Sunday’s episode marks the midway point of season 4 now and as such this episode seemed kind of appropriate. As I say on the podcast, I am always a much bigger fan of these episodes during the rewatch, but it’s harder to get excited about them in the throes of the season.
What I Liked
Matt’s arc this episode was great. During the small bits and pieces we got of him at the re-education center we could see that he was coming into himself and preparing to be divergent, but there was just not enough of that story to really make me invest. I have no problem admitting, though, that what was going on there will become significant down the road. And I think the first piece of that is beginning to rear its head in this episode. We didn’t see the specifics of methods of reconditioning, but I’m a little shocked they didn’t go into that. It’s not like they’ve held back with showing kids being harnessed or tortured! Anyway, there is a feedbacker on the podcast who has mentioned a couple times that possibly the reconditioning camp is doing something to the food and that we’ll see effects more directly once Matt has been weaned off it. I like this theory, I don’t think there is much evidence of it, but based off of the popular/stereotypical representation of reconditioning camps it isn’t that far out there.
Anyway, what was most interesting to me was how first Matt prevented his dad from shooting the bunny rabbit, then how he went from pacifist to warmonger in a matter of seconds, and then, after lining up Coop in his cross hairs, he realized that he couldn’t kill another human being. He’s having trouble determining exactly how he fits into this world, but sooner or later he’s not going to have Weaver at his side willing to do the dirty work and he’s going to have to make a tough decision. (Not in the protective way that we saw in The Pickett Line.)
I also really like the addition of Shaq (the Volm dude) to the fray and his developing dynamic with Hal. It mirrors, in that it’s nearly a chiral representation of, Tom’s friendship with Cochise. Where Tom and Cochise bonded over the Volm weapon last season, Shaq and Hal are bonding over their defensive strategies against the mechs. It’s sweet, really.
What I Didn’t Like
It wasn’t any one big thing, it was a bunch of small things. I like the story going on with Lexi, Anne, Ben and Maggie, I liked the juxtaposition of Tom/Weaver being and acting like family when they are not blood relatives against Nick/Coop’s strained and weak blood relation. It was stuff like… Why did Anne act like she’d never practiced medicine before? Why did the Espheni have a bag over his head? Why did Weaver insist on hitting up Nick and Coop for food when they KNEW where Hal and the gang went? Why is Lourdes not dead? Why bother giving Sara any lines at all when they’re just stupid and don’t contribute anything?
My real problem is I love this show and I’ve seen what incredible writing has been displayed. I want all of the season at once! Alas, Kierkegaard would warn me that it is about the journey of faith, not the end result. Alright, I’ll work on my patience.