Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Falling Skies, Season 3, Episode 4: At All Costs

The battle that started last week continues – the Espheni forces attacking the perimeter while humans try to hold the line (hey, what happened to their special mech-killing Volm weapons?) In the command HQ the generals and colonels monitor the fight and lead their forces, holding their own and, at Tom’s request, Catherine, the human sniper, is lead into the room. Catherine wants to be let loose, at least give her a fighting chance rather than being buried in the rubble – Weaver doesn’t think that’s going to happen and Tom leads her uptop where the Volm are mobilised. Up top she sees a squad of Beamers approaching and tries to run – and the Volm shoot them out of the sky. She gasps, stunned and shocked – and asks how. Behind her Cochise says that “how” is not simple (I presume he means the technology – either way it’s a dramatic “look friendly alien!” moment)

In the battle’s aftermath, Matt and his friends are picking through the wreckage for salvage, Maggie and a soldier praise Hal for saving them while Tom and Weaver discuss the attack – because the Espheni had to know they couldn’t win; they worry it may be a distraction for something else. Hal tries to talk to his dad again about being the spy but Maggie stops him – tells him to wait till he’s alone in his office and besides, he’s not the spy – he wouldn’t have fought so hard in the firefight if he were.

Ann is still being creeped out by her Demon Alien Baby and takes a swab from her for DNA testing – hiding it from Lourdes who is now swooping round with great concern. Alexis has a scary smile for a baby. Creepy Creepy

Tom and Weaver go through the list of the dead – and find Silas, someone who had been with the 2nd Massachusetts from the very beginning, they drink to his memory and Catherine barges in, awed by the casualties they inflicted. And calls Tom “sir.”  Tom puts the victory down to the Volm alliance and Catherine apologises (which Weavers puts down as too little) but she has to tell President Hathaway what Tom and his group has achieved.

They get her a radio and she gets through to her president – and passes the radio to Tom who, off screen, explains all the many many things they have been doing. The president wants a face-to-face meeting to confirm all this.

*Ahem* IT’S A TRAP!

Meanwhile in the clinic, Lourdes is talking to Ben, Deni and the other old-style deharnessed kids about using Volm technology to remove their spikes. There could be sideeffects with muscle strain from the enhanced abilities it gives – and it does funky things to their stem cells that will reduced their life expectancy. But Ben & co aren’t thrilled about losing their super-strength and agility, let alone needing inhalers, glasses et al again (also, how else do they plan to communicate with the Skitters?) Ben’s reluctant but Deni talks him into it.

Anyway, back to the plan – to get to the location they need an aircraft. Why they chose this location and time that requires something so rare I do not know, but the people of Falling Skies have never been the brightest bunch. But the only person who has a plane is Pope (for some reason) and he has a hissy fit about them commandeering his private property (does anyone have private property in this apocalyptic world, really?) and lots of whining follows which basically results in Pope going with them on their merry holiday. Great. Can someone kill him already? Oh and Bressler’s going as well. Joy, my two favourite characters. Maybe they can kill each other.

And finally Weaver asks the question “we’re doing this why?” They’ve got a good thing going in Charleston, they’re safe, they’re winning against the Espheni – something the actual president seems to having trouble with – the volm are building a weapon. What do they get out of this? Brushes these legitimate concerns aside, he says his goodbyes to Ann (after all, by the time he comes back Evil Demon Alien Baby will have eaten her soul) and they collect Cochise who questions whether the antique plane can actually fly.

Back to Ben and Dani who are musing over losing their Skitterabilities – lifting cars, and Ben being better than Hal. Lots of things they’ll be losing but while Deni considers them great to be gone – Ben is far less convinced and will miss being needed. Later he expresses similar angst and stress to Matt, worried that he’ll miss having the spikes – to which Matt says to keep them. The debate continues, again with Deni emphasising how much they let them do things – though she’s still stuck on the “maybe dead by 20” thing – but emphasises their abilities by jumping off a 6 storey building

Ann has her own plotting, she goes to see Dr. Kadar – whatever he’s a doctor in he’s become resident eccentric genius who gets to be an antisocial arsehole because of said genius. She wants him to set up a DNA testing machine ostensibly to help test the de-harnessed kids (but really to test the Alien Baby). He can do it – but first he has to ramble on about how precious new born babies are. For pathos.

She gets the items she needs and he talks more about kids – kids are apparently his Achilles heel. And learns Ann lost her son during the invasion – Kadar definitely has child issues.

Tom, Bressler, Catherine et al arrive at the location where they’re greeted by serious men with guns they repeatedly call sir. After introductions with General hardass, they introduce Cochise and everyone starts shouting and panicking. I thought they explained the situation? Apparently not all that well. Tom tries to explain but they take Cochise prisoner and knock Tom to the ground when he protests.

