Falling Skies "Badlands" Review: Will the Real President of the United States Please Stand Up?

Falling Skies S03E03: "Badlands"


So, after (safety-consciously) blowing up the Espheni's fuel depot/nuclear power plant, the 2nd Mass and the people of Charleston hunkered down and waited for the inevitable retaliation—except for Jeannie Weaver, who thought it was a great time to weld a giant metal tree in the middle of the night, in the middle of town. I would have been okay with being wrong about the Espheni showing up during the Freedom Tree's dedication because that whole scene was actually very lovely and tender and I hated to see it interrupted—but sadly, I wasn't. I hate to say "I told you so," Jeannie Weaver, but I totally called it. 

In addition to the Espheni crashing the tree of life—well, death—party, some humans interrupted Crazy Lee's bathroom break on behalf of the formerly-believed-to-be-dead President of the United States, Ben Hathaway, because they'd heard rumors about a bunch of humans working with the Skitters. Hey guys! It was Luvia Petersen from Continuum! And she was PISSED. 


I actually love the idea that there could be another leader out there, presiding over his own little band of leftover Americans. However, the fact that the one Falling Skies is going with is supposedly the president from the pre-alien days is kind of annoying, because it eliminates the potential for some interesting conflict. If Ben Hathaway is revealed to be the real deal and his decision to send his soldiers out to eliminate the "traitorous" people of New Charleston was truly just a misunderstanding and Hathaway is actually a respectable leader, then judging by Tom and Weaver's response, chances are that Tom will acquiesce. I guess this would be better than the alternative: Ben Hathaway is the real Ben Hathaway, but he's a douche, seeing as we already sort of had a variation of that with Manchester last season.

What I was hoping for—what a small part of me is still hoping for with regard to the idea of multiple presidents—was a situation where different clusters of survivors with different leaders each declared themselves the "New United States." Given that communication is generally unreliable and survivors are scattered all over the country, it just seems like the most plausible possibility in the wake of the Espheni invasion, and the nuanced behavior that such a scenario would require from Tom and the "other" presidents in order to form alliances would make for some thoughtful television. 


Whatevs. This could still get interesting. Just not as interesting. 

And it's not like Tom doesn't already have his hands full. Pope was unhappy about losing yet another one of his people in what was, essentially, a pointless battle. BYE CRAZY LEE, MISS YOU. He reminded Tom that nobody knows what Cochise and the Volm are actually building, and this blind trust thing Tom has going on is totes going to get everybody killed. 

Speaking of blind trust—or a lack of trust—are we actually going with the Creepy-Alexis-is-a-normal-baby-and-everyone-thinks-Anne-is-crazypants storyline? For real? How did these people survive for two seasons? I get where Tom is coming from (sort of); Lourdes did blood tests on Alexis and everything came back "human" at birth. Demon Baby has been careful not to do anything questionable when anyone else is around, but when has Anne ever, in the past, been portrayed as some kind of unstable, shell-shocked civilian who can't handle her situation? 

Regarding Lourdes' diagnosis of postpartum depression, sure, I guess when you aren't witnessing Alexis do her freaky shit, then Anne's issues resemble postpartum depression, but everyone just jumped on that as the explanation really fast. I don't think that anyone even tried to take Anne seriously—which, coupled with Tom's eager trust of the Volm, is fairly indicative of a population that really doesn't want to have to think too hard or critically about their surroundings. 

If this is an intentional decision and not just an unintended side effect of slackerish writing, then I'm really impressed with Falling Skies and eagerly await the repercussions of New Charleston's la-la-la-can't-hear-you epidemic. These people have been running and fighting for a long time and, questionable decision-making aside, their lives are better than they've been in a long time. It's understandable that anyone would want to believe, wholeheartedly, that not only will life continue to be okay, but that it will get better and better with help from their handy allies, the Skitters and the Volm. No one wants to entertain the idea that the Volm might not be as altruistic as they say they are. No one wants to consider the idea that the Espheni are somehow able to possess human ladies' unborn babies, or alter them in the womb, or whatever Alexis's deal is.  

