Falling Skies recap: Speeches and Deus Ex Machinas
Tom and the 2nd Mass begin to worry about the kids, and Lourdes tickles the ivories.
Tonight’s episode was supposed to be the thrilling conclusion to the “Sanctuary” two-parter, but as it turned out, the story line ran out of gas in its second hour. We last left our not-always intrepid survivors handing their children over to a mysterious older man, who, based on the comments from last week, didn’t fool any of you. Unfortunately, the 2nd Mass was a little slower to catch onto Terry Clayton’s schemes, and as we all found out, their little mistake cost them a soldier. (Sorry, Mike.)
The hour kicks off with a trick the writers borrowed from Lost. Jimmy looks like he’s running from the cabin, but just like Jack and his friendly game of catch with Tom Friendly, he is actually playing soccer with the 2nd Mass kids against the sanctuary brats. During the match, one of the sanctuary residents, Tessa, gives Hal some goo-goo eyes, but Lourdes intervenes, leaving us to question just how many potential love interests Hal can amass. (Does anyone remember the name of Hal’s captive girlfriend? Something with a K. Kim? Kathy? Yeah, I don’t think Hal remembers either.) Tessa’s dad reminds her why the 2nd Mass is at the cabin and tells her to not “like him too much,” which, when coming from a father, usually means something entirely different.
Elsewhere on the Neverland Ranch, Pope still sits (apparently) captive complaining about the smell of boiled asparagus, and anyone who has ever eaten boiled asparagus is forced to agree. Clayton comes to visit with Tessa’s dad to give Pope one last chance to change sides. We learn that Clayton’s men captured Pope after he broke into the food shed and stabbed Tessa’s uncle in the process, another cool thing Falling Skies chose to talk about instead of show. A cool thing we do get to see is Pope escaping from his ties with some broken glass and putting the hurt on Tessa’s dad.
At the school, Tom is beginning to get worried. None of the things Clayton told them, including the 3rd Mass joining up with them, have come to pass. Weaver tells Tom he’s a little more hesitant to suspect Clayton of any wrongdoing, but agrees to let him go out with Dai to check out the ranch.
One of the benefits of staying at the sanctuary is the grub. I mean, you have to ignore the whole getting traded to the skitters for safety thing, but other than that, you eat pretty well there. At dinner, everyone refuses to acknowledge the two 800-pound gorillas at the table. Both Clayton and Rick have had a hard time disguising they are an evil douche and an evil alien, respectively. Thankfully, the crew catches on to Clayton not long after dinner. But before then, Hal takes a little more time to forget about Karen (that’s what her name was!) and talks to Tessa. Again Lourdes breaks up the party, but this time it is to share something she discovered with Hal and Mike. She found Eli’s backpack, the one he was wearing when he took off with Mom Bonnie and Pop Clyde. Mike, like Weaver, is hesitant to accuse Clayton of being as creepy as he actually is, but Hal agrees with Lourdes, noting that the sentries only guard the house as if they are there to stop runaways. Still unconvinced, Mike goes snooping around for some evidence, and luckily Eli wrote his name on everything he owned because Mike finds his jacket. Clayton’s got some splainin’ to do! When creeper shows up seconds later aiming a gun at Mike, he admits to trading kiddies for immunity and looks to his old friend to keep things quiet, hoping he’ll understand.
NEXT: Maybe now isn’t the best time to play piano…
Surprise, surprise! Mike isn’t down with handing the 2nd Mass children over to the skitters, but curiously, he doesn’t react right away; he wants to give a speech first. Mike literally waits until he’s done telling Hal how awesome Rick was to say, “Hey, guys. Funny story. Clayton wants to trade all of you for safety from the skitters.” (Priorities, Mike. Priorities.)
The writers of Falling Skies love speeches, so much so, that we get not only one but two ridiculously timed speeches. At the school, the ever-meaningful Sarah—she’s the pregnant one we know nothing about, in case you needed a reminder—goes into labor and decides that now is the appropriate time to fill us in on her back-story. She’s literally in the middle pushing out a baby when she starts to explain how Skype chat was going to help her with her home decorating business. There is a time and a place for speeches, and Falling Skies doesn’t understand that.
After his speech, Mike leads the kids out of the sanctuary and back to safety. Hal runs into Tessa on the way out, asking her if she knew about the deal with the skitters. Not only did she know about it, but she yells to alert the troops of the escaped prisoners. Not cool. Clayton’s troops are hot on their tail as they’re leaving the ranch, so Mike chooses to stay behind to cover them, only the get shot by a flanking Clayton. (It should be noted that we didn’t see Mike die and this is TV, so an actual death is never guaranteed.)
Hal leads the group away from the ranch and into a residential neighborhood, where they camp out in one of the abandoned houses. Ben leaves not long after to get help. Someone needs to talk some sense into Lourdes. The girl decides that the proper time to show off her piano skills is when she’s hiding in a relatively silent area while men with assault rifles search for her. (And here I was, thinking med students were supposed to be smart.)
The next scene does something I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered before on television. Falling Skies introduces and subsequently resolves a conflict within 60 seconds. (Yes, I timed it.) Sarah’s baby isn’t coming, despite several hours of labor. Anne has her worries confirmed when she discovers that the baby is breech, or inverted within the womb, for those of you who haven’t helped out with two home births. Thank goodness that Weaver walks into the chem lab seconds later; he has helped out with two home births, one of which was a breech baby. Now that’s efficient storytelling.
It shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise that Clayton locates the fugitives quickly. (Thanks, Lourdes.) But don’t worry, folks. Pope is here to save the day. If there is something that Falling Skies loves more than arbitrary speeches, it’s a good deus ex machina. Pope takes out a few baddies but gets clipped in the leg. Tom, who ran into Ben and sent him and Dai for backup, arrives to end the standoff between Clayton and Hal. He surrenders in order to keep everyone safe, and the whole lot of them ships off back to the sanctuary. But wait! Weaver is already at the ranch, waiting for them. Not only do we get the satisfaction of the hour’s third deus ex machina, but we get to see Tom blow Clayton away after he tries to pull a John McClane. Everyone returns safely to the school, where Sarah holds her newly born baby girl and the 2nd Mass buries Mike. What should have been a respectful moment is ruined by definitely evil Rick, who talks to Ben about how disgusted he is that people could kill each other and insists that their kind would never do such a thing.
All in all, what did everyone think of the two-part episode? Are people going to finally wake up to how creepy Rick acts all the time? How long before Anne and Hal start flirting? Is anyone safe from his boyish charm?