With an episode title like "Love and Other Acts of Courage," it was obvious that hooking up would be a big agenda item for Falling Skies this week. But you know what else was on the syllabus for the day? MOVING FORWARD WITH SOME MAJOR PLOTTAGE! There were goo-goo eyes aplenty, but the real takeaway from "Love and Other Acts of Courage" was the introduction of an alien resistance that really respects what we humans do. That is, if we can trust a space spider with pink eye.
We've been waiting for some surprises in Season 2, which until now has largely just been "See alien, shoot alien, run away," and this new alien resistance is the biggest turn of events for the show since we learned that all Skitters weren't created equally. Or that they were equal before they were created. You know what I mean, Skitters were something else before they were Skitters.
So it makes sense that they wouldn't be happy about being enslaved by pale skinny dudes, even if the resistance-within-enemy-ranks plot is nothing new in storytelling. Hey, I'm on board. I've got nothing better to do. This development at least adds a big layer to a show that has largely been black-and-white with its aliens, the effects of which are causing trouble within the 2nd Mass and the Mason family. And it opens up the chances for inter-species romance! Red-Eye and Margaret and Hal will be involved in a gross love triangle, I'm calling it!
I do have a complaint, though—and this isn't isolated to Falling Skies, but in this case it will serve as the example—and that's the little trust dance that captive and captors always do on shows like this. The big question for the captors is whether or not to trust Pink-Eye, and the big task for Pink-Eye is to gain the trust of the humans. I don't know if Skitters have the intelligence of a chinchilla or what, but it would seem that a logical step—even for a chinchilla—would be to give up some decent information that the human resistance can use against the lankly alien overlords to build some trust, and promise to provide more useful intel if they can work together. See? I'd make a GREAT captive.
Instead, all we got was the same sob story we'd figured was coming all along. The bad aliens ravaged the good aliens' planet and turned them into six-legged Sleestaks with vertical mouths, just as we already knew. Maybe this info was more of a refresher course for people who didn't watch Season 1, but I was hoping for more from Pink-Eye. We did get some sort of time frame on the alien destruction, though, as Pink-Eye said his people have been enslaved for something like 100 years. But is that 100 human years, or do aliens work in dog years? Who knows!? Again, Falling Skies isn't alone in the never-ending trust dance ("Why should I trust you!?" "Because I said so!" "That's not good enough!" "Well I'm right!"); plenty of other shows do the same thing, and I don't know if it's because they think we can't handle a lot of information at once or if they need to stretch out their seasons because they lack story. It's just a tad frustrating.
But how valuable is Pink-Eye to the 2nd Mass now? Pink-Eye said the Death Squad was coming for HIM as well as the humans, so all the trust he built up inside the Mothership is as dead as Jimmy. I figured the 2nd Mass would use him as a man-alien-crustacean on the inside, but since he was outed by the bad guys, he's lost a lot of his worth as a clandestine spy-der. Now he's just good for telling the 2nd Mass what parts of Skitters are ticklish, and hopefully, how to put a hole through a Mech. It's still valuable info, but I'd rather see the 2nd Mass strap a bomb to Pink-Eye and have him walk up to the Big Alien in Charge and detonate, Sgt. Brody-style.
Ben's storyline continues to fascinate me, but Falling Skies is starting to lose me a bit by not taking him to the next step. We've known for a while that he has some weird connection to Pink-Eye, but the way the show is handling his situation—mostly secretively—isn't as effective as it could be. If we knew up front what Ben was thinking, we'd be able to get more out of his conflict. As of now, it's resigned us to anticipating that we won't know what's really going on with him and we'll just get little nuggets at the end of each episode as the season goes on, which would be okay if those nuggets were more enticing. And why is it only now that Weaver is voicing concern for Ben? That ship sailed a long time ago, Weaver. To borrow from one of your many grizzled military clichés, you done got caught with your pants down already.
Enough of the aliens, let's talk about *makes a circle with one hand and sticks index finger in and out of hole with other hand*!! The Margaret-Hal relationship is taking off like a one of those soda-bottle rockets that didn't get enough air in it. The attraction is there, but Margaret is still a little hung up on her past. But not because of ex-boyfriends who left her in a ditch on prom night, because of brain tumors. I understand having them removed was a traumatic experience, but if she's not making out with Hal because they got removed, I'd hate to see her if they hadn't. As for Anne and Tom, well, those two are acting like horny teenagers. My respect for Anne just shot up like a nudist at the Playboy Mansion because she was so good to go and get Mason'd that she dragged Tom by the hand into the first room that was available. Take a page from your dad's book and get a room already, Hal.
Still, Falling Skies is having a horrible time writing its female characters and not giving them anything meaty to chew on except for Tom, Hal, and Jemile. People talk about The Newsroom being a poor place to be a female character, but Falling Skies is right there with it in the Chauvinism Club. And the saddest part is that the show has a great female character just waiting to be awesome in Margaret. But nooooo, the writers would rather have her fall off her motorcycle and be rescued by Hal. We saw her blast a Mech with an RPG in the Season 2 premiere. She should be drinking blood from Skitter skulls by now. Anne is still a Band-Aid pusher, and Lourdes is still an assistant Band-Aid pusher. Looks like the aliens not only blew up our homes, Wal-Marts, and internet, they also blew up our sense of women's rights.
We're five episodes into Season 2, and I'm just going to go ahead and say that it's better than Season 1 was at this point by a healthy margin. Let's hope the trend continues. And that starts with Margaret ripping a Mech in half with her bare hands.
– After Maggie said she couldn't be with Hal, did you see her ride off with her kickstand out? WOMEN! I TELL YA!
– Did those two berserkers totally get it on in the hospital? Was that why she referred to the bed as "very bouncy"? TMI, y'all! However, they played pace car for Hal and Mags, and Hal still couldn't seal the deal. Come on, Hal.
– R.I.P. Rick. Your hair was an inspiration to us all. But your demise wasn't even close to Jimmy's. JIMMMMMMMMMMY! NOOOOOOOOoooooooo!
– I don't think we saw one alien die in this episode. We saw dead aliens, but we never actually saw one die.
– Ladies, don't worry. If we're hiding in a car and lying on top of each other to avoid getting blasted apart by a Mech's Gatling-gun-hands while aliens tromp around JUST OUTSIDE of our hiding spot, I will not be flirting with you and telling you stories about my ex-girlfriends. I will probably be peeing my pants. Also Hal, you have no game. Shut up about your exes.
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom