FALLING SKIES – Freeeeeeedoooooooooom!

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Episode 403: “Exodus”

[photos by Bettina Strauss/TNT]

Again this week, the show is primarily focused on the Tom Mason story arc.  The ghetto escape plan continues to germinate as the clock ticks down on the Espheni’s plans to “skitterize” the remaining humans there.  Tom meets with Dingaan (who seems to have a more pronounced British accent than he did last episode) about using his power-dampening suit to cross the laser fence that surrounds the ghetto and destroy the tether that secures the Espheni “zeppelin” to the fence.  Dingaan obviously has some concerns about his survival, as anyone reasonably would if they were being asked to climb a laser fence that vaporizes people, in just a 90-second window before the suit fails and you die.

There are several different facets to the plan once the fence is blown.  We’ve got Tom doing his best Steve McQueen to distract the skitters on his motorbike, along with an attack on the Espheni overlord itself, an explosion to collapse a building to trap any pursuing skitters, not to mention getting the humans out through the sewer tunnels that were discovered last episode.   Then 16…we all come out like it’s Halloween.

Pope, as usual, is the squeakiest of wheels, the Eeyore of Falling Skies (if Eeyore was a sociopathic, greedy lout).  And in the spirit of all their best laid plans, things go pear-shaped almost immediately.  Dingaan is injured by a freak accident, so someone else has to get into the suit.  In his never-ending, unconscious quest for redeeming his own humanity, Pope volunteers.  While the act almost kills him, he does get over the fence and manages to sever the tether (in a very Pope-ian fashion – he beats it apart with a piece of rebar).  All this, however, takes too long for the rest of the plan.

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Tom’s distraction of the skitters becomes over-extended, blowing his timetable so he ends up setting off their building explosion apparently on himself. Hal is in charge of leading everyone out through the sewers. Unfortunately, the skitters locate the waiting humans, resulting in one death, knocking us down to 71 escaping humans.  The now-free humans…celebrate, which I guess is what you do when pursued by an alien horde.  Except Dan Weaver thinks, rightly so, that they’re being watched…

Meanwhile in Chinatown, Ben Mason and Maggie confront Lexi about her meeting with the Espheni from last episode.  Lexi defends the Espheni, calling him “part of who I am”.  We also get yet another Lexi power: super strength, as she crushes Maggie’s wrist.   I’ll just add that to the list.  Not a whole lot happening here this week.

On arguably the most neglected plot line this season (unless one counts “more walking through the woods” as wildly exciting), Anne Glass leads her ragtag group in…more walking through the woods, heading west to find her daughter Lexi.  While trudging through the woods, she pushes herself too hard and collapses.   While her team tries to figure out what’s wrong with her, we get a dream sequence where a still-pregnant Anne finds herself imprisoned by the Espheni, one of whom is impregnating her with a tentacle thingy (don’t know if this an actual memory of the Anne’s pregnancy or not).  She then wakes up, miraculously recovers with no explanation, and has her team get some chow.  And then they then make their way to…Chinatown, merging these two tangents into one, with Anne meeting her now significantly-aged daughter Lexi.

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Lastly, at the “Fascism for Youngsters” re-education camp, Mira begins to show the first signs of cracking under the pressure.  She witnesses a child turning in their parents, something the more jaded Matt has seen before.  She even goes so far as to steal wire-cutters to help her escape.  When they are discovered missing, Matt takes the blame for her and Kent, the head Hitler Youth team leader, punishes him.  There is light on the horizon though, as Cochise and his team of Volm observers locate Matt.

A couple of logic/plot holes again this week.  This plan involves the humans fleeing through the sewers…that they haven’t yet had access to map out an escape route.  What’s to prevent them from getting lost?  And Tom blows up what appears to be a 4+ story building on himself…and manages to leap safely to the ground to rejoin the rest of the escaping humans.

Now that the various tangents are starting to converge, it begs the question, if it only lasted 3 episodes, what’s the point?  It feels like it was just an excuse to bury certain characters plotwise until the writers could determine what else to do to them.  3 episodes in, there is no risk-taking going on, no serious stakes (at least none that vary in any interesting way from the previous 3 seasons).  It’s still paced better than most and juggles what it’s (unnecessarily) juggling well.   But the season is missing that hook, that oomph to make it irresistible.  Wish Falling Skies would make the leap.

Woodchuck sez, “Check it out.”

[Official Show Site at TNT]  [“Falling Skies” on Twitter]  [Previous Recap – “The Eye”]

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