“Death March” – or, how Greg would call it, “the dreaded episode without Ben”. And I can already see the horror in his eyes when I say “hell yes, that’s the Falling Skies I wanted to see!” It’s not a great episode because Ben isn’t there. It’s a great episode because other characters finally catch some of the spotlight. (However, I have to satisfy my urge to point out one thing I keep bringing up in every review: Dai has exactly ONE line. What the hell, writers?)
1. Maggie’s “dark secret” isn’t all that devestating – but it’s a total win nonetheless.
Justin over at fallingskiesblog came up with several ideas what Maggie’s dark secret might be; I added my own and we kinda agreed that a criminal past is the most likely option. We were totally right. Actually, Justin hits it twice, since he also had “drug addiction” on his radar while I was getting lost in character drama that would attract the Londo Mollaris of the world like a torch on a moonlit beach attracts mosquitos. So Maggie has a criminal past, was a junkie, went to jail and gave her baby up for adoption. That translates to: Hell, yeah, we successfully evaded yet another possible pregnancy arc! And if my multi layered suspicions about Charleston are anywhere near the truth, it also puts her at risk along with Pope, which is a good thing. My suspicions about Charleston basically include a dictatorship with a crazed military guy who wants to register everyone (former occupation, family, all the usual fanfare) and will not respond well to ex-cons. While the 2nd Mass wouldn’t have such a hard time to hand Pope over – which would severely hurt my scenario – they would care about about Maggie. Because, my scenario also contains a resistance within the resistance, and a secret ally who wants to overthrow the dictator, but needs some time to set his plan in motion. The 2nd Mass would need a reason to hold out instead of getting the hell outta there. Pope alone wouldn’t hold them. Maggie would. So her criminal past very much supports my theory.
2. First Up for Tector!
The level up in character depth is the single most precious item in the game. Every NPC wants it, but the party can only use one at a time. Maggie was holding hard onto this gem, but then Lourdes sacrificed her companion Jamil and dropped the cleric class, making it look like she’d be able to use the First Up. But alas, while she was wondering how to spend the skill points, Tector came along, grabbed the gem and immediately used it to switch from rogue to warrior with weapon grand mastery in projectile weapons. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d display the achievement “Opening Credits” in season 3 (after being billed as guest star all through season 2) on his profile.
Well, well, well, who would have expected Porter to be hiding in the ruins of the promised land? Answer: Everyone who paid attention during the opening credits and saw the actor billed as guest star. Oh well. Let’s pretend no-one saw that. After pretty much everyone from the Massachusetts groups was presumed dead, it was a surprise to the 2nd Mass. And after finding a destroyed Charleston, it was the biggest possible surprise for them to find any humans at all. They didn’t see any opening credits. And to us viewers, it was certainly a revelation to find out why the aliens left Charleston alone: It already looks destroyed and the resistance is likely underground. (A part of me hopes they are building a nuke in a secret underground lab, and Tector will be involved, and only Stargate Atlantis viewers know why.) This sure looks promising.
4. Scaly Girl, here today, gone tomorrow.
9 years old Matt Mason got a love interest. No, seriously?! Hell, seriously. The scaly girl from the trailer that everyone was theorizing about. And that was pretty much a joke if that was all we’ve seen of it. Long character building scenes of Matt befriending the girl, just to have her leave without a trace? I’m willing to put the case on ice for now, since there are still two episodes to go. But if that was the last of her, I call bull.
5. Anthony got screentime AND lines!
After Tector successfully brought the First Up into his possession and used it, a new item has been thrown into the game and Anthony is hopefully on the way to grab it. I count Dai’s lines per episode as a joke, and I used to do that with Anthony, too. But this episode finally broke through my attention span, as he got more lines and scenes than my short term memory can keep up with.
The rest has to go in a short summary for now, but I can’t miss to mention that I really loved the Weaver scenes. His crisis after arriving in Charleston added a lot to his character. I’m also glad we finally got to see a more desperate side of Tom – it was about time after everything that happened. Actually, Matt making his will and giving it to Tom, and Tom later telling Anne about it, did a lot more for Matt than the entire Scaly Jenny interlude. The episode also refreshingly lacked of drawn out romance scenes – obviously in favor of revealing character backgrounds. I very much hope this trend stays strong, as this was a damn good piece of entertainment.