Examined: Falling Skies – “Evolve or Die”

Don't you just love Tom and Cochise's BROmance

Don’t you just love Tom and Cochise’s BROmance

This week brought us the highly anticipated ‘Evolve or Die’ episode of Falling Skies. As predicted, many story lines progressed rather quickly; but others seem to be dragging along at a snail’s pace. With characters reunited just to be separated again it seems like this show is having trouble finding its pace. Throw in the possibility of continuity errors becoming more and more certain; and you have season that is slowly becoming as unsettling as it is interesting.

On the bright side, this episode gave us a lot more to work with and analyze than past episodes. As such, these ‘Examined’ articles for Falling Skies will now be organized like my other analytical Television articles – aka arranged via story developments rather than groups. So let’s get started and examine everything that happened this episode.

Weaver’s Discovery:

Last episode we left off on an unsettling note where it seemed as though Colonel Daniel Weaver might have betrayed the 2nd Mass. After a few episodes of being relatively silent, changing conversations to Tom’s plan and not reporting that they were being followed after escaping, it truly seemed like he had turned to find his daughter Jeanne. Thankfully for the 2nd Mass – and us -, theses were all red herrings put in by the writers. Where the story was actually going was much more heartbreaking, especially if you read into it.

After being constantly followed and later witnessing his mystery stalker attack Cochise with a venomous strike, Weaver was ‘kidnapped’ by a Skitterized version of his daughter. At first, it seemed as though Dan’s reactions to Jeanne’s Skitterization should have been more intense; but once you re-examine Weaver’s actions this past season, it’s clear that he’s suspected her fate for some time.

Weaver Tom and Cochise

Whenever discussing Jeanne he would be brief and stop himself. Unlike Tom who had a fierce drive to be reunited with his sons, Weaver had a strange calm about him. Sure he seemed a little off the deep ends at times; but he always had a level of attachment and acceptance when it came to Jeanne. This can be seen when he is calming Tom down from rushing in to save his son. For the first time Weaver has a calmer head than Tom.

Weaver might not have known EXACTLY what happened to Jeanne; but for some reason he knew she wouldn’t be the same when he found her. He had already lost her once; there was a good chance this time he’d have lost her for good. His silence about being followed also speaks to his mental state. He was expecting that he’d run into her sooner or later – or better or for worse. The fact that he could also identify the horribly deformed remnants of his daughter cements this case. Whether it was something he witnessed or that gut fatherly instinct, he was prepared for Jeanne’s condition and now could take comfort in the fact that she was now at peace in death. Though there was one other silver lining in all of this for Weaver: they couldn’t turn her.

Whatever process of skitterization Jeanne had undergone to turn her into this monstrosity, part of her still remained. Despite their attempts to remove all aspects of free will, she still sought out her father and saved him when he was in danger. Now it’s unclear whether the Espheni’s plan is truly flawed or if Jeanne was a rejected skitter attempt.

Skitter Jeanne

The Espheni had said they went through some tests and worked out the bugs. Maybe Jeanne was one of those ‘bugs’ since her skitterization most likely happened a month or so prior to the first episode. Or maybe Jeanne was one of the new skitterization attempts but escaped before the process was complete – since she was out in the world alone. I doubt the Espheni would let one of their new front line soldiers patrol on its own, so perhaps Jeanne did escape.

We’ll have to wait and see if there are any differences between Skitterized Jeanne and the other Skitterized humans. Even if she is a reject, her speed and venom were quite a potent combination. Either way, the Skitterized humans add a new dynamic to the show. Our heroes will most likely have to fight against Skitterized versions of their friends and some will obviously be torn between fighting them or trying to save them. This is basically an improved version of the harnessed children in season 1; and makes this show even MORE like The Walking Dead – Walkers vs Skitterd Humans, who will win?

