Falling Skies: Hunger Pains

This week’s iteration of Falling Skies depicted a scenario near and dear to my heart – a good old fashioned siege. You can chalk it up to playing too much Rome: Total War and defending against sieges there, or simply reading about epic defenses (King’s German Legion at La Haye Sainte during Waterloo anyone?), but there is something about defending against a siege that tugs at my heartstrings (or quite frankly, vice versa). “Hunger Pains” was something reminiscent of the first two seasons of Falling Skies, where the edge of disaster was far sharper, and desperate sieges were seen such as in season 2’s “Molon Labe.”

Falling Skies Hunger Pains
Let the siege begin.

I said in the previous post that the Espheni would not take this lying down. Even though their tech advantage has been knocked back, they still command a lot of resources and can do all kinds of nasty things. Although the playing field is not quite as uneven as it was in previous seasons, the Espheni have taken a strategy of attrition. What I find interesting about it is that despite still being in many ways the superior force, they have begun to use Fabian tactics.

In “Hunger Pains,” that staple of Falling Skies, the Skitter horde, rushes the 2nd Mass’ compound and boxes them in. Conveniently for purposes of plotkai, the 2nd Mass was storing all of its food in a building conveniently close to the front line. The building then conveniently goes boom by an unexplained rocket (the only one in the episode) going into it.

Now the 2nd Mass is left without food, all the while the siege continues. Conveniently, the 2nd Mass has all the ammunition it could ever want, and the Skitters keep piling up, but the people keep falling down due to hunger. This is where some feats displayed last week regarding Tom are becoming more concrete. Whatever happened to him at the end of season 4, he seems to have been gifted with precognitive abilities as a result. He foresaw, for instance, that Hal would be in dire straits due to hunger, and that is what happened by the end of the episode. Unfortunately, his gifts didn’t give him much of a military advantage like they did last week.

At the end of “Find Your Warrior,” Tom was bitten by a strange insect. This was the major mystery of the show. Anne needed to examine the thing, which was captured in a jar, but had no way to magnify it. Meanwhile, as the siege and the starvation continues, Ben conveniently finds a store of canned foods, which are conveniently distributed from a warehouse in the next county. So, in order to stave off the ongoing pains of hunger, a special ops mission is organized involving Ben, Maggie (still caught in between Ben and Hal), John Pope (still the best character in the show), and his new girl, Sara (played by Mira Sorvino). After a firefight and a run, they make it to a conveniently placed pipe system and escape to the next county without much trouble (there sure are a lot of conveniences in this episode).

Did I mention the hunger got bad enough that they needed to take this risk? Some had the idea to eat the dead Skitters. One guy tried to do it and a torrent of blood poured from his mouth as he was writhing on the ground. I had hoped that some as-yet unknown creature would be crawling out of him, but it didn’t happen. Sucks, I know.

Hunger Pains Falling Skies
A roasted Skitter leg. DO NOT EAT! 2nd guy from left is about to find out why.

Anyway, trouble eventually finds itself at the food distribution center where the squad runs into a short-haired chick who’s name I don’t remember and can’t be bothered to look up. I don’t really get what’s up with short hair these days.  Seems another SJW-themed character that’s plaguing all forms of media now. Anyway she takes the squad hostage and reveals her brother, a mutated human is locked inside the warehouse. Through some tact, Maggie convinces her to let them out, take the food, and come back with them to the 2nd Mass, where they say her mutated brother can be cured – he can’t. We will see where this arc takes us.

Anyway, the crew successfully delivers the food through a truck that conveniently runs, and then the Skitter attacks on the compound stop. Pope gets a bit romantic while Anne and Tom examine the strange insect – it looks to be a mutant of an Espheni, a Skitter, and with human eyes. Miraculously (but not too surprisingly), the thing is still alive. Even more miraculously, Tom and Anne can keep track of it enough to follow it outside the compound – where a huge army of mutant beasts is gathering.

Something else that was noteworthy about this episode was that the brutality continued. Anthony and a gang started beating the shit out of a captured Skitter for spite. Weaver disapproved and shot the thing in the head. Tom tacitly approved of what they did, saying that they need to get angry, continuing the theme started in “Find Your Warrior.” The brutality looks likely to continue next week, as scenes of a captured Espheni being beaten for information were shown.

There was a lot of plotkai in this episode, but because it was a siege and there was some good action, an intriguing mystery, a good ending, and a freakish moment that made me smirk, this episode gets a…

8/10 – Good

From me.

Wish I could find a gif of Skitter-eater dude to close, but sadly I cannot at the present time.

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