Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Falling Skies, Season 2, Episode 6: Homecoming

A new day in dystopian Falling Skies world where Tom and Ann wake up in the hospital the 2nd Mass is now staying in – and they’re acting all couply and fun together (if they keep this up, maybe, just maybe I might actually believe in some chemistry between them. Maybe).

But it’s time for a meeting with Weaver who is telling his fighters that they’ve all become too soft, too complacent in the time they’ve spent at the hospital. His tirade is interrupted by him getting the shakes, having a major seizure and collapsing – his skin is covered in rashes and his veins are popped out and red.

Time for Ann to arrive and Weaver to make it clear he wants Tom to take over (hah, aww, Weaver thinks he’s still in charge). His condition is caused by the harness bite he took to the leg that Ann just can’t cure. Tom has a hissy fit about Ann keeping it a secret and decides that the cure should be to take him to Charleston (the new capital) and find a doctor there who can cure him (wow, really? Ann, he needed a slap there, he really did).

Tom meets with the leaders of the group to tell them the situation and that he wants to hurry on the Charleston, but there’s a problem. Jamil reveals that Weaver had him drain all the fuel from the trucks to feed the hospital generator and they don’t have enough left to drive to Charleston. In fact, since they’ve found no fuel supplies, they only have enough left for 12 hours of electricity. First order of business is to find more fuel.

On patrol Hal and Maggie are still flirting (and doing a better job than Tom and Ann) with extra bonus of Maggie saying they can’t be together. The flirting is interrupted by finding the corpses of several children – all of which have had a harness removed. Except one who is still alive – Karen (remember Karen? Hal’s girlfriend?)

They rush her back to camp – but Ben warns them, she’s still connected to the aliens, he can hear it (because that doesn’t make him creepy at all), so she ends up being put in a secure room (which does not impress Hal). Karen wakes up in a panic with Ben telling everyone not to talk to her and not trust her (methinks this is not going to win friends and influence people). Karen doesn’t remember anything but she’s very gushy and happy about being back with the 2nd Massachusetts. Tom is being careful, cautious and sensible (everything he wasn’t with Ben) and wants her guarded – Ben also wants to stay near since he has a good chance of sensing anything amiss.

Hal is less than pleased with Ben – especially since everything he’s saying about Karen must apply to Ben as well – but Ben worries about Hal being manipulated by Karen, or what Karen has become. Maggie also talks some sense to Hal about his complete lack of suspicion over Karen’s very sudden reappearance.

Waver, meanwhile is getting exponentially worse and Tom wants to load him up and drive him to Charleston alone if he has to – which Ann nixes. He turns round and orders her to do it – to which she snaps (THANK YOU) and points out she is the doctor of the 2nd Massachusetts and she’s not taking orders when it comes to medical issues, even if he is in charge. During her very righteous and justified rant he tells her to calm down (honestly? He acted like she was being hysterical, when she was angry and rightly so) and calls her Rebecca – his ex-wife’s name. Which he then apologises for. Ann is supremely reasonable about it – reasoning that it could have happened sooner with either of them and that in the situation they’re in, they don’t have time for the luxury of a lover’s spat (can I just say how outrageously gleeful I am that they didn’t turn this into an emotional relationship drama).  In the emotional aftermath they make a deal – Ann will try to treat him until midnight and then he can load Weaver up.

Ben and Karen talk through the harness, with Ben still heavily suspicious. She can hear what he can but claims she doesn’t understand what it means.  They discuss what it was like being harnessed and how it was worse for Karen because she was with the Overlords not the Skitters.

Karen keeps reaching out to Ben and, honestly, if she were looking to manipulate him she’s doing an awesome job of humanising herself, winning his sympathy, commiserating and laughing at the prejudice he faces as having been harnessed – and also sharing some of the positives of being harnessed, like the super senses (which reveals how clued in she is about the camp, because she can hear all conversations), the super strength which she loves to play with – then their spikes glow blue and she kisses Ben. Hal comes in – and she collapses. She panics and cries on Hal’s shoulder – the blue spikes was a sudden connection between her and Ben.

Hal panics and tells Maggie that he thinks Ben is recruiting Karen for his rebellion Skitter boss, Red-Eye – but Maggie is more concerned with what Karen is doing to Ben, she’s sure that he’s the one in danger.

She goes to confront Karen, sending the guard away and drawing guns on her – sure that Karen is a threat to the whole 2nd Massachusetts. Karen responds with some psychological attacks, preying on Maggie’s low self-esteem that causes her to push Hal away because she doesn’t think she’s good enough, using her victimhood as part of Pope’s gang against her. When Maggie’s distracted, Karen makes her move, using her speed and strength to disarm her and slam her into a wall. Ben runs in to help – and Karen plays the victim – says Maggie attacked her because no-one can trust them.

And Ben falls for it – hook line and sinker. He knows a place where they can be safe (with Red-Eye presumably) but they’ll have to leave. So much for all of his “you can’t trust her” speech.  Hal tries to stop them leaving, but Ben brings him down as well with his harness strength – and off they go.

Lourdes and Ann find a potential cure for Waver which involves taking his blood out, heating it in a heating element Jamil can jury-rig and putting it back in (they do actually describe this in a way that makes it sound plausible, honest).

They start heating and cooling his blood – but that’s when the generators fail. Jamil runs to fix it, Lourdes and Ann do medical emergency panic stuff and Tom has to turn the pumps by hand until Jamil fixes it with an emergency generator (pointless drama for panic’s sake I guess).

And it works! The figurehead lives!

And one of the fuel scouting parties returns with Anthony (yay) and Pope (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! Why won’t he die?! WHY WHY?!) both unconscious. Anthony says they were attacked by Mechs and he saved Pope’s life (whyyyyy?) and Ann, sadly, informs us that Pope is going to live as well.

He wakes up and gives them a warning that the aliens are on their way – hunting for Ben, because he’s the one in touch with the Red-Eye rebellion. They used Karen to communicate and this clues everyone in that, yes she’s suspicious. They find the injured Maggie – and realise Ben and Karen have fled.

It’s notable that we’re seeing more POC and also women fighters – in group meetings and crowd scenes. But women are still under-represented among the fighters (Maggie and 1 un-named, rarely seen Berserker) and the POC attrition is high, especially in speaking roles. This was Dai’s first speaking line in how long? And he got, what, one line?

I’m having another “suspension of disbelief” problem. Why would Weaver (he who is complaining how complacent everyone’s getting) drain their vehicle fuel for unnecessary electricity (even if much desired) knowing they’ve got a long way to go? And why wouldn’t he tell Tom?

Ok, so Ben goes from “Don’t talk to her, she’s suspicious!” to “yay, Team Karen!”  in, what, 3 days? Less?

I do praise the show for NOT going for the 2 obvious emotion storylines – with Ann upset over Tom calling her Rebecca and Maggie not being jealous of Karen. Still – Karen and Maggie end up in a fight which was sadly predictable even if it wasn’t about jealousy.