In the wake of the news from NASA this week — that there may be evidence of water on Mars — we’re taking a quick look at the science fiction literature that focuses on the Red Planet. Barsoom. Mars. It’s captured the imagination of generations, and it’s been a setting for so many stories. […]
[photos: James Dittiger]
Hail, hail, the gang’s all here this week! And there are plenty of awkward moments to go around, so let’s dive in.
So, Anne and Tom have apparently made clear their intentions toward each other, sharing a room at the hospital during their two-week stay. First awkward moment, when they’re reminiscing about life before the war and Tom mentions his wife. The dead one. Ouch. To get out of it, Tom actually does a pretty good impression of Weaver, talking about punctuality and respect and such…
Because he’s late to the meeting, where Weaver’s speech is all about exactly that. Plus the whole “we’re getting complacent and we need to move” bit, up until he collapses because the Skitter bite on his leg has been sending poison all through his system for the last two weeks.
Second awkward moment is when Tom and Anne have it out because she didn’t tell him that Weaver’s condition was getting worse. That whole doctor-patient privilege thing can be a nasty thing sometimes, especially when you’re bedding said doctor and working for said patient.
Cut to Hal and Maggie on patrol, still recovering from last week’s awkward moment. Some flirtying goes on, but Maggie delivers the “we need to talk” line that every red-blooded male does not want to hear from a pretty girl… and then they find the field full of dead naked de-harnessed kids. (Kudos to those actors, by the way. This was shot in December. In Canada.)
But wait! One of the naked de-harnessed kids isn’t dead! And isn’t a kid! It’s Karen!
So, now they have another de-harnessed whatsit in the camp, and Ben, the first de-harnessed whatsit, says the 2nd Mass can’t trust Karen because she’s still connected to them. OK. So… what about you, Ben? Are you still connected, too? How is Karen any different?
Meanwhile, while the troops have been living it up in the lap of luxury, they’ve been burning up all the fuel to keep the generators running. Which means they don’t have enough to get to Charleston. They only have enough to keep the jennies running for another 12 hours. Tom is flummoxed, and this is one of those bits where he starts to realize just how much Weaver is holding everything together with spit and bailing wire and pure cussedness.
So, Tom sends the Berserkers to find fuel. What they find instead: Pope and Anthony. Huzzah! That episode title is really going a long way this week.
Pope’s in rotten shape, having been tortured by the Skitters just after being ambushed. It’s a sure bet the Overlords know where they are. Hey, didn’t they drop Karen off about right over there next to the hospital? Where someone would certainly find her?
Yeah, she’s playing them. But it’s not about getting information. It’s about getting Ben. And dial the creep factor up to about 11 when these two de-harnessed teenagers come into close proximity. It’s almost John Spartan-Lenina Huxley all over, complete with glowing spikes. Ben, of course, is overwhelmed with that whole teen hormone thing. Karen knows exactly what’s going on, and she’s playing him like a fiddle.
Until Hal walks in on them. Oops. Mood-killer. Karen instantly hits the floor, making Hal think Ben did something to her. Yep, she’s using her new de-harnessed powers for eeeevil.
Meanwhile, Lourdes has come up with a way to maybe possibly treat Weaver – basically hooking him up to a dialysis machine and cooking his blood to get the toxic Skitter-bites killed off, and then put the blood back in. Which goes all fine and dandy until the power goes out. During all of this, we have our third awkward moment, as Tom and Anne are arguing about moving Weaver; Anne pulls the Doctor Card, and Tom calls her Rebecca. Bound to happen sooner or later. Noah Wyle sells it, but the tension between these two seems a little forced, because they haven’t had any arguments up until now.
Just in time, it seems, the Berserkers come back with lots of fuel. And more available. They must have found a supply depot or something. Lots of diesel for the generators, and gas for the vehicles.
Hal’s still trying to wrap his brain around the fact that his girlfriend who got captured by aliens is now his ex-girlfriend with spikes in her back who may have been the target of his brother – who also has spikes in his back – all the while his current girl he’d like to be his girlfriend is suspicious of ex-girlfriend with spikes in her back.
Because a woman knows.
This leads up to the smackdown we’ve all been waiting for since Karen got snatched and Maggie was full-on in Hal’s life. Knowing Maggie’s place in Hal’s life (and how does she know this?) she tries to dig into Maggie’s psyche a bit. Karen accuses Maggie of pushing people away because she’ll never be good enough for anyone that matters. Might as well go back to the gang-rapes with Pope’s thugs. Oh, it’s on now. The “girl talk” turns into a slap-fest, with Karen throwing Maggie around like a rag doll, smashing her against the wall. And just as Ben comes in, Karen throws herself around and makes it look like Crazy Maggie was on the offense. Ben takes Karen out, leaving Maggie a bloody pulp on the floor.
Ben and Karen go up on the roof, where Hal catches up to them and tries to stop them from doing anything stupid, but you know teenagers… Ben drops Hal and the two lovebirds take a swan dive three stories down to the ground and run off into the woods to go meet up with the Skitter resistance.
This pretty much seems to confirm that the resistance is real, and not some hoax perpetrated by Stinkeye. (OK. His official name is Red Eye, but still…) So, they leave Tom alive, knowing he’s got insight into rebellions (being a history teacher) and knowing that he’s got a de-harnessed son (who can still hear the Skitters and therefore still has some connection to them), and for some reason these two facts make the 2nd Massachusetts extremely attractive to both sides of the Skitter/Overlord conflict.
Obviously, the Overlords learned the position of the 2nd Mass from Pope – and he confirms as much when he comes out of his Mech-blast-induced stupor – and they know Ben is sympathetic to the resistance. So, Karen is naturally the best choice to infiltrate into the group, gain Ben’s trust, and get him to take her to Stinkeye, where there will then be heavy fire coming off that north tower. ‘Splosions, surely, await the Skitter resistance.
As Mr. Adair is fond of saying, this will end in tears.