Tom’s Rescue Mission:

While Weaver was off learning the awful truth about his daughter, Tom was off saving his son. With Cochise in a healing sleep to recover from Skitter Jeanne’s attack, Tom wasn’t only on his own; but in no way prepared for what he’d find. Tom immediately recognized the Hitler Youth feel of the camp; but he couldn’t comprehend how brainwashed the kids had become in such a short time. The look of helplessness on his face was painful when he found himself surrounded by whistle blowing kids.

Thankfully Tom ran into Mira who hasn’t been brainwashed and is more than happy to reunite Tom with Matt. Tom gets to Matt just in time as Kent is trying to kill him; and what follows is pure rarity that is Tom Mason rage. With some more help from Mira diverting the guards attention, Tom and Matt escape after Mira promises to come find them once she graduates. All around it seems like a happy ending right? Well, maybe.

Mira and Max

Since Weaver wasn’t the sleeper in the group via Jeanne, I can’t help but think the whole ‘Graduated’ thing is still going to affect our heroes in some way. Right now, the blatant scenario is that Mira does eventually go to the Masons after she graduates; but will she still be Mira? She’s already hinted that she’s afraid she might break. So Mira joining the Mason group under the guise of ‘I escaped after Graduation like I said’ while secretly still operating as a true Camp Espheni Graduate is a very strong possibility.

Hal Steps Up:

Back at the Volm’s makeshift base, it’s up to Hal and Cochise’s Second–in-Command Shak-Chic (aka Shaq) to hold down the fort. During these scenes we discover that Hal blames himself for losing the elderly escapee last episode; but Dingaan has proved himself to be just as inspiring as he is resourceful when he tells Hal to focus on today’s fight rather than the last one. Another point of importance here is that Dingaan picks up a signal coming from Cult Lexi – another eerie similarity to The Walking Dead.

So with Mechs on their way, Hal and Shaq team up and decide to lead the group towards Cult Lexi after writing “Crotoan” on the wall followed by the coordinates they heard over the broadcast. “Crotoan” might seem like gibberish; but a history teacher like Tom Mason would recognize it as the signal for leaving. In 1590, Governor John White discovered the word carved into a tree near the Roanoke Coloney which had mysteriously become abandoned. No one really knows what happened to the Colony; but it’s believed that these words told visitors the colony had joined a nearby tribe of a similar name.

Hal and Shaq

One final thing to point out here is how similar Hal and Shaq are, not only in mannerisms, but also in position. Both are the Second-in-Command of their respective groups and have decidedly different leadership styles than their commanders (Tom and Cochise). Both are more militant and aren’t as quick to trust as Tom and Cochise. That being said, these two do find kindred spirits in one another and realize that they stand much better chances united rather than separated. Hopefully Hal and Shaq’s friendship will become as strong as Tom and Cochise’s which would be good news for Volm-Human relations, which has bee shaky at best.

Pope Meets His Match:

While Hal was holding down the makeshift Volm fort, Pope once again went off on his own. Though this time – rather than serving himself – he actually went out to do something for the good of the group. The problem arose when he came across Sarah, who is basically the female version of him. From shoot first ask questions later to slipping a roofie in his beer to take advantage of him, she is just as dirty and deceitful as the John Pope we’ve come to know and love – or is she worse.

Pope and Sarah

As we’ve seen in the past two episodes, Pope is finally doing things for the good of the group rather than just himself. He might not always go about it in the right way; but he is definitely becoming more selfless. Sarah on the other hand seems more detached than Pope ever was; and she has been on her own the whole time whereas Pope always had a band of followers. These two certainly have great sexual tension; but it’s that ‘lone wolf’ character at the heart of both of them that makes this relationship particularly volatile. It’ll be interesting to see if Pope ends up being a good influence on Sarah, or if Sarah brings the worst out of Pope.

Lexi and the Espheni:

Meanwhile back at Happy Town with Cult Lexi, nothing much has changed since Anne’s arrival. Lordes is still crazy; and Lexi is still being naïve. Actually, let me rephrase that, ‘Lexi naivety is becoming downright painful to watch’. You could say Anne is still unhinged; but no, she’s actually acting properly though it’s still not enough. Whereas other plot points are moving faster than I thought, this one seems to drag on and on for no reason.

