‘Falling Skies’ 3.09 Episode Recap And Review: Journey to Xilbalba

Out of the darkness, there came light.

In this week’s episode of Falling Skies, the physical damage to the Volm power base, and Charleston, was a direct correlation to the emotional upheaval that also occurred. I’m sure I’m not the only one who Googled “Xilbalba” to see what, exactly, that meant. While I did not find an actual definition, I did find a similar word, “Xibalba,” that roughly translates as “place of fear.” I find that fitting as the essence of last night’s episode, as many of our human fighters faced fear and potential death, and were able to persevere.

We begin our episode with Weaver confirming with Marina that the Volm plan to move their weapon out of the compound that afternoon, with “Project Orange” to commence the following morning. Marina wonders how trustworthy the Volm will be after they’ve deployed their weapon on the Espheni. However, no matter what, Weaver believes that if they don’t proceed with the attack, the Espheni will wipe out the human race in a matter of months.

Nearby, Lyle alerts Pope to Tom’s innocuous return by sailboat. Tom heads into Charleston, and is greeted by Weaver and Anthony. Hal and Ben also welcome Tom back with relief that he is alive, but Matt expresses anger over Tom’s disappearance. His anger quickly turns to anguish when Tom reveals that Anne and Alexis are apparently dead. Tom tells Matt to use his emotional pain and anger as a weapon against the Espheni, going against the advice he had told Ben long ago after his first return from captivity.

Tom meets with Weaver and Porter and urges them to focus the upcoming attack on Boston and Karen. Porter reluctantly agrees to think about it before dismissing Tom. Tom leaves the command center in a huff and runs into Cochise. While happy to see him, Tom tries to brush off Cochise’s sympathy over Anne and Lexie’s deaths, wondering aloud if his love was not an edge, but an impediment that clouded his judgment to the war efforts. “What, then, is the alternative?” Cochise responds. “Not to love, so we never have to grieve?”

They part ways, and Tom heads back outside to visit Pope. Tom wants Pope’s promise that he will kill Tom if the man acts at all suspicious, just in case Karen bugged him, and Pope is happy to oblige. An explosion suddenly rends the air, knocking them to the ground.

After regaining their feet, they are stunned to see that the Volm compound has been destroyed. They find Cochise nearby with another Volm who is dead. Tom convinces Pope to help him carry Cochise back inside Charleston. Once inside, Tom spots Lourdes and calls for her help. Our resident mole would rather not stick around, telling Tom that she needs to go up top, but Tom quickly overrides her and orders her to help him with Cochise. Cochise awakens, and now it is Tom’s turn to try and offer comfort in the face of the Volm’s grief over his lost comrades.

Cochise tells them that his body will regenerate itself if he is left undisturbed. Tom and Pope wheel him into an empty hospice area before they leave. Lourdes is quick to return to her nefarious deeds, going upstairs and sticking a glowing red alien brain bug to a wall behind an air vent. It sprouts roots and starts spreading down the shaft as she replaces the vent cover. She heads for a stairwell, apparently looking to head outside, but she is intercepted by Weaver. He tells Lourdes to return to the hospital, and she is forced to comply to avoid suspicion.

We quickly discover why Lourdes wanted to leave: the alien brain bug is a bomb, and it spreads down the air shaft, beeping rapidly before exploding.

As the dust settles after the initial blast, Weaver coordinates the rescue efforts. Ben uses his enhanced hearing to try and find people trapped below. Matt suggests that he and Ben check out the storm drains and see if that will also help locate people. Weaver sends them on their way, before going over to where Pope and the other Berserkers are busy hauling rubble away from the collapsed stairwell leading to the cafeteria. Realizing that that is where Jeanne is likely situated, Weaver joins in with their digging efforts.

Tom and Marina are together when the explosion occurs. Marina sustains a head injury and has vision problems, but she is able to follow Tom as they head toward the infirmary. They come across some casualties before stumbling upon Lourdes, who is unconscious but alive. Tom manages to carry her into the infirmary, and another doctor looks her over and determines that she has a concussion. As he turns his attention to Marina, Tom sees Porter and Jeanne nearby. He heads over to them, and Porter tells him that all of the main exits are blocked with rubble. Tom points out an additional area, and he and Anthony head out to see if it is passable. Meanwhile, the doctor wheels Lourdes into the same room where Cochise is healing. As he is walking out, Lourdes opens her eyes, and looks over at Cochise with a faint smile.

After discovering that the way is blocked, Tom and Anthony hear funny noises, and think they are about to be attacked by crawlies. Instead, they discover Dr. Kadar.

Hal and Maggie are trapped in the armory after the blast. Hal attempts to clear rubble away from the exit, and is confused at how weak he feels. Maggie realizes that they are running out of oxygen, and when Hal tries to keep digging, she angrily demands that he stop wasting their oxygen on a futile activity. His efforts bring to mind something else she is angry over, and she asks Hal why he made her stay in Charleston while he went looking for Anne and Lexie. When Hal responds that he didn’t think he’d return, this infuriates Maggie even more. “How I live or die is my choice, not yours,” she tells him. Hal rolls his eyes and goes back to his digging, while Maggie picks up a wrench and bangs it against a nearby pipe.

Anthony and Tom return to the infirmary with Dr. Kadar and start devising a plan of escape. Luckily for them, Anthony has half a dozen packs of C4, and Dr. Kadar is able to improvise the other materials needed to create a charge big enough to hopefully clear away the rubble from one of the exits.

