The Sunday, Aug. 17 episode of "Falling Skies," 409, "Till Death Do Us Part," offers a look at how engagements, weddings and wedding receptions go in a post-alien invasion world. (Very quickly.) Oh, and the 2nd Mass and Cochise head out to find a Volm supply cache to help unbury the beamer, plus Ben gives Maggie a little Spikes 101 lesson.
"We choose to go to the moon."
Let's face it. Talking about flying to the moon is ridiculous, and you know what? "Falling Skies" knows that and owns it. The opening conversation feels almost like it should be on the cutting room floor or in the gag reel, not in the final cut of an episode, but that's okay. Sometimes this show can border on the absurd, and it's almost as though it's recognizing just that with that opening. And Cochise cursing in Volm? The icing on the cake.
Yes, in "Till Death Do Us Part," the plan becomes to fly to the moon, using the beamer buried under all that rubble, because they've realized that the Espheni power core is there, so if they can take it down, they can blow up the entire Espheni war machine. Simple enough, right? (If you can answer yes to that, well, kudos?) It's not that simple, but it could be somewhat simple to get the beamer out from under the rubble if they can get their hands on a piece of Volm tech, so it's time for a supply run to a cache of supplies, and that's where the gas masks come in because the air is toxic to non-Volm beings.
As much as this season more than any other has shown how much Matt has grown up and how far he has come, he is still just a kid, and his actions when it comes to Mira show are just an example of that. When she shows up talking about graduating and escaping and tossing her whistle in a river, the adults are rightfully skeptic and Tom ties her up, but she plays on Matt's feelings for her (and sense of decency) and tells him that her wrists hurt and he frees her.
That's a big mistake (clearly) – yes, "Falling Skies" takes the obvious path with Mira's return, Matt's reactions and Kent's "patriot" speech at his end – as she blows her whistle and the beamers and team leaders come. Cochise uses the Volm equivalent of a stun gun to take out most of the team leaders, but it's Tom who takes out Kent. They do get some Volm weapons and a subspace communicator before the cache is blown up by a beamer, but they don't get what they need to unearth their beamer.
This is a big episode of Tom and Anne's relationship, as they go from being on opposite sides of the "flying to the moon" argument – she calls it "crazier" than it sounds – and then her giving him the cold shoulder over digging through rubble to having two very adult, very honest, very necessary conversations. While she believes, she doesn't understand why he doesn't. "I can't afford to. You get to have faith. I have to be the realist. I'm the one who has to weigh everything and measure everything, even in situations where my heart is breaking just as much as yours," Tom tells her, and that conversations ends with the plan to stick to what they do, then figure out the rest if they survive everything, including, you know, flying to the moon since that's now number one on the To Do list.
Once they return from their supply run, Tom calls Anne on her move that saved his life, which amounted to her running out into the open and yelling "Hey, wait!" to Kent, but he admits he would've done the same. Their experience did make him do some thinking, and he proposes. She accepts, though she does wonder if they're doing the right thing. "I have hope," he replies, and then the next day, they're getting married by Weaver. "I promise to always have your back in a firefight," he vows. "And I promise to try not to get killed." Oh, alien invasion vows. Aren't they romantic?
Shaq interrupts just as Tom's kissing his new bride, with news about the beamer. He took the whistle they got from Mira and did some reprogramming to use it to power up the beamer – and let it do the work for them to free it. Time to go to the moon.
On the other hand, this is not a good episode for Pope and Sara. After Sara hurts her wrist nearly getting hit by a piece of flying debris courtesy of Maggie unable to control her spike-powered strength, Pope finds her with a Vicodin bottle in hand and accuses her of being a user and a liar and not meaning her whole "new Sara" speech. (Don't worry, Maggie more than pays for her slip because she has to listen to their fighting since she's still getting her spike-powered super hearing under control.) But the labels on the bottles got mixed up, and all Sara had in hand at the time was aspirin.
Sara knows what his real problem is: he's afraid of what they might be. "You do actually have to look to know what's inside," she tells him before walking away – and ultimately leaving Chinatown, as Pope learns. They may not be a good place – or the same place – right now – or maybe anytime soon – but this is just another reason why their relationship is so entertaining to see played out. Pope having a girlfriend at all is a new concept to the show, but while meeting Sara may have offered a look at a softer side to him, he's still Pope. A relationship was never going to be successful, at least not at the start, and now, all that's left for them is hope, as is the case for almost everything else.
Finally, until Ben gives Maggie a lesson in what having spikes means and how to use them to her benefit – including focusing on other things instead of other people's conversations and jumping off buildings – her spikes cause her pain. However, there's more to the spikes than the fun parts; there's also the matter of Ben and Maggie being able to apparently feel what the other is feeling, and with the spikes, those emotions are heightened. Ben giving Maggie three of his spikes is going to affect their relationship, and after his sweet, awesome gesture of target practice for her (maybe Maggie getting spikes is the best thing to happen to her, because just imagine what she's going to be like in a fight now), he admits, "I like you too much," and she kisses him. The only problem? She's only felt drawn to him since getting the spikes; she loves Hal.
Speaking of Hal, he sees them kiss and after checking that the spikes will help his brother heal quickly, he punches Ben and warns him that Maggie is his. That might not be enough to keep him away from his girlfriend though. "I didn't see a leash on her," Ben comments. The love triangle makes more and more sense now that we've seen the connection with Ben and Maggie's spikes, but something about it still seems off.
"Falling Skies" season 4 airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on TNT. What did you think of episode 9 "Till Death Do Us Part"?