This review contains spoilers for the latest episode.
Sometimes I don’t mind easy victories. In the Falling Skies season premiere, for example, it was nice to celebrate as the 2nd Mass dismantled the fallen Espheni tech with little opposition. But sometimes a win can lose a bit of its impact when the trouncing isn’t realistic. Such is the case with “Hatchlings,” which gave us some excellent character moments and a forward-moving plot, but which also sped through what should have been a complex series of hurdles.
Brian, the skitterized human with a sister, was one such hurdle. Having been introduced last week, one might have hoped for at least an attempt at a cure for the genetically modified boy. Instead, the siblings served only as a vehicle to get Hal and Maggie close to an Overlord. Aside from a moment of tenderness from Maggie, who had never known the love of a family, there wasn’t much else for the brother and sister to provide. Once they had completed their narrative task, they were summarily dispatched.
Another overly simple victory was the capture of the Espheni in charge of creating the massive swarm of skitters and hornets. I understand that the alien invaders have been greatly weakened, but Hal should never have been able to get that close! I was happy that our heroes were able to capture the Overlord, but the reward didn’t match the effort given.
The final easy win, which was still sweet but lacked credibility, was the attack on the breeding factory. Granted, the gathering of intel via Ben and Maggie combining the power of their spikes was pretty cool. I definitely enjoyed seeing them get inside the Overlord’s head and taking the Espheni by surprise, but the simple destruction of the skitter-dispensing vats with a few homemade bombs felt too pat. And with the hordes of hatchlings now destroyed, the 2nd Mass is off to investigate a blurry spot on the Volm map. That was quick!
Despite all of this, there were some excellent developments for a couple characters which made me cheer even more than the cakewalks mentioned above. First of all, let’s just gloss over the terrible dialogue between Pope and Sarah as they went on recon together. Let’s move past the head-scratcher that is the artichoke bomb dispensing a small patch of gluey fog to entrap Sarah. As tragic as the death-by-bug was, the beauty of Pope’s subsequent loss is that it has brought back the righteous anger of the lovable ne’er-do-well of seasons past. The glare Pope gives Tom over the campfire is cause for celebration, and – sorry – so is the end of the most awkward relationship on television.
Likewise, the anger that Anthony has felt since the death of Denny has led him to an unexpected but intriguing dilemma. After some circumstantial occurrences, such as freezing up at the skitter factory and taking over enemy guard duty at odd times, Anthony is now in the interesting position of being mistrusted for doing something right. Imagine what would have happened had the Overlord been able to communicate using the compressed lump of earth! No one besides Lexi has ever seen this method of long-distance calling, and now no one will believe Anthony when he insists he killed their only source of intel for a good reason. I love this development for a beloved character that has been in the background for far too long!
I’m anxious to see where the 2nd Mass’ journey will go now that they’re on the move. Falling Skies was always at its best when the group was traveling somewhere. Hopefully, that will be the case now, too, as the humans go on the offensive, perhaps with help from the aptly named “Mason militias.” The reluctant hero is always a great motif – let’s run with it!