Well this wasn’t predictable. Thankfully the president arrives and tells his general not to be a complete clown (I’m seeing a pattern here on Falling Skies – reach rank of general, brain leaks out your ears). Despite being nicer about it – they still lead Cochise away. Tom tries to stop but Cochise reassures him. I’m not reassured.

They sit round a table and the president lays down what they’ve achieved – establishing slow communication between the resistance groups; Tom accurately lays down what the other groups have faced: conventional warfare fails, guerrilla warfare is better but at high cost. The president continues to try and throw the idea that Tom is an ivory tower professor and all silly for trusting the aliens. Personally I’d say “’scuse me which president has established a working stronghold to hold off the Espheni and which one has consistently got his arse handed to him?” but Tom is a mite more polite and goes for a lower key version of needing Cochise.

They go to interview Cochise (who totally expected the hostility, showing he’s smarter than Tom) to ask him why he’s fighting the Espheni (a question that, in 7 months, Tom never thought to ask). The answer? A flower!

Beware intergalactic hippies! That’s it, the Volm will forever be known as the hippies.

The Katarius is a flower from their homeland – and it’s why Conchise fights. He’s never seen it because he’s never been on his homeworld, him and his fellows were born on a war ship that left there hundreds of years ago. He only ever saw the flower in data files and in a poem his deceased brother read to him, before dying in a war he was born to fight, for a planet he never saw – he tells the humans they’re lucky to be fighting a war on their own homeworld. He fights because if they win against the Espheni then maybe his grandchildren will see his homeworld and the real flower.

Ok, a lot less hippie-ish. But pretty poetic. And it impresses the president.

Apparently that leads to them making a plan that has Tom staying with the president for an extended trip

To Hal, who realises his dad is gone so he can’t confess. He goes back to his room and starts talking to himself in the mirror – as in full on multiple personality, which after much taunting leads to him shattering his mirror with a punch. Which apparently leaves Evil Hal in charge. He goes out to talk to Maggie to “agree” with her about not telling Tom he’s a spy. They go to bed together and Hall tells Maggie how much he loves her – Evil Hal that is

And Ann gets her DNA results back – most of the samples are fine – every child is completely de-aliened. But one child has alien DNA twisting around their own, killing their own. Kadar realises, from Ann’s devastated reaction, that the sample is from Alexis. He tells her to tell Tom, but he’s away – but he insists they tell someone. Ann agrees – then grabs a spanner and hits him over the head, takes the sample and leaves.

She goes back to her room to share a drink with Lourdes who is looking after Alexis. She apologises – and Lourdes passes out. Ann gathers up Alexis and they leave. She runs out of the city – into a harnessed child and a Skitter. She turns to run – and runs into Evil Hal.

Ben goes to the clinic to give Deni some glasses – but she changed her mind. She’s not getting de-spiked. She takes the glasses and breaks them – they will remain spiky together. Later that night they sit on  rooftop, as is their wont, wearing glasses without lenses.

And with the president, shenanigans begin. Aircraft are reported approaching (evil general, naturally blames Tom) and they have to run – and in the planning to escape, the general splits Tom up from Cochise. They fly away in separate plane – and from Tom’s (Bressler and Pope) we see a beamer shoot down the other plane. Their own plane is damaged and they hurtle towards the ground

Would it be too much to hope that Bressler and Pope die in the crash

And whose bright idea was it to try and run and hide from the Beamers in a plane?

So, this victory is because of the Volm, and this is just one of several attacks – but then we have Pope and his cronies hissing and spitting about them being present?

And really, this Harrison drops the word “president” and Tom & co assumes he’s going to be a reasonable person happy to deal with a pretender to the throne, let alone random alien guests? Really? How about do some more research first – what does he have to offer? How many people does he have? What’s his army – it’s apparent they’re not doing so well simply by the fact Catherine was so impressed. At least meet on neutral ground! This whole putting their complete trust in utter strangers gets on my last nerve – it’s not like they don’t have ample reason to believe that the President and his army may lose their shit – just look at Bressler!

This whole “can we trust the Volm” seems to be an ongoing debate. And while I can sort of see it, it’s also a moot point. Whether you can trust them or not, your choice is work with the Volm or be massacred. It doesn’t matter of the Volm have nefarious intent, smell bad, or are rabid disco fans who seek to turn the Earth into a terrifying 70s themed dystopia; you don’t have a choice. Or you do: work with them vs extinction.

There is a lot going on this season and it’s a little overwhelming – I hope they can hold it all together without completely splitting everyone up and becoming a confusing mess.