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Falling Skies S03E08: "Strange Brew"


At one point during our latest Karen-tortures-the-sanity-out-of-Tom session, Tom started giggling uncontrollably and Evil Karen asked, "You find this funny?" and that's when the giggles that *I* had managed to suppress for a good chunk of the amazingness that was "Strange Brew" came bursting out, because it was funny. "Strange Brew" was a funny episode and deep down, Falling Skies is a funny show. 

The problem with a story like that of "Strange Brew," especially given what we've already seen in Falling Skies with the Espheni's mind-control abilities, is that from our very first look at Noah Wylie's clean, meticulously shaven face, we knew the situation was bullshit. We knew that Tom was either injured, brainwashed, or sleeping, and it was only a matter of time before the facade would give way to the reality that actually mattered. Tom's dream world wasn't even particularly interesting, save for Weaver popping up as the homeless prophet to issue a warning about the impending end of the world. Who is Anne Glass? Who cares. We know who she is, we know that Rebecca Mason isn't real, and we know that eventually, Tom will snap out of this and the whole experience will be nothing more than another bitter memory to add to the growing pile. 

So let's get to the real plot!

Tom was indeed being tortured (OMG THOSE EYE SPIKES. NOT COOL.) in an attempt to glean info on which city the 2nd Mass and the Volm would be attacking with their super cannon. Tom managed to withstand all torment—even his "rescue" and return to "Charleston"—without letting anything slip because Tom is infallible, always. It was mighty satisfying watching him waste Karen, though, even if it was only a fantasy.  


In response to Tom's lack of cooperation, Karen accelerated the people-frying grid. Back in Charleston, Lourdes thought it was pretty, but since she made that comment to Maggie, who has a history of not reporting her friends when they say/do weird crap, her fondness for the death ray will surely go unnoticed. Meanwhile, Weaver's investigation of Manchester and Hathaway's murders has zeroed in on Marina because she's creepy, too (and, more importantly, lacks a reliable alibi for when Hathaway was shot). Finally... except they're all so sure about Marina now that they're not paying attention to anyone else. HOW HAVE YOU PEOPLE SURVIVED FOR SO LONG? 

After escaping from Karen's lair and using a skitter for padding while jumping from a probably fatal height (WUT?), Tom fled to his former cookie-cutter dream home to mope and talk to his ghost-wife about how he needs to survive because everybody else in the world is incompetent and only Tom can save us with his amazing ability to be perf at all times. 

Okay, Tom pocketing the note on the fridge tugged at the heartstrings a little. BUT ONLY A LITTLE. <3 this show!



NOTES

– Sometimes I really don't think the writers of Falling Skies seem to understand just how big the country actually is. Or how annoying Tom Mason, Super Jesus is. Dude's stranded in Boston, his kids have no idea where he is, and they're just like, "It's cool, he walked from Michigan that one time." Yes, and it was ridiculous that time around too. 

– I don't think Karen actually killed Anne and Alexis, do you? 

– Ten bucks buys Hal enough gas to make the trip to the station worthwhile? If we hadn't already known that Tom was dreaming, that would've been the giveaway. 

– Why didn't Tom know who Annie was in the dream? It just seems like a huge oversight on the part of whoever's programming the nightmare machine. I mean, if Dream Tom had been aware of his "affair" with Annie, then he probably would've picked a city the first time she asked, and then BOOM, Espheni win. Or why not just have him go on a trip with his wife? Either someone sucked at their job OR Tom is just impossible to crack—and, based on Tom's constant exceptionalism, I'm guessing it's the latter option. Though to be fair, it's not like we know how the machine is meant to work, whether there's some level of control over what Tom experiences or whether it just taps into his memories and everyone crosses their fingers, but once he figured out the charade the first time, the thing was pretty much useless.

– All things considered, Karen seems like a pretty ineffectual overlord. 

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 8/30/2015

Season 5 : Episode 10

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If Karen wanted to find out which city the rebels wanted to attack, couldn't she have just planted a bug in Tom instead of using the dream machine? Seems like the bug completely converted everyone else, and there was no explanation why this wouldn't work on Tom.

This series is just rife with inconsistencies and dramatic filler.

