Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Falling Skies, Season 2, Episode 5: Love and Other Acts of Courage

We have an ominous beginning – with lots of Skitters (including red-eye) all yodelling to the setting sun – and Ben joining in with his spikes glowing. Whether it’s a flash forward or a dream we don’t know, because we move from there to Hal and Maggie flirting and totally not being a couple honest. Which is interrupted by explosions in the city; everybody rushes to defensive positions. Weaver thinks of defence but tom points out if there’s Mech fire that suggests more human resistance under fire and they should send someone to help – that would be Tom and his berserkers of course (which he now leads instead of Pope. Who is gone and NEVER coming back, yes yes he is). And Ben is missing, but no-one has time to look.

Tom and the berserkers arrive at the battle zone and it’s chaos – but it’s all destroyed Mechs and dead Skitters – the 2nd Massachusetts has never done that well against the aliens. But on examining the scene they find no human weapons, no human bullets, just Mech hits – it looks like the aliens are fighting each other. But under one Skitter body, revealed by his glowing blue spikes, they find Rick and take him to the medical bay.

Dr. Ann patches him up but is very defensive when Weaver brings up the last time Rick gave all their information to the aliens – pointing out that he was controlled by the harness and it wasn’t him; I’m glad to see the defence of him. Any further debate is interrupted by Weaver’s groan of pain and Ann pulling Doctor rank on him. His leg, which was bitten by a harness last episode, is gunky and possibly infected.

Ben is still missing and Hal can’t find him – in more worry, Hal tells Tom about Ben’s glowing spines. That’s when Rick wakes up, telling them that Ben was with him, he’s in danger and he’s hurt – and that Rick can find him. Waver’s extremely worried – Rick has betrayed them before and he doesn’t want to trust his word but Tom, obviously is willing to take the risk for Ben.

Naturally, Tom gets his way (doesn’t he always? Shall we stop pretending Weaver’s in charge?) and it’s time to follow Rick (and his glowing spikes) into the city, past a blood trail and into a building – where Ben is hiding. Ben is confused and wants them to leave – and he’s protecting someone; not letting them “hurt him” (his spikes are glowing again). Rick seems also to support “him”, saying that he needs their help – the 2nd Massachusetts’s help. Who is “He”? He is the red-eye Skitter and through Rick he talks to Tom – saying he saved his life on the ship (have I mentioned yet this recap what a monumentally ridiculous decision that was? No?) and that they need to talk. He needs their help to defeat the Overlords – both of their enemies. Then he collapses, wounded and Rick collapses with him.

Weaver and the berserkers want it dead – but Ben cowers over it and Tom has a different idea – Red-Eye was with him on the ship (which, in case you forgot, was an utterly ridiculous place to be) and was trusted while Tom was interrogated – so it could have very useful information.

Red-eye is taken back to camp and Ben asks Ann to help it – which, amazingly enough, she is not exactly thrilled to do, especially with their dwindling supplies. Tom asks she keep it alive for the sake of questioning, Weaver has troops watch Rick  and Tom takes Ben aside to see just how Skitter-fied he has become. There follows an argument – Tom wants to know why ben has been talking to Skitters since Jimmy died and not telling anyone and how long his spikes have been glowing – Ben was worried about being considered the enemy or broken/damaged (reasonable concerns, all things considered) and wants Tom to believe him about the Skitter rebellion. Tom listens, some of the Skitters have resisted the harness for hundreds of years trying to rise up against the Overlords and think, with humanity to help, they have a chance. Tom points out that Red-Eye tortured him and Ben counters that he needed to infiltrate the upper echelons of the Overlords to get their battle plans. At which point, dubious military historian Tom points out history is full of people calling to just follow orders… (true. But not applicable – he’s not saying he’s a grunt who did bad things because his boss said so; he says he’s a spy/saboteur doing bad things to gain high level access – which history is ALSO full of. Does Tom just take random historical examples regardless of context? This guy is a professor?). Apparently Red-Eye saved Tom’s life for the sake of uniting their resistance movements working together.

