Episode: Falling Skies 2.07 – “Molon Labe”
Original Air Date: July 22, 2012
The events set in motion by Karen’s return smash together in the thrilling Falling Skies episode “Molon Labe”. The unit faces a new enemy when certain members are trapped in the hospital basement. Ben finds he’s in a dangerous situation, and Tom captures an alien commander. It proves to be the turning point of the season, as the set-up for the final three installments of Season 2 begins.
Molon labe is an interesting phrase. The literal meaning is “come and get them”. These are the words King Leonidas spoke to the Persians when he led the 300 Spartans. The words are engraved on a monument at Thermopylae commemorating the event, and the phrase has become one of the most notable quotes in military history. It refers to courage and valor against overwhelming odds in a battle. That makes it a fitting motto for our intrepid heroes of Falling Skies, the Second Mass.
Karen wants to know where Ben is leading her, and he tells her about the Skitter Rebellion. During the time Karen has spent with the Overlords, she has learned much information that could be useful to the Rebellion. Their spikes glow, an indication that aliens are close by. A Skitter appears. Ben isn’t sure if it’s a rebel or a spy. But Karen knows, and is glad to see it. The Skitter is accompanied by an Overlord, the Overlord Karen is harnessed with. The whole incident was a ruse to capture Ben. Karen is willingly re-harnessed. She tells the Overlord Ben has been in contact with the rebel Skitter leader. During an attempt by Karen to re-harness Ben, fighters from the Second Mass open fire. A team led by Tom followed Ben and Karen’s trail. The Overlord retreats, but Tom chases and corners him at gunpoint. As soon as the Mechs and Skitters see their leader in danger, they stand down. The 2nd Mass has won the fight.
At the hospital, the civilians and wounded anxiously await the team’s return. Matt stares out a window eager for the first sign of their return. Anne patches up a restless Maggie and cautions her not to do anything else that will tear the stitches from her wound. Jamil wants to get in a little “Lourdes” time before the convoy rolls for Charleston, 500 miles away.
Everyone is worried. Can they be ready to leave before the alien forces arrive? If Karen knew where they were, so do the aliens. Against Dr. Glass’s orders, Captain Weaver resumes command. Dr. Glass and Lourdes request an excursion to the basement to replenish supplies. Weaver orders Matt to go along as their security.
Tom and the fighters arrive back at the hospital with Ben, and an unexpected guest, the captive Overlord. Captain Weaver is wary of holding the alien, but Tom believes it’s their ticket out of the hospital. He plans to take the alien with them to Charleston. Alien forces surround and attack the 2nd Mass’s position. Captain Weaver orders the Overlord locked down in the Psych Ward. The aliens aren’t directly attacking the hospital. Weaver realizes the firing is a diversion to cover a rescue attempt. Tom goes to check for incursions.
In the basement, Dr. Glass, Lourdes and Matt hear the gunfire. Dr. Glass orders them back upstairs and leave everything. Tom discovers a Mech unit breaking into a basement area. To destroy it, he explodes some old oxygen tanks. The debris from the explosion traps Dr. Glass, Lourdes and Matt. Tom rejoins the front line, not knowing the trio were in the basement. After the explosion, the aliens stop their attack.
Weaver has something to discuss with Tom about Ben. Tom is not willing to turn his son into a sacrifice. To Weaver, Ben’s presence is a threat. But before any decision is made about Ben, they need to wait and see what the aliens’ next move will be. It doesn’t take long. Karen shows up with an offer, carrying a white flag of truce. If they turn loose the Overlord, they are free to leave. If not, things will get much worse and neither side wants that to happen.
Tom and Hal go out to meet with Karen. Karen is glad to see Hal is all right. After her attempt to kidnap Ben, Tom doesn’t believe she cares about anyone in the 2nd Mass. Whatever Tom thinks, she’s still trying to protect them. Her Master wanted to take a more aggressive approach. Tom makes a counter-offer. The aliens pull their forces back. When the 2nd Mass leaves, they will release the Overlord. Trusting the humans is problematic for Karen and the aliens. Tom says she doesn’t have a choice. Karen suggests Tom talk to the Overlord and reveals he’s the same one Tom “spoke” with on the alien ship.
The 2nd Mass is boxed in by the aliens and unwilling to trust Karen’s promise of safety. Weaver sends a patrol out to recon the alien position. Tom notices Anne and Matt are missing. No one remembers seeing them since they and Lourdes went to the basement. Weaver requests Jamil check on them.
Ben feels like he’s screwed everything up. If he’d left weeks ago, the 2nd Mass wouldn’t be in danger. He knew if the aliens would try to kill the leader of the Rebellion, the Red-Eyed Skitter, they were bound to come after him. Hal and Tom are sure they’ll get through it; they’re family. Tom wants Ben to continue to Charleston so he can tell the other resistance groups about the Rebellion. When Ben tried to tell him, Tom threw the Skitter leader into a cage, and Captain Weaver tried to shoot the leader. Does Tom really think the reaction would be different in Charleston? Ben needs Tom to let him go, and stop trying to hold on to him. Tom sees Ben as his 15-year-old child. Ben points out that 15-year-olds fought in the American Revolution. Tom doesn’t want Ben to fight because he’s his son, but that’s the very reason Ben has to fight. The other reason is when Ben was in the woods with Karen, the Overlord tried to use his spikes to worm his way into Ben’s mind. Ben resisted, but couldn’t have kept doing it for much longer. The Overlord is terrified by the Skitter Rebellion.
The trio trapped in the basement search for a path out. They see Jamil down a hallway. Lourdes rushes to his side. Jamil is bleeding and injured. He’s holding the handle of a door shut. Dr. Glass and Lourdes try to examine him. Matt starts to open the door, but Jamil yells, “NO!” They can hear ominous scratching noises on the other side of the door.
