If you read my recaps last season, you’ll recall that I was growing less and less fond of the storylines as the season wore on, and I gave this season a three-episode ultimatum to keep my viewership. Well, you’ll all (all four of you) be happy to know that this episode was a lovely surprise, taking the storyline in different and much more interesting directions.
As the new season begins, we open on a happy and content 2nd Mass, a scant 20 days after the Volm let them leave Boston. In that time, they have traversed their way back to lay their eyes on Charleston once again, only to be met immediately with horror and blood as they are ambushed and scattered by a sudden Espheni attack which lays waste to the entire city.
We then fast-forward four months to find that the group has been split into five different groups, one for each Mason. Group A consists of pretty much just Tom Mason and Weaver, who are being held captive for an unknown reason. Tom, of course, is cooking up a fancy escape plan, and we learn that the Volm have seemingly disappeared (wiping out the whole benevolent dictators storyline, which I hated anyway, so good riddance) from the planet, leaving the Espheni to reassert themselves, which they are with a new wave of technology.
Group B has also been captured and are being corralled in a prisoners’ ghetto, where they have somewhat free reign but are patrolled constantly by skitters, huge Espheni monitor ships, and creatures that appear to be a godawful skitter/dragonfly hybrid. Hal Mason is in this group, as well as Pope and Tector (used to be a Renegade, but was too smart for that mess, so now he’s Hal’s buddy). Hal and Tector are constantly trying to find a means of escape, but Pope has found ways to work the system and is simply setting about making himself extra comfortable, everyone else be damned.
Group C (who we will call the 2nd 2nd Mass) managed to avoid capture and are back to business as usual, attacking convoys and the like, in lieu of being able to find or rescue the other groups. This group appears to be the largest and is headed by Anthony and a very angry and resolute Anne Mason, who is determined to find the rest of her family, her daughter foremost.
As for Group D (who we will call Jonestown), Ben Mason awakes from a four-month-long coma to find that his baby sister Lexi (aged now to around 20 years old in the course of 6 months or so) is now running a lovely little cult in an abandoned mall (location unknown). Lourdes and Maggie are part of this group and fully bought in; sold on the magic of the fact that the Espheni have never attacked them here, and a megamech found the enclave only to mysteriously be struck by lightning. Everyone is full of spacey cultspeak, especially Lexi, who constantly babbles about unity, peace, and safety.
Tom has been busier than we initially expect, having found a way to escape his cell, which we now can see is part of the same ghetto that Hal’s group is in. He has taken to wearing a mask (along with a commandeered motorcycle and flamethrower, to play superhero of the ghetto) while mapping the streets in service to his escape plan but also to doing a little policing of the inhabitants; showing up to force Pope to play nice at a food drop, unbeknownst to Pope or Hal.
But wait, you say, what about Matt Mason? (Ok, you didn’t say that, but anyway…) Welcome to Group E, which I’ll be calling Dumbledore’s Army. Little Matt has been pulled into a full-on Nazi-flavored child reeducation camp, full of Espheni propaganda about how life will be wonderful once everyone just accepts their alien overlords without all this fussing and shooting. Matt has clearly been here a while and has made himself a favorite of the instructors, while in true Mason fashion, quietly building a resistance effort in his spare time.
Gung-ho Anne and the 2nd 2nd Mass ambush a supposed ammunition convoy only to find it full of small children. Tom barely talks Weaver out of suicide by guard, then sneaks to the wall for a secret meeting with Cochise, who confirms the suspicion that the Volm have all but abandoned the planet. He also mentions that the Espheni intend to build a new power source that will make it impossible for anyone to liberate the planet in the future and that humanity is facing extinction. Hal and Tector make a new friend, Dingaan Botha, who claims to have escaped several camps just like this one, and offers to help them. Lexi catches some moonlight in her hand, all spooky-like, and Matt recruits a new kid to Dumbledore’s Army.
Finally, we see some human/Espheni collaborators spraying stylized images of Tom’s alter ego, labeling it “Ghost”, and we find that the fishheads are none too happy about his nighttime ramblings, threatening the entire camp with death if the perpetrator is not found.