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FALLING SKIES Stumbles a Bit

Episode 207 “Molon Labe”

[photos: James Dittiger]

Well, I called it last week. Tears.


Molon Labe – from the Ancient Greek, meaning “Come and take them” in a show of defiance. Attributed to King Leonidas I during the Battle of Thermopylae when the Persians told him to surrender his weapons. The current usage, according to Wikipedia (and everything there is correct, right?), generally centers around the NSEA motto: “Never give up. Never surrender.”

Fitting? I suppose. The whole episode centers around the fact that the hospital comes under siege after Karen almost gets Ben in the hands of the Overlord – conveniently, the same one who captured Tom – during their very quick jaunt through the woods. Ben realizes he’s in redshirt territory only to be rescued by Tom and the gang just in time.

Bonus: they capture the Overlord! Woot. Right?

Not according to Karen and the Skitters. They lay seige to the hospital, surrounding the 2nd Mass and offering to exchange safe passage out for the life of the Overlord. Weaver and Tom see this for the delaying tactic it is, as the Skitters have a new item from the arsenal – Replicators! Well, spider mechs? (What are we calling these, Greg Beeman?)

The discovery of these infiltrator drones is both horrific and sloppy. Horrific in that they come out of Jamil’s body as he’s fighting to keep them out of the corridor where Anne, Lourdes, and Matt have been scrounging the last of the supplies. Sloppy, because the last time we saw Jamil he was being sent down to the bowels of the hospital to see what was taking them so long. The gang find him bleeing and bent over the handle of the door, holding it hostage and telling them to get out. It feels like there’s a scene missing, maybe cut for time?

Regardless, this sets up Lourdes as the new Voice of Despair on the show, and as io9 points out, kills off another black character as if he’s a redshirt. I don’t think the writers are just casually going through minority characters – Jimmy was a kid, after all, not a black kid – but Jamil’s demise seems contrived, and as a writer/producer myself, I have a hard time buying it as organic to the story without a bridging scene of some sort.

This is also where we get to see Tom finally cross that Weaver line. Noah Wyle has said on “2nd Watch” that this season we’ll see Tom and Weaver each shift toward the other’s philosophy, and certainly Tom is motivated by fear and anger to do just that in this episode, finally crossing a line and shooting the Overlord (but not killing him. Pope would have finished the job.) over the threat he poses to Ben through the spikes.

So, in this episode we get confirmation that the 5th Column is real, and that the Overlords are afraid of what could happen if they hook up with the pockets of humanity that are still fighting. We know this because Ben read the Overlord’s mind while O was trying to kill him though the spikes.


Here we get to the crux of the flaw in the story logic for this episode. At the end, Ben decides he needs to set off by himself to make contact with the other resistance groups to connect up with de-harnessed kids and make contact with the Skitter 5th Column. In this scene, he reveals to Tom that the spike connection goes both ways, and that he’s got intel from the Overlord.

Story logic lockup right here. Tom should have immediately taken Ben to Weaver for a debriefing. What did Ben get from his connection to the prisoner? What information does the kid have that could help the 2nd Mass avoid getting bombarded when they set out for Charleston? What kind of tactics do the Skitters plan to employ with regard to the 5th Column?

But no. Instead, Ben gets to do a David Banner and walk away down a side road while the 2nd Mass keeps moving. All that’s missing is the melancholy piano…


[Official Show Site at TNT]     [Previous recap: “Homecoming”]   [“Falling Skies” on Twitter]

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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