Lourdes is discovered moving around, and is ordered back to bed by another doctor. Tom hears this and also urges Lourdes to get some rest. Instead, Lourdes starts talking about Anne and Lexie. She apologizes to Tom, saying that she feels like she is at fault for Anne’s death. “And to think that after everything we went through, she died alone, right back where we started,” Lourdes tells him, and Tom seems to hesitate over those words, before advising Lourdes not to dwell on it. As he turns and leaves, Lourdes pulls a scalpel from her pocket and turns toward Cochise.

Feeling the effects of the diminishing air supply, Hal collapses next to Maggie, who starts laughing. When Hal angrily asks her what is so funny, Maggie says that they are, and the fact that after all of their work, they are right back where they started. She urges Hal to stop fighting it. “Dead is easy,” she explains. “It’s living that hurts.” Hal refuses, and Maggie continues to laugh. However, her mirth abruptly ceases as Hal explains why he has to keep trying. He blames himself for the explosion and the deaths that came from it, thinking that he likely planted the bomb while being controlled by Karen. He tells Maggie that she is going to die because of him. Maggie retorts that no one has ever cared about her like Hal does, and if this was her time to die, she could not think of anyone else she would rather be with. “That’s my choice,” she affirms.

Dr. Kadar has almost gotten the charge set up when he notices a crack in the support beam overhead. He worries that their explosion could punch a hole through the wall to the stairwell, as planned, or it could cause the ceiling to collapse if the support beam has been compromised. He tells Tom that they should go over the plans one more time to see if there might be a better location. Frustrated, Anthony states that they are right back where they started, and Tom, hearing those words again in a different context, comes to a startling realization.

Lourdes is leaning over Cochise with the scalpel raised when she hears footsteps. She manages to hide the scalpel as Tom appears, and he urges her to come with him, stating that Anthony has been hurt. Lourdes grabs her med pack and goes with him. She sees Anthony lying on the ground, his back to her, and she rushes to his side, reaching for his shoulder to roll him over. As Anthony moves onto his back, he lifts his arms, revealing a weapon, which he points at Lourdes while ordering her to get up and put her hands over her head. Lourdes slowly complies as Tom and Jeanne also point weapons at her. Instead of raising her hands, however, she clutches at the med pack. Tom demands to see the contents of the bag, telling Lourdes that he suspects that it contains a tracking device and that is how the Espheni found him in Keystone. He questions Lourdes about how she knew that Anne died in Boston, when Tom had told no one except Weaver and Porter of this fact. Lourdes tries to dissuade Tom, insisting that he was acting crazy. Tom responds by accusing her of handing Anne and Lexie over to Karen, and then asserts that she is the mole. Realizing that she was trapped, Lourdes suddenly reaches into the med pack and pulls out a Volm weapon. Tom grabs her arm, causing the weapon to misfire, and knocks her to the ground.

As Ben and Matt walk through the storm drains, Ben strains to hear any noise that could indicate survivors. Matt worries that their father has been changed after his latest meeting with Karen, and wonders if he is dead, along with Hal and Maggie. He tells Ben that death might not be so bad, and that Ben is likely the only one that will survive. Ben responds that he doesn’t want to live if it means that everyone else has died, to which Matt returns, “It’s not up to you.”

With their air supply dwindling, Hal and Maggie begin to fade in and out of consciousness, while Maggie keeps trying to bang the wrench against the pipe. Ben hears the noise, and calls up to them, telling them that help is coming. Matt runs off to get Weaver and a crew. Realizing that they are low on air, Ben urges Maggie to open the pipe. In a last burst of energy, Hal and Maggie combine their strength to twist the pipe open, and manage to do so.

Back in the infirmary, Lourdes is lying on a gurney in restraints. Tom, Jeanne, and Anthony speculate over how Lourdes ended up “infected” and how none of them realized it. Lourdes suddenly snaps awake and begins to goad Tom. She tells him that it’s too late and that Tom knows that he is to blame for everything that has happened. “How many people have died for your mistakes?” she sneers, adding that they will all die down there, trapped beneath the rubble, and Karen will win.

Tom grabs the Volm gun, but instead of aiming it at Lourdes, as she seems to be trying to provoke him to do, Tom storms from the room and heads back to where Dr. Kadar had set up the charge. He fires the gun, detonating the charge. The worry over the support beam is for naught; the blast opens up a hole to the outside and fresh air streams in, along with the glow of the morning sun.

People begin to climb out from the rubble, reunited with those who had been working to free them. As Tom walks free of the wreckage, he hears Anthony telling Matt, Ben, Hal, and Maggie that Lourdes was the mole. He confirms this, and Hal turns and walks away, stunned over the discovery. Maggie follows him, and Hal apologizes to her for “everything,” saying that he never meant to hurt her. Maggie accepts his apology, and they agree to get payback against Karen together, as a team.

Our episode ends with Tom coming upon Cochise as he stands on the shore, staring at the destroyed complex in the distance. Tom assures Cochise that his people did not die in vain, and that not all is lost, particularly after Cochise confirms that the Volm weapon, while buried beneath the wreckage of the complex, would have survived. However, all of his engineers are gone, and Cochise does not have the technical expertise to operate it. Tom believes that Dr. Kadar might be able to help. Cochise is reluctant to hope. “It is a long shot at best,” he states, to which Tom responds, “What’s the alternative? Come on. First, we bury our dead. And then we start digging like there’s no tomorrow.”

Well, everyone! There you have it. What did you all think of this episode? Post your comments below, and be sure to join us next week for Tamara’s review of the season finale of Falling Skies. I can’t believe I just typed those words!!


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