Please, oh please, let the writers be doing this on purpose. 

And please, let's not drag out the alien baby storyline. I'll take Hal the Reluctant Mole over Alexis the Monster Baby and be happy about it. I promise. In fact, the mole storyline got less annoying this week with Hal panicking about his connection to Karen and trying to be proactive about it. Admittedly, running away from Charleston probably wouldn't do anything anyway, but good effort. At least he's not in denial about what he might be. 


Unlike pretty much everyone else. 

So, in conclusion:

– Luvia Petersen? Awesome. 

– Another president? Possibly awesome.

– Proactive Hal? Misguided awesome. 

– Sad tree? Reluctantly awesome. 

– Angry Pope? Vintage awesome. 

But seriously, that baby has got to go. 

Byeeee!



NOTES

– "Who are we waiting for?" "Godot." YESSSS.

– Is anyone else either amused or annoyed by the fact that even though it's basically the end of the world, Tom's assistant still manages to wear nicely tailored office casual shirts and pants? It just seems kind of silly. 

– Oy, Alexis. What are your theories? I'm eager for her to start growing insanely fast so that hopefully she's an "adult" by midseason and I can openly advocate for someone to just end her already because I'm pretty sure that TNT isn't going to let Falling Skies waste a baby—evil or not. 

– Seriously, why do we need the weird baby storyline? Why couldn't she have just been a normal baby that gets kidnapped now and then for the sake of drama?

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Soo the real president sends one sniper to do what? take out all of Charlston? I'm confused about why she is there.
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something about babies just smiling and saying words scares me like I understand why people wouldn't believe her but that baby looks like it was 5 months when it popped out people should be questioning. It was a decent episode overall.
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Gotta be the volm device she was using to remove the harness' When she was using it while preg it definatly looked like It was affecting her after to removed herself from it.
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I may have missed this in a previous comment, but when Tom is changing the baby's diaper, was he wearing his Han Solo outfit?
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I'm just happy to see he finally (after two years) took off the fingerless gloves.
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I saw the alien baby storyline coming last season, especially considering Tom's time with the Espheni. It's even possible that he was chosen by Karen's boss to start a hybrid human-Espheni blood line. The fact that Lourdes was the one that did Alexis's blood work after she was born only supports my theory that Lourdes is the mole. Because as seen in next week's preview, Alexis has alien DNA.
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You may be right, but I'm still hanging in there for Marina.
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"What I was hoping for—what a small part of me is still hoping for with regard to the idea of multiple presidents—was a situation where different clusters of survivors with different leaders each declared themselves the "New United States."" <<<< I could get down with this.

I'm not sure how I feel about Creepy Baby. On the one hand I'm rolling my eyes because that kinda thing's been done to death and by better shows but, if they make her REALLY creepy then I could roll with it. I mean creepy like running around (in baby form) and getting into shenanigans LOL; terrorizing the poor residents of Charleston, not just Anne. I say go hard and make it full on creep-mode. Let her sabotage weapons, mess with missions....IDK. Just do it big LOL.

"Angry Pope? Vintage awesome." <<< <3 him.

Also, I think Lourdes is the mole. To me she's been weird ever since Jamal died, just off ...... in some creeping around, all sneaky looking kinda way lol..... IDK.
AND, how is it that she "ran tests" on Alexis and found nothing wrong, but in the preview for next week's ep, Crazy Underground Scientist Guy, seems to run his own tests and says that she has alien DNA? Hmmmm. Got my eye on you Lourdes.
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I decided to give a chance to Falling Skies because I was not very convinced with the end of S2.... Jury is still out...
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I don't get all the hate towards the baby, I don't think this is that bad at all, it could even be good, we haven't seen enough to make a decision yet. I do agree with most of the review though.
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"– Luvia Petersen? Awesome."

Just OK. Unless you're talking about this week's Continuum, where we found out that her butt is good enough to be on Game of Thrones.


