Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Falling Skies, Season 5, Episode 3: Hatchlings

So last week they found a huge nest of breeding skitter-beasts (which are now mindless feral monsters and not intelligent creatures leading their own rebellion because the writers are possibly drunk, have severe memory problems, don’t give a shit or all of the above). The plan is to use Digaan’s and Matt’s new weapon to kill them all and it seems to work

Current plan, which Tom is spreading to the world because of course he should dictate global strategy – why wouldn’t you want a hallucinating history teacher with rage issues who protected his half-alien traitor genocide daughter from leading you?! – is to destroy dormant Espheni technology before the aliens arrange the power back and to kill any squishy bioweapon bugs

Which is a fancy way of saying “kill shit and break stuff.” For some reason Anne, Cochise, the Volm et all think this is an amazing plan and totally not something that could have been thought up by an illiterate child cleaning a library who happened to have a book of Sun Tzu fall on his had, and it has been distributed to all the Mason Militias in the world

Oh my god the militias have been named “Mason Militias”. Every resistance movement around the world is now named after him. Let the Espheni win! Humanity no longer deserves to live!

So vast amount of Espheni stuff has now been destroyed but there’s an ominous cloaked area the Volm can’t see, which is powered by small batteries they have which they use for non-military purposes and haven’t repurposed yet because the script says so. One is nearby, the other is in DC

Maggie brings food to Caitlin who they met last episode to pretty much confirm that, no, they can’t cure her mutated monster brother. Except mutant Brian manages to use Maggie’s spikes to talk to Caitlin, calling her Kate, which only he does. But it hurts Maggie, it’s difficult and he can only really communicate in monosyllables to say how dangerous he is.

Hal, Tom and Weaver find another horde of skitters, one they assume has an Overlord in control. Tom finds this frustrating since it means he can’t follow his own commands (and, yes, he is commanding the Mason militia) since they’re up to their necks in Skitters and can’t break technology before the Espheni get it back online. The skitters are replacing at a ridiculous rate – Anne considers this and believes the Espheni are managing to replicate them quickly and she speculates some kind of biological mutant science thing

More speculation is interrupted by little Orphan Caitlin and her Beasty Brian – Brian has escaped and knocked Anthony unconscious and is now running loose who knows where. Tom decides a raging skitter being in their stronghold running free and possibly controllable by Overlords within 5 miles is totally not worth worrying about so basically ignores it. While Weaver thinks Beasty Brian just wants to be friends since he didn’t kill anyone – he just wants to hug them. With his claws.

Caitlin’s vanished and Maggie decides it’s all her fault so she’s going to go rescue them (and, uh, stop the raging skitter beast behind their defences? Anyone care about that? No? No-one at all? Ooookay then). Tom is upset with her not ignoring this huge threat rather than Respecting His Authoritay. Hal decides to go with Maggie because Love Interest/love triangle > alien invasion.

Ann treats Anthony’s wounds and tries to convince him that it’s group hug time with raging skitter beast but Anthony is all angry and pouty.

Hal and Maggie set off and Maggie justifies her fluffy bunniness by how her spikes are tuned in to Brian and she felt his tender loving heart.  That tender=-loving heart seems to be delivering his sister to an Overlord – who then seizes control of Maggie via her spikes to help communicate with… Brian? Wait, he’s using Maggie to speak to Skitter Brian and Skitter Brian uses Maggie to communicate as… oh why am, I even trying to make sense of this?

Hal takes the chance to repeatedly stab the Overlord and when it goes down pulls a gun on Brian – who uses stretchy hands to take it and shoot at them – hitting little Orphan Caitlin instead. Do I have to pretend to care about this oh so predictable ending? Brian then commits suicide. Well that was nice and neat. Maggie insists they bury them together so the plot can be well and truly interred and stop getting in the way

Anyway, finding the source of the Skitters becomes a job for Pope and Sarah because why wouldn’t you trust the loosest of loose cannons?

Pope and Sarah go on their mission and Pope brings up that he was a father and Sarah is shocked that he didn’t mention kids, how could he keep that from her. He points out that his kids are dead so instead they discuss having babies together. I’m sorry is this a new mission guideline I missed? Is it in the US military code “all soldiers shall discuss their emotional growth and family dramas while on patrol, especially if the enemy is close enough to hear your poignant regrets.” Section 87, Paragraph C. Right before the section on the correct way to cut your palm and risk severing tendons when declaring your manly determination to seek revenge.

Sarah gets herself stuck in Espheni fog glue (which we’ve seen before). So Pope has to go get a flamethrower to free her while they also declare just how much they love each other. Seriously she is stuck in a trap surrounded by the enemy, not the time guys!

