Welcome back Falling Skies freedom fighters!
Many of us often have such vivid experiences, that, upon waking, it is hard to tell the reality from the dream. The mind must clear itself of the fog of the dream before we can determine fully what is real and what is fantasy.
In this episode, “Strange Brew” Tom (Noah Wyle) experiences the dream as if it were his current reality, hence we have picked the classic Eric Clapton, and Ginger Baker Cream song of the same name from a 1967 Beat Club appearance.
Does he realize that something is amiss? Initially, it seems as though he does not. Instead, while he is trapped in whatever this is that he is experiencing, he tells his wife that the reality of the alien invasion is the dream.
From Tom’s point of view, it makes sense that he would want his reality to be a dream. No one would want to live in a war zone for years and years.
To emphasize that, there really is something amiss that has yet to be identified by Tom, he takes a moment to, literally, smell the coffee, as he puts a pot on to brew.
He pauses over and over again to experience his wife (Jennifer Ferrin); to take in her appearance as she gets ready for work.
The first tease of the episode is when Tom’s wife asks him who Anne (Moon Bloodgood) is because he was talking about her in his sleep. Tom replies, “I have no idea”.
At that moment, he seems to be speaking the truth. So, perhaps whatever is happening to him is much deeper than a dream. Perhaps it is more like a coma.
There is also a running theme throughout the episode where three locations are identified over and over again. Another oddity is Weaver (Will Patton), who gets to be a homeless man in this episode, continually present, ordering Tom to “wake up”.
Inside the halls of learning where Tom works, we meet Anthony (Mpho Koaho) as Dean of the university and Pope (Colin Cunningham) as another instructor with the obvious reputation of scoundrel. Lourdes (Seychelle Gabriel) makes a brief appearance as Pope’s latest conquest.
No surprise there. Weaver’s daughter, Jeanne (Laci J Mailey), is Tom’s administrative assistant. Anne Glass is mentioned again as having left two messages for Tom before he even has arrived at work.
Why is she so persistent? Does she have a warning for Tom as well?
After Tom teaches a class on U.S. History, he is approached by Maggie (Sarah Carter), all full of enthusiasm. She is a student. Again, this is a brief encounter that ends quickly.
I suppose it was necessary for the writers to include these characters where they could so we would not wonder why Tom does not have them in his vision, hallucination or coma…whatever this is that he is going through.
Anne Glass’ name comes up again when she gives him a 18 year old bottle of Scotch in anticipation of his appointment to Dean. Tom is confused by her presence in his otherwise normal routine. She is somewhat familiar to him, yet not.
In the faculty lounge, Tom runs across Cohise in human form. I bet Doug Jones appreciated doing those scenes without all that makeup. Apparently, he is now “Professor C”. Marina (Gloria Reuben) is also there. She brings up the names of the four cities; New York, Chicago, Boston or Jacksonville.
Tom does not seem to notice. Tom also notices Weaver for the second time, warning people that the end is near. At that moment, it appears as if Tom is headed out to see what is up with this homeless guy, when he gets interrupted by Jeanne. There is someone to see him.
It is Dai (Peter Shinkoda), Anne Glass’ husband. It is great to see Dai back again, even if it is in a confrontational role. Perhaps Tom feels guilty that Dai was killed under his watch and the guilt continues to bother him.
Dai also mentioned the same cities that were listed by Marina. Tom asks Dai to leave. As he does, Pope enters and gives Tom the same hard time he always does. Tom also notices through his window, that Weaver is still wandering around. This must be very confusing to Tom.
At home, the four cities are mentioned again as Tom tries to piece together the happenings of his day. He cannot figure out who Anne Glass is, and the names of the cities continue to bother him as he talks about it to his wife.
The next day, he does what all academics seem to do on television and in film; write down the words that are vexing him on a white board. I guess when you are really smart, or into the sciences, the best thing to do to clear things up for yourself is to write it down. No, I do not get it either.
Of all people, Tom ends up having a discussion with Pope. He tells him that he thinks that someone is trying to gaslight him. The term, for anyone who does not know, according to Wikipedia, means, “false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity.
Instances may range simply from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.”
As Pope rambles on about all manner of psychological and metaphysical terminology, Tom again sees Weaver through the window. This time, Weaver is looking back as if he can see through the glass and directly at Tom. Creepy.
To add to the weirdness of the entire experience, Ben (Connor Jessup) comes into Tom’s office and asks him where he is going this weekend, asking about the same cities. As Ben demands answers, Tom now seems to doubt his own senses. He even states that Ben may not be his son. Ben does not seem to deny this.
