As I write my analysis of this exciting episode, our news teams are deployed covering Falling Skies in San Diego at Comic-Con for you! I wish we all could go to San Diego for SDCC, but fear not, exclusive interviews are coming to you in our next post from Team WHR!
This episode is called Homecoming, so we may be left wondering, homecoming for whom? Pope(Colin Cunningham)and Anthony (Mpho Koaho) show up near the end of the episode. Is the title for them? No, it is more likely meant for Karen (Jessy Schram) who shows up as the group’s latest rescue from the aliens.
But then, sometimes a rescue is not what it appears. I know that if I were part of an invasion force, I would do what I could to use the enemy’s culture and natural tendencies against them. Humans are very good at sympathy and being helpful. So, lets use that against them.
With their numbers dwindling, the2nd Mass is on the move to Charleston, South Carolina. They stop over at an abandoned hospital in Virginia. After sleeping rough for some time, hospital beds are a very welcome substitute for the hard ground.
Dr. Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood) and Tom Mason (Noah Wyle), who have been getting closer over the past several episodes, have finally had a chance to spend the night together. They look like a happy couple. Unfortunately, real life comes crashing in. Tom has to attend a briefing with Weaver and Anne has her own chores to perform.
While paying attention to Captain Weaver(Will Patton) and his briefing, Tom notices that Weaver is not doing too well. His hand is shaking. Then he goes into convulsions and passes out on the floor. Tom is now in charge.
Meanwhile, Hal(Drew Roy) and Margaret(Sarah Carter) are out on patrol. Hal is busy giving her a hard time about being out on patrol. He figures she should be in the hospital. He tells her she is probably going to pull out her stitches from a wound in her side. Margaret tells Hal that she not only hates hospitals, but she is not the right person for him. Hal does not seem to want to listen.
That is when they suddenly come across several half buried bodies in the fall leaves. The bodies are a group of children with their harnesses removed. Hal insists that they check all of the bodies to be sure that none are still alive. They come across Karen(Jessy Schram), Hal’s old girlfriend.
As Dr. Glass sees to Weaver, Tom completes the briefing. He tells the rest of the group that they need to get back on the road. “We need to get back on the road and get to Charleston. It’s not just Capt. Weavers best chance but ours as well.”
Jamil(Brandon Jay McLaren) informs Tom that the diesel they had is now being used for the hospital generator. And Dai(Peter Shinkoda) adds that they have been scouting around for weeks but have not come up with any other sources of fuel. The bigger problem, continues Jamil, is that they only have enough fuel left in the generators for 12 hours.
Tom decides that they need to widen their search for fuel. He tells Dai to get three search parties together with enough fuel for four hours out and four hours back. Jamil is to cut power to everything but the ICU for Dr. Glass. That should double the time they have left, says Jamil. Everyone else is ordered to get packed and ready to leave for Charleston. It looks like their little vacation is now over.
Matt(Maxim Knight) comes in just as the briefing breaks up to tell Tom that Hal and Maggie found Karen in the woods. Tom, Dai, and most of the group find Hal and Karen at the hospital entrance. That’s when Ben(Connor Jessup) drops his bomb shell. “You can’t let her stay. She’s still attached to them. I can hear it.”
Tom alters his orders slightly, he tells Dai and another team member to take her to the psych ward and put her in a secure room. When she comes to, Tom has lots of questions, but Karen is short on answers. This is not surprising.
If she is a plant, which seems very likely, she will not be giving up very much information. Tom is obviously not going to attempt to force any information out of her. He is not the type. Weaver, on the other hand, is. It is a pity that he is not in a position to do so.
Ben asks Tom if he can stay with Karen, citing the fact that he has a better chance than anyone else of finding out what is wrong with her. Tom agrees. As Ben heads back to Karen’s holding room, Hal catches up with him to attempt to reason with him that Karen is a really nice person and deserves a break. Ben is not buying it. “Whatever that thing is in that room, it’s not Karen”. Maggie agrees with Ben, which surprises the heck out of Hal.
Tom’s next stop is back in the ICU where Anne is continuing to monitor Weaver. Things have not improved. In fact, they are getting worse. Tom is beginning to feel the stress of Weaver’s command. He decides arbitrarily that they are going to take Weaver to Charleston. Anne opposes the idea. This seems to be their first spat.
Fortunately, Tom sees that he is out of line and backs off. He tells Anne that he has only been in charge for less than a day and had no idea how much Weaver had been holding the group together, “Our best survival is his survival”. Anne offers that if she has not come up with a solution by midnight, they will do things Tom’s way.
Ben arrives at the locked room where Karen is eating her first real meal in a while. She attempts to be friendly. Ben does not buy it. Karen argues that she is not connected anymore because she remembers what that felt like, “like a hand around my throat, forced to witness horrible things, powerless to speak up.”
