It's the "final push" to Charleston, as Capt. Weaver tells the weary (and probably very smelly) members of the 2nd Massachusetts. For them, it means several hundred miles through unknown territory with angry aliens on their tail. For us, it means a relatively low-key episode light on action and heavy on character development.
And moving the action to Charleston will allow Tom to make all kinds of bland Civil War comparisons to their current situation. That'll be riveting, I'm sure.
On a side note, last night's episode was titled "Death March," for some reason. Except only one person died, and he wasn't marching. I'm so confused.
I was going to ask about the gas for this convoy, but it's brought up pretty early on. They're an estimated 12 hours out from Charleston on miraculously wreckage-free roads when Tom (Noah Wyle), morosely recalling Ben's departure from the group, tells him "no more side trips" for fuel. It's do or die to get to South Carolina. As if to punctuate this, Matt (Maxim Knight) tries to give Dad his last will and testament. That's one grim nine-year old.
Tector (Ryan Robbins) and Weaver (Will Patton) are on one bus, while Hal, Maggie and Pope, who's being his usual charming self, share another. Hal (Drew Roy) jokingly offers to off Pope, and Maggie (Sarah Carter) suggests he's not cut out to murder anyone. This seems like, I don't know, foreshadowing.
Anthony (Mpho Koaho) and Dai (Peter Shinkoda) also share a truck, I think. There was only a glimpse, but I guess we aren't supposed to be too curious about the backstories of the only remaining black and Asian characters.
Weaver susses out that Tector is ex-military. Sounds like there's a story there. Oh never mind, because they just hit a harnessed kid with their truck. What have we been saying about driving while Tector-ing?
Sorry. That was terrible.
[Seriously, University of Phoenix commercials? I'll put that diploma right next to my Internet certificate saying I'm an ordained minister.]
Tom uses this accident to wax eloquent about the fates of all the harnessed children. Anne (MOON BLOODGOOD) looks sympathetic. Meanwhile, Matt makes the acquaintance of Jenny, the girl Tector ran into with the alien neck rig and lesions like Baron Harkonnen. She makes references to Tyler, her "brother," which is apparently just another kid linked to the same "guardian" (what they call skitters). He wisely decides to divulge everything about their plans to her. Then Tyler shows up. He's in a bit more...advanced stage of harness-hood. Which is to say he's basically a humanoid skitter.
Long road trips are a great opportunity to learn about your travel partners. Maggie has something of a checkered past, for example, and Pope (Colin Cunningham) has kids(!). When their truck overheats, Hal sets off to featch water and Pope makes some cryptic comments about Maggie's history. Because he cares.
Matt learns a cruel and inevitable lesson about women: they like the bad boys. Jenny's no exception as she escapes to join Tyler, but not before giving Matt an old-fashioned human ass whomping. Upon waking, he tells Tom he's afraid Ben may turn out the same way (Ben did say they'd see him again, he just didn't mention what he'd look like). Then he asks Tom for his journal. Nothing like childhood trauma to make you a great writer.
Also, and because for some reason we're supposed to care about her character, Lourdes (Seychelle Gabrielle) appears to have developed an unhealthy attachment to Jamil's toolbox, no pun intended.
Maggie comes clean to Hal about her junkie/burglar/jailbird past, in which she had a baby - in prison - and had to give him up. Hal, ever the handsome dipshit, hems and haws without offering any actual feedback, pissing Maggie off until something brings them to a screeching halt.
Tector admits he was a Marine Gunnery Sergeant, but has no interest in sticking around after Charleston. Weaver assumes Boon's death is the reason, but Tector feels remorse from leading his unit into an ambush in Afghanistan. Weaver, for his part, confesses he once harbored thoughts of desertion, likening his decision to stay to Tector's impending decision. Then...something brings them a screeching halt.
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The bridge into Charleston is out. Not just that, but the entire city is in ruins. Tom takes it hard, lamenting not only the collapse of his hopes, but the fact that Hal is now missing (the overheating detour caused the rest of the convoy to pass them), Ben may be gone forever, and Matt just gave him a will. Anne comforts him, because who couldn't benefit from a good Moon Bloodgoodening?
Tector elects to stick around, giving Weaver the jolt he needs to make an inspirational speech. They'll go on, because FREEDOM...no wait, that was something else. Anyway, before they can get back in the trucks and really start to bore us, Col. Porter (Dale Dye - remember him?) of the "First Continental Army" pops up. Charleston is indeed the capitol, they're just concealing the fact. And there are strawberries! It's paradise!
While there was a sad lack of either alien disembowelments or groovy body horror this episode, this set-up was what Falling Skies needed. Things were getting a mite repetitive with the 2nd Mass in their current bivouac/move out/skirmish/bivouac incarnation. Moving the setting to Charleston will give the showrunners an excuse to introduce new characters and add some human intrigue.
Next week: something's rotten in South Carolina, and Terry O'Quinn ("Locke" from Lost) looks to be behind it.