Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Falling Skies: S05E05: "Non-essential personnel"

Rating: 7
Good Stuff!

In A Nutshell

Now this is much more like it! There's a clear threat, and one with emotion, personality and predictiveness thrown in together in a damn fine mix; called Pope! He's the bad guy you just love, and one that most ardent Falling Skies fans would be hard not to have a high degree of sympathy with. Whether this all ends with Tom and Pope hugging and sharing a tender moment, I don't know, although I suspect that'll happen, but at the moment this is about as tense and gritty as this show has been in ages. Ironically, this is all because of the human aspect and not the aliens that really made this episode.

Pope and his gang save another group of people from critters, recruiting the strong and sending the weak on their way. He's hold up at a bowling centre whilst he leads Tom on a mystery tour across town to find him. Badass pope works very nicely, and he really does speak a lot of truth. I'm on his side, although not with all the violence though. But this is great unpredictable and meaningful stuff. You can understand his actions, which over the last 5 or so years, has been hard to fathom from most of the main characters. This actually all makes perfect sense for once! Sadly, Tom does catch up with Pope, sneaking through Pope's guards like butter melting on toast. Very easy, and convenient, especially when he chance meets Pope, and they both draw their guns at the same time! Although, Pope of course misses, but Tom lands a blow. Can't say for sure where he actually hit Pope, but I thought that was it for a mo, but as Tom goes in closer, Pope shoots Tom in leg (yup, didn't kill him) and Tom gets in another shot that creates a gash in Pope's head. It's all very messy and a case of bad aiming. However this is cut short when a flying alien comes in and carries Tom away! Yup, didn't see that coming but at least it prolongs the badass Pope storyline, as believe it or not, despite two bullets, he 'does a Tom' and is still living at the end of the episode and thirsty for more. During all this, Hal escapes with the help of one of Pope's lady recruits, and leads the search for where the stork, I mean flying alien, carried his dad.

The sub-plot this week is just as good, if not better, which really surprised me. Whilst the second mass are making their way through a town on route to where ever it is they said they were going last week, they get cornered by someone in a building with rocket launchers and machine guns. Weaver goes all righteous on us and does a "I come in peace" walk to the building to talk the person(s) down. Turns out, it is just the one person there, which one half suspects but the story does well to disguise that fact until the last moment. In the building, Weaver gets injured by the gunman, who demands half of all the 2nd masses ammunition in order to protect his family. Turns out, his family is already dead, and this guy has gone through emotional hell. Somehow, Weaver knew that all along (so he says) but how it's all scripted, and acted, along with the tension throughout was absolutely delicious, and quite emotional there at the end. Even better, they agree to take the guy into the 2nd mass and help him get over his loss. Actually quite touching for once.

What I liked

Pope is fantastic! Bad-ass, violent and also making a high degree of sense!

The newcomers, largely the lady and nutty man (as they're the only ones given any prominence) was much welcomed after far too much staleness with the same group of characters.

Weaver going "I come in peace" was actually not as straightforward and cheesy as I thought. Quite emotional.

What I Didn't Like

Tom; creeping past all the guards like a genius. That's far too easy, right?

Tom/Pope; brief. Very brief shoot-out

Tom and alien wife vision; all so very egomaniac for Tom. IT HAS TO BE HIM RIGHT? Pope has a very good point.

Pope saves some locals in order to gain some friends for manipulation. It's a classic idea and genius ... well, clever anyway.

Hal gets kinky as he tries to lure Pope into some S&M.
Nah, not really, but he is tied up and at the mercy of Pope.

The cryptic bitch is back! This week she at least makes sense more, but this "It has to be you Tom" is getting about as stale as a rotten critter.

In a very touching subplot, a nutty dad is talked down from madness by Weaver.

Pope's not dead despite being shot twice! Yippee! More bad-ass next week please!
And Finally

As the aliens take a backseat, it's a very pleasant surprise that the human characters actually rise to the challenge, with the newcomers being far more interesting for a change. More bad-ass Pope please next week, although I fear we'll have to get back to the long drawn out dull alien invasion soon!

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