There is a lot going on in this episode and a lot of it was exactly the right thing to happen. Most of all, I’m glad to see that Anthony and Ben get a character development update and the focus is less on Tom and Hal.
So far, all we knew about Ben was that he was “different” before the aliens took him. According to Hal, he was sort of a bookworm and a quiet boy, but we’ve only seen Ben as a trigger happy alien hunter with superhuman powers. In this episode, we’ve finally seen there is a different side of him behind the badass mask of alien hatred. Ben is truly struggling with being different and does a great job to show how estranged he feels from his father and brothers, and how he saw the loner Jimmy as the one person not looking at him like a monster.
As sad as it sounds, Jimmy’s on screen death was also the right thing to do for the show, to live up to the “everyone can die” assumption. Karen was immediately forgotten after the skitters took her and never mentioned again until we saw her return with a harness. Scott and his wife died off screen. Rick vanished off screen. It was simply about time that someone died on screen to enforce the “everyone is at risk” feeling. Not just a nameless extra in the line of fire during a major fight, but a character we got to know. Jimmy was in the unfortunate position of being a little boy, so his death was bound to be dramatic and have consequences. And these consequences were great character building scenes for Ben and to a lesser degree, Captain Weaver – and born from that, the major change in direction for the entire group. Jimmy’s death was what made Weaver change his plans to hide in the mountains to wait out the winter and instead lead the group to the other survivor group.
Anthony had existed as a glorified extra despite being listed as a main character, just like Dai. They were always around, had some lines, but when it came to relevance, they were little more than the Token Minorities. Now, Anthony showed his true colors and made a relevant choice. A somewhat surprising one at that, and it still makes perfect sense. After the fight between Tom and Pope, Weaver asks Pope to leave the 2nd Mass – and the rest of the Berzerkers sides with Weaver and Tom. Just Anthony decides to leave with Pope – based on what I had hoped for: a weird brotherly bond born from the fact that Pope saved Anthony’s life, for reasons that are beyond the viewer and Anthony; and “to keep an eye on him”. Makes perfect sense from all sides, and gives Anthony the chance to show more of his character by being alone against the world with the Ensemble Darkhorse. Out of all characters on the show, Pope is hands down the one who got the most development, so there’s no way Anthony stays as bland as he was during season 1 if there’s no-one else to interact with. Now I certainly have hope that Dai will get the same treatment and team up with a character he can grow on.
Other than that, there’s the mentioned “other survivor group” that seems to have really big plans, a provisional govermment and contact to other resistance groups across the world (and electricity and warm water). From trailers, it can be assumed that it’s not exactly “the promised land” it sounds to be, so things stay interesting as a whole. Can it please be next Sunday already now?