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'Falling Skies' recap: Bring out your (mostly) dead

Season 4 | Episode 8 | “A Thing with Feathers” | Aired Aug 10, 2014

Daybreak. Chinatown is destroyed. Hal, Weaver, Anne, Matt, Deni, Anthony, Pope, Sara and the remaining nameless members of the 2nd Mass emerge from the fallout shelter to search for survivors. Hal shouts for Maggie. “Waaaalllltttt!!” Whoops, no, wrong show. My bad.

Pope trash-talks an injured skitter, but Sara stops him before he can cave its head in with debris. She wants to do it. Matt, Anne and Weaver search for Tom. Weaver recounts Tom and Tector’s sniper plans to take out the Overlord. Anne finds Tom’s “Ghost of the Ghetto” scarf that Tector wore last episode when he shot the Overlord. Matt shifts debris while Anne frets.

Hal walks right past the collapsed house where Maggie lies covered in debris and unconscious. At the last minute, he catches sight of her shiny golden hair. She’s alive, but can’t move her legs. Tom is also trapped, but not yet found. He crawls through the debris and finds Dingaan pinned under slabs of the building. Tom gets him out.  Ben wakes up to find Lexi hovering over him, looking suitably freaky-deaky. She tells him they’re with her family … their family.  Ben realizes she means the Espheni. The screams of humans can be heard from beyond the locked door, presumably. Ben wants to get back to the camp, but Lexi says it’s too late for everyone in Chinatown: “A peaceful solution has begun.” Ben struggles with the door, so she activates his spikes, which drops Ben to the ground in pain. She wants to show him the future. Seriously, she is rocking the freaky eyes here.

Angry Birds are out there still waiting...IN SPACE

Angry Birds are out there still waiting…IN SPACE

Maggie is transferred to the fallout shelter on a stretcher. Weaver organizes a search-and-rescue team. Pope sneers that Tom is dead. Why else would the Espheni retreat? Yelling that his father isn’t dead, Matt tackles him and beats his conviction into Pope. Chip off the brother block there. Pope takes the punch, chagrined for a change, as he didn’t know Matty was in ear range. Weaver comforts Matt, but he’s too busy reasoning out where Tom would’ve run after taking the shot. The colonel agrees to help him dig. Pope tells Sara to scout the perimeter for survivors. Sara: “Really? There’s probably angry birds out there still waiting.” (I’m not the only one who went to Angry Birds there, right?)

Tom and Dingaan crawl out of the rubble. They recognize the beamer Cochise shot down that crashed into the building, and decide to find the hatch and climb through the ship to the surface. It’s all too much for Dingaan, though, who loses his crap and wails on the bottom of the beamer with a piece of rebar. His meltdown reveals the hatch they’re looking for.

Maggie is paralyzed with internal bleeding. Anne thinks the only thing they can do is make her comfortable. It doesn’t take Hal long to reach for the spike option, and Anne agrees to talk to Cochise and see if the Volm have a magic pill to save Maggie’s life.

Tom thinks they can find the beamer’s control panel and signal the rescuers. Dingaan bemoans that everyone is probably dead. Tom refuses to lose hope and Dingaan accuses him of lying to himself. Tom admits he lies to himself every minute of every day. “Because if people think that there’s no hope, they’d damn well better believe that think there is!” The hatch makes more twitchy noises, and Tom finds a squishy exhaust port. Naturally, he sticks his hand in and feels around. Brilliant move. Suddenly, something grabs hold of his hand and bites down. Perhaps, I dunno, a skitter pilot? He yanks his arm free and the hatch opens.

pre-falling-skiestif-55-104293Lexi leads Ben to overlook a cavernous warehouse, where skitters and circling black hornets are dragging humans in to be converted into the hybrid species, like Jeanne. “It’s the evolution of the species,” Lexi intones. Ben realizes this is Lexi’s “peaceful solution.” She’s caught up in the efficiency of the delivery system the Espheni have perfected, and barely takes notice of his revulsion at seeing humans turned into monsters. That accusation offends Lexi, and she again trots out her party line of how she tried to show humans a way to peace and they chose violence. Ben thinks she’s been brainwashed. “This is not evolution,” he shouts. “It’s extinction!” In earnest, he grabs her shoulders and begs her to listen to him. Lexi activates his spikes. Through their mental connection, Ben realizes she’s going to kill him like she killed Lourdes.

Lexi believes this is the only way, the better way. Ben tells her to go ahead and make him her slave: “The Espheni already did that once.” Lexi says she’ll be leaving soon for her training and wants Ben to go with her: “We can still be family.” Without another word, Ben leaves her. Ben and the Overlord’s disembodied voices vie for dominance in Lexi’s head. Ben: “Go ahead and make me your slave.” The Overlord: “You are the Bringer of Peace. You have been chosen to reveal the solution.”

In the fallout shelter, Chochise examines Deni’s spikes and suggests that extracting the engineered bio-plasma serum that allows Deni to regenerate quickly and injecting it into Maggie could act as a stem-cell procedure and promote radically advanced healing in Maggie—or kill her with anaphylactic shock if she rejects it. Anne won’t do anything without Maggie’s permission.

pre-falling-skiestif-52-104294Sara and Pope patrol the perimeter. Sara has the yips, which is not what you think. Or maybe it is. They find a charred body that is still recognizable as Bennett, who was burned alive by the Overlord while on sentry duty with Anthony before the attack. Pope decides to bury him.

