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Monday, 1 September 2014

Falling Skies S4E11E12: Space Oddity & Shoot the Moon.


Ergh, I genuinely have no idea how I'm going to do a double bill. This has never happened before.

Falling Skies
S4E11: Space Oddity
AND
S4E12: Shoot the Moon.



The episode opens exactly where the last one left off, with Alexis having just arrived into camp. Views on this are mixed: While Alexis says she was wrong about the Espheni, and that she wants to make up for everything she did by being humanity's weapon instead, Tom refuses to entertain the idea, and Pope wants to kill her – a plan he puts into action by grabbing a rifle, punching Dan, and then shooting at her.

Alexis easily stops the bullet, and Anne convinces Tom to let her stay, saying that she (Anne, that is) will watch over her and keep her away from everyone else while she tries to figure out if this is an Espheni ploy or not. Tom sends Dan to keep an eye on them, and then has a conversation with Pope that seems written expressly with the purpose of making me sympathise with Pope and view him as something other than a heaving mass of dull. It fails.

In other news, that Tom passes on to his flock of concerned sons, the launch is still going ahead. Cochise is understandably anxious about it, and says he's been trying to contact his father in the Volm fleet, since a Volm ship would be a massive help on this mission. While he urges Tom to delay the launch, Tom says they can't afford to – and this only becomes doubly true when it's revealed that Cochise and his father parted on bad terms, and that said father views Earth as a lost cause.

Meanwhile, Anne and Alexis are having their conversation. While Anne seems to want Alexis to have been under Espheni control when she killed Lourdes and brought down on Chinatown a full-scale assault, Alexis insists that, while she was confused, the Espheni aren't capable of controlling her. Alexis insists that she's the only one who can fly the beamer to the Moon, and the only one who can defend it from various attacks, and that they need to send her on the take-out-the-power-core mission, but Anne refuses, saying that Tom was right and that Alexis needs to leave. It's all very tear-y and sad and sorrowful. Dan interrupts before Alexis can leave, though, saying that Anne and Tom are making a huge mistake.

Dan and Anne go to convince Tom, saying that if anything unexpected – or expected, for that matter, like, say, ships guarding the power source – happened on the mission, Alexis would be their best chance of getting through it, as she can operate the machinery and there's nobody with powers like hers. While Tom's reluctant, he agrees, even though I feel like one massive drawback to this plan that nobody is mentioning is 'What if she just kills Tom and takes the beamer back to the Espheni, they only have one.'

Tom and Alexis head to the beamer, with Matt, Ben, Maggie and Hal all taking the opportunity to weigh in on how much they dislike Alexis. You know, the beamer is huge, three people could fit inside it. Obviously Ben can't come along, because his spikes make him vulnerable to Alexis, but Hal or Anne could.

Hal's New Volm Boyfriend has apparently given him a syringe of poison that can kill even a Volm with its full regenerative abilities. He gives it to Tom on the sly, saying that he can use it on Alexis if he has to. 

Ah, the dangers of meditation.

The beamer takes off, and breaches the atmosphere without any incident worse than some discomfort on Tom's part. But, naturally, things swiftly go wrong, as midway through her awkward attempts at bonding, Alexis realises (at Tom's prompting, as he has noticed the beamer getting cold) that there's a hairline fracture in the hull, and life support's attempt to compensate is draining their power fast. Unless they switch life support onto minimum, they won't have enough enough battery power to return to Earth when the mission is done.

Timeskip to things being really, really cold, and they're starting to reconsider how viable that plan was. Alexis says that she can wrap them both in cocoons until they reach the Moon, and Tom very reluctantly agrees. As Alexis prepares the cocoon, though, she seems to become more and more evil. She cocoons him entirely, and Tom wakes up to find Anne and Hal tearing his cocoon open.

They tell him that the mission is over, and he's already back on Earth, which I call shenanigans on. This is a hallucination. This becomes even more obvious when everyone starts effusively praising Alexis, and when Tom is taken to her only to find that her hair is dark, not blonde, because the radiation from the Espheni power core explosion apparently re-humanised her.

The hallucination becomes steadily more and more unbelievable, with the final straw being when Anne says that she'll go get Doctor Kadar – who is very dead, obviously. Tom realises that Alexis is generating this hallucination, at which point it all goes a bit Silent Hill. In various faces, Alexis expresses her anger and anxiety over Tom not forgiving her. Tom relents, and says that he knows this isn't some kind of trick, but they need to leave. Alexis doesn't know how, however, since she didn't do this deliberately.

Cocoon hallucinations: Now with campfires.

After a bit of a moral lesson that everybody makes mistake (not usually as serious as murder, but what the hell), they wake up. The cocoons were the right call, it seems, as they're now making their landing approach to the Moon, and have enough battery to return home. Tom promises that they can make Alexis' dream a reality, and seems to forgive her for everything she did.

All is not well, however, as Alexis, it seems, sabotaged the bomb. So ends episode eleven, to lead directly into episode twelve. Which will hopefully impress me more than episode eleven, which came off as a very phoned-in episode.

