Or “The Bromance Continues”, as I find myself more and more seeing Pope as the last stand of sanity.
SPOILER GALORE AHEAD S02E01/02
It’s usually the job of children to mutter the concerns the adults don’t see and I have a hard time to find logic in the first half of the premiere. So Tom Mason returns, after voluntarily entering an alien ship, as witnessed by his commanding officer, hoping the aliens who nuked Earth and killed billions would keep their promise and not take Tom’s son Ben instead. Alright, I give him the benefit of the doubt. But he returns 3 months later and Pope is the ONLY person to suspect the aliens may have done something to him, like… I don’t know, turn him into a mole? It’s not like they didn’t kill most of the adult population of the world and other than that, seem to be interested mainly into mindcontrolling children? Of which a couple were liberated – most notably Rick, who ratted the Second Mass out to the aliens the first chance he got, and Ben, who shows no sympathy for his former capturers, but has developed superhuman powers. Yeah, totally not suspicious if they suddenly invite an adult on their ship and let him go. To be fair, neither Pope nor anyone else could know that this is exactly what happened – the aliens did let Tom go and just killed all other captives. But I can’t see why Captain Weaver basically just shrugs and later even insists he trusts Tom, when Tom himself starts to think the aliens brainwashed him. Matt Mason finally does his job as the insecure child of the cast and is creeped out by his dad, but only after said dad insisted to be restrained after freaking out and having a parasite pulled out of his eyeball. In close-up, by the way, kudos for some decent eye gore.
There was also a minor change in the cast. Uncle Scott, formerly resident tech dude, and likely also his wife, was killed by aliens off screen and replaced with a love interest for Lourdes. I’m not exactly sure how old Lourdes is supposed to be, but seeing she was seen as a threat by Karen earlier, I have to assume she’s around Hal’s age, which would put her in the range between 16 and 18. Not sure it was really neccessary to give her a love interest in his mid twenties. But then, that is by far not as weird as the romantic subtones between Margaret (actress in her early 30ies, character probably around the same age – if she had cancer at age 16 and struggled with it for years, she’s most definately over 20) and Hal (actor in mid twenties, character specifically said to be 16 – maybe 17 now). And it’s not Hal on rebound after the loss of Karen/fishing for a MILF. It’s Margaret hitting on him. Really, is that neccessary? Can’t they just switch love interests? Lourdes seemed to like Hal, and Margaret would still have a male battle couple half with the new guy.
But speaking of cast changes, Weaver proclaimed that Pope now has a “gang of degenerates” and it promptly showed up: a biker gang so dirty that even Pope tells them to go take a bath. Where these guys come from? Who they are? No idea, they appear to be scenery for Pope so far and don’t have a personality beyond “dirty biker guys with fire power”. Not sure if that was neccessary either; I had more hoped Pope would team up with Anthony (whose life he saved in the season 1 finale, which would provide a reason why they get along some better) and Dai, who has managed to play a big role, yet not developed a personality beyond “Tom’s best buddy (if Hal isn’t nearby)”. Anthony and Dai could both use some character development and throwing the guy who made some slightly racist comments about them when they first met in a team with them would help all three.
Though Pope gets the character development and scenery cast, the writers are missing one little detail about him. A reason why he’s supposed to be the token evil teammate everyone treats him as. Wondering if the magically returned former second in command may have brought some brainwashed surprises from his seemingly 3 months stay with the aliens? Well, I find really nothing about that “hostile” or “aggressive”. And later, Weaver commands to blow up the bridge twice and his soldier, Jamil, I believe, fails to obey due to being frozen in shock. So Pope carries out the command and is immediately the “bastard who killed my father”, according to Hal. Doubtful the same accusation had been made if Jamil had pushed the button when Weaver told him to; moments earlier, when Tom was a lot closer to the TNT and would very likely have died. Alas, for the second time in the season premiere, Tom returns from the (suspected) dead and everything is fine. But either way, blowing up the bridge was the neccessary thing to do, really everyone agreed on that. Can’t see how that makes Pope the bad guy either. I know I’m not exactly the most empathic person alive, but I feel the writers are missing a point here.
Anyway, I’m glad the show is back. It’s exactly what I need to get me through the summer, and besides the bizarre romances, I can’t complain. From the previews and trailers, it looks like everything else – suspicions about Tom being a mole, the whereabouts of the vanished Rick – are going to be addessed soon enough.