This review contains spoilers.
4.4 Evolve Or Die
So, the Espheni have tried all sorts of ways to get control of the earth. They did their doomsday bombing runs that destroyed major cities, they’ve sent skittering monsters after humans, they’ve sent giant mechanical robots after them, they’ve stuck fashionable spinewear onto the kids, they’ve sent roving air ships after them, they’ve tried to brainwash them, and they’ve rounded them up into concentration camps. Every weapon, every method, every technique to win or rip out hearts and minds just hasn’t worked out, unlike with the Volm and all the other races the Espheni have captured or turned into skitters.
This week, they seem to be turning to a new experimental weapon. Not the space shields and atmosphere burning thing from last season, but something… make that someone much more interesting as far as weapons go: the naive, sweet, amazingly powerful Lexi Mason, daughter of Second Mass soldier and former President Tom Mason and Anne Glass, brilliant doctor turned Che Guevara (who was also a doctor). As it turns out, the aliens did something to Lexi, and while she believes that the fish heads that she’s been talking to only want peace, it turns out that just might not be the case.
In a fun scene near the end of the episode, the Espheni talks to another of his race via some sort of magical cinder teleportation method? I’m not sure how it works, as it seems way more magic than science, but either way, it doesn’t stop them from discussing their plot as super villiains are wont to do. Lexi’s power, as we’ve seen several times, is formidable, but she doesn’t quite know how to control it yet. That makes her a great pawn for the fish heads, and her disconnection from her human family thanks in no small part to said aliens and the fact that Lourdes has been raising her suggests that she’ll be in serious trouble sooner rather than later. She’s already in trouble, and her mother capturing her giant alien friend/brother might not help matters much.
I have to compliment this week’s script writer, Raven Metzner, on the way the character of Sara (Oscar-winner Mira Sorvino!) was introduced. She’s a great foil for Pope, in the sense that she’s just as clever, just as smart-mouthed, and just as sassy as he is. It’s nice to see a female counterpart for Pope that isn’t Maggie and doesn’t have that history of whatever horrible and negative things Maggie did while a member of Pope’s gang in the first season (remember that? When Pope was pretty much solidly the bad guy and not the Han Solo rogue?) She’s also a surprising bit of star power for a show that’s mostly Noah Wyle and character actors. She definitely has the charisma to hold her own against scene-stealer Colin Cunningham, and their scenes together work very well in her debut episode.
The alien communication scenes, courtesy of director Bill Eagles, were definitely strange looking, but the skitter-eye-view we got from Weaver’s transformed daughter Jeanne was one of the more effective glimpses of the world through the eyes of the aliens. Eagles also did a good job with the action sequences, particularly the Invasion of the Body Snatchers scene in the skitter concentration camp, where Tom got busted by the first kid he offered to help escape from the reeducation facility only to set off a horde of Hitler Youth boy scouts chasing him around with whistles to replace the screaming Donald Sutherland.
I hope that this isn’t the last we see of that camp, if only because it’s been pretty fun. Not so much for the Family Mason, but definitely for the viewer. It’s yielded some creepy visuals, which has been much needed, but it’s not the similar grays and browns that was the concentration camp. I can only hope we get to follow Matt’s little friend as she tries to keep her sanity amongst the Kool-aid drinkers.
Read Ron’s review of the previous episode, Exodus, here.
US Correspondent Ron Hogan had nothing but difficulty actually getting to watch this episode of Falling Skies, thanks to summer storm and a guy in a Faraday suit blowing up his satellite television dish. Thanks a lot, Pope. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.
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