by J.D. Balthazar
Why do I feel like they took three steps forward with the 2-parter and "What Hides Beneath", only to take two steps back here? Not that there wasn't some good stuff in this episode. But why did they have to revert Weaver into the super bastard again?
I think I'm gonna start with Weaver this time. They did need to address the pills. They made a point of showing him taking them, and I'm glad they didn't leave the plot hanging. It even worked both in character, and thematically, to have Weaver fall apart like this. But in the last episode, he made so much progress. He faced his demons and turned a corner. It felt like he finally trusted Tom enough to let him in. Only here he not only pushed him away, he shut him out and ultimately imprisoned him.
The whole Captain Queeg thing was frustrating. The new Lieutenant coming out of nowhere felt plot-convenient, and it sucked that Jimmy was the one put in the middle. Anne explained that using uppers and downers like that can cause paranoia, check, mood swings, check, and even hallucinations, check I think. So it does explain his behavior completely. So why didn't it work? Still, I did like that practically the entire the cast rallied to Tom's side to stage an intervention with guns, it was a nice touch.
I understand loyalty. I understand losing your commander the moment before an attack would be devastating to the cause. But is Weaver fit for command? At this point I think he should've been benched for a long while, and Tom should've taken over. I did think that Pope acted in character, although how did he get a gun? The security in the 2nd Mass. is woefully inadequate. I did like the relationship beginning to grow between Pope and Matt, though. For some reason it works for me.
The other plot that took up time, even though I wasn't sure I cared, was Ben discovering that he might not be as human as he hoped. The big question, of course, is he going to become like Rick, and reject humanity? Personally, I don't think so. He has too much fight in him. Rick seemed weak from the get-go, plus the Skitters cured him of a disease that robbed him of his childhood. I can easily see how his loyalties have shifted, especially after Mike was killed.
Then there was the news about the harnessed Skitters presented to Tom. The leap of logic about the harnessed kids being transformed into Skitters seems to have been retconned. Tom thinks that the humanoid aliens must've harnessed the Skitters. It is a much easier explanation than the harnesses mutating kids into Skitters. It also solves the inherent problem with where that initial wave came from. But it doesn't have quite the same bite to it. So what if Skitters are slaves? That doesn't mean they wouldn't be hostile. It might fix a couple of plot holes, but until it's debunked, I think the first idea is the right one.
Heartwarming: The various goodbyes were a little on the heartwarming side. But none of them stood out as badly as some of the sickeningly sweet ones we got earlier in the season.
Death: Porter's HQ was hit off screen. He is missing and presumed dead. I liked Porter, but his death didn't really have much of an impact, probably because we didn't see it. Wouldn't that have made a brilliant opening scene? Although Dai getting injured at Porter's HQ did connect us to the event a little.
Outside the school there was a sign that said, "Home of the JFK Minutemen." I thought that was a cool little Easter egg.
Why did Lourdes keep that information about Weaver's pills from Dr. Glass for so long? She's a dutiful, slightly nosy type she should've mentioned it as soon as Weaver started acting odd.
Margaret threatening Pope was fun. They have good acting chemistry.
Hal volunteering to go on the mission made sense, but it was really cool that Tom didn't protest. He treated him like the adult he really is, which has been a little inconsistent over the season.
Tom saluting Weaver fit in the moment and worked for the episode. But felt really off. I would still have some major issues with Weaver in command if I were Tom.
I haven't mentioned the score up until now because it didn't really stand out to me. But the final few minutes with the super cheesy war music was just badly done.
Weaver said he quit taking the pills as soon as he and Tom came back from the scouting mission. If that were true, wouldn't the paranoia and stuff have worn off by now? Guess that was the withdrawal symptoms.
So who's going to die setting off the bombs?
Pope: "Two arms, two legs, no brains. Welcome to the Second Massachusetts."
Anne: "We want to follow you, all of us. You just have to let us."
Hal: "You stay here, I'll go on the mission. But I'll need another rider. You have anybody in mind?"
Margaret: "Yeah, he asked, I volunteered. The no questions asked part intrigued me."
Weaver was redeemed in the last episode. In this one, his character was completely assassinated. Yet I think I still like the character, sort of. They could've done anything in this penultimate episode; instead, we got manufactured drama. I didn't hate this one, but it didn't meet the new bar set by "Sanctuary" and "What Hides Beneath".
2 out of 4 short fuses.