Falling Skies: "A Thing with Feathers" (Season 4, Episode 8)



I had to look that title up. It comes from an Emily Dickinson poem, and it seems that hope is a thing with feathers. Okay.

We open with the remains of the 2nd Mass moving out into the debris at sunrise to look for survivors. You can see their breath fogging, and it sure looks there’s snow on the ground . That’s disorienting because when we see scenes in the nearby woods there certainly is no snow. Nonetheless we do get to see a Skitter get its skull bashed in by a rock as our heroes fan out. It makes a convincing crunch.

Hal finds Maggie under some debris. She’s alive but can’t feel her legs. Dr. Glass later determines that she’s paralyzed from the neck down, which I guess means she can’t feel her arms, either.

Tom is trapped under debris with the South African guy. Since he keeps hanging around, I went ahead and looked up his name even though he still doesn’t have much of a personality. It’s Dingaan.

Remember last episode when Ben went to find Lexi? Well he found her off camera and somehow got knocked unconscious, too. Lexi wakes him to tell Ben that a peaceful future has begun, one that she will show him. She’s wearing a red velvet dress and acting creepy enough that we know this can’t end well.

Dingaan is a real downer this episode. He’s shouting and crying and talking about how they’re doomed. DOOMED, I tell you! It’s becoming irritating by the time Tom finally does the stalwart hero thing and tells him to shut up. He explains that they must cling to hope, which, if you didn’t know, is a thing with feathers. Just hopefully not a thing with feathers that your cat left on the porch. There is one funny exchange in this all. Dingaan says “I just don’t like the idea of being buried alive.” Tom responds: “As opposed to everyone else who loves the idea.”

Lexi takes Ben to see “the evolution of the species.” It’s basically just a bunch of people screaming in a poorly lit set with big furry looking balls scattered around where they’re turned into super Skitters. Ben correctly points out that technically this isn’t evolution; it’s mutilation. Lexi seems unconcerned. You say tomato, I say tomato. Lexi remains a pure plot device who’s dizzying array of attitudes and allegiances come and go with the wind and never make much sense. She wants Ben to come with her, but he declines. Then he leaves.

Okay dokey. Lexi’s a dupe of evil this week. Check in next week when she juggles snails.

Cochise the Volm, who showed up some time or another, tells Anne they might be able to repair Maggie’s spine with some fluid from the spikes on a formerly harnessed kid. It's like magic nerve tissue stuff. Anne says they can’t do that without Maggie’s permission. Hal goes to talk to her, only to have Maggie say “I kill aliens. I can’t become one.” But like most boyfriends, he blows off her heart felt choice and tells Anne that Maggie’s fine with it. He’ll just do some mansplaining to her if she survives.

Tom and Dingaan find themselves coming up under the remains of an Espheni ship. Tom sticks his arm in a gooey portal to open the hatch. In so doing, he also gets bit by something. More on that later.

Anne injects Maggie with spike fluid. Pope gets some action from Mira Sorvino in the woods, which warrants only this one line of acknowledgement because her character is incredibly irritating. Tonight, she speaks the single stupidest line of this season: “Death sucks.” Pot, meet kettle.

Tom touches some electrical thingee in the Espehni ship and suddenly yells that something’s moving in his arm. Dingaan puts a tourniquet on the arm, then cuts whatever it was out. It seems like he might almost be good for something until he accidentally sets off some ordinance that starts counting down to detonation. Fortunately, it’s a really long count down. They have time to exit the ship and build a blast shield outside of it to protect themselves before the ordinance finally goes off. Dingaan also shares a tragic back story with Tom that’s so hackish, maudlin and unnecessary I won’t dignify it with an accounting.

The spike fluid doesn’t work on Maggie. Cochise says, I dunno’, how about a few spikes, instead? Ben, who has come back to tell everyone that the Lexi they know is gone (did anyone actually know her?), volunteers some of his spikes for transplant. Anne takes three with the help of one of Cochise’s gizmos. Once the transplant is complete, Maggie and Ben jump start like a car, each face down on a table and twitching like there’s no tomorrow. That actually kind of cool.

The Espheni ship finally blows up. It punches a hole in the debris from which Tom and Dingaan emerge for an extended sequence of hugs with everyone else. They celebrate life. It’s reminiscent of Ewoks around a fire. Maggie comes out and punches Ben, then kisses him since deep down she’s okay with a hot guy in a leather jacket blowing off her heart felt choice. Chicks are like that, didn't you know? It’s all rather insulting to half the species.

Later, Tom and Hal notice a green spot on the moon. It doesn’t have feathers, though, so I guess it’s not hope. But the rubble underneath them does start lighting up with an eerie glow.

See ya next week.