"– Another president? Possibly awesome."

Is Revolution awesome?


"– Proactive Hal? Misguided awesome."

No, just stupid. If he's the mole, the worst thing he can do is to wander off somewhere where the others can't see what he's doing. I'm OK with characters saying or doing stupid things, but when it happens, I want another character to *tell them* how stupid it is. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I've noticed that *Zero Hour* has been getting this right.


"But seriously, that baby has got to go."

I'm undecided. I don't like it much right now, but it's possible that it will be interesting.


"– "Who are we waiting for?" "Godot." YESSSS."

I really liked that line too. And I liked that the reply was just a look, no words.


"Oy, Alexis. What are your theories?"

The preview for next week gave some of it away. The real question now is what's the significance of it. I don't know yet. I'm guessing that she will help them understand the aliens in some way, and possibly give them a way to mass produce a biological weapon to use against them, like in V.
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"– Oy, Alexis. What are your theories? I'm eager for her to start growing insanely fast so that hopefully she's an "adult" by midseason and I can openly advocate for someone to just end her already because I'm pretty sure that TNT isn't going to let Falling Skies waste a baby—evil or not. – Oy, Alexis. What are your theories? I'm eager for her to start growing insanely fast so that hopefully she's an "adult" by midseason and I can openly advocate for someone to just end her already because I'm pretty sure that TNT isn't going to let Falling Skies waste a baby—evil or not." LMAO

The writing on this show is so sloppy and lazy, I am one episode from quitting it altogether. Tom Mason has morphed into a danger hound, terrible father and husband, and unquestioning leader, which is scary. Now there is a new old POTUS who sends a recon team to Charleston and the recon team decides to go OFP and engage an entire population on their own turf. Seriously? That entire firefight that killed Crazy Lee was just stupid and improbable. Garza is allegedly a lieutenant in the army of the Hathaway POTUS, no doubt she is mission leader, no way she orders her team to engage in a skirmish without any logical payoff. If she was really that chuffed about the aliens, she would have ordered her team to attack the aliens, not Charleston. And don't get me started about the Hal sotryline, which is really irkitatting me. Oh bother, I don't have anything nice to say.
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Agree w/ you about Tom. and lol@irkittating!
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Mystery Woman: "It''s so happens that I work for the REAL president."
Tom Mason: "But my friends and I got together one weekend and decided *I* was president. Not fair!"

Now, come to think of it, it was a little hasty of those folks to decide they could elect a president at all. Mayor of Charleston would be more like it. Come on, Tom can't even be certain he's the state governor, whatever of the State still remains. I just wonder how many presidents of the USA, or other self-proclaimed leaders are there among all the survivors that must still exist. By the way, have they looked for the president in Guantanamo Colony? Maybe the real president is still there, just chilling.
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lol that's what I thought when he announced he was president. I'm certain there's a president in every little group that survived.
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I think the other president will turn out to be either a real douche, or to be secretly working with the Espheni himself.
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Season 3 is going all Game of Thrones with multiple kings/presidents, shifting factions, and a character in Pope that is very similar to Bronn.