But my favorite has to be the premise of the show: an alien race with interstellar travel and the ability to "see into the fabric of the universe to predict the future" couldn't invent some simple artillery to shell New Charleston into the ground before the attack?
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I shall now refer to this as the Jacksonville episode. it's weird, I live in Jax and I've seen like 4 shows over the last few days to mention the HELL out of Jacksonville... Come for the River walk, stay for the alien invasion!
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If the writers really wanted to make an intersting episode about (not) getting the information from Tom, they should have either watched Homeland's "Q&A" or Babylon 5's "Intersections in real time". They were really great.
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It saddens me that reviewers and fans alike, put in more thought than the writers when analysing the episodes.
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It saddens me that (re)viewers and fans put in so much thought, instead of relaxing and watching a show.
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What an unbelievable load of crap. Worst episode of any show other than Hemlock Grove this year. Only three episodes left of the season, and they chose to waste almost every second of this one with pointless nonsense. No one knows how to waste time like the writers of Falling Skies. They are masters of waste.
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Actually liked the mind-manipulation stuff, though it did go on for too long. It was fun picking out who got what role in Tom's fake life.

One other reason the writers may have done it this way: they wanted us to question whether the rest of the episode's event were real. We spent the entire second half wondering if the grid had really gone up and Tom had escaped. Was almost hoping that it was still a trick (because the mole/non-mole stuff is painfully obvious to watch)
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Cochise reminded the folks in Charleston that the Espheni would be too smart to have just one mole. But how does that work exactly? How many moles are the Espheni allowed to have? Can't they make all the people in Charleston moles? Because in that case they could all stop pretending and admire the beauty of the death ray. It's just that this whole mole situation seems so arbitrary and there could be any number of moles, any number the writers find convenient.
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Yup - especially since we saw Lourdes covered in worm-things which she could hypothetically use on others. But if it's so easy to co-opt people as you suggest, why don't the Espheni just convert everyone and turn it into Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Or infect tons of people to destroy all of the radios/weapons, etc?

Ah Falling Skies...we shouldn't think too hard about this
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That was the cutest, cleanest post-apocalyptic kitten I've ever seen. Do the producers mean that cute had had been surviving scavenging for food? I know working with animals is problematic, but they clearly got someone's pet for that, and as soon as the scene was over, the kitten was offered a milk saucer.

Tom Mason must be possessed by the aliens if he left the cute kitten alone to fend for himself in that cruel world.

Yeah, I know that was an important part of the episode...
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We thought the same thing. The kitten would have only survived this long by eating Tom's face
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Anne and Alexis are alived, that's for sure.

Tom lost his own way when he desided to resign his president's duttys.

The beggining of the episode was nice, but they could have take more advantage of that.
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Noah Wylie had lost his credibility with me. He stated at the start of season 3 that this was going to be a roller coaster ride of a serie's season. Sunday night's episode was more like a kiddie carousel and I'm talking one that uses ponies instead of machinery. The final 2 episodes better leave me gasping at each commercial break and completely breathless at the end and maybe he can salvage a smidgen of my faith. No way I'm quittin' this show, though!
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That episode was the equivalent of a greatest hits album released to fulfill the quota on a recording contract. No effort, filler episode. The writers are clearly struggling to come up with enough engaging stories to tell for a show that probably should've just been a miniseries. I only wish homeless Weaver's sign was real. I'll keep watching because I've stuck with them this long but I now find myself multitasking instead of being glued to the TV when the show is on.
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All I can say for that episode BORING!!
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For all I care they could stay dead...Yeah i'm heartless.
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No more alien baby - please let it be true!

The last week trailer of this episode looked interesting... After watching "Strange Brew" I felt cheated... It was one of the worst episodes of the series.
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was there not ment to be a big secret revealed this week, i watched a trailer for this episode and it mentioned there would be one.
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How many more of these worthless lead no-where episodes are we gonna have to put up with? Anne and the baby aren't dead. If Karen could just turn on the grid why does she care when or where they're going to attack. Stake em all out. The mole hunt is ridiculous. He fell 500 ft and... nothing. And his house is in Boston, the 2nd mass is in Charleston. How the hell did he walk all the way from that Tower to his house in Boston that fast! How the hell did his kids get all the way back to Charleston that fast!! Why the hell is going back toward the tower! Why am I still watching this SHOW!!!
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I just assumed that the tower he jumped from was in Boston, that they air lifted him there.

Bt now he had a heller long walk back to Carleston
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Ok episode.
But it really bugs me how incompetent they are in figuring out whos the mole.
I do not get how being in your room with a guard outside makes you have no alibi, while the doctor mole who actually has no alibi, somehow is easily cleared.
It just seems like a huge plothole, and/or bad writing.
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Desperately wanting to like this show, but when they pull this hackneyed old standard SF trope with no style or originality, it's head-slapping time. Really the best you can do, Falling Skies?
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I am a fan but I must admit this is the worse episode. This looks like a filter episode and that says a lot for a show that is only 10 episodes long. Now that is out of the way, I just hoped the last 2 would be mind blowing.
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Best part of this episode. Also best tweet on twitter all yesterday. Actress who plays Karen tweeted : "Me: Mom, how's the episode? Mom: I want to smack you. Me: ..... Mom: Karen. Sorry, I want to punch Karen. "
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Where did he get the gun at the end of the episode?
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hated this episode, hated 90% of the season so far, which has been a really big letdown.
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It wasn't bad for what is was. If that makes any sense. It wasn't their usual silly/stupidness. There are aspects of that story that were good. But him jumping off the tower seemed a bit much. And where did he get the revolver from?

Notes.
Yes, these writers obviously suffer from the same lack of geography class that the writers of Revolution have. The country is big. Walking takes a while. Stop it, it is annoying.

No way, one of the only Doctors left in the country and an Alien baby. No way they do that. Anne might be one thing. But Alexis, no freaking way. There are way too many future plots that can stem from her.

Yea whomever wrote that 10 bucks gas thing started driving in the 90's when that would actually get you half a tank of gas.

Because it doesn't make sense in their non making sense plot that he would know who Anne was. If you look at it that way, makes perfect sense.

Yea but she is cute, so there is that.
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that grid thing must of upset the law of gravity, newton would be turning in his grave.
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I only saw bits and pieces of the ep. What happened with the grid? Why did it defy physics?

Or do you mean how falling really far and surviving via squid-mattress
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yea, he must of fell a couple of hundred feet, then walked a few hundred miles, he's one tough s.o.b
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I don't think he walked a few hundred miles (yet!) My guess is they air-lifted him to the tower around Boston and he walked maybe 10miles to his old home.

BUT... now he has to walk ALL the way back to Charleston. Which sucks all-around. At least he's getting good cardio.
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I loved "dream Pope".........oh who am I kidding? I just love Pope lol. Professor Pope ftw. I especially loved how he was still giving Tom a hard time, even in dreamland lol.

Karen doesn't bother me but when Tom "offed" her I was all pumped up like "Go Tom!" :D

This show, lol.
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Actually, this episode has far more in common with the 1965 James Garner film "36 hours". In the Garner film the Germans kidnap him and make him believe that WWII is in fact over and he's being treated for a mental order/memory loss-- which occurred during the D-Day Invasion. The entire film revolves around him being asked over and over about the land beaches code names and locations (for those that don't know they are Juno, Sword and Gold for the Canadian and British forces and Utah and Omaha for the US Forces). Finally his lovely fake wife accidentally gives herself away as a German and he realizes that he is in fact a POW... Oh no. Of course he escapes the Germans!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK1Yo6VbRoo


However, let's get to the nitty gritty of this episode-- why would his fantasy world of the life before the invasion actually have people in it from his present? It would seem that we should see an entire new cast of players to play people in this fantasy of his past. And it makes less sense that Anne would play any part in the fantasy at all. Why wouldn't it be his own wife asking him about the location of their next Vacation or whatever?

Furthermore can you trust anything at all is the question? What is to stop Tom from falling to solipsism (brief definition: the philosophical concept that only your mind exists in the universe) ? It seems to me far more likely that after a few different iterations of this mind romp Tom would stop believing in anything at all but his own mind and just shutdown. Thus possibly having a total split from all reality outside of his own creation. Damn all those skeptical philosophers of the enlightenment and beyond i.e Descartes, Pascal and Hobbes to name a few.

Finally, however, this episode fails to even answer the most basic question we the viewers have and this of course why would the Volm attack a target so far away from the location of the weapon? In fact it would seem if the weapon is going to create a massive feed in the network that ultimately destroys the entire network itself then really why cannot the target be the closest tower to Charleston? For most of the first part of the episode I couldn't for the life of me figure out why "Chicago, New York, Boston, or Jacksonville" were even being mentioned at all. I think it would have made far more sense if they kept on trying to find out what the weapon was going to do in the first place. But hey the writers of this show aren't exactly good at this entire writing thing now are they?

I mean they had Hal 9000 for months and the best Karen could do is get him to come out into the woods for a midnight tryst?
Not exactly something worthy of the time or effort in making Hal your unknowing minion.

And let's talk about Marina-- first off if Marina were the true mole that killed President Hathaway-- why not just once in power strap herself full of C-4 and go for a closeup inspection and blow yourself and the weapon up! Or kill Cochise and his people? Blowing up the radio is nonsensical since if Marina were mole and wanted to divide the humans she could simply just tell other humans that some human i.e. Tom Mason killed the President! Thus dividing the humans and reducing any potential human coalition forming.

So clearly just because Marina has a poor alibi it doesn't mean she is in fact the mole. I still cannot believe that Anthony didn't question all of the medical staff in the area... Clearly Loudres cannot have a solid alibi either.


Overall I give this episode a -10... It is perfect in the sense that it is completely worthless.




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I must also add that it was more then a little creepy to see Matt and Tom both checking out Hal's girlfriend with Aqualung like leer.
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Pope should be a hippy teacher full time - 'Dead Pope's Society'.
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Err... could have done without the dream squence crap, it's so over done.

And what's with Anne and the kid dying? All that hype about the alien demon baby and they kill them off off screne? wtf?
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They really didn't need to completely steal plotlines from 1967's "The Prisoner". The show is too corny and lacks the cool to pull that off.
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Curious. What did you think of "The Prisoner" remake they did several years ago?
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Laf, now there's a question that almost always ends badly.
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The three biggest problems I had with this episode was 1) they probably should have cut to the theme right after Tom woke up and saw his wife, we all knew who she was and 2) boys, you lot knew where he was going, why didn't you either a) check or b) weren't you on a mission that your father told you to continue with? And wouldn't it have been a good distraction to have the real time things happening in Charleston?

It was an interesting way to have an episode go (I must confess, I was still not sure if Tom was in reality once he jumped) but it weirdly made me far less concerned about the Eshemi (sp?) because they seriously couldn't figure out that the way they had Matt do it was the most subtle thing the whole episode.
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I actually found myself enjoying most of this episode, in a weird way! It was good to see the actors in a different setting, and the mind games Karen played on Tom were interesting.
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I think (or at least hoping for the sake of humanity) that this show must be looked at as a character study; it has absolutely no consistent logic to it whatsoever. I think I have said it before, Mary-Anne thinks the writers don't know how big the country is and I don't think they have any educational background at all.
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While seeing Karen get blasted was cool, the rest of the episode was Ho Hum. You're right on in saying that Weaver as the "Prophet" was the best part of the episode.

I don't think Alexis is dead. I think the Overlords have her and that was a clone in the incubation pod, or something along those lines, meant solely to get Tom to stop looking for Anne and Alexis.

Overall I'm a bit disappointed with how season 3 is turning out. Aside from Lourdes as the mole, everything has been rather predictable. A story is only interesting if you don't know what's coming.

Of course the question now is do they attack Boston, because it's Boston, Jacksonville, because it's closest to Charleston, or Chicago, since it's in the Midwest, is furthest away, and frankly has never been part of the story. Boston seems like the dead giveaway, but maybe they'll surprise us.
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– I don't think Karen actually killed Anne and Alexis, do you?

If the baby is half alien, then no, They're both alive.
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This episode just wasted my time, i skipped the dream part after a few minutes then kept skipping until some action, watched then skipped to the end. once again a total waste of time.

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