Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Falling Skies, Season 1, Episode 10: Drawing Straws

We’ve only got a few episodes left so it’s time for Evil Lexie to begin her redemption arc – starting with nightmares of Ben turning into a monster and blaming her.

Her Overlord mentor teaching her how to use her powers and that breaking stuff is “setting it free” and “sending it home to the stars” never mind that most things don’t really want to get up close and personal with stars. Also, trees in this world break up into perfect boards. Seriously, Falling Skies, you couldn’t break up some branches, you just ordered a load of timber and scattered it around?

Time for Overlord conversation – and this whole land of lava alternate dimension thing is an awesome way of communicating but I can’t help but think a radio or something may be easier and less dramatic. As an added flaw, it seems the whole talking through molten rock is something Lexie can do as well – so she listens in.

Overlord #1 is worried about how powerful Lexie is if she can’t be controlled while her mentor thinks she can win them the war, sees humanity as inferior and he is super capable of controlling her (with added gloating about her wrongly thinking her power is for peace). Overlord #1 wants her dead for safety’s sake. Mentor Overlord bows and says “yes brother” so there’s a clear hierarchy.

The next time Lexie is taken to train by her “father” she uses her powers to destroy him throwing in “power perfected is divine” and that she is the “bringer of death” not peace.

Over to the good guys who are poking around in the Beamer to make it work and Matt is apparently becoming a teenager. This is apparently the excuse we’re running with for why, when Cochise & co are talking about hacking into the Beamer drone, Matt decides he needs to go touch things and miraculously figure out how to pilot the thing

Oh it must be such a proud moment for Tom to see his son becoming a Mason – doing stupid things and being rewarded for them by the plot. Also, Beamers apparently have radios (despite being drones) plugged into Spanish language broadcasts.

The broadcast is a warning from Spanish ghetto inhabitants, apparently ghettos around the world are being emptied and the Espheni have a new super-scary weapon to track down escapees and everyone should just hide. There’s a brief discussion of authenticity and they believe it because it was sent out on 1776 megahz frequency which is the American date of independence so clearly meant for them

That’s right, these Spanish escapees, in Spain, talking about lots of European and North African ghettoes have designed a broadcast aimed at the Americans and thankfully knew enough American history to code it. Really.

Everyone argues about what to do. Pope is an arsehole (which surprises no-one). Tom makes a big damn speech. Pope mocks him about who is going to be fool enough to fly the Beamer – the answer is Tom. Of course it’s Tom. Was there ever a chance it wasn’t going to be Tom?

Later Anne has a case of the worries, because she clearly doesn’t realise Tom has super duper plot armour. She sensibly points out that if the Espheni power source is on the moon then destroying it will stop the Beamer being able to get back to Earth. She also, at last, throws in a severe challenge to Tom constantly making decisions without consulting people and people working together doesn’t mean everyone doing what Tom says.

Anyway back to the Beamer which now has an anti-volm defence so Cochise can’t go with Tom. Now they have to figure out the controls to get it high enough for the autopilot to kick in and despite Tom’s desire to go up and be a hero (nicely mocked by Pope who for once is right) he still needs a bomber co-pilot. People finally challenge the idea that Tom should go up (five minutes ago Tom was going up because Pope thought no-one would be fool enough to do it and tom had to prove he would, now people are arguing for the privilege INCLUDING Pope? Oh Falling Skies when you can’t keep your continuation straight for 5 damn minutes I kind of want the writers to be drug tested).

Matt suggests drawing lots, Tom says the best man for the job should do it, they all argue about who that should be. Hilariously, Botha quietly drops in there that he has 13 registered hours as a pilot so, apparently alone among all these people, he actually has relevant experience. Everyone ignores this and they decide to draw lots

Show, if you have Matt be the one who wins the draw I am going to scream and then maraud through this house like a Viking looking for every damn drop of booze I can find. If you then actually have them accept the draw rather than say “no, he’s 13” I’m going to do the same with my neighbours’ houses.

Anne goes to explain to Tom how his whole pouty “I have to be the hero” thing is not appealing with added mild criticism of why Tom always thinks he is the best man for the job (rather than, y’know, they actual pilot).

Matt does say he wants to put his name in the draw but Tom says no and Matt has a teenaged stop. The neighbours’ booze may be spared and I can put my battle axes away.

Weaver catches Pope interfering with the lots – and Pope is back to deciding that everything is a disaster, Tom is a fool and they’re all doomed, throwing in a crack at Weaver’s daughter just in case we forgot what an awful person he was. Weaver hits him and they fight. After Weaver wins convincingly and has Pope cringing in the first he reveals he was doctoring the lots to remove Weaver and Tom’s names. Why? Because Pope realises he’s pathetic and expendable while Weaver and Tom are essential and important. It’s a suicide mission so Pope wants to do it – wants to do one thing worth remembering him for. He throws on that an apparent desire to end it all – life is miserable surviving, he’s got nothing to live for. This could all be meaningful and deep and introspective except Weaver says “she might come back.”

That’s right, deep introspective examination, Pope finally revealing his pain and despair inside covered by anger and hostility, the sheer despair of surviving day by day for years has boiled down to love interest angst because Sarah left him.

Anyway, time for the lots to be drawn – and it’s Ben. And the second lot is Tom

Seriously? A gazillion names and two Masons are picked out? Two? Are you kidding me? Ok, get me my battle axe, I’m booze raiding.

Actually booze raiding temporarily suspended because Anne questions Tom and reveals Tom fixed the draw. Anne warns him about pride and hubris. Of course, Tom doesn’t really listen.

Ben and Hal are still all tense about Maggie. Maggie and Ben both, separately, tell Hal it’s because of weird spikey stuff and not any emotional issue. Hal’s not buying it and I really don’t think this series needs a love triangle. Tom does give Hal advice about it being Maggie’s decision (which is excellent) and that he doesn’t want to Ben to go off, possibly to his death, without things being right between him and Hal.

Unfortunately Maggie hugs Ben goodbye which the spikes turn into a kiss just as Hal arrives to reconcile, drama drama why is this even here. But when everyone makes their dramatic goodbye scene and Ben enters the ship Hal is there to forgive him and finally accepts that it’s Maggie’s decision.

Before they can launch they’re all called by Botha to get to cover – a whole squadron of Beamers has appeared. Everyone cowers – and the Beamers start exploding. All of them destroyed, just exploding mid-air. Lexie walks into camp and, perhaps for the first time, calls Tom father.

REDEMPTION ARC COMPLETE (don’t mind Lourdes’ corpse).

Y’know, Falling Skies vaguely mentioned a distant enemy of the Espheni early in the series which has never actually emerged. I think they need that now to explain why any Espheni is bothering with Lexi. Or mutating humans. I mean, it’s not like they need a new weapon in their war against humanity – they’ve already won, it’s just mopping up survivors.

I’m actually, for the first time in a long time, slightly hopeful about something on Falling Skies – Anne calling out Tom. His arrogance, his need to be the hero, his glory hounding, his control issues are all pretty damn normal for dystopians. But they’re being called out, Anne is challenging him on it – calling it what it is, hubris, arrogance, foolishness. That suggests that maybe, just maybe, he’s going to face some consequences for his arrogance. We’re going to see some challenge to the idea that this is how dystopian survivors must live.

Yes, a Mason on this show is going to face consequences