Maggie and Hal were sent to check out an access tunnel, a possible escape route. The hatch is jammed from disuse. While Hal works to loosen it, Maggie asks if he’s still in love with Karen. He doesn’t think so, but he can’t stop thinking about her. Maggie kisses him passionately. She’s changed her mind about not being the right person for him. They open the hatch and discover a swarm of spider-like alien bugs headed for them. The slam the hatch shut. Hal bludgeons the one that got out.
Dr. Glass finds a backboard, and she and Lourdes strap Jamil to it. He begs them to go, but Lourdes refuses to leave him behind. Matt discovers small holes in the door that weren’t there before. In a scene reminiscent of a classic horror tale, bug-like creatures begin to crawl out of Jamil. Dr. Glass has to drag Lourdes away from Jamil. He’s now beyond their help, and they have to flee to save themselves.
Captain Weaver orders all the vents and access to the basement sealed off. Hal had to hit the one “crawlie” about fifteen times with the butt of his gun to kill it. Tom’s worried about Dr. Glass, Matt, and Lourdes. Still no sign of them. He takes Ben to search for them. Pope tags along. They’ve taken refuge in a blood lab. Anne has a plan to have Matt crawl through the vent and get help. Matt is scared but knows it’s their only chance to be rescued. Pope, Ben, and Tom hear sounds coming from a vent. Pope is ready to shoot until they hear a whimper. They pull Matt from the vent. He’s being chased by “crawlies”. He leads Ben and Tom to the blood lab as Pope stays to fight off the creatures.
Karen contacts Captain Weaver. They’ve captured one of the patrols, a member of the Beserkers. As Karen urges him to run, a Mech unit steps up and executes the man. Karen says to consider it a warning.
The creatures have almost eaten through the lab door. Anne has constructed a flamethrower from an oxygen tank. She and Lourdes burn their way out as Tom and Pope shoot their way through from the other end of the hall. After their rescue, Dr. Glass has to give Captain Weaver the news that Jamil didn’t make it.
Angered, Tom pays a visit to the imprisoned Overlord. Ben chases after him. Tom confronts the Overlord, ready to deal out death or die trying. The alien easily breaks his bonds. Using Ben to speak, the Overlord tells Tom the reason he hasn’t escaped was to talk to Tom. He wants peace between them. Tom doesn’t understand how genocide equals peace. Genocide wasn’t their goal. They’re not interested in annihilating the humans. What they did was a correction. They saw the Earth as spiraling out of control. Once they have completed their task on Earth, they will move on. Tom demands to know their task. The Overlord says it’s none of his concern. But disrupting the aliens can only delay the inevitable and cause suffering for the humans. But this time, there’s a difference. It’s not just the humans resisting. The Overlord claims they’ll defeat the Skitter Rebellion. Tom points out, from the humans’ point of view, they haven’t defeated them yet. They will keep fighting. To the Overlord, humans are weak because they are too sentimental.
To prove his point, he shuts down Ben’s spikes. Ben collapses, gasping, bleeding, dying. Tom pleads with the Overlord to stop. To the aliens, sentiment equals weakness. He demands Tom release him. Tom understands now. He pulls a pistol and shoots the Overlord.
If the Overlord dies, Tom may have destroyed the 2nd Mass’s chances of getting past the aliens. Anne works to keep the alien from dying. After the confrontation with the Overlord, Tom is convinced the Skitter Rebellion is real. Weaver is skeptical; he has trouble buying “a bunch of cockroaches reading Das Kapital”. Why else would the aliens be so interested in the 2nd Mass? The truth is, they don’t pose enough of a threat to be worth all the effort. Weaver is worried about what Karen will do when she finds out her Master is near death. However, Tom thinks they should let her know.
Hal escorts Karen into the hospital. He realizes the Karen he knew no longer exists. The knowledge the aliens have given her allowed her to create the plan to capture Ben, from Hal and Maggie finding her in the woods to the moment Ben was convinced to run away with her. She has it all figured out. But she knows everything hasn’t gone according to her plan when she sees the dying Overlord. Tom offers her a deal. Let the 2nd Mass leave safely, and she has a chance to save her Master’s life. If the aliens attack, they’ve rigged the hospital with explosives, and Pope’s the one holding the detonator. He would have no qualms about blowing all of them up together.
The aliens stand down, and the 2nd Mass prepares to evacuate. Tom is proud of the job Matt did, and Anne thanks him for saving her life. The 2nd Mass pulls out on the final push to Charleston. The Captain is determined to keep rolling the entire 500 miles. Lourdes is reeling from the pain of losing Jamil, inconsolable. Tom says one more good-bye, to Ben. He tries to convince Tom leaving is for the better, but Tom refuses to believe that. Ben now has a mission and a purpose. He wants to find other kids like him and spread the word of the Skitter Rebellion. He’s sure it’s the best chance of defeating the Overlords and the humans and skitters must work together. When the Overlord invaded Ben’s mind, Ben could also see his thoughts. He knows their plan; what they’re all about. And they have to beat them, whatever it takes. Heartbroken, Tom wishes him luck. Ben promises they’ll see each other again.
The one thing I didn’t like about this episode was Jamil’s death. Yes, it was a spectacular piece of television, combining visual and practical effects. It was visceral and cinematic. What I don’t like is the current trend of killing off likeable, popular characters on shows for no real reason other than to have an emotional response from viewers — usually, gutted. I’m fine with this kind of plot device if there is a reason it needs to happen to move the story along. No, “Hey look, it’s a new alien!” is not a valid reason. That could have happened to any non-essential character. Although, I have to admit, the “crawlies” are creepy-cool.