Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Falling Skies, Season 5, Episode 4: Pope Breaks Bad

It is time for another episode of Falling Skies. Let me get ready.

'Cheap booze 1' photo (c) 2008, Melissa Wiese - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Ok, I'm prepared, let's do this
So Sarah died last episode and now it’s time for Pope to stand on that fridge and bellow his Manpain to the skies.

I’m going to need more booze.

Pope is sad about Sarah and Tom doesn’t have a shred of sense or decency decides that he needs to talk to Pope at Sarah’s grave after refusing to rescue her. Weaver tells Tom how right he was to leave her. Pope isn’t ready to forgive.

At the camp Anthony is begging Weaver and Anne to let him go back to active duty but he can’t because of his PTSD

And a Volm ship arrives. It seems Cochise has called them so he can see his dad, say goodbye and engage in a Volm ritual before dying. Yes, Cochise is dying. It seems Cochise was born without a vital organ that gives him a shorter lifespan and he’s made his peace and is ready to die – though Anne and the other humans consider this “giving up” and that he has to fight. Anne suggests transplants which makes Cochise laugh. He considers his dad donating an organ to be a “distraction” in the middle of war. Anne and Tom utterly refuses to accept his decision (and Anne with basic human technology thinks she can advise the Volm with their tech on the medical perspective of a completely alien anatomy). He gives them something before leaving which the other Volm Shack, can use.

This nifty globe thing shows areas where the Espheni are cloaking – predominantly capital cities (especially Washington DC because Murica). And the Nazca lines in Peru and Fayetteville for REASONS.

Pope arrives to snark before he leaves to be stopped by Anthony who now announces he hates the Masons for taking him out the fight. Oh for the love of all that is sensible. Really, are we doing this show?! Pope gives Anthony a gun. Their little rebellion does point out the epic hypocrisy of Tom and how he would certainly not have left his kids behind like he did Sarah. They also all belatedly pretend to care about Denny.

Anthony speaks out to inspire his rebellion while Hal tries to defend Tom’s terribad decisions. I wouldn’t wish that job on anyone, there are a whole lot of bad decisions to defend there.

Tom leads a squad (Digaan, Mat, Weaver, Extra) to get some supplies where they find a radio which Digaan uses to speak to a woman with a highly improbable English accent (unless he has actually found the Queen, no, she doesn’t speak like that), she’s coincidentally in Bolivia. Of course she is and naturally needs his leadership.

Extra dies to a swarm of Espheni bugs. Of course he does, he should have had a red shirt. No-one else is killed because they’re all main characters.

Cochise meets his dad for the silence ritual thing. Cochise pleads for his life while his dad considers him all human and corrupted while Cochise champions the humans as totally awesome. Considering the humans he’s met, that’s a stretch.

Anyway his inspiring speech convinces his dad to donate an organ because a longer lived Cochise would be good for the Volm (or so is the excuse). And of course Anne is the one performing the surgery because Volm don’t need doctors because they regenerate so well they don’t need them.

Operation time with Cochise already failing. Thankfully Volm organs are completely unconnected and can be removed from the body with a pair of tongs quite easily. While they wait for everyone to heal Ben and Anne talk Lexi and loss which would work more if I missed Lexi even one tiny iota. Cochise wakes fine, but his father’s heart stops. They rush to grab a car battery from Weaver’s newly stolen car to defibrillate his heart (thankfully alien hearts work just like ours. Actually no because defibrillators do NOT restart flat-lined hearts outside of TVlandia).

Of course, Pope & co realise that Extra is dead and feel the need to point out Tom’s plans kill people. Tom snaps back and they shout and rage with Tom wanting to know what Pope wants and Pope pointing to the epic plot armour the Masons seem to have. The screaming match escalates quickly with Tom demanding Pope shoot him and even holding a gun in Pope’s hand to his head. Pope turns and walks and Tom decides to banish him.

And Cochise’s dad is dead, the car battery doesn’t work. He shares the Volm ritual of silence with Anne (imagining/hallucinating her as his dad while Anne does the same for Lexi).

And Anthony kidnaps Anne for Pope (who has shaved his head). Anne makes her argument for the greater good and Pope actually has a good rejoinder “what if one person was your greater good.” Anne rants to him about his legacy (which I think was ridiculous considering it would just remind Pope that he’s lost the person he intended to have a family with) and leaves. No-one stops her.

Back to Tom and he’s hallucinating his dead wife again – only this time it’s the aliens communicating directly through his dead wifey image. They apparently can’t exist in the same state of matter. Whatever that means. What, are they gas? Plasma? She says more cryptic stuff before asking “where is Hal”

Hal is apparently the next kidnapped person as Anne tells Tom how far Pope has snapped. Which means Tom sets off, alone (which kind of proves everything about him being willing to drop everything for his family) leaving Weaver to lead behind. Weaver decides to warn Tom about going dark.

Pope decides to kill Hal and Tom when Tom arrives. See, I told you they should have killed him in season 1.

Can we look at Anthony’s PTSD? Because there’s so much wrong with it. Why Anthony? Of all the people on the show why him? Especially with this show’s general history with POC and it’s specific sidelining of him – he has been on this show since the very beginning and in that time he’s done virtually nothing and had no storylines. This is the one storyline he has?

A PTSD storyline would be good, certainly, it would be realistic and powerful – but it certainly shouldn’t be confined to one person (everyone here has seen and experienced traumatic stuff in the extreme) and not part of another “POC screw things up” storyline. I also feel there’s something dubious about how it was set up – he saw Denny die, but he’s seen a lot of people die. I think we’re meant to extrapolate more friendship between the two than we ever saw (because both were such ignored characters) and, really, there’s only one reason we would be expected to assume that – they’re both Black.

Of course he expresses his PTSD by… throwing in with Pope? Really? This isn’t PTSD, this is a classic, ableist “let’s use the crazy to make a character do something because then they don’t need motive.”

Then we have Denny and Sarah. Denny with no development at all. Sarah very limited development – and both dead to inspire the male rebellion. Fridges for everyone!

And can we look at the whole Cochise is dying thing because I was… kind of repelled by the arrogance. “You have to fight it, let us who are technologically the equivalent of Neanderthals, offer random suggestions!” It’s ludicrous to suggest that Cochise, who has lived with this condition all his life, does not know the details, chances and cures of it. It is cruel to suggest that he is “giving up” because he has managed to find peace and acceptance with his future, because he chooses not to fight in a way they consider acceptable. With their technological superiority, the only logical reasons he would have “given up” is because a) they cannot cure it or b) for cultural, religious or personal reasons he has chosen NOT to cure it. In either event “giving up” is insulting.

And some more complaining – the Nazca lines (I’m unsure why they said “Bolivia”? aren’t they in Peru and not near the border?) and now we’re implying their an alien landing site? To insist that ancient wonders built by POC were created by aliens is a persistent and pervasive form of racism. There’s a subtext: “there’s no way brown people did that.”