Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Falling Skies, Season 4, Episode 5: Mind Wars

Tom is hunting rabbits since they haven’t eaten in three days, but Matt decides the death of bunnies isn’t something he can tolerate so he scares it off. How has Matt lived these last few years of scrounging existence without making peace with the idea of hunting?

They reach the location where Hal was – and see his message to them about where they went. They also hear the crackly radio (that once played Lourdes message about the Creepy Cult) – and hear Skitters. And not just a Skitter – but an Espheni as well. Since when do the Overlords do their own dirty work?

Matt and Tom try to replay the raptors-in-the-kitchen scene from Jurassic Park with aliens rather than dinosaurs (dinosaurs would be better – but, hey, with the writers of this show it could still be an option!)  They make a run for it. When they get out, Cochise hands over a gun he found but now has to leave because he has his own people and his own mission (finding the vague Espheni power source that is this season’s Mcguffin) and can’t babysit Tom and his issues.

Tom, Weaver and Matt run across a camp with 2 men – and while their suspicious that disappears when they learn who Tom is – he’s got a reputation as the Ghost now and is a complete hero (does that mean these 2 are from that Ghetto? If so, why aren’t they with Hal’s group? How would news of the Ghost have spread beyond that Ghetto?) They’re happy to share their food with the hero.

The two men, Cooper and Nick have escaped from a camp where they tried to transform humans, grafting harnesses onto them, trying to transform them. The results so far have been terrible deformed, in pain and largely dead. Tom and Weaver remain suspicious and that night Tom asks Nick where he learned about the Ghost and is also dubious about his claim over where he got all his supplies from. Nick jumps Tom while Cooper shoots the sleeping bags containing Weaver and Matt – Cooper looks torn up over it

Except, due to being suspicious, Weaver and Matt weren’t in those sleeping bags. Tom is taken prisoner and Cooper and Nick intend to sell him to the Espheni. Matt and Weaver follow with very very clumsy dialogue about not getting so angry and obsessive with revenge. They catch up while Tom works on getting through to the guilt ridden, torn Cooper. Matt demands to be the one to snipe Cooper and Weaver lets him but he can’t do it, as Weaver expected, he can’t kill someone.

Tom continues to turn Cooper and Nick against each other with Nick confessing to his brother he made a deal with the Espheni that resulted in his kids being killed. Because lying didn’t occur to him apparently. Cooper kills Nick then kills himself.

Hal, Tector, Pope and Botha meanwhile, are ahead trying to get to the Creepy Cult because of Lourdes transmission, which means navigating their way past all the Espheni patrols with a whole lot of people from the ghetto. A lot of patrols.

Hal goes to Shaq, the Volm second in command who has no sense of humour of human expression – he won’t use the Volm spy drones to track the patrols because they need to find this special power source. Instead they try an unconventional plan which involves taunting a mech and tripping it (these high tech super warrior machines are bipedal, can trip and have trouble getting up afterwards. That’s an awful design). It isn’t fool enough to fall for a trip wire – but Pope and Sarah ram it with a car which works as well. Shaq then pulls out something that makes it go with his bare hands.

The thing he pulled out allows him to connect to Espheni command and track all Espheni troops movements. A trick that could have been useful in season 3.

At the Creepy Cult, Anne has captured the Overlord who was talking to Lexi and is now using Ben’s spikes to question him. The Overlord spouts lots of nonsense about wanting peace and protecting Lexi – which we know is a lie already. He claims to be separate from the war (again, not what we saw last episode) but then the interrogation has to stop because Ben can’t handle the connection with an Espheni for that long.

Anne and Lexi argue but Anne isn’t putting up with Lexi pulling her mystical woo-woo or her defence of the Espheni. Lexi starts to use her woo-woo to strangle Anne – then passes out.

Kadar treats the unconscious Lexi while Lourdes tries to blame Anne – but Anne isn’t having that from Lourdes the cult leader. Lexi has an extremely high fever. Anne decides to question the Espheni to see if it’s causing it – and beating it with a club; which is also like beating Ben – he collapses in Maggie’s arms (where they’re already doing the sexual tension thing) and his body covers in bruises. Anne she has already seen with Deni but this is Falling Skies the show where no-one learns. Ben does manage to shout out about “the flower” from the Espheni.

Anne recognises it makes her the flower remedy to make her well again. A well Lexi is still worried about the Espheni – and is sad about having to choose a side. And Lourdes releases the Espheni. Lexi calls the Espheni her father.

This is supposed to be a revelation by the dramatic music

The Espheni wiped out most of the human race. This isn’t a war between equals. This isn’t a battle that both sides instigated. It’s a war of extermination and enslavement. Why is no-one mentioning this to Lexi? Why is no-one pointing this out to Lexi? Why is no-one challenging the Espheni they captured over this? He’s not part of the war – then why would he be on Earth? This is the problem with Falling Sky’s broken storylines but also a problem it has used since the first season – to make the plot work, they have characters make ridiculous decisions and ignore the obvious. This plot is only sustainable because the characters have selective amnesia.

Hey, remember when mechs were so powerful that only high explosives, bullets made from mech armour or volm weapons could kill them? And then remember when they were upgraded to megamechs? Turns out you can destroy a megamech with your bare hands. Shame no-one knew that in season 1

Was this supposed to be a really clumsy lesson about hatred destroying you – showing Matt who can’t stand to kill a rabbit (which still make no sense) being driven to murder but pulling back because he still can’t bring himself to do it? Yeah… that’s not working for me. For a start – it’s too quick – the show tried to go pacifist vegetarian to hate filled killer to peaceful again in one half of an episode. It’s ridiculous. The extremes are also ridiculous – can’t kill rabbits to eat while so lacking in supplies they haven’t eaten in 3 days? Can’t kill the man who has kidnapped a family member? These aren’t strengths nor is it nobility or goodness – these are damn fool things to teach a kid in this world. Carl from The Walking Dead would be disgusted.

We go round and round and round and round in circles. At the beginning of this episode Anne was struggling with Lexi being all alieny, Hal was heading to the cult and Tom & co were catching up with Hal. By the end of the episode, Anne was struggling with Lexi being all alieny, Hal was heading to the Cult and Tom & co were catching up with Hal.