The entire camp knows about Lexi talking with the Espheni; but refuse to do anything because they still see Lexi as some type of God. This plays perfectly into the Espheni’s plan of brainwashing. They can’t get everyone into camp Espheni but making these people believe in a ‘all powerful Messiah’ who is coincidentally being controlled by the Espheni themselves is just another way of ‘converting’ people. If Lexi told her followers to undergo a ‘metamorphesis’ – aka Skitterization – you know the majority of them would gladly follow their goddess.

Maggie knows Espheni is lying

Those who do recognize something bad is going on are acting; but are still holding back far too much. During Anne’s conversation with the Espheni – we shall refer to this one as “The Monk” -, Ben could sense that The Monk was lying because of his harnessed telepathic link. The Monk played along and ‘let itself’ be tied up because it’s all part of its ploy to control Lexi – who still believes herself to be all knowing and the one in control.

From the final scene we can see just how hopelessly enamored Lexi is with the Espheni Monk. Hopefully someone was watching this so they could see just how dire the situation is. Someone is going to have to act soon; but everyone is too afraid of Lexi going all Carrie on them – which let’s face it, we know it’s coming sooner or later.

Espheni Conversation:

If there was any chance of Lexi being right in all of this, it was thankfully taken away by the ‘Espheni Volcano Phone Call’. Despite this scenes many WHAT? Moments – which I’ll get to in a second – this exchange was necessary to show that ‘The Monk’ really was lying and that this wasn’t just the usual ‘distrust of aliens’ that has been a recurring theme in this show. We now have the confirmation we need to know that this ‘Monk’ is just as manipulative and evil as we thought it was.

Espheni Conversation

As for the parts of this scene that didn’t make sense, there’s a few. First off, the whole lava rock telepathic phone call was a nice touch; but did we really did to see them apparently go to another dimension filled with exploding volcanoes. It just seemed a little contrived, as was the fact that the Overlords speak English to each other. We’ve always seen them speak through someone so I don’t know why they spoke English perfectly here when subtitles would have been more apt. Overall, nice touch but poor execution.

Mother Espheni? :

As I brought up earlier, some of my predictions from last episode were wrong, such as Weaver being a traitor to save Jeanne. Although there is one prediction that got a lot of support this episode; and sadly it was the one I was PRAYING I was wrong about. During Anne’s conversation with ‘The Monk’ Espheni, she seemed to have recognized it as the one from her dream – the one that ‘did this’ to Lexi.

The Monk simply responds that it helped her but the gift was already there. We of course knew this considering the Espheni were so interested in this child to begin with; but this is beyond the point. This seems to add credence to Anne’s dream last episode being more of a repressed memory than a dream. Though as I pointed out last time, this would be a HUGE continuity issue. In the dream, we saw Anne and – now we know – The Monk Espheni sharing an umbilical chord. That would be impossible since Anne was kidnapped after she gave birth to Lexi and not while she was pregnant – as the dream/flashback would have you believe.

What happened on that spaceship still has to be explained; but right now the evidence is pointing to some severe continuity issues. We know the Monk is manipulative, so maybe those ‘repressed memories’ of Anne’s were just manipulated to make them think there was some experimental familial connection. Either way, it’s a problem that has to be clarified and fixed VERY SOON because if the Espheni is indeed ‘part mom’ – as Anne, Lexi and the Espheni all seem to be supporting – then that erases half of the episodes from Season 3.

*sings* Espheni and Lexi sitting in the rubble, C-R-A-Z-Y that’s trouble  . . . . wow, that was awful I apologize lol

*sings* Espheni and Lexi sitting in the rubble, C-R-A-Z-Y that’s trouble
. . . . wow, that was awful I apologize lol

All in all, it was nice to see this season start giving us stuff to really break apart and analyze. It’ll be interesting to see where these plot points go; but right now I’m more worried about the risk of continuity issues. Time will reveal all I suppose, so until next time, keep your eyes on the sky.

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