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Falling Skies S03E07: "The Pickett Line"

On this week's Very Special Episode of Falling Skies, Matt Mason wasted a mountain man who stole his horse (and tried to stab his brother in the face), and the Masons and the Picketts learned what it really means to be human.  I think we've reached so-bad-it's-good territory! So excited! 

Despite the fact that NO ONE ACTUALLY KNOWS WHERE ANNIE AND ALEXIS ARE, Tom and his flawless sons left Charleston behind in search of their surrogate mommy and creepy alien stepsister. Eventually, it was declared that Anne and and Alexis were in Mechanicsville... though based on what lead, I do not know. Along the way, the band of brothers (and dad) ran into a dying rebel skitter and I decided that I feel sadder when skitters die than I do when humans perish on this show, mostly because the humans are increasingly irritating and the ones who do croak are usually relatively unimportant outside of being plot points. At least the rebel skitters are kind of interesting. 


While on the run from some mechs, the Masons ran into the Picketts because no post-apocalyptic tale is complete without the obligatory reminder that the family from Deliverance will always, always, always be more dangerous and terrifying than the extraterrestrials. Before we met the Picketts, however, Tom voiced his decision that maaaaybe the Mason famdidly shouldn't return to Charleston after they find their women. After all, Ben gets enough flack for his spikes, and now Hal can never be trusted again ever, and Alexis isn't even human. Who cares if Tom Mason is Falling Skies' chosen one, the only human in Charleston who never makes the wrong decision ever? Can we talk about how eagerly Tom shirked his responsibility to the people he'd sworn to lead when he let himself be elected president? Ditching his office was bad enough, even if it was at least marginally understandable, and given his eternal emotional compromise, it might have been a very good call if not for the fact that Marina is SO OBVIOUSLY SKETCHY AND SNEAKY AND AWFUL AND OMG I JUST CAN'T WITH THE WILLFUL BLINDNESS FROM ALL OF THE PEOPLE ANYMORE UGGGHAKLJASKDL JASKLF!!!1!


Okay. I'm fine. I got it out of my system and I'm fine. 

Anyway. Tom ditching the presidency was kind of selfish, but not irredeemably selfish, if that makes sense. Sure, he stepped down to pursue his own wants, the state of the fledgling union be damned, but at least he was honest. He knew he couldn't be an effective leader in his current situation. But this new decision to not go back to Charleston at all seems like overkill. The battle is far from over, even with the Volm's help, which—surprise!—may not actually be help after all. Tom was the only guy in the entire city who had absolute faith in the Volm's plan, and Marina was at odds with him over the super cannon before he stepped down; he had to realize that she'd use her shiny new executive powers to enforce her own policies concerning the Volm, and that they'd certainly be drastically different than his own. 

Whining aside, I will say that Falling Skies has done a good job of keeping the nature of the Volm's true intentions pretty solidly ambiguous. I've gone back and forth on whether they're good or bad so many times I've developed vertigo, and this late in the season, that's rather remarkable and enjoyable. Picking up his "mouthpiece of the viewers" role yet again, Pope took a page out of Thoreau's book and called on the unwashed masses of Charleston to defy what he recognized as an increasingly totalitarian state under Marina's influence, only to have Weaver turn around and arrest him... only to have Weaver turn around and let him go because something's totally fishy in Chucktown and Pope is the only human in the city with any freaking common sense left. 

Also: Lourdes! You BAMF-y brainwashed mole, you! Look at you! Assassinating the president with the same gun that blew a hole in Manchester and everything. Admittedly, the actual assassination was kind of awesome. I was expecting arsenic in the IV lines or something. I guess that would have too quickly implicated her, though—and can we please not with the guppies swimming around in her face? I mean, gag. 

All in all, "The Pickett Line" was a good Falling Skies episode in that it confirmed some theories, raised some new possibilities, and kept us entertained. However, it was also very silly. It was only a matter of time before Matt Mason killed a person and forced us all to think deep thoughts about it, and I knew it was going to be as preachy as Sunday morning after you get caught streaking in your grandma's backyard, but that was just priceless. Self-righteous much, Mason family? 



NOTES

– The inevitable problem with splitting the ongoing narrative into two distinct stories—The Mason Family Adventure Hour and Something's Rotten in the Town of Charleston—is that one is invariably more appealing than the other. Personally, I'm more invested in the goings-on in Charleston. Some of you might prefer to hang out with with the Masons. Unfortunately, the split makes for some disjointed episodes when you're forced to spend half the time waiting to get back to the group you're actually interested in. 

– Hey everybody! Lourdes is the mole! Congrats and confetti to those of you who called it! Marina is still totally a baddie though, right? Or am I just sounding desperate now? 

 Christopher Heyerdahl played Mr. Pickett. Hi, Alastair! <3<3<3

– On that note, does Falling Skies have some sweet guest-star action this season or what? 

– Here are the humans' options, according to Cochise:

1. Use the super cannon to overload the generator shielding the planet, or drop dead of radiation poisoning in about three months. 

2. Use the super cannon to overload the generator shielding the planet, accidentally kick the sucker into overdrive, and drop dead of radiation poisoning ahead of schedule. 

3. Use the super cannon and (maybe) win?

This plan sucks. 

– Will the Masons return to Charleston to save everybody with their sheer Mason-ness, or is Falling Skies setting itself up for a fourth season that eschews the "comforts" of Charleston in favor of a return to the migrant militia the show started out with? Is that something you'd want?


What'd you think of "The Pickett Line"?

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 8/31/2014

Season 4 : Episode 12

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