Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Falling Skies Season 3, Episode 6: Be Silent and Come Out

Having just learned about Ann and Lexie, Tom talks to the rebel skitters (using Ben as a puppet) who confirm that they’re both still alive but they don’t know where, only that they’re being held by Karen. Tom starts running around planning to find them himself and find out what Karen knows. Everyone else tries to be the voice of reason but tom won’t listen. Finally Weaver manages to crack through and get Tom to agree to wait for 24 hours. Hal is the only one encouraging Tom to leave now – because he’s still evil Hal; which Weaver and Ben notice. Maggie tries to talk to Hal but he looks confused, looking around a little lost then walks off without talking to her.

Oooh that’s got to earn him a slap

And Marie grabs Tom to give him her concerns about the Volm and how Kadar has managed to figure out that one part of the device is a power source from grainy pictures and how it’s far too much power for the unknown technology to use for the unspecified purpose.  Please tell her how utterly wrong she is! She insists they stop the project and he loses his temper – he didn’t put her in charge to completely derail the war strategy. She argues he left her in charge, that’s what it means – and the argument ends because Hal swoops in, hits Marina with his gun and kidnaps a disarmed Tom at gun point.

Tom yells at Hal to drop the gun while driving and Hal visibly struggles, saying “it won’t let me”.  And Maggie shoots the jeep with a Big Gun to make it flip. Hal comes out holding a gun to Tom’s head to the gathering crowd’s shock and confusion. He manages to drag Tom inside and Tom realises something is controlling Hal (he’s quick on the uptake like that). And Evil hal wants to know all about the Volm’s device…

Outside everyone wonders what caused Hal to snap and Maggie reveals Hal has been having emotional problems and nightmares, that he thinks Karen implanted something in him. Of course, everyone thinks Hal is the mole and neither Pope nor Marina are happy with Maggie covering for him – Pope also doesn’t consider it a priority to get Hal out alive. Pope continues to shoot his mouth off and Ben smacks him – yay about time someone did. Can we kill Pope already?

Weaver tries to talk to Hal, Tom tries to talk to Hal and Hal does his struggling thing but only briefly. There’s a firefight and Hal and Tom fall to the floor, both ok but Tom shakes Hal to wake him up before reaching for his gun.

Weaver finally realises that the Berserkers are the worst possible troops to have in the situation and dismisses them. This means less Pope. Bad news is he can’t catch a bullet and die – but after 3 seasons I’m kind of losing all hope that will happen. And Tector assures Marina she can bring Hal down at 300 yards if necessary (all that skill and not once has he shot Pope. It’s tragic). Marina makes it clear she’s very willing to give that order if Weaver can’t (which I don’t buy. If Weaver said no and she said yes, I don’t see Tector obeying Marina)

Which is what Tom tells Evil Hal – Marina won’t hesitate. Pope, meanwhile is running a book in his bar on whether either or both Mason die – because he’s just that classy. At least he draws the line when one of his men suggest killing them himself. Can someone please shoot him?

Maggie, Ben and Matt sneak through some tunnels under the building known to Matt, while Tom drags up the “oh I’ve been a bad father” card with a side helping of happy memories of Hal’s mother to set Hal off on another shaking conflict. Which is when Maggie goes in without a weapon to add more pressure to the tearful, conflicted Hal, then in comes Mat to throw even more pressure on him. With Evil Hal repeatedly pushing him to shoot his family, Hal points the gun at his own head. Ben jumps on him from behind and they have a huge group hug wrestling  during which the gun fires. So much for Skitter strength

Outside, hearing the gunshot, Weaver sends in the troops. Hal is injured and unconscious but alive.