Matt finds Tector’s rifle and realizes it’s been fired. He hears something under the rubble and decides it’s Tom. Meanwhile, Tom and Dingaan climb into the beamer’s hold. Tom’s hand is all bloody from getting chomped on, but he shrugs it off. He tries another brilliant move and presses his hands up against a wall that closely resembles the Lexicoon. Something skitters (heh) under his skin and Tom screams and passes out.

Hal wakes up Maggie to give her the surgical game plan, but she won’t agree to it: “I kill aliens, remember? I can’t become one.” Hal plays the “do this for me” card, and Maggie counters with the “you have to let me go” maneuver. But Hal is a Mason and is going to do what he wants no matter what. He tells Anne Maggie agreed, and she extracts the serum from the willing if nervous Deni. Anne injects Maggie with the serum. She rouses herself enough to realize Hal went against her wishes.

Pope and Sara pile rocks on top of Bennett. Sara apologizes for bitching at Pope after their terrible night, as she’s not good at caring for people. “I thought I was going to die; I thought you were going to die,” she says. Pope grabs her: “You thought wrong.” They mack. “Death sucks,” she quips, breaking for air. They mack again, fall to the ground off camera and, presumably, bang.

Dingaan ties a tourniquet around the now-conscious Tom’s arm. He pulls a lever off the ship, queuing up a light show in the process as the ship powers up. Dingaan uses the lever to dig under Tom’s skin and pulls out the parasite critter. Tom assures Dingaan they’re going to be OK, which is when the ship’s self-destruct begins to beep. This is the last straw for Dingaan, who starts to lose it but good.

Anne checks on Maggie. who’s alive, but barely. Through tears, Hal admits Maggie didn’t want the procedure but he couldn’t let her go. Ben arrives and tells Anne how Lexi has gone over to the Dark Side. He saw into her mind and the Lexi they (barely) knew is gone. FINALLY. Anne breaks away, which gives Ben a clear glimpse of Maggie and Hal, who updates his brother on what happened. Ben wonders if a full transfer of spikes would work. He wants Anne to get Cochise to help extract his spikes and implant them in Maggie.

Tom fruitlessly works to defuse the bomb, but quickly realizes it isn’t going to work. He drags Dingaan back the way they came to shelter them from the blast.

Under Cochise’s guidance and without the screens they had in Charleston, Anne removes a spike from Ben by “intuition” and implants it into Maggie. Better not mess up her back tattoo is all I’m sayin’.

Weaver tries to get Matt to take a break and when he refuses, insists he at least eat an energy bar. Seriously, that’s the entire scene.

Back under the ship in the rubble, Dingaan moans that he’s reaping a karmic retribution for marrying above his station. He explains how his son was buried alive in a tragic accident. The self-destruct beep reminds him of his son’s heart machine, and it’s driving Dingaan battier.

pre-falling-skiestif-53-104295Maggie’s tattoo appears to be unbroken. PHEW. Priorities. Ben convulses and Anne puts the kibosh on more spike extraction even though Maggie only has three. Ben and Maggie violently convulse in tandem, then suddenly go still and silent.

Tom counsels Dingaan not to lose hope. The beeping intensifies. The ship explodes. Weaver and Matt race toward it. Dingaan stares up into the white light of Matt’s flashlight. Tom calls out for his son. Matt crows to Weaver that he knew Tom would make it. They pull Tom and Dingaan out of the hole. Happy Mason reunion redux!

Ben is awake and is fine. Maggie is still unconscious. Hal emotionally thanks Ben for what he did for Maggie, no matter the result. “I didn’t do it for you,” Ben mutters without taking his gaze from Maggie. Hal finally clues in to his brother’s feelings for his woman … again.

The 2nd Mass wake their dead around a campfire. Tom and Anne confab over Lexi. Anne won’t give up on her daughter and insists they have to find her, but Tom isn’t sure who or what they’ll find. Sara steps up to eulogize her old self and oh my God, NOBODY CARES! Tom admits chasing Lexi isn’t even possible at the moment. They need to focus on those survivors who didn’t abandon them to join the Dark Side and who also need Anne and Tom.

pre-falling-skiestif-56-104297Dressed and uninjured, Maggie slowly makes her way into the group. She clocks Hal across the face: “That’s for betraying me.” She grabs him up and kisses him: “And that’s for saving my life.”

“Looks like she’s back to normal,” Anne mutters dryly. Snort.

Hal deflects Maggie’s thanks onto Ben, who embraces her. Hal gives them space. As he passes his parents, Tom and Anne exchange the speaking looks of husband and wife. Should I talk to him? I think you’d better, yeah. Tom nods and pursues his eldest son to make sure he’s all right. Hal notes how Ben really stepped up for Maggie.

Before he can say anything more, something under the rubble emits a white light. Tom looks to the sky in time to see the green dot blip on the moon. Tom: “Please tell me you just saw that.” Hal: “I saw it. Thought I was going crazy.” They wonder what it means, as more beacons light up under the rubble.  Tom: “It’s about the moonlight.”

End credits.

So was this another filler episode or some forward movement? Does anyone really care about Sara or even Dingaan? Will the shared spikes bring Maggie and Ben closer in the incestuous love triangle nobody actually wants? Has Falling Skies finally fallen down the soap opera rabbit hole? Sound off in the comments!

Falling Skies airs on Sundays at 10/9C on TNT.

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