Jimmy and Ben make an interesting team. Back in season 1 Jimmy wanted to be as far away from Ben as he could and I don’t blame him. With the behavior that Rick showed, nobody really trusted Ben much and they were all suspicious of everything he did. That changed when Lt. Clayton took all the kids to ‘the farm’ to trade them off to the skitters. Ben was given the job of running back to camp to find Tom and the others. Most doubted Ben would come back, except for Hal. Ben pulled through and ended up saving their lives. From then on Jimmy started liking Ben.
Ben and Jimmy are out on patrol, but farther then they are suppose to be. They are hunting skitters. Jimmy takes a scope shot and kills one. When they get near it, its not dead and lunges at Jimmy. Ben grabs it by the head and stabs it with his knife. The look in Bens face indicates he is enjoying this, far too much. His lust for killing the skitters, appears to us, to go beyond simple hatred towards them. He is enjoying it.
Back at camp we see Matt sleeping with his gun, poor guy doesn’t want to let it go now. Anne is concerned about the drafty environment of the hanger and fears many will get sick. She is keeping track of the days, its her only way of knowing how quickly time is passing by in a world where time is almost unimportant. Anne and Toms teasing continues showing their relationship is starting to grow and they are getting closer to each other.
Tom and Weaver discuss the fact that the aliens are closing in but disagree with how to handle it. Weaver wants to go into the mountains but Tom thinks the aliens will look at it as surrender if they go into the mountains. He wants the 2nd mass to continue pressing the fight to the aliens. Tom hears someone break a bottle and he is taken hostage by none other then Pope and his gang.
Pope doesn’t trust Tom and he wants Tom to walk away and leave or Pope is going to kill him. Pope doesn’t trust his easy escape from the aliens. He promises to look after Toms kids, but says if Ben goes skitter he will end him. Ben and Jimmy were on their way back and Ben runs in and puts a knife to Popes throat and tells them to stand down or he will kill him. Jimmy fires a shot from a distance and Ben promises he won’t miss the next time. Tom takes Pope and his gang back to Weaver to answer for his actions.
Weaver questions Anthony about knowing what Pope was up to. Hal and Weaver think Pope and his gang should be dumped. Tom doesn’t think they should because Pope and his gang do the dirty work that the rest of the 2nd mass won’t or can’t. Anthony sides with Pope saying that we don’t know what they did to Tom and Tom says that much is true and we just don’t know what else they may have done. Tom comes up with a solution, offering to join the Berserkers in order to keep an eye on Pope.
Ben and Jimmy find another group of skitters and decide to use some new ammo rounds of Popes. Ben comments the red-eyed one creeps him out. Jimmy takes the shot killing the skitter. Interesting thing is, Mr. Redeye stayed back while the other two were killed. Ben runs towards him, knife pulled and ready to strike. The skitter gets the upper hand and slaps Ben to the ground very hard. Ben is caught off guard by this, never having had a skitter who was able to predict his attack that way. Jimmy takes a run at him and ends up thrown into a tree.
Ben trys getting up to go help Jimmy but something unexpected happens. Bens hand goes up to strike the skitter and the skitters hand goes up too and stops Ben dead in his tracks. The look on Bens face is that of stunned and paralysis. Next the spikes on his back glow and the skitter seems to examine him and you hear sounds as though the skitter is communicating with Ben either learning from his mind or putting information into his mind. Ben is unable to move as the skitter continues and then the spikes stop glowing and Ben falls to his knees. The skitters runs off and Ben comes out of his trance to see Jimmy impailed on the tree through the stomach.
Back at camp Anne and Lourdes attempt to save Jimmys life. Weaver and Tom have some serious questions for Ben and what happen. Ben admits they have been hunting skitters. Tom and Weaver are pissed mentioning they already see enough action already, but they have to go looking for it? Bens frustration comes out and he explains that after everything they have done to him, his mom, and everyone they have killed, he would do it until every last skitter was dead. Tom and Weaver go into the tent and kick, throw and punch anything around them. Weaver is pissed about Jimmy and Tom about Ben. Jimmy grew close to Weaver in season 1 and he looks after him like a son. Both men feel they have failed Ben and Jimmy by not keeping a closer eye on them.
Tom and the Berserkers go out to make sure that the 2nd mass’s location is still secure. There is a group of skitters and a single mech but they are just collecting their dead and move on. Back at camp Ben starts at Hal for staring at him and challenges him saying “if you got something to say, say it.”. Weaver breaks it up but Hal gets up to get coffee, Maggie follows. Maggie tries to explain to Hal that Ben is in a world of pain and ‘maddoging’ him like that isn’t going to help matters.
