In “Love and Other Acts of Courage,” the leaders of the 2nd Mass receive new information that could drastically improve the human resistance’s odds of defeating the alien invaders. However, the revelation could actually be an elaborate trap set by the aliens themselves. Hal and Ben take center stage in this episode, as Hal finally makes a move on Maggie and Ben reveals his recent communications with one skitter in particular. The revelation in “Love and Other Acts of Courage” makes it a key episode in which progress is finally made in the battle against the invading alien forces.
“Love and Other Acts of Courage” begins with a number of skitters raising their arms to the sky and calling out to one another with loud alien shrieks. As they communicate with each other, Ben steps out onto the roof of a building and chimes in, letting out an non-human cry of his own. The show’s recent focus on Ben’s contact with the aliens and his blue glowing spikes is immediately on display here, and the fact that he is joining the skitters in their wailing seems to indicate that this episode could finally bring some answers to this story line. Viewers have been kept in the dark so far (much like the rest of the 2nd Mass) as to what the glowing blue spikes and skitter encounters have meant for Ben, and “Love and Other Acts of Courage” has the answers everyone has been waiting for.
An explosion rocks a town not far from where the 2nd Mass has set up camp, and Weaver quickly assembles a team of the usual suspects to go survey the scene. When they arrive, the gang finds a battlefield strewn with alien bodies, but strangely devoid of any human corpses. This is the first time that the 2nd Mass has ever found evidence of an alien-on-alien battle, implying that there’s a possibility of civil war or unrest occurring amongst the alien forces. Hal spots glowing blue spikes underneath a pile of dead skitters and assumes that it’s Ben. But when the group pulls him out, it turns out to be Rick.
Weaver really says it all when he exclaims, “I thought I’d seen the last of him.” Damnit, how is Rick not dead yet?! He’s been annoying the hell out of us all for a good ten episodes or so now and it would’ve been fine if he’d just never returned. But alas, he pops up again in this episode as “Falling Skies” fans undoubtedly let out a collective groan. Surprisingly though, it turns out that Rick is going to do something useful this time around and help establish a connection that could end up really benefitting the 2nd Mass and the rest of mankind.
When Rick wakes up in the 2nd Mass’ hospital bus, he starts freaking out. He claims that Ben is in trouble and that he can lead them to him. Tom is ready to follow him, but Weaver worries that this could be an elaborate trap set by the aliens. As usual, Tom quickly persuades Weaver to trust Rick and go ahead with the plan. It’s rather ridiculous how easily Tom always convinces Weaver to do whatever he wants. Weaver is supposed to be the leader and commander of the 2nd Mass, meaning whatever he says goes. If he gives an order, people obey it. And yet these rules never apply to Tom. If they ever disagree on something, Tom manages to say something to Weaver and then just like that, Weaver allows it. Come on, grow a pair, Weaver!
While Tom, Weaver, and the remainder of the Berserkers handle the Ben situation, Hal and Maggie are sent out with two other people to scavenge for medical supplies. While they are out scouting, Hal and Maggie are forced to quickly take refuge in a cramped car while mechs stomp around outside. As Maggie literally lays on top of Hal, the sexual tension is high and it seems like they’re going to make out at any second. But when Maggie makes a comment about Hal’s short-lived romance with Karen, she kills the mood and any chances of a hookup.
Of all the “Falling Skies” romances, the Hal/Maggie relationship seems to be the easiest to root for. The Lourdes/Jamil relationship was abruptly introduced, and the Anne/Tom romance just seems off for some reason. But Hal and Maggie actually have some chemistry, and in “Love and Other Acts of Courage” the writers finally address that there is more going on between them than just being military partners. More than in previous episodes, their relationship is certainly heating up with a number of close encounters and talk about Hal’s previous girlfriends. The scene in the car was a bit awkward to watch, but not enough to turn you off of the idea of these two hooking up sometime soon.
