Finally, all this pussyfooting around comes to something. This episode we get to finally uncover the mole! Given my general disappointment with the writers thus far, I must admit I wasn’t expecting all that much from this episode. Boy was I wrong! I think I may have enjoyed this episode more than any since the season opener, and all with very little CGI.
Buckle in kids, this is gonna be a long one.
We open on Tom and Ben, scouting in the woods on their way to Mechanicsville to rescue Anne and Alexis. As they ponder the likelihood of ever being able to return to Charleston with a halfalien baby, a dying rebel skitter crashes out of the woods to warn them with its last breath of a Espheni patrol headed their way. This forces them to rush back, grab Matt and Hal, and veer off their planned route. Summarily they are ambushed by human bandits, who relieve them of their guns, horses, and supplies.
Back in Charleston, Pope, giving an out-of-character lecture on economics, is interrupted by the sounds of Popetown being roughly dismantled to make way for settlers, on the orders of new president Marina. Pope begins to express his disapproval to Weaver of the government’s new direction, when a ruckus at the front gate reveals Cochise, carrying a gravely injured President Hathaway.
After getting Hathaway some medical attention, talk is turned again towards the Volm construction project. Cochise assures Hathaway that despite all the setbacks, the weapon will be ready in 2 weeks. At this statement, Marina and her control issues pipe up, wishing to order a halt to the construction until someone tells her what’s going on. Cochise refuses her any further information, citing the intelligence leak. When Marina asserts that the mole has been dealt with with the removal of Hal’s eyeworm, Cochise points out with uncharacteristic (but wholly welcome) snark, that it would be naïve to assume that the Espheni would employ only one espionage strategy. Hathaway jumps in, fully blessing the Volm plan, and insisting that it be allowed to continue despite Marina and Weaver’s objections. He then asks to be allowed to inspect the weapon, to which Cochise agrees.
Tom and the boys decide to hunt down the bandits to get their equipment back. They track them to a homestead, where we see that they are just a family who have managed to remain hidden in the hills, and are doing what they must to survive. The Masons catch them unawares, and begin ambushing them one by one. While most of the family are easily subdued, Hal’s target gives him more than he bargained for, pulling a knife on him. Just as it seems the bandit might get the upper hand, a shot rings out, and the bandit falls. Everyone is aghast to see little Matt holding the smoking rifle.
In Charleston, Anthony and Weaver are inspecting a broken down vehicle. Anthony informs Weaver that all the mechanics have called in sick, and work in the armory has slowed to a crawl. They discern that a smug-looking Pope may just be starting a worker’s strike. Pope and Weaver have another heart to heart, and Weaver orders him to stop his troublemaking, but we’re left with an impression that Weaver doesn’t wholeheartedly disagree with Pope.
Ben and Hal help the freshly shot bandit to a bed, and attempt to treat him. Tom ties up Papa Bandit, whose name is Pickett, apologizing for his brother’s injury, and informing him that once they have their supplies back, they’ll be on their way. We then cut back and forth amongst the individual bandit/Mason pairings, sharing tales of human and alien cruelty, until the injured bandit takes a turn for the worse. Tom allows Pickett to visit his dying brother, but Pickett uses the distraction to retrieve a hidden gun from under the brother’s bed, turning the tables on Tom. Tom then uses his politician’s power of boring speeches to distract Pickett, turning again the tables that were once turned… the… other… or whatever. The Masons win.
We cut to Pope, once again preaching dissent amongst the working class in The Nest, and revolt against the Volm, whom he, in his unflinching xenophobia, believes to be up to no good. Weaver enters with a couple of armed guards, and though agreeing with Pope in principal, he cannot abide his methods. Weaver has Pope arrested.
Completely forgetting his earlier rufusal to give Marina any more information, Cochise begins to completely explain the Volm plan to Marina, Weaver, and Hathaway during the inspection of the weapon. We learn that the Espheni intend to construct a grid of towers which, once powered, will form a energy barrier over the entire planet. In addtion to keeping out unwanted intruders, the barrier will irradiate the planet, killing all organic lifeforms, save the Espheni and their harnessed slaves. The Volm weapon is meant to not only take out one of the towers, but induce a power surge into the grid, with the intent of sabotaging the entire system permanently. However, there remains a sizeable chance that the surge may actually accelerate the irradiation process. Tom, and later, President Hathaway, had agreed to keep this information from the general public to keep them from undue panic.
Upon the revelation that only doom likely awaits in the future, Weaver visits Pope in his cell, recounting Tom’s advice from Season 1 that having Pope around would turn out to be useful. He tells Pope ominously that something big is coming, giving him no details, but warning him that he might need his help with something soon. He then releases Pope with the admonition to not stir up the populace.
Pope then runs into Maggie, and they have a seemingly pointless scene in which Pope tries to let her in on what Weaver told him, but Maggie still has issues with Pope, so she rebuffs him. This, of course causes Pope to resort to insults, so they fight, and part ways angrily.
Oh wait, I promised a mole, didn’t I? Don’t worry my dearies, I shall not disappoint. Back in the hospital, President Hathaway is still recovering in his bed. Lourdes visits briefly, to change his IV, and they banter for a bit about the future of the country, and then Lourdes leaves. And walks down the hall. And into a stairwell. And down the stairs. And into a storage room…wait, why are we still following Lourdes???
Lourdes pulls on a pair of blue gloves. You remember, the kind the mole was wearing when we saw VP Manchester die in the first episode? She pulls a gurney to the center of the room and lies down on it. Reaching beneath it, she retrieves a Volm gun. You remember, the kind that the mole shot VP Manchester with? She points the gun at the ceiling, and a laser targeting system begins to triangulate on something in the room above. Something like a tracker-laced IV bag. And with a flash, an explosion, and the death of a president, our mole is revealed. (It’s Lourdes, dummy.)
Shortly thereafter, we see a kneeling Lourdes in the hospital chapel. The camera rotates around to reveal her face swimming with eyeworms. A nurse enters and informs her that the President is dead, and she is needed immediately. She returns to the scene of the crime, where Marina, Weaver, and Anthony proceed to lay out the plan for uncovering the mole right in front of her, none the wiser.
Weaver leaves the room, and runs into Pope. They have a quick powwow, and further solidify their unlikely partnership for the events to come.
The Masons, back on the road to Mechanicsville, quickly come across another Espheni patrol, which they determine will come right across Pickett’s hideout. Tom sends the boys on, but heads back alone to warn the bandits. He arrives to find the homestead abandoned. While searching the interior, he hears a noise outside. Tom investigates, and is ambushed immediately by a group of skitters, and an enormous megamech!
Whew! I’m out of breath, kids. But, kudos to the writers for one episode at least. Now, if we can just bring back my Devil Baby…