by J.D. Balthazar
That was an intense episode. So many things happened in such a short amount of time.
This time the theme was all about resources. Fuel, ammunition, food, but most importantly the people of the 2nd Mass, specifically our main characters who really are the beating heart and brains of this group of survivors. Especially Weaver, who's been holding the entire thing together by sheer force of will.
Karen's arrival was both unexpected and suspicious, so I wasn't surprised to find that she was very much a plant by the Master Aliens. It was cool that no one except Hal seemed to believe her. But even so, she managed to cause chaos and is shaping up to be one hell of a villain. The unharnessed kids are just as scary, if not more, than the Skitters. The writers could probably shift the face of the enemy to Karen, and I hope they keep her around. Especially considering the way Pope described her. It sounded like she's been completely twisted by the Master Aliens into something truly frightening. I also loved the scene with the confrontation between Maggie and Karen. Karen's acrobatics really demonstrated how big a weapon the unharnessed kids represent.
Poor Ben. What did Karen do to him? What was that spike glowy communion thing with that creepy kiss? Did she manipulate him into going along with her plans? Is that what Red Eye did to Rick and Ben? So many new questions, but thankfully, they tend to answer things at a fairly quick pace. They've been hinting the entire season that there's something different about Ben. All three sides seem to want him, and the poor kid doesn't know where he belongs. The Master Aliens want him for information about their enemies, Red eye wants him to be the human voice of his rebellion, and the 2nd Mass. wants him because he's family. What makes him special? Why is he able to retain a sense of self and apparent freedom, unlike Rick and Karen? Could the fate of the world rest in the hands of an extremely messed up and traumatized teenager? That's a frightening thought.
As intriguing as the Ben plot is shaping up to be, I wish I felt the same about Weaver's injury. I've been getting death vibes from him since the beginning of the season, and I've grown fond of the overbearing bastard. From the moment he got bit, that leg wound has had bad mojo written all over it. At least it hasn't turned into a fully grown harness worm... yet. So far it's just a parasitic infection that caused some pretty violent convulsions. I understand his need to appear strong to the group as a whole, but he should've brought Tom into the loop.
It seems like everyone keeps getting hurt, and that's not good. People can handle only so much trauma before their bodies start giving out on them. Dr. Glass has patched up Tom, Pope, Maggie, and Weaver a bunch of times now. The blood siphoning procedure (Extracorporeal Hypothermia) is a real thing. I'm not sure about the science, but it felt like a screenwriter's attempt to create a solution to a medical problem. Maybe it was the best solution, but it felt a little too easy. I am glad that Pope came back to warn the 2nd Mass about the incoming Skitter attack, but how was he close enough to find them? I guess it was possible he was headed to Charleston, too. He likes to pretend that he doesn't care, but he always seems to come through for the group.
I'm wondering why the Aliens don't just wipe the 2nd Mass out once and for all? And then it occurred to me that they might be having the same problem with resources as the 2nd Mass. Did the Master Aliens use up all their resources, fuel, ammunition and such on the initial invasion? Is that the reason why the human resistance poses any kind of threat, because the aliens simply didn't plan for a long drawn out war? Maybe that's why they occupied the Skitter home world for a century -- they needed to build up their supplies for the next invasion.
Hal literally tripped over the mass grave with the dead unharnessed kids. Were they all executed so that Karen could infiltrate the 2nd Mass? That's pretty horrible, but considering the Master Aliens have killed billions, what's a few dozen more.
Karen's nudity was covered up with some conveniently placed leaves. That's fine since this is a family show. But they could've done a better job making those leaves fall more naturally. It kinda looked like a blanket with leaves sewn onto it.
Maggie is higher up on the 2nd Mass food chain than I thought. I wonder what her official rank is?
During the entire scene where Weaver was waking up I kept chanting, what about Maggie!!!
Ben is too good. He needs to learn to trust his instincts. For the most part those instincts have been pretty good, but he lets others sway him from that gut feeling more often than not.
They are still running lights at the hospital. No wonder the Skitters are coming straight for them.
Pope calls the Master Aliens/Overlords "Fish-heads". I think I'm gonna use that term from now on.
Tom is capable of running the 2nd Mass. but it was obvious he didn't fully grasp the scope of what Weaver does from day to day. I officially take back that comment I made in season 1 about Weaver's usefulness.
I loved the Tom and Anne moments. Up until this episode I hadn't really felt their chemistry that much. But I do now, and I really like them as a couple. I wonder how long it'll be until they are pulled apart.
Karen asked where they were going, and Ben had the presence of mind to lie. However, it's likely she overheard about Charleston from someone in the building. Is the Skitter rebellion and Charleston on the level? She also asked about Pope and Uncle Scott, and we finally found out how Scott died. At least it was heroic.
Tom: "Time to go to work. You know Weaver and his schedules. Tom, we're gonna have meetings, every morning, 9 o'clock, rain or shine. Come hell or high water. Come Skitters or Mechs dancing in the mess hall. And Tom, I can't abide any tardiness."
Tom: "How was your harness removed?"
Karen: "I'm not sure, but I can only guess that..."
Karen: "That I'd served my purpose."
Anne: "I'm not your wife, Tom, and we don't have the luxury of having a lover's spat in this stupid wasteland of a world. All we get to do is survive."
Tom: "I've had this job for less than a day and I don't think any of us realized how much he's held the 2nd Mass together with spit and glue and sheer willpower. Our best chance of survival is his survival."
Karen: "I for sure don't feel connected anymore, cause I remember what that felt like."
Ben: "You do?"
Karen: "Yeah, like a hand wrapped around my throat. Moving me around like I was a ragdoll, hardly able to breathe. Forced to witness horrible things, powerless to speak out. You must remember?"
Ben: "I remember."
Karen: "And you were paired with the Skitters. Imagine ten times that."
Yet again I was happy to see another strong entry in what is shaping up to be an exponential improvement over last season, even though there have been some minor plot contrivances. If they keep this up, I might have to put this show on my list of all time favorites.
3 1/2 out of 4 Barrels of diesel.