Tom and the others follow Rick into a building where they find Ben, along with a skitter that he is protecting. Weaver and Tom both want to kill it, but Ben insists that they talk to it. There’s a gem of a Weaver-ism here, when he says, “It’s time to send this cockroach back to the hell it came from.” But Tom listens to Ben, and the skitter begins talking to them through Rick. He tells the group that there is a faction of aliens who have been trying to rise against the overlords for hundreds of years. This force of rebel aliens believes that if they join forces with the human resistance, together they can defeat the overlords once and for all. The skitter collapses (it’s hurt in some way) and Ben convinces Tom—who then convinces Weaver the pushover—to take the skitter as a hostage. By bringing him back to base camp, they can interrogate him about the aliens’ plans and tactics.
This new development in the war against the aliens is an intriguing one, and it makes perfect sense that there could be some aliens who disagree with what they’re all doing to the human race. This news is a surprise plot twist that makes things much more interesting and brings about the possibility of a joint skitter/human militia fighting against the alien overlords. Well done to the writers for figuring out a way to spice things up and actually provide a way in which the human race could have a fighting chance to defeat the invading aliens, who have seemed so impenetrable up to this point.
Back at the 2nd Mass headquarters, Tom talks to the skitter one-on-one. The skitter tells Mason that they have little time to talk because there is a death squad on the way to kill him and the entire 2nd Mass camp. The skitter also reveals more about those mysterious harnesses—the overlords conquered his planet before coming to earth, and they harnessed the children there, just like they’ve been doing to human children.
As the death squad nears, things get crazy and somehow the skitter escapes his cage. As one of the Berserkers tries to shoot it down, he accidently guns down Rick instead. With Rick’s last dying breaths, he begs Ben to make them believe what the skitter told them. It’s rather hilarious how little everyone cares about Rick’s accidental death. The shooter doesn’t even get a slap on the wrist for killing him, and nobody in the 2nd Mass sheds a single tear over his untimely demise. It seems like Rick annoyed the 2nd Mass almost as much as he annoyed “Falling Skies” fans.
Meanwhile, Hal and his group finds a hospital that’s stocked with all the medical supplies they’ve been searching for. On the front steps, he sits with Maggie, who tells him more about her battle with cancer before the aliens attacked. Eventually they kiss, but Maggie pulls away and walks off in a huff. It’s clear that they both want to be together, but Maggie is reluctant to allow their friendly partnership to become more than that. Later, the approaching death squad nearly takes them out as they head back to camp, and Hal has to turn back and save Maggie’s life.
The 2nd Mass packs up and moves out in order to avoid being wiped out by the alien death squad. What’s baffling is how easily they escape. One minute, Hal and his friends are dodging rockets that are raining down on them, and then the next minute everybody has driven to safety. If the death squad was close enough to bombard Hal’s team with missiles, how was the rest of the 2nd Mass able to casually drive away and avoid any conflict whatsoever? Those alien death squads aren’t what they used to be…
While the 2nd Mass takes refuge in a hospital, Weaver asks to talk to Tom. He uses the opportunity to tell Tom that he’s “pissed as hell” at him for disobeying a direct order to kill the skitter that they’d captured. But in the blink of an eye, Weaver accepts Tom’s apology and the conversation turns to Ben. Weaver expresses his concerns about Ben being a threat to the 2nd Mass, and tells Tom that he might have to make a tough decision.
“Love and Other Acts of Courage” concludes with a brief scene between Ben and Matt. While sitting on the edge of the hospital’s roof, Ben tells Matt that he has to go away for a while. He doesn’t know when he’ll leave, but he asks Matt to keep it a secret. Hopefully he leaves during the next episode, so that he can stop screwing things up for the 2nd Mass and stop putting his family and friends in danger. Good luck hanging with the skitters, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out!
“Love and Other Acts of Courage” introduced an important new element to the human resistance against the aliens, and for that it’s a decent episode. It was also a major bonus for Rick to finally get killed off and to know that Ben will be running away soon. Plus, the Hal and Maggie romance reached a new level with the kiss they shared outside of the hospital, so it will be interesting to see where that goes. Altogether it wasn’t an excellent episode, but a new plot twist and some progress in the romance department made “Love and Other Acts of Courage” a bit better than I’ve come to expect from “Falling Skies” lately.