As for the baby... does anybody else see the Michigan J. Frog connection? "Hello my baby, hello my darlin'". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkjsN-J27aU
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Well, in that case, I hope the Mason family experiences their own "Red Wedding". I'm getting sick of every single one of them (Tom, Hal, Matt, and Baby Mason)... except for Ben, whom we've seen little of.
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Been talking about that for two weeks now. Brrrp
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Bronn is waaaaaaay cooler than Pope. Although from teh season previews, it looks like Tom and Pope wil throw down at some point, so that's cool! (ala Sawyer vs Jack, end of season 5--good fight & a long time coming)
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I would say if you are going to go with the multiple presidents in the US it is more like Revolution than Game of Thrones.
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Yeah, this is unfortunate.... Revo and FS having the same exact plot twist. At least FS can get the jump on Revo now.
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I have to agree that the postpartum depression angle does not make any sense this early on. It is just not believable when you consider all that they have been through that they would so quickly dismiss her claims as being delusional. It also does not make sense to declare that anyone's blood work is clean when your planet has been invaded by aliens. It seems like the writers are pretending as if these characters live in a world free of aliens. Considering all that they have seen it would of been more plausible for them to at the very least consider her claims about the baby to be true. And, if there were no evidence to support her claims I could see them thinking that she may be suffering from postpartum depression. Not sure how I feel about pope losing one of his people. I feel like the writers are setting us up for another pope vs the second mass scenario and I really don't want to see that. The president being alive is only interesting because it will create decent and disagreements because I am assuming that the president will have no knowledge of alien alliances base on the troops that he allegedly sent to the second mass. The side relationship stories are really not compelling or interesting. I think the writers really need to create a world were nothing is really what it seems as oppose to the possible good vs bad aliens they we think are going to betray us in the long run.
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Dear Falling Skies!
Please, don't get overly ambitious. Concentrate on a few realistic topics and work them like you did during season 1. Please, don't create a story line which even you don't understand fully, or if you do, please trust yourselves enough to work it hard down to the detail. Don't brush through leaving knots of chewing gum hidden underneath. Look at the fantastic Continuum, a show that trust their future, the gadgets and their characters enough to have the courage to go crazy,,,but just crazy enough for us, the lovers of the show. Continuum gets the story and isn't losing the grip of it.
PS I will continue to watch Falling Skies.
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amoment of synchronicity, or is it? Twice, in Revolution and now, there is a real POTUS out there. And this kind of coincidence really happens all over the tv series from time to time. Maybe the writers all have lunch in the same place.
I like pope,too. he's the wild card.
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Pope is a very complex character. Hes probably the most "real" character on the show.
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I absolutely agree, in fact he is my favorite because he is real, but I wish he had more vision.
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Ha! I just imagined what was going through his mind while he sipped on that beer, thought about Crazy Lee and watched that corny Liberty ceremony which has absolutely nothing to do with his fallen friend and the kind of person she was.
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money, and lots of it.
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Why would a normal baby being predictably kidnapped be better than a weird baby in a scifi genre television show? I think if the baby story isn't your cup of tea then no baby storyline beats one better suited for the hundreds of police procedural dramas we are fed on a regular basis.

Further, why does the baby have to have gained its weird from Tom? Ann has been using that alien medical gizmo and only Ann has been using that gizmo. Couldn't that technology have been the cause of the weird just as much as Tom being implanted when he was held hostage? That would better explain why only Ann is able to witness the baby doing weird things.
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My wife spotted Luvia Petersen immediately. I did not !
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The first 2 episodes last week was the best of falling skies ever ! I am really glad the show started on the right note for season 3. I always wanted to like this show but I must admit it feels like a inferior version of The Walking Dead the last 2 seasons but I really liked the direction of this new season. This episode was weaker than last 2 but still good.

My theory on the baby is when Tom was abduct, they did something to his sperm but not him so he seems perfectly normal but now his offspring is gone insane. That sounds like a very logical theory but nobody in the show or the reviewer mentioned it. I wonder why. I actually quite like the mystery of of Alexis and without Alexis drama, Anne will have nothing much to do. I do hope they make the baby good and not evil and perhaps even a savior for the human race so it is an alien experiment gone wrong in favor of the humans !

This seasons seems to have multiple story lines going on at the same thing which makes everything more exciting!
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that was my initial thought to. They played with his little swimmers while he was gone and now has pasted on some form of accelerated growth or creepy baby gene
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Pope is awesome.

