Episode 409: “Till Death Do Us Part”
[photos by James Dittinger/TNT]
We start with our core group of survivors discussing the green light that Tom and Hal saw at the end of last episode and the effect moonlight apparently had on Espheni technology. It turns out it is really wireless power transmitted from the moon that is responsible. Nicola Tesla would be pleased. If the 2nd Mass can disrupt that power supply, it will cripple the Espheni war effort, stop their weapons in their tracks, drop laser fields in prison camps, etc. But this involves our heroes…TRAVELING TO THE MOON (!!!). Insert bad JFK impression by Tom Mason here.
It stands to reason that the Espheni have a base up there and that disrupting the power will require the 2nd Mass to get someone up there to do it. And it just so happens that they have a buried alien ship (a “beamer”) that Tom and Dingaan sheltered in last episode (but didn’t they blow part of it up?). They set about unburying the Espheni ship. Cochise offers to take the humans to a Volm supply cache that contains concussion explosives that could be used to help with the excavation (they essentially liquefy stone).
Tom leads a team including Anne, Matt, Cochise, and Dan Weaver (why Matt and not another adult, who knows) to the cache buried at a chemical dump, so they have to wear gas masks to approach it. Shortly after they arrive, Matt’s love interest, Mira comes up to them, overcome by the fumes from the chemicals. The 2nd Mass survivors help her recover and she talks about how she escaped from Fascistland and all that she learned there. She says she even threw away her alarm whistle. Tom ties her up as a precaution. Later, Matt unties her…about two seconds before she betrays him with her whistle that was hidden oh-so-cleverly in her shoe. Mira stands revealed a victim of the brainwashing at the youth camp.
Tom, Anne, and the others are unloading the cache when Matt tells her what Mira did. An Espheni craft, responding to Mira’s whistle, zeroes in on their location. Matt chases after Mira while the others find cover. The enemy beamer destroys what remains of the cache including their original objective, the concussion explosives. Mira leads Matt into an ambush as other brainwashed humans attack the rest of the cache team. Cochise and Dan Weaver come to his rescue, with Cochise using some sort of device that shocks the humans into submission (think of it as a taser that can hit multiple targets at once). Mira escapes into the forest.
Anne and Tom, separated from the rest, continue their running gunfight. Anne is shot by Kent Matthews, the Aryan Youth poster boy, who then confronts Tom Mason (Anne’s wound appears to be just a graze). Anne distracts him while Tom grabs a nearby weapon, shooting Kent. Before he dies, he admits that he gave up his own mother. The rest of the team gets back together, now almost empty-handed, and heads back to the enclave.
Back at the enclave, Tom has his “you complete me” moment with Anne and proposes to her, leading directly to their brief wedding ceremony at the end of the episode (our first for the series).
During all that, Dingaan and the Volm Shaq work on the buried beamer, which seems in remarkably good shape for not only crashing into a building, having that building collapse on it, but also having a bomb explode in it last episode. However, rubble prevents them from reaching the controls of the ship. After the cache team returns, Tom gives Dingaan the whistle they took from Mira. Apparently they can use it to activate their buried beamer (much like the beamer that responded when Mira used her whistle), which rises out of the rubble, more or less intact. We’re going to the moon! (I can’t say that with a straight face).
Meanwhile, the newly-spiked Maggie learns more about her powers, including one accident that injures Sara. Ben helps her learn how to use her strength to jump and to shoot more acrobatically and aggressively. Because they share parts of the same set of spikes, they can also share emotions between the two of them, an attribute Ben has never experienced with his spikes before. All this together time with Maggie causes Ben’s affection for her to kick in, the spikes turn on and they kiss, which Hal witnesses from afar. Maggie breaks off the kiss, confused by her feelings. Hal confronts Ben later, punching him in the face, declaring that Maggie is his, but this settles the tension not a bit.
Sara and Pope’s relationship starts to strain over her perceived drug use (last episode, she dumped out a bunch of pills consigning the “old her” to the trash heap). After being injured in the Maggie-driven accident, Pope finds her raiding the medical supplies, specifically Vicodin, and insinuates that she’s an addict (far be it from Pope to be judgmental, I know). He has problems with her being an addict, apparently tapping into some previous personal history that went badly for him. He breaks up with her, but Sara tells him that the bottle he thought was full of Vicodin was really aspirin. She then grabs a gun, some food, and leaves the enclave without telling Pope.
Okay, the general over-arching plot point here – how do we get to the moon? – seems even outrageous and silly for this sci-fi television show. And it’s handled so cursorily (zero specifics, zero detail), it’s about one stepped removed from little kids writing “spaceship” in big letters on the side of a cardboard box.
The other over-arching plot point was love and relationships – the ones that work, the ones that don’t, the highs, the lows, the messy, the false. We get glimpses of 4 different relationships in the course of this episode – Tom and Anne exchanging marriage vows, the love triangle of Hal, Maggie, and Ben, the false affection of Matt and Mira, and the fighting between Pope and Sara. The writers don’t play favorites with most of them (they don’t sugarcoat any of them). A secondary theme tying into this first is trust – misplaced, misused, false, or faithful. Most of these little story bits are given sufficient screen time to develop and for the most part, they feel sincere.
Time and continuity seem to be a problem here. For example, when the team arrives at the cache site, it’s afternoon. When the beamer attacks the chemical site, it’s daylight. The immediate aftermath…pitch black darkness. We also get external scenes with snow as the cache team goes to and from its destination, but not at either destination (nor do we get other signs like red cheeks, frosted breath). So it wasn’t snowing when they left, there is zero snow in the enclave, no snow at the chemical site…and now there is 2-3 inches of powder on the ground. I smell a re-shoot.
One more episode before the back-to-back episode season finale, and it looks like the moon is going to play a big part in whatever happens next (we can also safely assume that is where Lexi’s training is taking place as well). Who controls the moon? Don’t know yet, but it’s likely to not be either the Espheni Hood or Torch.
Woodchuck sez, “Check it out.”