[photos: James Dittiger]
In this episode, I seriously was worried we were going to trade Jimmy for the Onlies (don’t laugh – io9 saw it, too).
We begin with an ambush, as Matt Mason – the one Tom doesn’t want in the fight – lures Skitters into a blind alley, where Tector and Boone take pot shots until the Skitters are dead. Celebrations all around.
Across town, a little recon, as Hal and Ben are scouting what appears to be a factory of some sort – one that still has power, and a mech patrol outside. Clearly, it’s being used for nefarious purposes. But before they can report back, the Mason brothers get their motorcycles stolen. Tracking them with Ben’s super-hearing, they come across Diego and a bunch of kids who have decided to sit out the war and hope for the best.
Diego is the Falling Skies equivalent of Jahn, with the exception that he’s actually willing to accept help from the 2nd Mass, even though he’s reluctant to join up with his band of Lost Boys – a band that includes Jeannie Weaver, one of the missing Weaver family. When she arrives at base camp, Captain Weaver can barely contain himself. And he actually becomes a little more human through this episode. Will Patton’s performance shows us just how tenuous Weaver’s hold on his anger and self-confidence really is, and that vulnerability makes him a little stronger to take as a leader who has to have all the answers for his people.
The success of the Berserker mission leaves Boone a little flush – or it could be the alcohol – as he boasts about the kill zone they set up. Tom, of course, is outraged that Matt would be used as bait like that, embarrassing the boy in front of everyone and putting Tector and Boone on sanitation duty until further notice. This follows out of the theme from last week’s episode, that everyone has to grow up under the cloud of war. How much can Tom shield Matt and try to give him a decent childhood, and how much of that childhood has to be sacrificed for the greater good – humanity’s survival?
And we get a little more kissy-face between Tom and Anne, as he brings her a little junk food from a grocery raid. Even though they’re interrupted by Lourdes, and get all high-schoolery in their embarrassment, it seems a natural progression of their relationship, not rushed and not overly sexualized.
Upon returning to the Onlies’ camp with supplies and motorcycle parts, the group discovers that the camp’s been raided. Everyone’s gone but one kid, and he tells the gang that the Onlies have been taken to the factory, where they will be harnessed.
Weaver, of course, insists that they have a plan before going in blind to attack the factory, but Diego is bull-headed, full of Latin machismo. He doesn’t want to wait, so he and his crew – including Skitter-Killer Matt Mason – go ahead and take off. Naturally, this is not going to end well.
But we know that Matt isn’t going to get harnessed, even though everything builds up to that point. Because that would just be too much. So the kid who survived the raid is the Redshirt this episode, leaving Matt and Jeannie almost getting harnessed. But of course, the 2nd Mass comes in shooting just in the nick of time.
And in the midst of this is Hal’s discovery that Ben’s spikes are active. Just what do they do? What’s going on? Ben, ever the talkative one, wants to drop it, knowing that any word of the activity will bring suspicion down around his head.
In the aftermath of the factory’s destruction, and with Weaver in the infirmary with a skitter slug bite on his leg and pain meds in his system, I really was hoping we weren’t getting a trade between Jimmy and Jeannie. Even though it’s nice to get some closure for Weaver, somehow adding his daughter to the roster would cheapen Jimmy’s death, making the teenagers interchangeable in the story. I’m glad the writers didn’t go there, but instead chose to have Jeannie stay with Diego and the Onlies while the 2nd Mass moves south toward Charleston.
Some decent character bits in this one, along with some nice work inside the factory, which director Greg Beeman says was almost all practical with only a hint of CG enhancement. Bravo for that.
I half-expected someone to say “bonk bonk” before the episode was over, but fortunately, it didn’t go there.