Lexie may not've slaughtered everyone once she emerged from her cocoon, but that's okay, because that's what her Espheni family is for. Fed up with the war-mongering 2nd Mass, Lexie claimed to be so over their B.S. and ready to return to her alien extended family. She took out Lourdes on the way (finally!) and left the Masons reeling after Annie's claims that Lexie was totally harmless turned out to be less than true. Annie is still clinging to the idea that Lexie is being mind-controlled or brainwashed, that she's not acting of her own volition, and given the way that Falling Skies likes to make sure its protagonists are right about everything always, that'll probably be the case. But in the meantime, a botched battle plan has left half the 2nd Mass dead—including quite a few familiar faces—and after seven episodes of wandering and finally reuniting after Charleston, our heroes are in no better shape than they were, well, ever. I guess that's probably how an alien apocalypse would indeed go down, but I'm starting to wonder if Falling Skies isn't starting to suffer from the Supernatural syndrome, in which nothing but awful stuff ever happens to the characters and tuning in becomes an exercise in masochism for the audience.
However, I can't fault Falling Skies for taking the brutally honest angle. The series is comfortable with its current set-up in a way it really hasn't been since Season 2—before the 2nd Mass settled in Charleston and teamed up with the Volm and forged increasingly surprisingly complicated relations with other bands of human survivors. That level of comfort has allowed Falling Skies to more deeply explore the nuances, motivations, and tics of its characters; not only do we have Hal joining in on questioning Tom's leadership in a role that previously belonged almost exclusively to Pope, but it seems that everyone has a bone to pick with their fearless leader. And yet, Tom Mason is in no real danger of being usurped by his charges. Particularly where the disagreements with his family are concerned, the dissent is contained and remains in perspective of the larger problems at hand. The ongoing struggle to survive has granted the members of the 2nd Mass the ability to question without necessarily destroying, which means they can more freely display their dissatisfaction without fear of inadvertently making things worse. Hal is angry at Tom for failing to protect their followers from Lexie, but he still loves and respects his father. And during an exchange with Sarah in the heat of battle, Pope confirmed what we've all known this entire time: He talks a good game, but at the end of the day, he's as loyal to the 2nd Mass as any member of the Mason family (besides Lexie, of course).
With Lexie no longer a fixture in the Hippie Camp of Horrors, the Espheni have resumed their attacks on humanity's fleeting remnants. Ben snuck out to find Lexie while the rest of the 2nd Mass stayed behind to execute what was, in all honesty, a pretty decent plan until a ruptured gas line took out half the troops. Among the more prominent casualties were Lourdes, Dr. Robert, and possibly Maggie—who spent half the episode MIA only to reappear during the final frame of the episode's death montage. Tom was buried alive, and the surviving members of his family and his forces have retreated underground to fake their deaths and hope the Espheni take a hint and walk away. Those who did survive the disastrous battle are both mentally and physically wounded, and there's no guarantee that even if the Espheni believe that the've all perished, they won't come back a'knocking (especially given Lexie's apparent psychic-whatsit connection to her mommy.)
At this point in the season, it's usually safe to say we're at a turning point for the story arc, but if that is truly the case as of "Saturday Night Massacre," then I don't believe the needle has moved in a direction that immediately favors the humans... which is fine. It's still entirely too early for a decisive human victory, and given that we know Falling Skies will conclude with a fifth and final season next year, we can also rest easy knowing that the scraps of humanity won't be completely decimated at the end of this season, either. Probably.
Of course, that doesn't mean the Espheni still can't pack in a whole lot of hurt in the meantime, and "Saturday Night Massacre" had hurt for days.
All in all, it wasn't a bad follow-up to the snoozefest that "Door Number Three" gave us last week.
– Whose death are you mourning the most? I was sad to see the 2nd Mass's resident mad scientist bite it, even though he had a pretty good run.
– Aww, Pope just wanted Sarah to go skitter-hunting with him. Too bad she's like totally traumatized now.
– So I guess Lourdes wasn't evil after all—just drunk on Kool-Aid.