Tonights episode titled Molon Labe was an interesting title choice. Its Greek for “come and take them”, a defiant phrase used by King Leonidas when the Persians asked the Spartans to surrender. In much the same way, the aliens wanted the 2nd mass, wanted Ben to simply give in but they refused to give up so easily.
Tonights episode was a huge turn into the dark, scary and desperate. Karen had no intention of ever helping Ben. Her entire goal from start to finish was to get Ben and find out as much information as she could about the rebellion. Once she confirmed he had been in contact with red-eye, she exposed the fact that she lead Ben into a trap. An overlord was there to meet them in the woods. They intended to re-harness Ben and gather as much intel as they could about the rebellion, no matter the cost to Ben.
Ben was defiant at first, saying he wouldn’t tell them anything. But once he was grabbed from behind by the skitter and prepped to be harnessed, you could see the horrified look on his face at the prospect of being reharnessed. As someone who has spent the last 6 months getting over the physiological effects of the harness, it would be a huge blow to his progress if he were to be harnessed again. No telling if he would be able to resist its effects as well as he is now. However, Ben was saved and the overlord taken hostage.
One of the best things about this episode was the performances of Jessy (Karen), Maxim (Matt), Seychelle (Lourdes) and Connor (Ben). Matt was able to step up and be angry, fearful and helpful in saving Lourdes and Anne from a new alien creature. Lourdes showed some anger and real emotion in this episode after the loss of Jamil in such a horrific way. With the show renewed for a 3rd season, I hope the writers continue to expand both characters even more.
Karen continues to creep you out with her very smug and cold dialog, knowing that she has betrayed everything human about herself. Even after betraying Ben and nearly harnessing him, she tries to tell him she was happy he was alright and that this had to happen. Her character continues to get even more creepy as we continue through the season and I love the way Jessy Schram pulls it off.
In a great counter balance to Karen is Ben. All season we have watched Ben grow into a complex character with his own motives and reckless behavior that have resulted in a lot of death and despair for the 2nd mass. Through it all Ben makes the hard choice to leave at the end of the battle. The aliens on both sides want Ben badly for different reasons. He is being pulled in every direction and at some point, he will either snap or have to give in to his every changing biology.
One has to wonder if the rebellion won’t force Bens biological changes to occur faster in order to gain additional strength to help their cause and in turn harming Ben. Ben never asked to be harnessed, yet he is being held responsible for everything the aliens are doing to him and the 2nd mass. Where is Anne defending Ben like she did Rick when Weaver wanted to question him? The scene where Tom and Ben argue over him wanting to leave was ad-libbed. Connor and Noah both did an excellent job!
Karen and Ben are the ‘poster childs’ of the show and the 2nd masses purpose for fighting back. Karen is an example of giving in to the aliens and losing all humanity she had. Ben is the example of resistance and defiance fighting to keep his humanity even as he continues to change into something none of us understand. When the 2nd mass does make it to charleston, what will happen to them? How will they react to the alien forces as they approach?
Again it goes without saying that Jessy and Connor have done outstanding jobs in these last 2 episodes as Karen played Ben for a fool. I am very excited to see where both of these characters go in the final 3 episodes of the season and hopefully throughout season 3. Their stories are not over, as we have yet to understand the final end game of their transformation at the hands of the overlords and the harnesses.
The overlords certainly are not done going after Ben, but they will have to rethink how they do that. Connor Jessup plays off a very well written and emotional scene at the end of this episode as he prepares to leave the 2nd mass without saying good bye. Tom and Ben reminisce about his first day going to school and how he bawled his eyes out, asking them not to leave him. Now here he is leaving them. Ben is convinced there are other de-harnessed kids out there that could be of help to the rebellion and he must go and find them. Just how long will Ben be gone and will he return the same as when he left?
This scene is another example of superb writing, directing and acting between Connor Jessup (Ben) and Noah Wyle (Tom). When I listened to them talk about Ben crying when his parents left him for his first day of school, I thought back to my first day. It was a very relatable emotional experience that had the viewers and me even more invested in Ben and not wanting him to leave. In a true Spielberg moment at the end, we watch Ben walk away. The combination of camera angle, music and the lonely walk alone down the dirt road with just a backpack was a hugely sentimental and iconic scene for Bens character and for Tom. Another outstanding pair of performances from Connor and Noah again this season.
Speaking of new alien creatures, WTH? The aliens have thrown a new deadly weapon at the 2nd mass and its killed at least 1 so far in a very horrific way. The question now is, what else do the aliens have up their sleeve that we don’t know about. We also learn a very small detail about their purpose on our planet. They don’t want to destroy humanity but they are not very clear on what it is they want. Its clear it involves our children, much like the skitters were when they were invaded. To what end we do not know.
The writing and directing
This episode was directed by Holly Dale and written by Bradley Thompson & David Weddle. With so much happening in this episode, Holly managed to keep it flowing just right to keep everyone on their toes. Bradley and David wrote one of the best episodes to date filled with complex character building, thought provoking ‘bigger picture’ ideas and horror filled scenes.
Its important to note they also wrote the finale episode along with E.P. Remi Aubuchon which means you can expect a crazy and outstanding twist to end the season. Directing the finale is Greg Beeman who has directed some of my favorite episodes including the 2 hour premiere and Homecoming.