Time for interrogation, using Rick as a voicepiece, and naturally it begins with Tom having a solo interview – because leaving the dangerous prisoner virtually unguarded has, I’m sure, lots of foolish historical precedent. First things first, there’s a death squad out to kill Red-Eye and the entire camp. Of course, Tom has been given no reason to believe and even the battle from the morning isn’t enough. So Red-Eye gives him some history of the Skitters, how they lived in peace and harmony on their world before the Overlords arrived with their harnesses and enslaved them – but how they’ve been given hope seeing just how stubborn mankind is and how they refuse to surrender despite being pounded.

Tom still doesn’t agree because Skitters are so merciless on the battlefield; so Red-Eye lays it out for him – fight alone with humanity’s sub-standard weapons, complete ignorance of Overlord tactics or plans; or unite with the Skitter Rebels.

Meanwhile Hal and his squad are searching local hospitals to refill their dwindling medical supplies – and run into some Mechs. Naturally, to hide from them he has to snuggle up really close to Maggie, of course. There follows romantic story sharing, lots of flirting and generally ignoring the Mechs and brief talking about Karen (remember her? Oh Maggie worse possible time).

Flirting done, they find a well stocked and un-looted hospital, and more romantic bonding between Hal and Maggie over her brain cancer and problem with hospitals and, finally, they kiss. Then she walks off and we get more conflict before they leave of Maggie nixing any kind of relationship (yeah I could hope – 10:1 they’re together again before the end of the series. Or Maggie dies tragically). They head home – but on the way they run into the Death Squad out to kill Red-Eye. Maggie is injured and falls from her bike – she urges them to go without her but, of course, Hal returns for her.

Weaver and go blame Red-Eye for leading the aliens right to them, and decide to kill him, but Tom stands in the way, refusing Weaver’s direct order (oh Weaver, still believes he’s in charge). Red-Eye escapes and runs for it – to a hail of bullets from Weaver’s fellows – one of which shoots Rick. Ben runs to him and Rick slowly dies, begging Ben to make his father believe and the rest of the humans. Then he dies. Ben tries to run to Red-Eye, but Tom restrains him.

Time for the aftermath, as they escaped the alien attack and are holed up at the hospital Hal found. Ann and Lourdes manage to heal Maggie and she and Hal have yet another awkward semi-bonding, they love each other but won’t admit it moment. And, with her new medicines and supplies, Ann is happy and can treat Weaver properly. Tom apologises to Weaver for disobeying (all it takes) and Weaver and Tom discuss their worry over Ben being a threat – and whether they will have to make a hard choice (nice euphemism) one day. Then they have their own bonding and mutual respect moment

And Ann and Tom discuss Ben, worried that he’s so sure of himself (which they put down to him being a teenager). Ben and Mat have a little talk after which Ben tells him he’s going to have to go away for a while; he’s going after Red Eye

Why are Weaver AND Tom both going on commando missions? I understand that they’re low on fighters and they need every man, but having both the leader and second in command of the 2nd Massachusetts going off on high risk missions together seems silly. Who do they leave in charge, anyway?

So Rick is back, after weeks of just ignoring his disappearance. We get to see, at last, some equalising between him and Ben, them both being compromised by the aliens. But then Rick ends up being nothing more than Red-Eye’s mouth piece. And then he dies. Uh-huh, this is my not impressed face. Especially since Dai remains obscure, Ann shows up when people are dying and Anthony has disappeared with Pope.

GBLT people remain extra-tasty to the aliens and have all been eaten, it seems.

I do think that it makes more sense to believe the Skitter than not - mainly because why would a Skitter  want to infiltrate the humans? The 2nd Massachusetts is reduced to running every time they're attacked, most of the other divisions of the regiment are destroyed, they're running, not fighting back. Are they worth this level of elaborate effort when, it seems, just finding them would be sufficient for the aliens to kill them?