Weaver actually asks Tom if he has a guiding hallucination. Oh for the sake of all that is sensible, is Weaver actually going to treat him like an oracle now? Give me the serenity to endure bullshit that should not have been written. Anyway, they don’t have the resources to hunt down a skitter beast but they do have the time to have Ben draw a sketch of the alien creatures Tom saw while hallucinating and show it to Cochise. As a bonus, I have to laugh when Tom considers it weird and embarrassing that he thought he saw an alien (while talking to Cochise… an alien) but not that relying on visions for battle strategy is unwise.

The drawing looks like a grey alien meets 8 legged cyclops and Cochise calls it a “Dornea” which is apparently the creature the Skitters were before the Espheni got their hands on them. They’re now extinct.

Matt and Evelyn continue to push for the fastest most obviously manufactured love interest ever when Hal and Maggie bring in the still alive but injured Overlord for questioning.

Tom questions him using Ben as a translator with Tom planning to torture him and the Overlord reminding him that anything they do to the Overlord Ben will feel. So Tom asks his son if he can endure more agony than the alien commander

Father of the year guys!

Ben has a new idea – he could almost read Overlord brains when he had all of his spikes – but he gave some to Maggie. So now they have to work together – and torture the Overlord as well. Tom barely hesitates.

The Overlord is really not happy to have Maggie and Ben both connect and tries to push them out, but can’t. Torture time – felt by all of them with Maggie and Ben doing lots of mind reading hugging and suffering while Tom beats the Overlord with a club until they all start vibrating and collapse. Only Hal stops Tom from battering away

But they succeed, they see where the Overlord is making the skitters. There was also something huge and scary there as well.

Pope arrives to beg for help for Sarah – which means he needs the truck and it needs to go the opposite way to where Tom is going. Tom refuses, for once making a reasonable decision – the whole camp vs Sarah having to wait a while and be at risk is not much of a choice. Pope, understandably, is enraged (it’s not like Tome was ever remotely as sensible about his own loved ones – hence half-alien demon daughter).

To the Skitter factory where they find new skitters pulling themselves out of vats. Tom hands out explosives to Hal and Anthony. Some explosions follow and they all run out, the rest of the troops firing at any remaining skitters that emerge until it all goes ominously quiet. That was way too smooth. For some reason Anthony looks severely traumatised…

Pope runs back to Sarah – and finds her covered in bugs so decides to use the flamethrower on her. She’s amazingly unsinged – but the bugs have eaten her legs down to the bone. Lots of tragedy and love and sadness between them as she declares him the best thing that happened to her… before she dies.

Tom & co arrive. Faaaar too late. Pope seems to be too broken even to be angry.

Back at the camp, Anthony takes over guard duty over the Ovelord – who is trying to use shiny red fire dirt to communicate with his fellows – and Anthony shoots and kills him, destroying any more intelligence they could get. When Weaver and Anne arrive, the shiny red stone dissolve back into dirt so Anthony can’t even prove he had a reason to kill it. Especially since he shouldn’t have been on guard anyway. They believe that Anthony intended to kill the Overlord – and Anne thinks it was her fault for not realising he had PTSD and disarming him

He is now taken out the fight as a danger to himself and others. Unlike people who decide to joyride on alien spaceships or ride off into the wilderness or follow their hallucinations or protect half-alien demon kids

Ben and Maggie have love triangleness over the awfulness of reading Overlord brains

Tom is creepy. Everyone is fine with this – Weaver insists the group needs a rest for a little time. Tom decides to belatedly angst about Sarah – Weaver thinks it was the right decision to get her second, but he also remembers when Tom’s priorities were different

They remind us of the cloaked areas they are now planning to investigate. Pope is not a happy chappy.

Do I need to mention the tortured screaming of the shattered remnants of the cannon again? And not just the cannon, the basic plot lines make no sense. No-one with even an ounce of sense, not even someone with the same grasp of reality as a Falling Skies writer, is going to think that a raging skitter beast behind their defences is a completely negligible issue. This is LUDICROUS, no-one would ignore that threat!

Another issue I’ve mentioned since season 1 is the habit of this show making Tom seem competent by making everyone else blood fools – like his master plan. Destroy the technology while it’s dormant and kill stuff that’s trying to kill you? That’s not a plan. It doesn’t even need communicating.

Can we also address how gendered this storyline is? Who are the ones insisting he raging skitter beast has a NAME and is a PERSON damn it? Anne and Maggie for the most part. Yes, Weaver chimes in, but it’s mainly Anne and Maggie. While the men either don’t care or consider it an animal to be killed.

Anthony now looks like the raging Black man which has been developing for a few episodes. Do you know what’s even sadder than this continuation of the POC-as-liability and the angry black man trope? This is still more development that he’s had in four seasons.

And, yes, PTSD is reasonable… for everyone! Why is Anthony the one with the classic symptoms and no-one else? And do we even have to point to Tom and his hallucinations?