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Falling Skies – Young Bloods

"Young Bloods" reunited Captain Weaver with his teenage daughter, and featured storylines centered on teenagers and children. In addition to the return of the lost daughter, a lot happened involving the age group. We had a kid soldier, a brewing and clumsy first (or maybe second) love, brotherly relationships, a teenage confrontation with the sense of loss, and even teenage reckless decision-making and search for independence.

The idea of kids staying together and away from grownups because adults get them killed was fine, and the way the Mason brothers handled their encounter with the group of kids was even better. Hal Mason’s attitude of a teenager trying to act as an adult was alright under the circumstances (“You all look like you could use a good meal. No offense.”) Let's not discuss the way Captain Weaver’s daughter Jane found her way back into her father’s life (after all, chance encounters can happen) and rather focus on what followed.

Jane Weaver
Teenagers rebelling against authority is to be expected (and maybe even encouraged in this day and age), so no surprise there, but her boyfriend Diego’s decision to go after the skitters on his own with only children as soldiers was worse than reckless in the post-apocalyptic world. It was too obvious the whole scene only seemed to exist to pit Jane against her father and, from the onset, it was obvious Jane would not stay with the 2nd Mass. I was hoping they would find a more elegant way out for her, but they settled for the classic "I want to live my own life." That might have worked if they lived in a world with postal service and all, but how do you fit such a decision in post-apocalyptic America? What’s worse, Diego’s decision to still be on his own after the skitters attack showed how badly his group needed the safety provided by the 2nd Mass.

For all its inconsistencies, Jane’s storyline provided what were arguably the emotional peaks of the episode. Despite the clumsy way the story led to them, the papa bear and teddy bear scene and all the other father and daughter moments were touching in a way that the show has never achieved with the Mason family. It might be because Jane is a girl, and because, let’s face it, Weaver has something very gruff and "papa bear" about him, which contrasts very well with the young woman’s ways.

Matt Mason’s short-lived role as skitter bait was the most exhausting story of them all. Long-time readers are familiar with my opinion of the child actor, but even people who don’t share such views have to admit his are some of the most difficult family stories to put together in the post-apocalyptic world of Falling Skies. Here, he was mostly a distraction providing some screen time to Tom Mason and his disciplinary actions.

Ben Mason, on the other hand, has slowly grown into a character I don’t mind having around. He is far from being a favorite and is not portrayed by the most impressive child actor either, but his “skills” and his potential as a key player are making him very interesting to watch. In “Young Bloods,” his relationship with his brother Hal was explored a bit further. I like what the show is doing with Hal, who is trying to get close to a brother he is somewhat afraid of.

All the aforementioned storylines came together in an extended scene which was, to me, the most engrossing moment of the hour. The show’s ability to portray emotional moments are not limited to feelings of hope, love or sadness. Now and then, things can get very scary, and here they did. If we set aside the last-minute “saves” by Weaver and Mason, everything that happened in the “Harnessing Chamber” was good science fiction and good television, but was above all scary in a very primal and creepy way. We saw for the first time how harnessing happens and it is not pretty, but it fits well into the series’ sci-fi construct.

Chocolate pie
Finally, I should add that although we saw a lot of love between teenagers during the episode, Anne Glass’s and Tom Mason’s kiss witnessed by Lourdes had a taste of innocence to it that the young people’s relationships didn’t. Anne spoke of chocolate pie and Tom seemed to talk about the same thing, but he was actually referring to the brewing love between them and she understood it, and that was sweet. Even her laugh following Tom’s awkwardness when they were caught was refreshing. The Maggie and Hal relationship is moving along, but Hal’s alpha-male attitude doesn’t make the whole thing particularly appealing at this stage. The young man seems to be trying too hard to be detached and to be “only” a friend. Another disappointing relationship is Lourdes’s. Because of her faith and her overall persona, she was the character more likely to produce a refreshing interaction with a boy, but her boyfriend was shoved down our throats at the beginning of the season with no explanation. I understand the move to get away from the love triangle (of the previous season), and it is obvious that she is a secondary character, but if the episode can allow her to share her sense of loss so effectively, the boyfriend could have been introduced more appropriately. Now as a result, although he had great advice, it didn’t work that well because he sounded like a stranger talking to someone we care about.

“Young Bloods” was all about the young, sometimes brilliantly, like in the harnessing chamber, but sometimes in a frustrating way, like with Matt Mason. Some of the stories featured the show’s trademark ability to touch us emotionally, some were lacking in their execution, but they all only used adults by virtue of their relationships with the younger characters (and, well, to save the day).

Rating
7.5

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