The 2nd Season has been better than the first, but I won’t lie. These last three episodes, taken together, are a bit of a disappointment. It feels lazy and tired, like they ran out of gas. The first episode is simply bad, the second one okay, and the last one more dumb than not. At times the writing this season the writing really pepped up, but the home stretch ain’t one of them.
Overview: And boy is it a long march, one clunky, talky attempt at a character study that goes boringly awry. Oh, and Charleston sucks until it doesn’t. This episode is a serious let down after some of the recent momentum.
Let’s see. Tom remembers one of the show’s high points to date, his emotional farewell with Ben. And then Matt comes to talk.
Maggie and Hal and Pope are scouting up ahead. And they talk.
Captain Weaver and Tector are driving in another truck. They talk.
We run across another harnessed kid, this time a girl turning slightly reptilian in the face via scattered, scaly blemishes. You might think that’s a plot, but you’re wrong. She and Matt talk.
Dr. Glass and Lourdes talk to. Everybody talks without actually having much to say. Character development is good, but this episode is a stone, low budget drag.
Oh, the girl leaves with her Skitterish brother at some point. And the 2nd Mass finds Charleston. It’s in ruins. Weaver gives a stirring speech, after which they find the supposedly dead Colonel Porter who tells him that Charleston isn’t all in ruins. The new American government is living in some kind of underground mall/parking garage.
I can’t top a line that like, so let’s move on.
“The Price of Greatness”
Overview: Something happens. That alone is an improvement over last week. A bit sketchy overall, but when’s the last time you saw an American History professor drunk with power?
So the 2nd Mass has linked up with the new Continental Army. And they have a cafeteria in their underground mall/parking garage hideout. Weaver’s daughter is there. Just like we thought, her boyfriend was a loser who couldn’t protect himself in a paper bag. She’s the only survivor of that nicely snipped plot thread.
Meet our new would be George Washington. He’s played by the bald guy from Lost and Hawaii Five O, Terry O’Quinn. Of course he’s Tom Mason’s former history professor at Boston College, Arthur Manchester. He’s also creepily enthusiastic about his chance to design a new Constitution, all courtesy of global genocide. I guess when life hands you some blood-soaked lemons you might as well make pink lemonade.
Manchester’s lethargic, seemingly sedated nemesis is General Bressler, played by the inimitable Max headroom himself (date yourself if you know that reference). Basically, Manchester wants everyone to hunker down as his grad school government project. So no fighting the aliens. Bressler wants to fight the aliens, but he’s intimidated by the grad school project. Manchester oozes paranoia, Bressler boredom. It’s sort of like a sci-fi version of that old show “The Odd Couple.”
After everyone gets assigned quarters, we see Tom and Dr. Glass sharing a room. So I guess that’s official.
The 2nd Mass has a variety of less than pleasant encounters with their hosts while Manchester tries to wean Tom over to become his Teaching Assistant. But Tom wants to fight aliens. Meanwhile, Pope plans to rob the armory and head out to live the Mad Max lifestyle. Maggie, Hal’s girlfriend overhears him and, instead of telling someone, steals a gun herself to draw down on him in the armory after he’s broken in. That works so well both she and Pope get arrested.
A harnessed boy shows up and tells Tom the Skitter Red Eye wants to talk to him. Manchester freaks out: “But today we’re playing Department of Commerce! And I’ve got a whole raft of Urban Renewal projects to vet!” Bressler appears to be in a walking coma. Tom is disappointing his ole perfessor, so Manchester brings up Pope to get dirt on his beloved former student. Pope makes sure to eat his steak before giving Manchester the finger.
Hal breaks Maggie and the harnessed kid out to go meet Skitter Red Eye about his Skitter rebellion. Bressler arrests them as the 2nd Mass is taken into custody by Manchester. He knew they didn’t read Chapter 11 last night! But before any real drama can break out, Bressler comes out of his coma long enough to arrest Manchester and free