After a brief break in which I listen to an English lyric version of Guren no Yumiya, we move on to the grand finale, in which everyone on Earth seems a little bit piqued. Dingaan especially. This is partly because the Moon base should have been blown up by now, and partly because of large insectoid creatures killing and possibly skitterising people, although only Dingaan seems to know about that last.

Dingaan returns to camp, with his entire patrol dead – or 'gone', which might be worse – much to the chagrin and alarm of everyone else.

On the beamer, Tom discovers that the bombs are broken, but assumes their shell casings cracked in the cold, rather than that it was sabotage – although that possibility is very briefly discussed. He suggests that Alexis could destroy the power core, but since she directs natural forces to do her bidding, and the Moon's gravity is so weak, that apparently won't work.


Natural forces of the universe, huh.

Like electromagnetism, which should be rife in a machine meant to send beams of wireless electricity to Earth? Just use that!

It's all moot anyway, as they're dragged off course by the homing beacon of a much larger ship.

Dingaan tells his story to the others, mentioning in passing that Deni was on his group. So, great. She just dies offscreen, I guess. Great. Anyway, Dan comes to tell them to get to their posts. This doesn't help much, as mere seconds later, a beamer passes over and drops a large egg-like machine. It exudes first a fog-creating liquid that sticks people's feet to the ground like cement, and then large slug-like creatures that come swarming through the fog to latch onto their chests.

A disposable extra is caught by the liquid and quickly be-slugged, while Hal and Ben also end up trapped. Dingaan and Pope are also ensnared by the liquid before long, as do Matt and Dan, leaving Anne and Maggie as pretty much the only ones not trapped. Dingaan gets caught by a slug, but is saved by Pope biting through the cable connecting said slug to the egg. There was something kind of hilarious about Dingaan being dragged offscreen screaming, and then just sliiiiiding back on-screen, still screaming.

Luckily, Anne has found the weapon's weakness! Fire. Kinda obvious, admittedly, but she wastes no time in getting a flamethrower.

As this is happening, Tom and Alexis emerge onto the Espheni ship that captured them, and find Matt's friend from the re-education camp there. She's been harnessed with a massive, bulky harness, and the Espheni Warden is talking through her. He makes use of the failsafe device on Alexis – the triskelion necklace she wears, which starts glowing and tightens. Matt's friend approaches Alexis with an Espheni communication stone, but stops when Alexis says that she delivered Tom to the Warden on purpose to prove her loyalty. While this is a painfully obvious ploy, the Warden still seems to go for it. 

Despite the fact that Alexis had just moments earlier been
standing with a man with a gun at the Warden's head.

For a moment, at least. Seconds later he just takes the communication stone himself so that he can personally burn off her face with it. He's stopped when Tom uses the Volm poison on him, injecting it first into his back and then into his eye, which kills him in short order. Short, but not short enough, since he still manages to sever some cables before he goes. Tom says they can use the ship as a bomb, setting it on an autopilot course to collide with the core, and Alexis sends him back to the beamer to prepare to disconnect.

Except, as I think everyone's seen coming, this is going to be a situation where Alexis has to pilot the ship herself, and she just hasn't told Tom.

On Earth, Cochise finally manages to contact his father, while Anne saves Matt and Dan, and Maggie and Ben save Hal. It's a short lived victory, as a slug comes crawling through the window to latch itself onto Dan's chest.

... I didn't realise how wrong this picture looked until now.

Up in the beamer, Tom and Alexis share a brief goodbye via the telepathic properties of her cocoon, before she sends the beamer back to Earth and takes the Espheni Warden's ship towards the Moon. All is still not well, though, as several beamers start chasing down Tom. He's saved by Cochise's father arriving on his giant castle ship, and Alexis crashes the Warden's ship into the power core, causing it to explode in dramatic fashion, which unfortunately also sends Tom spinning off into space, away from the Volm.

It does also shut down power to the skitterising machine, causing the slugs to shrivel up. The next morning, everyone is perky and happy, but Cochise says that the Volm can't find Tom's beamer. Still, they decide to rally and, in his absence, go on the offensive to end the war against the Espheni.

Also, hugging.

In the final moments of the episode, Tom wakes up in his old bedroom – only not. The picture on his bedside table is a hologram, and there are only stars outside his window. A female voice says that they have come in peace, and that the enemy of their enemy is their friend. As the door to the room opens, we see a blurred reflection of something four-legged, which Tom says is beautiful.

… Well, okay then.

That's it for this series of Falling Skies, with the show presumably returning next year. It was a slightly lacklustre series, I thought, but there's a lot of plot points raised that should make for an interesting series next year: The Volm are back in force, there's a new alien species in the mix, there's whoever is manipulating the Espheni, and there's this greater enemy that the Espheni are preparing for.

So that should be good. I admit, these recaps were exhausting, moreso than the Teen Wolf ones. It seems to be the way that one set of recaps from each pair is much more tiring and difficult to do than the others, but I enjoyed doing these.


If you're wondering about what will replace these: Starting from next week, Doctor Who reviews will be moving to Mondays. They're currently on Wednesdays, so check those out if you're interested.

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