Break out the s’mores and the flashlights, and get ready to share some ghost stories, well, tales about the ghosts of the past, because that’s what Tom and Pope did in the Sunday, June 30 episode of “Falling Skies” season 3, “Search and Recover,” after their plane crashed. Meanwhile, a search party looked for Anne and Alexis and Marina took advantage of the new United States’ President’s absence in Charleston.
“Search and Recover” recap
A common enemy This “Falling Skies” episode picked up where last week’s left off, and Tom didn’t need to be an ER doctor to be able to tell that the impaled Bressler was dead. Tom had to carry Pope away from the plane wreckage, but considering they had just been in a plane crash, we’re going to say they were doing pretty well. But just because they were in a new environment didn’t mean that they were suddenly new people. Sure, they shared some stories about their past, but they weren’t suddenly blood brothers. Over a campfire, Tom crushed Pope’s image of his father teaching him to build a fire by telling him, “My father was a drunk, angry, mean drunk. There was nothing idyllic about my childhood, except maybe I survived it,” and Pope spoke of killing a man who almost ran over his son, admitting that prison was easy, something he understood. He just wasn’t meant for the picket fence, apple pie normal life that some were. He wasn’t meant to cook his kids breakfast on the weekend. But that was about it. The next morning, Pope woke Tom up with a snake to the face, and the fighting began again, only put on pause when skitters showed up, forcing them over a cliff and into the river.
However, Tom was left with an injured ankle, and he couldn’t walk. He insisted Pope leave him, and with the right words, the Berserker did just that. Following Tom’s very strange dream in the cold, dark night about his sons finding him and telling him Anne and Alexis needed him—did he somehow know or was that just your everyday nightmare?—Pope returned and rescued him from skitters. “There’s only one thing on this planet I can’t stand more than you, Mason,” he explained. “That’s skitters.” He had found them a truck to get them most of the way home, and it was two days after returning to Charleston that Tom woke up in a hospital bed to the news of Anne and Alexis being missing.
No resistance fighter left behind After what Anne did to leave Charleston—knocking out Kadar, drugging Lourdes—the secret of her half-alien baby was out, and while Marina argued they couldn’t spare anyone for a search party, that wasn’t going to stop her 2nd Mass family from looking, and Weaver, EvHal, Ben, Matt, Maggie, and Jeanne set out, but in the end, they only had limited success. They gave a dead woman they found the best burial they could under the circumstances (in a scene that felt like they were burying their own mothers) and did find a baby blanket with skitter and human footprints nearby, but there was nothing else they could do but return to Charleston and use the rebel skitter spies in the Espheni system. Of course, this was all as EvHal was being his EvHal smirk-y, dark self.
When the President’s away, the VP will play Or rather, the VP will take advantage and pretend he gave her an assignment. Marina turned to Kadar to look into what the Volm were building, and while she said Tom sent her, he knew she was lying. But that wasn’t the important part (well, not the most important information revealed in these scenes, at least). Kadar suspected the weapon used plasma armature, and if that was the case, it wouldn’t need as much power as it was hooked up for because that would be overkill. “So maybe it’s not what we think it is,” Marina said. But what exactly was it? And what will Marina do with that information?
“Falling Skies” 305 review
“Search and Recover” may not have been the big action-filled, edge-of-your-seat episode that some of “Falling Skies'” previous episodes have been, but what it had going for it was quality. What it did was show that the human drama is just as compelling as the alien fighting and big special effects sequences are, and that’s what you need in a good sci-fi series to bring viewers back week after week. That’s what “Falling Skies” is and has been since the beginning.
Speaking of the beginning, right from the start, Tom and Pope have been at odds with one another, something that continues even as they fight for the same side, watch each other’s backs in a fight, and fight for humanity, and that did not change even when Tom became the new President. Pope’s attitude towards the professor is still the same, he’s still coming up with new nicknames for him (such as Mr. Boy Scout in this episode), and he’s still calling him out when he needs to, something Tom needs like we’ve said. We saw that again in “Search and Recover” as Pope steered his focus away from the Charleston mole and back to the situation at hand: in the woods, away from Charleston, and injured. There was nothing they could do in the immediate future about the mole, and Pope knew that. Pope always has a plan, and considering how attached he seemed to be to that plane, we can’t help but wonder if it was part of it.
The scenes between Tom and Pope have always been among the best of the series, and Noah Wyle and Colin Cunningham brought their A games for all their scenes together, from the moment Pope came to in the woods to Pope sitting by Tom’s hospital bedside upon their return to Charleston. We also have to note Tom’s right choice of words to get Pope to leave him when he was injured. These two know exactly what to say to make it hurt, to make the other leave, and that was exactly what Tom did when he called him a coward. Of course, he didn’t know that Pope was going to prove him wrong when he proved he did have a sense of duty when he returned to save him and bring him home. As we said above, Pope is a man that Tom needs around, especially since he knows how to hide from the authorities because of his past. That came in handy as they hid from the beamers, and while Pope’s past and present behavior does make him a pretty untrustworthy guy—like we said, he always does have a plan—he hasn’t left them yet and Tom at least knows he can cross him off the mole list. No matter what bad blood there is between the two, no matter how many times they may be ready to kill each other, it hasn’t happened yet, and instead of that getting repetitive, it’s something to look forward to revisiting, in large part due to how on Wyle and Cunningham seem to be in the scenes together and because they know when enough is enough and it should be finished, just like they said on the riverbank.
Last week may have featured a good brotherly conversation over Ben’s de-spiking, but it had nothing on the conversations between Ben and Matt this week while EvHal was off being all creepy. Like we mentioned Wyle and Cunningham’s performances above in their scenes together, we have to note the incredible jobs Connor Jessup and Maxim Knight have been doing this season. What this “Falling Skies” episode did was show two different sides of Matt: the kid who wants the woman he now calls “Mom” to come home safe and the fighter who understands that that’s not guaranteed in the world they live in now. With EvHal being, well, EvHal, we’re seeing Ben taking on the older brother role towards Matt in a way he may have anyway but in a way where he doesn’t have someone doing the same for him. He insisted his brother eat even though he wasn’t hungry and tried to reassure him the best he could without making false promises as they spoke about their mother and Anne. Then later, Matt admitted that he didn’t want to die like the stranger had, and that touching brotherly scene as Ben hugged him was only marred by that dark look on EvHal’s face as he watched them, leaving us worried about what’s coming next. Creepy creepy, EvHal.
If you’ve been reading our weekly mole trackers, you’ve seen that Marina has been at the top of our suspect list since the beginning of the season, but what this episode did was actually offer a bit about her past as she told Weaver that she had a family once and she understood completely what they were fighting for. Up until that point, we only got to see the political side of Marina, but at that moment, we also got to see the human side of her, which was fitting in an episode that focused whole-heartedly on the human drama of the show.
“Falling Skies” season 3 airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on TNT. What did you think of “Search and Recover”?
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