And I agree on the tree shit; it was actually quite a nice scene... Until aliens started blowing stuff up.
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Yeah, it was a sweet scene. And I, for one, was sucked into it, and surprised when the aliens attacked.
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Loved the Godot comment. Every now and then this show can be so smart. And then there's the rest of the time... Actually, I enjoyed the show very much. I thought it was exciting. I'm hanging in with the evil baby storyline, hoping for the best. But it is interesting so far. It was heartbreaking when Tom begged Ann not to take the enjoyment of the baby away from them.
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Ok. I was wrong... I admit! The "real" president storyline wasn't an alien drug-induced delirium where Tom got sucked up... So nevermind what I said last week.
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I didn't get that vibe. From the quick season-scenes we saw, one of them was the Pres saying "this isn't an academic debate" which I figured meant that Tom and the Pres were talking about the whole scenario with the Pres saying SOMETHING like "I don't care if you thought I was dead. I'm alive and am still the president. This isn't an academic debate, your election (while meaningful) means nothing"

And that the delirium thing was going to be full-on nutter in comparison.
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I wish it had been Pope with the rebar through his skull.
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No, we need Pope. His keeps the show from becoming a Mason family love fest.
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Well, they could kill off Pope and Hal and even it out. They are the worst actors on the show.
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What, you don't like Hal's channeling of Thriller as he walked?
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LMAO. Damn, that was just mean.
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Decent episode, the stories are moving along well. I think the quick rush by both Tom and Lourdes that Ann was crazy was a bit too much for me. Since when does post partum depression make a mother think her child is an alien with super abilities. I hope the baby Alexis story doesn't drag on for too long, Lourdes and Tom can't be THAT dumb and clueless.
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Moon Bloodgood was pregnant in real life during filming and the storyline is moving toward a necessary disappearance of her character for several episodes at the least. The storyline will carry out over the course of the season until her character can return to the show. I don't recall reading how many episodes she misses nor how many remain when she returns.
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I just wonder what direction they are going to take the story in. What exactly is going on with Alexis. Does she have these abilities because of Tom or Ann? Right now Lourdes and Tom seem like idiots. I can blame Ann in part because she didn't say anything at first but now that the cat's out of the bag she really needs to sit Tom down and have a serious discussion.
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Sometimes women with severe postpartum depression can become delusional and think their baby is the devil or needs to be drowned in a bathtub. It's very sad, but it happens. A woman displaying the kind of delusions they believe Ann is having, shouldn't be left alone with her baby.
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I guess so. I never really thought about it like that so I guess I can see where they got the post partum depression. Tom is still an idiot, his girlfriend tells him she thinks the baby has abilities and instead of spending a few days helping her out, he sends Lourdes to keep look after her. I know he is the President but come on, RESPONSIBILITY Tom.
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No, he did the right thing. He is the president, the leader, the comforter, the cheerleader. He has a lot of people who need him.
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Did anyone else scream out "Garza"! (her character on Continuum) when Luvia Petersen appeared? She is one sexy, sexy insurgent!
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I can tell that you saw the latest Continuum. I didn't think of her as sexy before that, but that body certainly has a nice shape. (For those who haven't seen it, she got butt naked just to make Kiera uncomfortable).
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I don't find her nearly as attractive as a blonde as I do when she's a brunette with shoulder length hair. But what the heck was up with her makeup in that scene? I'm all for the nudity, but it looked like Hatchet-face did her makeup for that scene.
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if this baby start growing up during this season then they will have ripped of the last season of stargate.
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or the baby from The 4400
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The 4400! I was trying to figure out why this storyline seemed familiar!
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I was thinking the original V.
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Which in itself was a ripoff of a couple dozen similar storylines of rapidly growing infants....
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lol. fosho.
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Demon Baby!
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Oh man that baby really creeps me out !!! :o
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Me, too. But she's awfully pretty, isn't she?
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yes indeed... except when she smiles like she knows everything... lol
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First the glowing spine and now "kat" and her kinda heroic prolonged death ending with her name written on a place of importence so everyone will remember her? Bsg is one of the best show ever but please just stop copying it cos it's getting old
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What's Bsg?
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Lol, how did you manage to be a regular at TV site for years without picking that up? :)
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Sorry. Despite my regular presence here, I really don't watch that much tv.
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I am pretty sure he meant Battlestar Galactica !
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Thank you!
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Personally I thought this was the worst episode of Falling Skies made, until the last 15 minutes. The fire fight at the start was excellent, and the idea of a 2nd President stirs some intrigue, but outside of those 2 plots, which took a total of 5 minutes to develop, the rest of the episode was severely lacking.