Lourdes(Seychelle Gabriel) has come up with a solution to Weavers medical problem. Weavers body temperature is dropping, which, to Dr. Glass does not make sense because the normal reaction to an infection is an elevated temperature. Lourdes reasoned that the pathogen needs a cooler environment to survive which is why it is moving close to the capillaries at the surface of the skin.
Heating Weavers core temperature slowed the pathogen down but did not stop it. So they will pump out Weavers blood, heat it up to kill the organism, then, pump it back into his body. Jamil will be the person who will create the device to save Weavers life.
Later, a truck pulls up to the front of the hospital. The big guy, Lyle (Brad Kelly), who had earlier carried Karen into the hospital, has found Anthony and Pope. They were 10 miles west lying on the side of the road. Pope is back. Anthony saved Popes life when they were attacked by skitters.
It seems that now Anthony and Pope are even. Anthony originally left with Pope because Pope had saved his life. It looks like Anthony no longer has to worry about Pope. Will Pope behave more reasonably with Tom and everyone else now? Probably not.
The next morning Ben brings Karen breakfast. He seems to be warming up to her. They have a friendly chat about their mutual situation, each having spikes in their backs. Karen shares with Ben how her senses have improved, that she can hear almost anything, that her sight seems clearer.
Ben pretends he is like Karen in her abilities to overhear conversations that a normal person cannot hear, but he clearly is not picking up as much information as she is. Karen shows off to Ben that she also has above average strength by lifting her bed with one hand.
Worried that Karen will be seen, Ben approaches to help her put the bed down. As they get close to each other, their spikes begin to glow.
They feel an attachment to each other. As they do, Hal walks in. The timing is perfect for Karen, because now it looks to Hal as if Ben was attacking her. She can play the sympathy card with Hal. It seems to be working like a charm.
Once the blood exchange apparatus is set up by Jamil, he explains how it works. Tom takes Anne aside to apologize to her for acting like he knew more than she did. Well, Noah Wylie was on ER for fifteen years. I wonder if he was able to say his line to Moon Bloodgood with a straight face.
Then, power goes off and Tom gets to crank the pump by hand. Jamil shows up with a generator to connect everything to, saving Weaver once again. Things keep moving along quickly. Tector (Ryan Robbins) and his team arrive back at the hospital with lots more fuel. They have discovered a location with plenty of fuel, they just could not carry it all.
Maggie has been looking for Hal. She finds him alone at the bottom of a stairway. He is worried that something bad will happen to Karen if they do not do something. Maggie corrects him, telling Hal that he has it backwards. Hal is not listening. Hal believes that Ben is doing something to Karen, “I think he’s trying to recruit her.” Maggie tells Hal to find Ben, “if anyone is in danger, it’s him. You gotta trust me on this.” Hal is still not listening.
Maggie arrives at Karen’s room. She makes sure she is alone, closes Karen’s door behind her and pulls out two pistols. She tells Karen they are going to have some girl talk. Maggie is on to Karen and tells her as much. Karen, on the other hand, tells Maggie that she deserves to be abused by Pope’s gang.
Then Karen easily overpowers Maggie, throwing her into a wall. The noise attracts attention, so Karen injures herself to make it look as if she was the one who was attacked. Ben is the first to arrive. Karen tells him that Maggie tried to shoot her. “We’re not safe here,” he acknowledges.
Karen and Ben reach the roof, but Hal has followed them. He aims a weapon at them, telling them they will have to talk to dad Tom. Ben approaches, apologizes, but then strangles Hal until he passes out. They jump off the roof together and run into the trees.
A little later, Weaver regains consciousness and wants to know, “how much fuel did we burn saving my sorry ass?”
Lyle enters Weavers room to tell Tom that Pope is awake and needs to see him, “it’s a matter of life or death”. When Tom arrives at Popes bedside, Pope tells him that “the fish heads” wanted to know where Ben was and that “ harness-girl, the blond” meaning Karen, was with them, “ it was scary as hell. It was like she could take her hand, reach right into your mind and squeeze”.
As Tom realizes that they have been fooled by Karen, he runs to Karens room only to find Maggie on the floor bleeding. He tells Dai to stay with her and heads to the roof where he finds Hal unconscious. Ben has been duped by Karen and has headed toward the skitter rebellion.
It was nice to see that Tom can make mistakes when Weaver is not around to watch his back. And, the professor is not the perfect soldier with just his book learning. It will be interesting to see if there are going to be consequences for Tom. After all, Weaver has told him that they are going to have words. While Tom was busy keeping an eye on the rest of the 2nd Mass, his own children did not really have the benefit of their father’s wisdom, so they messed up.
Would all of these things have happened if Weaver had been around? That is hard to say. Hopefully, however, Weaver learns that he is not invulnerable and that he needs to share some of the authority with Tom. Tom appears to have already learned that Weaver was holding the 2nd Mass together a lot more effectively than he had realized.
One thing that I did notice in this episode was a moving piece of clothing on Karen’s tank top. In one shot it is lower and the next shot it is higher. It changes places several times during the scene. It looks like the director and producers missed it when they were watching the dailies. Oops!
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