The Sunday, July 5 episode of “Falling Skies,” season 5 episode 2 “Hunger Pains,” shows just how far some people are willing to go for food – and to get food – including eating something they shouldn’t and making a promise they can never keep. Plus, Anne makes a startling discovery about an enemy threat.
This “Falling Skies” episode is the better of the first two of the final season, as it shows that the 2nd Mass’ problems are far from over, even with their victories in the premiere and the Espheni power core down. They still have alien threats – like the bug that got Tom at the end of the premiere and savage skitters – to worry about, plus there is the very human problem of food, and in this case, the lack of it. It also offers a further look at the alien Tom has been seeing as Rebecca, with another conversation from the past and another warning, one that Tom can only do so much about with the resources at hand. And one of the best parts – and more surprising gestures – comes from Pope, as he puts together a candlelit dinner for Sara; who would have thought even last season that it would be Pope pulling a romantic move like he does?
Just because things like mechs and beamers and, to a certain extent, organized skitters are no longer a big concern for the 2nd Mass doesn’t mean that their camp isn’t constantly coming under attack. In fact, in a way, it’s worse now, as the skitters attacking are willing to go after anything (including each other) and, most importantly, their food, so when they lose their food supply, left with only enough to barely ration it out, they have to do something or more and more will collapse and there’s nothing Anne can really do for them. Fortunately, Ben finds cans of pineapple under some rubble and the address on them is local enough that he, Maggie, Pope and Sara set out, through a storm drain, in hopes that it hasn’t been raided yet.
That’s really the survivors’ only hope, with no food at camp and the dead skitters not an option, even extra crispy, as one person learns the hard way, when trying one kills him in a gruesome way. They do find food – and Sara and Pope both try to talk to Maggie and Ben about the complicated love triangle while they’re loading up a truck – but they also run into a big problem when a girl locks them in the cage, and her skitterized brother is locked in the room next to them. Caitlin is so sure her brother is still in there because even though he attacks her, he cries about it after, so in order to get her to agree to let them go with the food, Maggie lies that they have a machine that can reverse what was done to Brian.
Tom once again sees “Rebecca,” with another memory providing a (too late) warning for the present/future: starvation. “People need to eat,” “Rebecca” reminds him after talking about Hal going to practice and needing food, and then Tom sees Hal in desperate straits. It’s a vision that essentially comes true. When Ben, Maggie, Pope and Sara return from their run with a truck, it’s Dingaan’s latest device that helps take out the skitters swarming their truck, and it’s Hal who jumps over the gate to move a dead skitter so the truck can get inside. However, Hal then collapses, and he’s lucky that it happened then and not earlier because Anne now has what she needs to help – food, vitamin supplements, etc. Maggie is by his side when he comes to, with a can of Pringles because she remembered him saying he missed them. It’s a sweet gesture, and that, along with her reaction as soon as he collapsed, suggests that there is hope for their future, even with the feeling she can’t control for Ben.
This is just further proof of what this alien – which was only seen in its true form in flashes in the premiere – seems to know and seems to be able to know about the future. For now, it’s helping Tom, warning him, but does that mean it can be trusted? Not at all, as it may have its own agenda, its own plans, and it could be using Tom and humanity for its own purposes. After all, the Espheni had previously warned Tom of “a greater common enemy,” “a force far greater than your mind can comprehend,” for which the Volm would be no match. Could this new thing be that enemy? Could that enemy be something else? Or could that enemy never show up at all?
Meanwhile, Anthony is still torn up over seeing Denny torn apart by skitters and he’s eager to take his anger, his rage, his grief, out on the enemy. Tom stops him when he beats on a skitter at the gate, instead reminding him to hold his position and keep his head and use that anger, but when Tom comes across a group watching him beat up a skitter in a tent later on, he just stands back and watches, and it’s Weaver who intervenes and puts a stop to it, shooting the skitter in the head.
That’s not the only instance that Tom and Weaver aren’t in the same chapter (though they are, at least, in the same book, wanting the enemy gone and tired of losing people to this fight) when it comes to this war now. Tom may not have been gone long (this time), but it was long enough that he needs to be brought up to date on their vehicle situation, and when Tom questions how it’s possible they have no cars, Weaver wonders if he thinks someone dropped the ball while he was gone. Tom just doesn’t want to lose their momentum, and as much as Weaver agrees about that, he has to think about their people as well: “Nobody wants to take it to them more than me, but in the mean time, my job is to make sure that we have the soldiers to march that warpath when it comes.”
When Weaver finds Tom following the incident with Anthony, Tom reminds him, “There’s no code with this enemy.” He’s told the 2nd Mass to “embrace their rage,” and that’s exactly what he’s letting them do. “I know in my gut we’re not going to make it across the finish line if we keep walking this tight rope. We have to tap into our most primal, combative selves until this is over,” he stresses. “Time to flip the switch. Because I guarantee the next generation and the one after that will be grateful we did.”
Meanwhile, Matt sort of befriends Evelyn, even though he tries not to. “It’s pointless to know new people around here,” he tells Dingaan. “They’re either lying or dying or both.” In her case, it’s dying, as she collapses just after Anne runs out of rations when she gets to the front of the line, and even as he denies their friendship, he does what Dingaan didn’t when he was close to Matt’s age: when she’s getting better, he tells her he loves her laugh.
Finally, Matt puts together a microscope for Anne so she can look at the bug that got Tom, whose neck is still bleeding at the beginning of the episode, and she makes a startling discovery: it has skitter legs, Espheni arms, black hornet wings and human eyes. Even worse? It’s not actually dead, and Tom and Anne are somehow – how they can track it all that way is pretty surprising – able to follow it to where a large group of skitters and black hornets are gathered. Uh-oh.
“Falling Skies” season 5 airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on TNT. What did you think of episode 2 “Hunger Pains”?