how quickly everything fell apart)
There’s a problem with Sarah’s pregnancy, the baby is breach and Ann is worried about the idea of performing a C-section in their clinic (and she isn’t an Ob-Gyn). Weaver steps in to help – his first daughter was born breach and he helped his wife and midwife to turn the baby round, it was a home birth. Can’t say I’d be particularly thrilled with “I helped with a home birth once” as credentials but needs must in desperate situations.
Tom Mason is also getting suspicious. It’s been 2 days and there’s no sign of the Skitter invasion, no sign of the 3rd Massachusetts and no sign of the returning escorts from the Sanctuary. Weaver doesn’t necessarily agree but his growing respect for Tom mixed with Tom’s complete unwillingness to follow orders means he allows Tom and Dai to go.
Tom returns later – the map is wrong (obviously) they found no Sanctuary, no sign of the 3rd Massachusetts and no sign of the escorts for the kids. They argue about what to do – Weaver wants to follow orders but Tom points out the orders have been relayed by a man who they don’t’ know who seems ever more unreliable. Tom and Dai go out again to look for where the kids could have gone.
Ben meets up with Tom on the road. He returns with Dai to the camp while Tom goes on (Big Damn Hero Cabbage). While Ben is gone, the Collaborators find the house where Hal, Lourdes and the kids are hiding. Hal tries to hold them off but he’s just one shooter – until Pope ambushes them from behind. Pope is shot in the leg, and then Tom arrives. Pope won’t put down his weapon – he’s determined to give the kids a chance – he won’t tolerate Skitter collaborators.
Tom disarms Pope (why?) and offers himself as a hostage, claiming to have spoken to Porter. Tom calls out Hal and the men. They surrender and have all the kids taken back to Sanctuary and locked in the stable. The Collaborators are rather surprised when Weaver and many troops emerge from Sanctuary and shoot several of them. Terry tries to make a last ditch attempt to kill Hal out of revenge and Tom quickly and easily shoots him. Good.
Weaver takes the Collaborator’s weapons and leaves them to fend for themselves, threatening to kill them if they deal with the Skitters again (seems like a semi-death sentence without having to waste bullets on it). And we have a touching reconciliation with Jimmy thanking ben and giving him the football he wouldn’t pass him during the game.
At the camp in the clinic we have the crying baby and the wounded Pope (who is not dead. Alas). And we have Mike’s funeral. And we realise at the funeral that Rick thinks of himself as an alien – and that killing is in the humans’ nature (yes, but an alien species that invades a planet and slaughters the majority of the population aren’t killers?)
It looks like Pope is back on the redemption train. Again. Especially with him unable to kill Greene – really? All the crap you’ve done but killing the alien collaborator is beyond you? Can we just have him eaten already? Gah. Please don’t let this be utter free pass redemption time!
The contrast between Rick and Ben is blatant and disturbing. Whatever lingering effects of being Harnessed has had on Ben, he has his personality and his humanity. Rick has virtually no personality and still strongly identifies with the aliens rather than the father he doesn’t even recognise.
Mike’s sacrifice also annoys me, he was one of the few prominent POC characters and the only one with his own story.