Falling Skies: “Hatchlings” (S5, E3 review)

Pope and Sarah went off a-patrolling in the forest, talked about love (at last!), making beautiful babies (with attitude, of course) and then Sarah walked right into some alien fog ... Yeah that last part? Not so good (image via TV.com (c) TNT)
Pope and Sarah went off a-patrolling in the forest, talked about love (at last!), making beautiful babies (with attitude, of course) and then Sarah walked right into some alien fog … Yeah that last part? Not so good (image via TV.com (c) TNT)

 

*SPOILERS … AND SKITTERS … AND LAST DITCH OVERLORDS AHEAD*

 

There’s nothing like a walk in the countryside is there?

All that fresh, bracing air, the inspiring views, the sense that you are away from everyone and everything … well, that is, unless, of course you’re Rage Tom (Noah Wylie), Anne (Moon Bloodgood), Weaver (Will Patton) and Treva Etienne (Dingaan Botha) and instead of unspoilt vistas and cows ambling through the fields, you come across a valley swarming with Skitters and Hornets.

Rather takes your breath away doesn’t it?

Yes, but not in that good, ain’t that purty way; more like “Ye gods we’re all doomed” way, which is generally is not the desired outcome from a walk out in the big wide, alien-filled open …

Not really what the Farmer’s Almanac promised is it?

No, it is not indeed, and even though they moved quickly and smartly to kill the infestation off with drone-delivered alien-grade insecticide – Kill ’em dead first time! Unless they’re zombie aliens and then you’re screwed really – the Skitters and Hornets kept coming and coming and …

Well, you get the idea.

Where were they coming from and why?

Enter one Espheni Overlord, a remnant stuck in the wilds of Earth, and I would hazard a guess not all that inclined to walks in the countryside – although he did summon Caitlin (Warehouse Girl from last week played by Julia Sarah Stone) and her Skitterised brother to the woods for nefarious conferring only for them to die and Hal (Drew Roy) and Maggie (Sarah Carter) to take him hostage; again not the close to mature the brochures promised – who had set himself up a rather lovely Skitter/Hornets factory out in the middle of said countryside.

The very one that was supplying that valley with all the Skitters  and Hornets anyone could ask for – and it’s pretty much a dead certainty the people of Earth, the smell of victory in their nostrils, were asking for no such thing – biological weapons which is pretty much all the energy-starved Espheni, who quite forgot to pay their lunar power bill, have left in their arsenal.

Or not so much anymore after Rage Tom, yes the man who founded Tom’s Militias*, which is what they’re rather grandiosely calling ALL the militias of Earth now the Volm have found the manual for their comms system and can actually talk to everyone (most inept alien resistance fighters EVER), along with Anthony (Mpho Koaho) and Weaver (Will Patton) blow up said factory, but not before Anthony, PTSDing like crazy poor guy, comes close to ruining things by freezing at the worst possible moment.

(*Yes folks Rage Tom, the man haunted by 8 legged aliens in his dreams, is now offering you the chance of a lifetime! Own your own militia! Kill Espheni in your spare time for $$$$! Speak occasionally to the Volm when they can find their comms system’s on switch! It’s all yours for the low low price of lots of rage and coldhearted refusal to save those you love when they need it most. Don’t delay!)

 

Oh what a luverly day for a walk in the woods and ... Hal and Maggie also find their morning constitutional ruined by the Espheni with an alien Overlord still trying to do the whole subjugate humanity thing out alone in the woods ... not really working for you now is it fella? (image via Sci Fi Bloggers (c) TNT)
Oh what a luverly day for a walk in the woods and … Hal and Maggie also find their morning constitutional ruined by the Espheni with an alien Overlord still trying to do the whole subjugate humanity thing out alone in the woods … not really working for you now is it fella? (image via Sci Fi Bloggers (c) TNT)

 

Yep, action-wise it was all on for young and old after the first two episodes really failed to deliver much in the way of action or any sense that we were in a final season leading to a Big Fat Impressive Finale.

Finally things, Espheni blowing up things, were happening, and you got the feeling the 2nd Mass., and humanity as a whole, now known as Tom’s Militias now and forevermore – he really should trademark that; after all as Matt (Maxim Knight) rather optimistically decided this week, there will be a time AFTER the Espheni and Tom needs to be in the box seat and make the most of his Saving the Earth cachet – were on their way to finally, and irrevocably kicking some alien butt from here to Alpha Centauri.

In other words, Falling Skies was acting, at long last, like it was in the climactic part of its grand five season narrative and not in just another filler season designed to fill TNT’s schedule.

For all that though, what really made this episode stand out, quite apart from Washington DC being identified as the scene of Big Mysterious Things in the Offing and Tom’s wacko dream aliens turning out to be the Dorni, or in other words Skitters were before they were Skitters – see the Volm are good for something! They play “What alien is that?” rather well actually – was all the poignant, deeply emotional death of Sara.

Out on patrol with Pope (Colin Cunningham) and talking about lurrrrve – yes lovers of apocalyptic romance they finally said the “L” word to each other – and the prospect of making beautiful babies, Sara very distressingly found herself waist deep in flesh-eating alien fog.

Naturally panicked, and fearing he could lose everything, Pope sprinted back to the 2nd Mass. to get help from Rage Tom and the others.

After all they’d always practiced a leave no one behind policy, and everyone LOVES Sara (not in that Pope way thank you! Keep it clean, people, keep it clean) so surely they come to the rescue party?

Right?

Um, wrong.

 

Sooooo ... rescue a fellow human being about o devoured by flesh-eating alien beasties OR blow up a Skitter factory? Clearly both are important but back in the day Tom would've known the order they had to be handled in (image via YouTube (c) TNT)
Sooooo … rescue a fellow human being about to be devoured by flesh-eating alien beasties OR blow up a Skitter factory? Clearly both are important but back in the day Tom would’ve known the order they had to be handled in. On this occasion? Not so much (image via YouTube (c) TNT)

 

This was the new lean, mean rage-fuelled 2nd Mass., led by Rage Tom who suddenly appears quite happy to leave pretty anyone and everyone behind – be careful Tom’s Militias you may be next – in pursuit of Victory with a capital “V” and drained of everything that makes us human.

So while Tom et al. hived off to blow up the Skitter factory, Pope was left to run back and do what he could, well very sadly meant saying goodbye to Sara as she died in his arms.

It was made all the sadder by Sara admitting that the apocalypse wasn’t the best thing that ever happened to her – a reference to an old line from another season where she admitted the invasion had made her come alive – Pope was.

Incredibly touching words in the midst of an incredibly sad situation, and a massive indictment of Rage Tom and his alien whisperers who don’t seem to have much of a soul.

Or a body for that matter, at least not one they’re willing to show Rage Tom.

Naturally Pope was mighty pissed when Tom and the gang finally turned up and you can bet it’ll be guns and nothing nice at 10 paces as revenge is sought.

Touching though this element of “Hatchlings” was, you have to wonder what purpose Tom being the man voted Least Likely to Have a Soul Left Once the Espheni are Gone will serve?

To propel what is so far a rather weak final season by stripping away Tom’s and by extension the 2nd Mass.’s nobler qualities, the very reason we’re rooting for them in the first place seems rather shortsighted, a case of narrative imperatives trumping a well built set of characters.

Yes we got action this week and some sense of big exciting finale momentum but at what cost?

*We can but hope that Rage Tom remembers where he left his soul – Psst! It’s always the last place you look! – in next week’s episode “Pope Breaks Bad” …

 

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