Film and TV

Falling Skies: "You Still Owe Me A Plane."

One of the central tenets of the "road movie" has always been the growth and maturation of the participants, particularly if they're seemingly disparate personalities thrown together by change (see also, The Sure Thing, Rain Man, uh, Smokey and the Bandit). Going by last week's previews, we knew a similar situation was going to develop with Tom and Pope following their plane crash.

In short, "Search and Recovery" was a pretty predictable episode. TNT appears to be saving the big events until next week (more on that later in this post), while little of significance took place last night (sorry, Matt Frewer).

And down goes Mason (and Pope)! Down goes Mason (and Pope)! Actually, General Bressler (Frewer) really goes down, Wash from Serenity style, while Tom (Noah Wyle) saves Pope (Colin Cunningham) from a fricaseein'. Not that he's especially grateful, pointing out that Tom's haste to meet with Hathaway before they'd uncovered the mole in Charleston likely doomed them.

Dr. Kadar (Robert Sean Leonard) drops the bomb that baby Alexis is, in his opinion, a human-alien hybrid. All evidence to the contrary, nobody believes Anne (Moon Bloodgood) capable of violence. Weaver (Will Patton) wants to comb the woods with a fine-toothed ... comb, but Marina (Gloria Reuben) overrides him until he uses the whole "the 2nd Mass is a family" approach. Marina relents, because surely no one this accommodating could be an alien plant, right? Her parting caress of Weaver doesn't go unnoticed by Jeanne (Laci J. Mailey), either. Her parting glare, however, goes unnoticed by everyone.

She might as well be wearing a sandwich board with "I AM THE MOLE" in two foot high letters, because if that wasn't enough, she delivers some photos to Kadar, apparently of what the Volm are building, and asks him to investigate. "Where did you get these photos?" Kadar asks, "That's not important," replies Marina. Good talk.

Laying low, Tom and Pope set off for Charleston, some 400 miles distant. Being together for less than, oh, 12 hours they naturally reveal some things about their pasts to each other. For instance, did you know Tom's father was a mean drunk? You do now. Did you know Pope set a poor example for his sons by beating a man to death in front of one of them? You do now.

Things devolve into predictable fisticuffs (knife fight!) until skitters show up. Tom and Pope leap into rapids to escape. The skitters peer over the edge in frank amazement that they so blatantly ripped off Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

And then Tom fakes an ankle injury. Oh, he *acts* like it's real, but we all know it's a clever ploy on his part to draw out Pope's innate compassion, right? Right? Ouch, maybe not. Either way, Pope decides not to ditch him and ends up finding a car to get Tom back to Charleston.

The search party (Weaver, Hal, Ben, Matt, Maggie, Jeanne) find a recently deceased woman and bury her, which offers each of them the opportunity to project their own absent mother complexes on her, especially Ben (Connor Jessup) and Matt (Maxim Knight). That's a lot of pressure for a corpse. They also discover evidence that Anne has been taken by the aliens. Ben promises to have the rebel skitter spies follow up while Hal (Drew Roy) remains noncommittal throughout, just like an alien would. Action items assigned, the meeting adjourns.

Pope and Tom return, and Tom's happy reunion is cut short by the news of Anne and Alexis' absence.

Like I said, not a whole hell of a lot happened. Tom and Pope make it back to Charleston, but the mole is still active (even though Tom remarked nobody could have known their coordinates until takeoff, meaning either "Cochise" or President Hathaway -- both MIA -- have some 'splaining to do), and Anne and the "Zoidmary's Baby" didn't make an appearance.

NEXT WEEK: Hal goes rogue. And not in the sexy Sarah Palin way.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar