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!
– 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.