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FALLING SKIES Get Skitterized

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Episode 404: “Evolve or Die”

[photos: Bettina Strauss/TNT]

Tom, Dan Weaver, Hal, along with the rest of the escaped humans, are heading for a rendezvous with Cochise and his Volm to learn the location of the children’s camp where Matt Mason is located.  The bulk of the humans hole up with the Volm under Hal’s leadership as Cochise, Dan, and Tom approach the camp together.

On the way there, Dan Weaver still can’t shake the feeling they’re being stalked.  Turns out he’s not wrong as the vaguely human creature stalking them since last episode attacks Cochise, gravely wounding him.  Cochise (conveniently) falls into a comatose-like regenerative state, while Dan and Tom continue towards the children’s camp.  The only clue that’s left is a trail of black blood from the wounded creature.



The two men enter the dormitory, looking for Matt.  Tom wakes up a sleeping child, who immediately goes Hitler Youth on him and starts blowing his alarm whistle.  Soon the other children join in and alarms start going off at the camp.  Tom and Dan cross paths with Matt’s lady love, Mira, who guides them to where Matt is imprisoned.   While Tom follows Mira, Dan hangs back, noticing drops of black blood on the ground.  He’s attacked by the creature, which drags him outside.

Tom frees Matt and lays a long-wished-for whupping on Fascist poster child Kent.  Mira stays behind, to help draw the skitters away so the Masons can escape.  Tom and Matt promise to come back for her.

Dan confronts the creature, which utters a garbled “daddy”.  Weaver’s daughter Jeanne has been missing since this season’s pilot episode.  She makes an ominous return, after having been captured and experimented on by the Espheni.  She is the first “skitterized” human we are introduced to.  Luckily for Dan, the Espheni brainwashing doesn’t completely take and Jeanne saves her father from an attacking skitter, but succumbs to her wounds in her father’s arms.  Thus Dan Weaver loses what’s left of his family all over again.  A shattered Dan meets back up with Tom and lets him know what happened to his daughter.


Back at the escapee camp, Hal’s leadership is tested almost immediately by Pope in a dispute over a risky fuel run to a farm on the edge of their perimeter.  Hal nixes the run, so Pope, like Pope does, takes the truck out anyway.   With Pope gone, Dingaan discovers (and shares with Hal) a radio transmission that sure sounds an awful lot like Lourdes, giving coordinates to a “place of peace”.  Soon, the Volm prepare to pull out as the Espheni are moving in to their current holdout.  Hal is torn between waiting for his father and moving the rest of the humans to safety.  He writes “Croatoan” on a wall at the site along with some coordinates, trusting his father to understand the reference.

Meanwhile, Pope gets to the farm and finds the fuel, but he also finds Sara (Mira Sorvino), the current resident of the farm. She doesn’t want to part with any fuel to the scruffy-looking stranger.  She slips a mickey into his beer and ties him to chair while he’s unconscious. That’s right – she out-Poped Pope. Unfortunately for her, the knockout pill does not last that long and several Espheni mechs appear, jeopardizing them both. They manage to escape and rejoin Hal and the others before they all depart west.


In Chinatown, Anne is coming to terms with her messianic, young adult daughter Lexi, and her cult of pacifist followers. Anne seems to take it very well (frankly, all of them seem to be taking it very well when it’s almost the least normal thing in the entire series thus far).  Ben and Maggie bring Anne up to speed on Lexi’s meetings with the hooded Espheni.

Anne confronts Lexi about her nighttime chats and the Espheni appears.  It  takes over Ben through his spikes to communicate with Anne.  The Espheni preaches co-existence for a “greater good”.  Anne recognizes the Espheni as the one who experimented on Lexi’s pregnancy and has some of her men move in take him.  Lexi freaks her freak and turns her telekinetic powers against her mother.  The Espheni pleads for her to use restraint.  Thus, the hooded Espheni is captured by the humans.

In a final scene, the Espheni scarred by the flamethrower last episode (we’ll call him Scorch, per online Falling Skies fandom) creates, with just the pressure of his fist and some dirt, a glowing coal-like rock that he uses to communicate with the hooded Espheni connected to Lexi and Chinatown (we’ll call him the Monk, also in keeping with fan nomenclature).  They both project their consciousness on to a barren volcanic world (the Espheni homeworld?) to briefly trade barbs about how they are tackling the human problem from opposite ends – Scorch wants assimilation by force (and revenge on Tom Mason), while the Monk is aiming for assimilation by coercion through Lexi.


The dwindling of tangents continue this week. Two weeks ago, we had four different arcs. This week we are left with just two and I can’t imagine them being apart for much longer, especially since Hal is told by the Volm that the way west towards the Chinatown enclave was a safe route. However, I hope they aren’t starting up a new third tangent now that Tom, Dan, and Matt are separated from the rest.

Oh, and it’s nice for Mira Sorvino to finally make an appearance after being listed in the credits on previous episodes with nary a sign of her. I wondered where she was going to fit in and her scenes with Pope are entertaining, injecting some dark humor into the script as well as providing the first strong female character in the Tom Mason arc this season. And let’s be honest, considering how much of ass Pope is usually, it’s always nice to see him receive some comeuppance. We also get another nicknamed Volm this episode, “Shaq” (because he’s tall, get it?).

We get movement on a few plot threads this episode. The revelation of the heretofore rumored skitterization process and the appearance of Jeanne feels like the first risky thing the show has done all season. It easily has the most emotional resonance of anything we have seen in the first four episodes as Dan loses everything again. We also get some additional background on the Espheni (we know we’re dealing immediately with at least two of them) and even get to see them communicate without benefit of a human “interpreter”. We also now know they don’t all get along…

This is the strongest episode thus far this season.

Woodchuck sez, “Check it out.”

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



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