Tom and the team finally go after Ben, and Anne demonstrates the proper use of a scalpel
Credit: Ken Woroner/TNT

It has been quite the week for Falling Skies. On Thursday, word came through that TNT has ordered a second season of their sci-fi hit, and tonight, after last Sunday’s mediocre episode and a slight slip in ratings, Falling Skies comes back with a much more exciting hour.

In light of the events of tonight’s episode, I feel a need to address some comments I made in last week’s recap about Steven Weber’s character, Dr. Harris. I expressed disappointment that he wasn’t punched in the face again. My remarks were poorly thought out, and I took Dr. Harris’ face and its punchability for granted. I’ve learned my lesson.

This week’s episode, enticingly entitled “Silent Kill,” gets things moving quickly. Margaret and Hal arrive back at the school, lots ‘o drugs in tow. These are the drugs they’ll need for the surgeries to remove harnesses from the captive kids. Anne and Tom discuss the prospects for the surgery and Ben’s chances of survival. Tom reassures her that the procedure worked last week on Rick. Really? That worked? He voluntarily put the harness back on, tried to free the skitter and had the harness ripped of his back by his father’s bare hands. Worked like a charm, Tom.

Nevertheless, Tom shares his plan with Weaver to rescue Ben and as many kids as he can from the hospital. Weaver thinks he’s oversimplifying with his guns a’ blazing approach. Tom and Hal look for a quieter strategy for the operation, so they pull out a couple badass crossbows, something every television series worth its salt should have. “You guys belong at Medieval Times,” Margaret observes. As she shows Hal how to fire a crossbow (where did she learn to fire a friggin’ crossbow?), there is a generous amount of sexual tension.

NEXT: Hey! Watch it where you stick that crossbow.

Still unsure of how to enter the hospital, Hal reaches out to Margaret, who claims to know the layout well and a better route in. She used to visit her aunt there all the time. (Fun fact: Sarah Carter played Helena in DOA: Dead or Alive. I just wanted to remind everyone that that movie exists.)

And apparently because it was on his list of douchey things to do, Dr. Harris decides to shine a pen light into the captive skitter’s eyes. Predictably, the skitter does not appreciate that and grabs the good doctor by his head. Anne does her best with a taser, but it’s too late. Harris is dead. Good-bye, you stupid, stupid man. You’ll never get punched in the face again.

Weaver is not happy—presumably because he wanted a chance to punch Harris too—and demands the skitter’s execution. Anne has one day to finish up experimentation before Weaver kills it himself.

Hal takes some time to talk to Rick, who is still alive apparently. (Why is everyone making such a big deal about the surgical removal of the harness when it’s okay just to rip the thing off with your bare hands?) Hal wants to know what it’s like to have the harness on.

The most interesting thing Lourdes did this episode was upgrade herself from freshman pre-med, which she told everyone last week, to “in med school.” She must have done some self study since the invasion. Good for her.

With the survivors’ only surgeon dead, Anne is the only one who can operate on Ben and the rest of the kids. Tom tells her he’s all right with that, but she has some concerns of her own; her son, Sam, is missing, but she refuses to put anything on the missing persons board.

Hal reveals his new plan to disguise himself as a harnessed kid using Rick’s old alien backpack. This is probably their best plan of action, but Weaver has to take pills for some reason. (Have you ever seen someone on TV take pills without abusing them? We’ll see more on this for sure.)

Let us all give Anne a round of applause. She’s been holding out on us. With Weaver’s deadline approaching, Anne takes matters into her own hands. She first tases the skitter and then stabs it in the mouth with a scalpel. “Ok, that worked,” she quipped. A pretty emotional scene follows: Anne reveals to Tom why she hasn’t put anything up for Sam. As it turns out, she doesn’t have a single photo or reminder of her son left.

We finally arrive at the big rescue scene, and it doesn’t disappoint. Hal goes in alone, and there is more tension than ever before. He soon finds a group of harnessed kids led by a skitter and falls into line. The group goes to sleep in a pile, and the skitter begins to stroke their hair. Hal, for some reason, doesn’t see the need to close his eyes and pretend to sleep. Inexplicably, this does not cause concern for the skitter.

Tom and the team go in once Hal has been gone for too long. While this episode had more tension than ever before, more importantly, this episode has had more face stabbing than ever before. Hal finds his time to strike once the team enters the hospital, and he takes down the skitter Anne-style, proving that a more appropriate title for this episode might have been “Face Stab.”

The team brings six kids, including Ben, back to the school, and Anne wants to operate on them all at once. Plus, we find out that harness-removal surgery is done with the subtle precision of a blow torch. Everything is going well until one of the kids starts to flat line, and although Anne performs CPR, she loses him. She didn’t even pound on his chest once. (Hasn’t she seen Lost?) But they saved the five other kids, including Ben.

In her first clear expression of emotion, Margaret reveals to Hal the reason she knew the hospital so well; she had cancer when she was 16. A little while later, Tom and Hal discuss life as they wait for Ben to wake up, once again making it clear that Tom enjoys delivering really broad, vague speeches.

There’s also a baby shower, for no apparent reason, for a character that was just introduced this episode. Yeah, I didn’t really care either.

One of the episode’s finest moments comes when Ben finally wakes up. Unlike Rick, Ben comes to and remembers his father. We have our first truly successful harness removal surgery.

So what did everybody think? Are you on board for a second season of Falling Skies? What do you think is next for Tom and the second Massachusetts? Is anybody going to miss Dr. Harris?

I’m just kidding with that last question.

Episode Recaps

Falling Skies
In the aftermath of an alien invasion, Noah Wyle and a band of surviving humans desperately fight to survive
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