Tom gives Ben the compass Jimmy dropped. Ben doesn’t seem to respond at all, still distraught over what happen. Ben runs off without saying a word and Hal goes after him. Hal cannot find Ben. The 2nd mass jumps to action when a plane shows up. A women by the name of Avery Churchhill says she has been looking for the 2nd mass. She has a letter from the new congress in SC seeking to regroup all resistance groups into SC with 3000 other survivors. Weaver doesn’t trust her and isn’t ready to make a decision on going and he holds the pilot for awhile in order to prevent her from telling anyone where they are. Tom thinks it may be a good idea to go.
Tom eventually does in the medical bus with Jimmy. Ben explains the story behind the compass. Jimmy got lost and it took 2 days for him to find his way back. Weaver gave him the compass so he wouldn’t get lost again. Ben feels everyone is afraid of him and looks at him as the cause for Jimmys death no matter what Tom has to say about it.
Ben gets Anne because Jimmy isn’t breathing. After some effort, Anne declares Jimmy dead. Ben yells at Anne to keep trying. While dressing Jimmy for his funeral Ben cannot find the compass Weaver gave him. Tom confronts Pope and finds he stole the compass. Tom demands he give it back, but Pope refuses. Pope also eggs Tom on telling him “you can put your arm around that half-breed son of yours and tell him good job on killing one for the skitter team”. Tom and Pope get into a serious fist fight. I think we were waiting for this one all last season. Pope gets the upper hand at first, kicking the crap out of Tom. But eventually Tom gets on top and starts beating him to within an inch of his live before Tecktor and the others pull Tom off.
Pope wants to leave, but his team doesn’t want to go with him. Anthony decides to go with Pope, for mixed reasons. First Pope saved his live and second he says “someone needs to keep an eye on him so he doesn’t double back”. The 2nd mass prepares a funeral for Jimmy. Needless to say, everyone blames Ben whether they say it or not. After the funeral Ben comes up to Weaver and begins to cry over the death of Jimmy.
The 2nd mass prepares to move out. The 2nd mass is going to stay in the war, they are going to Charleston. Sitting over Jimmys grave, the red eyed skitter returns and forces Ben into another trance, lighting up his spine. It looks as thought he skitter doesn’t get as much time with Ben as he wants before running off and Hal shows up. Ben acts as if nothing happen and they ride off.
Theories and Ideas
Its interesting that we see the red-eye skitter following the 2nd mass. The last time we saw him, it was in Michigan when Tom was let off the ship. Than we saw the paracite from Toms eye fly back to him and go into his eye as he sat on the outside of the 2nd mass camp. The aliens have yet to ‘find the 2nd mass’, so why haven’t they attacked? I think its clear. It appears the skitter is tracking either Tom or Ben, if not both. What exactly was he doing to Ben? The sounds indicate communication of some kind. It would be reasonable to assume the skitter was learning more about Ben and his progress and possibly inputing things into this mind that could later prove to be a control over Ben. The skitter did it a second time, seemingly trying to input more information.
A recent comic strip from Comingsoon.net showing how Karen was harnessed had an interesting angle on the aliens. The tall grey choose her because she was resourceful and a fighter, she resisted. That reinforces my idea that the aliens statement at the end of season 1 about resistance was not talking about the 2nd mass, but Bens ability to resist the influence of the harness process. In the Karen comic, the alien said her resourcefulness would be useful to them. The harnesses don’t always take and they need a better system of restraints. Its clear the aliens have a keen interest in Ben as a result of his ability to resist them and Tom was a logical choice for them to study to understand how Ben was able to do it. Tom may also be a vessel for which to lure Ben at some point right into the aliens arms.
Jimmys death will further slip Ben into a state of extreme emotional mindset, furthering his hatred of the skitters and distancing himself further from the 2nd mass. The people of the 2nd mass also now trust him far less. That is exactly what the aliens want. If Ben doesn’t feel safe or doesn’t feel he belongs anymore, that will make it easier to lure Ben back to them.
The real question remains, what is this strange connection the skitter has to Ben? How much influence do the aliens have on him? Is Tom still a danger to the 2nd mass?
Jimmys death is sad. While he was a bit annoying in season 1, his character was really growing in season 2 and was a great partner for Ben. Compass has multiple meanings, beyond the compass itself. This episode helps set the tone for the rest of the season and sets up the emotional and physical direction of our characters.