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FALLING SKIES Has A Cool Rider…

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Episode 402, “The Eye”

[photos: Bettina Strauss/TNT]

In the human ghetto, Tom Mason continues his activities as the masked, motorcycle-riding “Ghost”, inspiring others around him and reminding at least this viewer of Grease 2. The Espheni, of course, are not happy with this and cut off the food drops until someone betrays the identity of “Ghost”. Tom’s main goal, with the help of Dan Weaver, his son Hal, and (grudgingly) Pope, is to help the rest of the humans to escape over the wall. To do that, he has to locate the source of the skitter guards that seem to appear at will and distract them during the escape.

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Weaver’s job is to find Pope’s secret stash to get rumored equipment that Pope has in his possession that may knock out the laser wall. However, Weaver is not the only one in the ghetto interested in finding Pope’s secret stash for themselves.  A relatively small melee ensues.   In the process, Pope and Weaver may have found a new way out of the camp, under the wall instead of over it.  John Sturges would be proud.

Dingaan Botha (Treva Etienne) is a new character introduced briefly last episode. He’s a former lineman for the power company that’s developed a suit that enables someone to climb the laser wall, negating the power of the fence. Cochise, the humans’ exposition device, er, I mean…their Volm ally, confirms that the Espheni are creating a new power station to enhance their offensive capabilities. In addition (and to help move the plot along), his team has also spotted a group of human children being transferred to a camp and believes this to be Matt’s location.

To keep the escape plan a-rolling and gain missing pieces of information they need, Tom reveals himself as Ghost to the Espheni and is brought into their ship to suss out what they want while reconnoitering the ship. The Espheni, in their tête-à-tête with Tom, hint at a heretofore unseen fourth alien race that even they are afraid of. To that end, the Espheni wants to turn the humans into their new army to fight these new aliens and they want Tom to help speed the process along. Before Tom leaves the ship, he’s able to glean where the Skitters come from and how to shut off the power to the laser wall. Tom, off camera, makes a deal with the Espheni to stop rioting, food resumes to the humans in the ghetto, and their escape plans continue apace.

Meanwhile, in one of the smaller tangents of the week, Anne Glass and her group of survivors encounter a Skitter and interrogate it. One of her group, Deni, is tethered and “plugs in” to translate its thoughts. It shares with them the basic information about sending the children for re-education and about a hybrid “that is our future”.  Anne loses control and kills the skitter before it can give any further details (which seems a tad counterproductive given that the skitter was telling her everything she wanted to know).

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Now we take you down to Chinatown. This episode, we get the first appearance this season of Dr. Roger Kadar (Robert Sean Leonard) in the Chinatown enclave. He confides in Ben Mason that, because of Lexi’s rapid aging (she has the body of a 21 year old, but is only a year old), her body is breaking down. A cult has sprung up around Lexi, led by Lourdes, who wants to limit access to “non-believers”.

Ben confronts Lexi about Dr. Kadar’s concerns. Lexi does not appreciate being spoken down to by Ben and starts to exhibit Carrie-like powers. She consents to Kadar’s procedure but Lourdes, as alpha cult member, tries to take back the blood from Ben. Another slight melee ensues, and Lexi activates her powers, causing a loud screeching noise that incapacitates the others and sending her blood scattering away. Later, Lexi disappears into the woods and Ben finds her talking to a tall robed figure that is revealed to be an Espheni. No word if this is the same Espheni that met earlier with Tom.

On a lighter note, we get some awkward sexual tension between Maggie and Ben as apparently the writers are going to have her shtupp her way through the entire Mason male line.

Finally, Tom’s youngest son Matt continues his indoctrination at the fascist camp for youngsters, while plotting his own little rebellion. However, before he meets with his cabal, some of the other members of his little group are “graduated” out, leaving him to move forward with his new girlfriend Mira (the really obnoxious actress I mentioned in last episode’s review).

As you can see, Tom and company have the lion’s share of action this week.  The Anne and Matt storylines were mainly treading water, while the Ben/Lexi storyline moved us a little bit further, but it’s still really hard to care.

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Like the other TV series I review, Defiance, this show has the same bad habit of picking up and dropping plot threads with what appears to be little regard for their impact.  Tom’s masked identity is discarded less than one episode after it was introduced.  So that begs the question, why introduce it in the first place?  Is that really the best plot device you could find to get Tom and the Espheni to have a chat?  It cheapens the writings and short circuits something that could be cool.  I mean, me personally, I was putting together all kinds of Grease 2 jokes that have all come to naught (“The Espheni are like Adrian Zmed and the T-Birds…”).

In addition, the way in which Tom locates information on the Espheni ship is laughably easy.  We’re talking about a giant wall graphic showing the Espheni ship tethered on the ground to the fence that could not be more obvious if it had a giant neon “Tom!  Look at me!” sign and a midget dancing next to it.  The Espheni just let arguably the most dangerous human on the planet, one they just released from confinement, wander their ship unescorted?!

Plus, we get what we were all clamoring for (not really)…another alien race to add to the existing list of alien races that we already don’t get enough development about.

Still for all that, it’s moving things along.  Even with the ridiculous bits, the Tom section was still fairly strong (granted it has the strongest actors in the show all in one place).

Woodchuck sez, “Check it out.”

[Official Show Site at TNT]  [“Falling Skies” on Twitter]  [Previous Recap – “Ghost in the Machine”]

 

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