Tom finally meets with Anne at a coffee shop. She shows him her brochures to all of the cities. Outside, Weaver is watching. At this point, I began to hope that Tom would start putting things together. He does, to his credit, tell Anne he does not know her and that what she is suggesting about them going away together for the weekend would, “blow up my world”.
Anne gets nasty. She tells Tom to take his wife away instead, but tell her where he is going. She becomes insistent as Weaver is now right up against the window, looking inside with a worried expression on his face.
Tom finally connects the dots as Anne gets more and more insistent. He tells her, “you’re not Anne”. Then the cop is there; the one who has been escorting Weaver away almost every time he tries to reach out to Tom. The cop is Karen (Jessy Schram). I did not realize until this point who she was.
As soon as Tom realizes what is going on, he wakes up in the house of horrors commonly known as the alien ship. Karen is there using her false kindness to attempt to convince Tom that his pain will be over if he rats out his friends. Ton uses his classic response, “go to hell”.
Fortunately, Weaver and Tom’s sons arrive to rescue him. Tom gets to kill Karen when she does not tell him where Anne and his daughter are being held. Before they can escape, Tom passes out only to wake up in the makeshift hospital back at their base camp. He rushes to an important meeting with Weaver and company.
Weaver asks him to lay out the map for them. As Tom begins to do so, he realizes that he has not been rescued after all and is still being held prisoner. Karen offers more threats. She will use the aliens pain methods on Anne and the baby.
Meanwhile, back at the camp, Pope is being Pope as he winds up Maggie. Lyle (Brad Kelly) shows up just in time, as usual, to defuse the situation. He tells Pope to get, “some sack time”.
This poor guy is not getting the credit he deserves among this band of freedom fighters as he seems to pull Pope’s backside out of the fire on a regular basis.
Anthony is meeting with the President and with Weaver, still attempting to work out who killed President Hathaway (Stephen Collins). Everyone has an alibi except Marina.
Maggie approaches Weaver later on to volunteer for dangerous duty. This slows him down enough that, when there is an explosion, neither of them gets killed.
Things are not looking too good for Tom either. Karen takes him to the cocooned forms of Anne and Lexie. He assumes they are dead. Things seem to be going from bad to worse.
As Karen continues to try to convince Tom to spill the beans, a sound from within the alien ship alerts her that, “it’s starting”. What is? Why the deadly grid pattern in the sky that everyone has been afraid of.
I guess that, at this point, Tom does not believe he has anything to lose, so he flings himself and a skitter off the side of the ship, using the creature like a mattress to cushion his fall. From Tom’s perspective, this makes complete sense. So far with Karen, his mind has been manipulated to a point where he likely is questioning his sanity.
Even the strongest mind would not be able to deal with that over the long term. Karen would likely keep this behaviour up until she finally breaks Tom and gets her answer. To avoid that, his only real choice is to look for a way to die and to take at least one of the alien creatures with him.
Personally, I would have picked Karen. However, she was not as close to the edge of the opening, and her body might not have been large enough to cushion Tom’s fall.
The scene then transfers back to the camp where the President manages to convince Weaver that she is not the mole. Weaver, in turn, tells Pope that there will be no moving against the President, however, the upcoming mission is need to know, and she does not need to know. That is quite the distinction when it comes to Weaver’s trust regarding the leader.
Hal (Drew Roy), Ben and Matt (Maxim Knight) return to a surprised and thrilled Maggie. Tom, however, is missing. Ben confidently tells Maggie that his father will be back. Tom is on his way. He stops at his old house for a few minutes. The image of his wife appears to him and tells him to leave the house and not look back. “There is nothing for you here”.
They are interrupted by an abandoned kitty looking for a warm place to stay. As a cat lover, I hoped that Tom would take the cat with him, but he does not. Poor kitty. Tom looks back toward his wife only to find that she is gone. Time to head back to his boys.
Issues with this episode for me were that walking from Boston to Charleston would take Tom a while. He is a resourceful man, but, I assume that Karen and her cohorts would be looking for him and knowing he would be headed south, so, he should be easily found.
With that many skitters around, they would only need a few roadblocks. The dream sequence was kind of fun, showing us another side to Anthony (he sure scrubs up nice), Weaver, Maggie and Tom’s sons. Pope was pretty much, well, Pope. We know that Lourdes is the mole, but she continues to be pretty ineffectual, other than to leave major messes all over the place.
A thought that I am certain many other people have had is the reason why Lourdes does not simply use the weird creatures in her body to recruit more humans to the aliens cause. I’m sure that the President would be a useful takeover. Weaver could be fairly useful as well.
Season three was pretty much confined to Charleston with very little forward momentum. I hope that season four really kicks thing up a notch. What do you think?
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