The Tree of Life was well done, as was the ambush at the end, but the rest of the episode was only talk, talk, talk. I could have gone to sleep for the first 45 minutes and figured out everything that was going on, outside of the 2nd President. All the good stuff was in the last 15 minutes- Pope's speech to Tom, the attack on the tree, and Hal thinking he's the mole and wanting to turn himself in. I can only hope that next weeks will get back to the quality that they've caused us to expect.
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awesome episode cant wait for next episode
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I see two fairly obvious explanations for the weird baby.

1. Something the Espheni did to Tom when they had him.

2. Anne using the Volm device while pregnant. She did say she was the only one trained to use it.
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Alexis is Stewie Griffen, the evil baby out to kill his mother!
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Victory is hers!
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Also,was anyone else hoping that Alexis was going to stand up and dance around her crib as Toms back was turned, and then flop back down when he turned around?
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I kept singing Hello, my baby, hello my honey, rrrrippp
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Yeah, completely thought/expected the same. I even for one second thought the baby might put up a middle finger :-)
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Dancing baby! Oh yeah, back to those ally mcbeal weird moments - it would've been laugh out loud though; a moment for the viewers just not the characters.
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The preview for next week's episode showed that Alexis has both Alien and Human DNA.
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Okay I know it has been a while in the time line but, anyone taking Lourdes seriously needs their heads examined. Her diagnosis of Anne holds no weight. And is also a complete contradiction of her past. She has seen the device they pulled out of Tom's eye and she saw dozens of spider Aliens burst out of her ex boyfriend. Is it so difficult to take an actual doctor, who is by and far more intelligent than she is, at her word, that she is seeing what she is actually seeing. And Tom as well for that matter. He has seen their tech and experienced it first hand. And somehow doing something to their baby is out of the aliens wheel house. Coe on, making Anne seem crazy is a waste of time. And it is contrived.

The rest was all right. The other President seems tacked on. I would like their to be a conflict between the two but then I suppose that woud be to much like last season. So he can go on with it for a bit. But something needs to come of it.

Hal is being smart. For once, so, good? However there was much to little Maggie in this episode. And way too yech Lourdes


I don't think we need a weird baby story line. We kind of already had it with Ben or whatever Toms middle son's name is, with the whole alien enhancements that he got. I am not sure a baby is required to further show the Aliens prowess at messing with humans
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President Douche is totally going to happen.
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Is he French?
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Why all the baby hate? I wouldn't mind seeing the supergrowth, but I think as long as they don't make the baby evil or just naturally wanting to just run away with aliens every chance she gets, the Alexis could be used as a plot device that brings people into the idea of humans and aliens coexisting together. The whole Pope line of "one day you'll be serving drinks to a bubblehead in a Hawaiian shirt" was meant to be ironic, but also foreshadowing.
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Cant wait till everyone else realizes the babys not at all human
I agree with the whole multiple leaders unite creating a huge alliance
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As to Alexis et al...I really think this is an overly elaborate way to justify Moon Bloodgood's absence when she has her actual baby (I was distracted by the thought itbwill be very funny when she comes back and looks like last season and no one mentions it).

Wouldn't the multiple president thing just kind of be Revolution? But with aliens..which would make Revolution awesome....

So obviously Hal is not the mole here is episode three though I agree much more interesting storyline potential. I also would kind of like more background to Ben's buddy and how they paired up. I don't remember her from last season so um...what is her name even?
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I agree, this baby should go rather soon than later. But it will not happen. She will surely grow up super fast as you wish to bring another level to TFS. It is already quite messy with all the different aliens. Why not add few other things ?
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