The Sunday, July 27 episode of “Falling Skies,” 406, “Door Number Three,” sees the long-awaited 2nd Mass reunion in Chinatown, but like every other small bit of happiness on this show, the smiles and any sense of unity are short-lived – and it all involves Lexi and what happens to her, something that has been teased in previews and photos since the beginning of the season. This time, however, it doesn’t just pit a Mason against Pope; instead, it’s Pope and a Mason against a Mason, as the 2nd Mass’ safety is very much in question.
Like other episodes, this “Falling Skies” episode focuses on one of the major themes of the series: family, and the different kinds of family in the 2nd Mass. It all begins with the Mason family, and just because they’re in the same place in Chinatown doesn’t mean they’re in the same place. Then there’s the extended Mason family, which includes Weaver and Maggie, and by the end of this episode, they’re very much in conflict with the third “family,” the 2nd Mass family, of which Hal has declared himself a member and taken a leadership role, over how to handle the potential threat within the “peaceful” confines of Chinatown: Lexi, or rather, who or what could be coming out of the cocoon.
This series has seen Tom have to make a choice of what’s right and give for the 2nd Mass time and time again, and in this episode, he makes the choice to protect his daughter instead, a choice that Weaver agrees may not be right from a military standpoint but from a paternal one, it is. It is, yet again, another moment that shows how far Tom and Weaver have come when it comes to trusting one another’s decisions since the series premiere. “You can tell them whatever you want,” Tom tells Hal when his son questions his decision to essentially sit back, relax and wait. “I’ve given everything to these people and to this fight. Today, I’m going to be here for my daughter.” Tom may have helped lead the 2nd Mass against alien threats before, but even with the possibility that Lexi is going to be one, he’s a father first – and seeing that may be one of the best parts of the entire episode.
Meanwhile, Lexi’s other parent (or one of her other parents, if you ask her since she has declared the Monk her father as well), Anne, goes to extreme lengths to get answers to save her, choosing to risk her own life to try to remember her time with Karen. It leads to something that is very rare: a flashback to before the invasion. In this case, Anne must relive the trauma of losing her son when the aliens first arrived, forcing her to face the fear of potentially being unable to save her child yet again. Because scenes like that are so rare, they’re all the more poignant, although the outcome of Anne’s experience, which does end up feeling so odd that it’s almost like something more has to come of it, isn’t a surprise. Given what Anne experienced while Dr. Kadar attempted to bring her back, the only way it could end is with Lexi reaching out to Anne, who can touch the cocoon even though it burned Weaver, and opening her eyes.
As mentioned above, Lexi in that cocoon ends up putting Hal in contention with his father, as the rest of the 2nd Mass is ready to take care of the potential alien threat like they have done with other such problems in the past: eliminate it. Lexi may be Hal’s sister, but he has also become the leader the 2nd Mass family has needed this season with Tom in solitary, out looking for Matt and choosing to be a father over a fighter and promising to pick up the gun if necessary – but he would be the one to do it. Hal is therefore also put in a position where he has to choose, and it’s a choice between his two families. While Tom has firmly sided with the extended family, the 2nd “family” mentioned above and Hal has chosen to stay with them at Lexi’s cocoon, he also makes it known, “You guys are my family, and this,” the 2nd Mass, “is my family.” He’s not firmly making a choice like his father has, not yet.
The questions regarding Lexi continue, in a way that is very much the focus of the episode. What is she? What is she going to become? What has she been doing in Chinatown? What’s with the Monk? As much as Tom is the protective father, willing to do what he must to keep his daughter out of danger without proof, he does still want answers, and when he goes to Lourdes for them, it’s the most sane she has seemed all season. “It’s about fear,” she explains. “She’s not working with them; she is them. And she is us. She’s uniting us all. That’s what this is, her symbol. It represents unity. Humans, Espheni and Lexi. She’s the one who will bring us all together. She is the intersection. One plus one equals three. That’s why I sent out the radio signal. Once everyone is here, there will be peace.” While that last statement has to be the furthest thing from the truth, Lourdes is, for the first time since Lexi de-bugged her, making sense. Despite making sense, this conversation also offers the tease that Lourdes knows more than she’s saying. “I can’t wait for her to come out,” she tells Tom.
Finally, “Door Number Three” opens with a scene that, like Lexi and the cocoon, has been teased for a bit: Ben and Maggie. While it can’t be more obvious it’s a dream – it’s too abrupt for it not to be – it does open up the viewer to ask several questions: Why is Hal bleeding and asking “where were you?”? Is it a premonition of sorts? Is it related to the connection seen between Ben and the Monk in last week’s episode? Because the previews teased this “love triangle” of sorts, Ben and Maggie’s conversations all season have had this tension almost to them, and with this dream, it seems to be pointing to things not quite being right.
And with Hal and Maggie’s reunion, it seems to just be one-sided on Ben’s part, but is there even anything on Ben’s part to be one-sided? Is this him or something else? With this show, it’s hard to tell, but it does change how Ben interacts with Maggie. “You were happy,” he tells her as he tries to get her to “choose hope” over picking up weapons and going after Lexi. “You were beautiful.” Then, as Maggie is faced with a choice – Hal, Pope and Tector against Lexi or Tom, Ben and Matt for Lexi – it seems to put her in a position she doesn’t even know or think she’s in: between the two brothers.
“Falling Skies” season 4 airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on TNT. What did you think of episode 6 “Door Number Three”?