Flip to Pope who updates his odds and enters a new poll based on what Hal will be charged with. And Weaver enters the room. Silence falls and there’s a lot of shame-faced looking away. Weaver orders a drink – the barman pours it but won’t take Weaver’s money – silence continues. Even Pope feels his silent judgy presence and goes to sit next to Weaver – who puts an arm around him, with a distinct impression he may try to crush Pope’s ribs with it. He calmly tells Pope he will mount his head on the wall of the bar if anyone tries to affect the odds on those boards. Weaver leaves among echoing silence. Pope sends Lyle to the hospital to make sure no funny business happens; I guess he took the threat seriously

At the hospital, it seems the bullet only grazed Hal’s temple and he’s going to be fine. But they need to learn more about the bugs since Lourdes can’t find it in Hal’s brain – the best people to speak to are the rebel Skitters

To the Skitters – the bugs are genetically coded to one individual user who can remove it at will. They have another solution – a cure that works on a molecular level that should work on humans – in theory. But Skitter anatomy is vastly different from human anatomy.  It will kill the bug in Hal if there is one, otherwise it will kill him.

Tom goes to the tree, joined by Marina to worry about the terrible choice he has to make. Ok, the acting is really good and I believe his worry and pain – but I do not not not believe Hal is going to die, it’s not been sold to me, not even slightly. It may be a dystopian but Falling Skies has never carried the “anyone can die” ethos that, say, Walking Dead or even Revolution (and certainly Game of Thrones! But that’s less “anyone can die” and more “everyone will die. And George R R Martin will feast on your tears!”) have managed. But it really reduces the impact of scenes like this.

We have a similar scene with Hal insisting he’s cured to Maggie and begging her to help him, help him find Ann and Lexie to prove it otherwise the cure will kill him. She doesn’t fall for it and it’s cure time – which is very very unpleasant. Good drips out of him - the remains of the bug which they burn – but Hal’s heart stops; emergency CPR time.

Hal wakes up, alive, with Maggie and Tom by his bed – and no memory of anything that has happened since Evil Hal took over. Naturally he has guilt but they assure him it’s all Karen’s fault – though I still don’t think he was the mole and he can’t be the murderer of the old Vice president.

The rebels also come up with the location of Ann and Lexie – so Tom plans to ride out to save them (against Marina’s advice). Before he does, he hands her the full information on the Volm’s project, not just the photos she took (which I think he will regret) and his letter of resignation – which bemuses me. He advises her to trust the Volm since they need them (why is Tom the only one who can see this).

Wise words from Tector and Weaver, arseholery from Pope – and the Mason family sets off (Maggie’s not going? Just the four Masons?) And Marina is sworn in as the new President

I just don’t get Karen as an Overlord. The whole point of the Overlords was that their minds were so utterly, computer, brilliant that one Overlord could control and manage an entire section of the army and manage a huge amount of territory on their own with no help – which was why killing one would have been such a coup since it would have annihilated the command structure in an area. Karen is human – she cannot fit into such a system.

I have to rant about it again – there is no way that Kadar could identify a power supply from those pictures. There is no way for Kadar to know how much power alien technology uses. There is no way for Kadar to decide a device is drawing too much power when he has no idea what it does or how. There comes a point when the writer’s lack of basic world building makes you wonder if they’re just pretty contemptuous of sci-fi and will just throw anything in.

Can we return again to the whole idea of suspicion against the Volm? The Volm are the only reason Charleston holds its own against the Espheni. Have they ever given any reason to suspect them? Ultimately, if they’re using humanity as pawns against the Espheni that’s still a win/win situation.

I am tired of Pope, I am really past tired of Pope and his gang of loose cannons. I am really tired of them being treated as being remotely important, I am tired of their crap being tolerated, I am tired of Pope not being dead.

And I still think Marina is the mole, especially since we know that Hal can't have killed Manchester. Which kind of leaves me questioning this episode and this storyline. With this being such a short season (only 10 episodes) and us already having issues of the mole, the Volm, the new/old/real president and Alien Baby Lexie, throwing in Hal the eye-bugged as well seems excessive, unnecessary and a distraction.