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The One Great Moment from Last Night's Falling Skies

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This was another severely uneven episode of Falling Skies, where all of the relationship stuff fell horribly flat. For some reason, this show struggles to portray any relationships other than the Mason's father-son bond with any amount of nuance or realism.

However, there were a few great bits, chief among them the above moment, between Ben Mason and someone who's just returned to the fold.

Spoilers ahead...

At first, this seemed like it was going to be a great episode for the kind of queasy horror that Falling Skies does so well. Hal and Maggie find a whole huge pile of naked dead children, the sort of thing they'd flinch at showing even on Game of Thrones. Among them: Karen, Hal's ex-girlfriend, who's miraculously unharnessed and alive! And meanwhile, an alien parasite thingy is devouring Captain Weaver whole, causing ugly varicose veiny marks to appear all over his body.


But the episode quickly gets derailed by a pair of relationship insights that manage to be both obvious and yet also a bit forced:

1) Now that Tom and Anne are sleeping together and he's starting to relax with her, he's confusing her with his dead wife Rebecca — so that when they have a legitimate tactical debate over what to do with the dying Weaver, he snaps and calls Anne by his dead wife's name. It's not a terrible idea, but the scene does not sell it at all, and it feels like the writers and actors are reaching for something and not quite grabbing it.


2) The reason Maggie doesn't want to be with Hal is because she thinks she doesn't deserve him. And actually she was secretly happiest when she was being held captive and raped by Pope's gang. Uh, no. What happened to "Maggie doesn't want to be with Hal because she values him more as someone who will watch her back?" That was actually a more interesting reason than "she doesn't feel worthy of him."

Luckily, there is one part of the episode that's actually interesting, and that's the conversations between Ben and Karen, two un-harnessed kids. Just like last season with Ben and Rick, the two of them have different perspectives on their situations. This time around, Ben is highly suspicious of Karen just randomly showing up less than a kilometer from their hospital. (Because, duh. That's highly suspicious.) Ben believes Karen is still under the aliens' control, leading him to talk about her as if she were one of the aliens — and then, in the scene above, he practically accuses her of killing Uncle Scott.


But then they start to bond over the fact that they've both experienced the horror of being harnessed — and when they come too close together, both their spikes start glowing, and they make out. It's super-creepy and yet also kind of awesome. And finally, when Maggie decides to deal with Karen once and for all, and Karen takes Maggie out, Ben takes Karen's side. He decides the two of them should run away together, presumably to join the Skitter Resistance. (And then, of course, it turns out the whole thing was the "fish-heads" plan all along.)

So now we know that either the Skitter Resistance is a real thing — which doesn't seem too far-fetched, since we've known all along that the Skitters were harnessed too. Or else, this is a really, really elaborate ploy, and they fooled Pope too. (Pope's back. They found him in a ditch. His natural element.)


In any case, as we've said before, the central metaphor of this show continues to be the Harness, and the way in which it changes people into posthumans but also into something less than human. The metaphors for being controlled and coopted by the thing that gives you superpowers are really interesting — and so is the notion that neither Ben nor Karen can really live among normal humans again. What will be especially interesting is if Red-Eye ever teaches Ben the Skitters' secret technique for resisting the Harness — and whether it can be taught to other kids who are still fully Harnessed.

(Oh, and Weaver's fine. Of course. This was a bottle episode, plus Weaver's parasite will be relegated to the same memory hole as Tom's eye-bug, probably next week.)