Falling Skies: "The Master Wanted To Take A More...Aggressive Approach"

It figures; the week I go out of town is the week Tom and Anne finally get their post-apocalyptic freak on. Of course, this is basic cable, so apparently all the audience got was that morning afterglow, and then the awkward, "No really baby, I think you're a *great* doctor, but we still need to get to Charleston so Weaver can, you know, live."

So of course Anne saves Weaver from the deadly alien blood parasite(!). And of course Ben "goes Injun" and splits with Karen, and of course Pope is back. Because what's the end times without a few screaming assholes?

Thanks once again to Abby Koenig for covering my ass while I was in San Diego. As a reward for all her hard work, I've been talking with the powers-that-be at the Press about letting her cover Charlie Sheen's new show. You're welcome, Abby!

With echoes of Pope's "They're coming" still ringing in our ears from the "previously on" segment, we catch up with Ben (Connor Jessup) and Karen (Jessy Schram). They discuss the Skitter rebellion, but while politely listening to Ben's concerns about helping the rebels, she ups and delivers him to loyalist aliens. The double-cross is interrupted by the arrival of Tom (Noah Wyle), Hal and others, who nab one of the Slenders, or Overlords, (or "Fishheads," as Weaver refers to them). The humans don't have much time to celebrate, because an alien rescue mission shows up. Tom pulls a Martin Brody on an infiltrating mech in the basement but unwittingly traps Anne (MOON BLOODGOOD), Matt (Maxim Knight) and Lourdes (Seychelle Gabriel) in the blast.

Having temporarily stymied the aliens, Weaver (Will Patton) takes this opportunity to point out the spikey elephant in the room: Ben, who's been communicating with the rebel Skitter leader and demonstrating an unnerving connection with his former masters. Harnessed Karen shows up to offer them a deal: free their master and they'll survive. Further discussion reveals it's the same overlord Tom talked with while on the alien ship. Weaver sends our old sniper pals Tector and Boon (Ryan Robbins and Billy Wickman) to scout the enemy's position, while Jamil (Brandon Jay McLaren) is sent to look for Anne and Matt. That turns out badly, but more on that later.

Ben has words with dad Tom, who's unwilling to admit it's probably for the best that sonny boy beats feet to Charleston and informs them about the Great Skitter Rebellion (which is totally what they'll call it in the American History textbooks of the future, that is if they aren't all talking about how abstinence saved the remaining humans).

Anne, Matt and Lourdes stumble upon a bleeding and barely verbal Jamil in the basement while Hal (Drew Roy) and Maggie (Sarah Carter) go to check out a potential escape tunnel. Maggie chooses this opportune moment to interrogate him about Karen. Of *course* he's not still in love with her, and he proves it by making out with her in the utility tunnel. Chicks, right? Their happy talk is interrupted by a horde of mini-skitters coming at them down the tunnel. What fresh hell is this?

And now we know why Jamil was so indisposed; he was chock full of those alien roaches, like E.G. Marshall in Creepshow. They're trapped like Rodentia, and Matt crawls off down a ventilation shaft at the same time Tom and Pope - once again in the good graces of the 2nd Mass - set off to find them. Anne has to motivate Lourdes (who's taking Jamil's terminal case of the roaches badly) to get her shit together. Luckily, Matt finds Tom and Pope before the Cock-A-Roaches can burrow into him.

Oh look, Karen's back. And she returns Boon, sort of. He's greased by a Mech in front of the 2nd Mass as, I guess, a warning (will anyone besides Tector miss that wannabe Eminem?). Afterwards, Karen tells them they're out of time.

Anne constructs a makeshift flamethrower out of an oxygen tank and she and Lourdes escape the basement. Bummer about Jamil, though. Tom, on the other hand, would like to have words with the Overlord. And he does, through Ben. The Overlord tells him the massive kill-off of mankind wasn't genocide but "a correction," thanks to our election of a Kenyan socialist masquerading as an American mishandling of our planet's resources. He refuses to divulge the aliens' ultimate plan, and asserts the humans are too weak and sentimental to defeat them. To prove his point, he gives Ben the mother of all nosebleeds, telling him to release him before it's too late. Tom responds by shooting the Overlord.

Post-apocalyptic America. Fuck yeah.

Weaver's not happy. But then, when is Weaver ever happy? He and Tom decide the best course of action is to let Karen see the wounded Overlord's body. Karen behaves insufferably, and is rewarded with the sight of her fallen master. Tom's deal: let the 2nd Mass evacuate without interference, and they won't blow him (and Karen) back to God, as René Belloq might say.

So the 2nd Mass escapes the alien siege for now. They've got just about enough gas to make it to Charleston. Tom and Anne share another tender moment. Meanwhile Lourdes is rather bitter. Turn that frown upside down, Lourdes. God is great, and all.

Of course Ben leaves. Tom wants to stop him, but Ben convinces him (I don't want to know what Ben saw in the Overlord's mind). Will we see Ben again? Oh, I think so. And I doubt it will be how everyone expects.

After missing the last two weeks, last night's installment actually renewed my interest in Falling Skies. We had some deaths, a few disquieting revelations, and the possibility of outcomes as-yet unforseen (detente, perhaps?). The alien cockraoches added a nice survival horror element that I think needs to be emphasized if the show's going to rise above summer filler, while Tom's decision to plug the Overlord was a welcome change for a character who often behaves inexplicably at odds with his (and the surviving humans') best interests.

Then again, we still don't know what exactly happened to him on the mothership. I bet didn't spend the whole time listening to Parliament-Funkadelic.

Next week: Are you for real? No Falling Skies next week. Even the Overlords won't go against the power of the 2012 Olympics.

In two weeks, then: The road goes ever on. Plus: aliens.

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