Our separated bands grow closer in this week’s Falling Skies episode, “Mind Wars,” and the wandering strategist vibe returns to the show with some interesting character developments. I’m actually quite anxious to get Tom Mason back with a larger group, though. His leadership lends a certain decisiveness to the choices the 2nd Mass makes. His presence was missed, especially in Lexi’s sanctuary. Meanwhile, as much as Hal as leader is growing on me, it’s just not the same without the occasional gravelly inspirational speech from his father.
Hal’s dynamic with his new Volm pal, Shaq, is pretty fun, though, I have to admit. Probably the strongest part of the episode was Hal’s group realistically failing to get through a mess of mech and skitter patrols, who are understandably out looking for the ghetto escapees. Shaq’s unconventional plan to liberate a transmitter from a mech so that he could pinpoint the positions of all patrols and beamers was conceptually just wild enough to work and enjoyable for the viewer to experience vicariously. Presumably, the Volm will head off to find the new Espheni power source now, but the new Volm character has been a joy to meet and interact with.
As a side note, I’m finding Mira Sorvino’s performance as Sara a tad out-of-place at times. Her integration with the 2nd Mass and joking around with Pope isn’t working for me. There’s no sense of loss or motivation for her character, which is surprising coming from an Oscar-winning actress. I’m hoping they’ll build up the chemistry between her and Pope soon so that there will be something for Sara to focus on besides yee-hawing in the pick-up truck.
More star power came from guest actors Gil Bellows and Aaron Douglas, who played brothers Nick and Coop. The scenario that set up their interaction with Tom, Matt, and Weaver was rife with suspense, suspicion, and drama. Building on the death of Jeanne last week, the brothers mention their escape from a Skitter camp, where humans are being transformed. The story that unfolds as Tom is captured as bounty adds depth to the new Espheni strategy this season, and it allows Matt to be tested as a soldier as well. His reluctance to become a sniper is completely justified, but I scratched my head over the rabbit, I have to say. I mean, how often do we even see hungry people on Falling Skies? Surprisingly infrequently!
Anne’s group, on the other hand, is well-fed but getting no answers from The Monk. Ben acting as translator for the Overlord seems to have created a dangerous bond between the two of them which will make it difficult to torture anything out of the Espheni. Lexi is having no luck convincing Anne of The Monk’s good intentions, but I was glad for the reminder that Lexi’s powers are making her sick; Dr. Kadar mentioned this might happen. It’s easy to think Lexi naive in her obeisance to the Espheni, but perhaps she knows something we don’t: like the fact that The Monk is also her father! How does THAT work exactly?
Oooo, I can’t wait for Tom and Hal to show up in Lexi’s camp, so the show can address the issue of Lexi head-on. And let’s not forget Scorch is still out there looking for Tom! Will the two Overlords complicate things with their apparent rivalry? Perhaps a confrontation would give the humans the opening they need to bring their oppressors down! I’ve enjoyed the questions being raised and the direction of the storylines so far. As the suspense builds towards the second half of the season, I am hopeful for another solid run for Falling Skies, and this episode is a step in the right direction.