"Badlands" was a heartbreaking look at the toll that the last two years have taken on the Falling Skies humans. The sacrifices came in may forms most tragically in the loss of life. No one was left unaffected.
The loss became apparent in other ways as well. It was Matt skipping school so he could act as a runner, the fighters working around the clock protecting the town and going on missions, the time spent away from family, the fear of being manipulated by the aliens and people being there for those they care about who are injured or troubled. After two years of fighting, the situation remains dire and full of sacrifice.
After partnering with the Volm, the humans started to get the upper hand in their fight against the alien invaders, but that's threatened now by other humans. Not only does Charleston have to worry about the aliens, but they also have to watch out for attacks from rival human forces. This is an unexpected revelation that adds an intriguing twist to this new world.
Katherine Fisher's motivation and plan didn't necessarily make much sense, though I'm looking forward to seeing what she's really after. She entered Charleston to kill other humans, but why? When Tom yelled out to the unknown shooter that he wanted to talk, she shot in response. If she really is a representative of the "real" President, Andrew Hathaway, why would she continue to fight? Wouldn't she want to discuss terms?
Tom continued to impress when he stopped the interrogation and put the facts on the table. By giving information to Katherine, he was able to draw some out of her. His approach likely was more effective than waterboarding. He proved his ability to understand the situation by recognizing how Charleston's alliance with the rebel Skitters and the Volm could look to outsiders. There was no reason for them to doubt that Charleston had been turned into collaborators.
Now that Tom has been elected President, but the former President is also alive and in power, what will that mean for the country? Will they be able to come to terms and fight the war together on the same side? Or, is a civil war inevitable? Based on Katherine's hostile actions supposedly at President Hathaway's orders, a continued battle is possible. I hope though that he will hear Tom and others in Charleston first.
Tom's decision for Charleston to form an alliance with the rebel Skitters and the Volm was definitely a questionable one, but so far it has resulted in the victories. Could Cochise be playing Tom? Definitely. That's why it's so important for Kadar to investigate this mystery weapon or device that the Volm are building.
Outside of the fighting and political problems, a few major personal issue arose as well. Hal realized that his dreams with Karen were much more than that and admitted to Maggie he had been meeting with her in person. With Karen having control over him, he's ready to take responsibility as the mole.
At first it appeared he was going to leave Charleston to protect the community, but later it seemed like he was going to confess to the misdeeds. In the end, Maggie tried to convince him to not jump to any conclusions. Once he admitted to anything, he would be blamed for it all. She counselled him well and I hope he listens. If he overreacts, he would be putting his entirely family at risk.
And, seriously, what's up with Alexis? Anne's mental state seemed to be questionable. There's no way a 3-month old baby could say "Don't" or "Mommy," right? And, that wicked grin ... creepy. In that final moment it became clear that Anne was not seeing things. Baby Alexis looked up at planes attacking Charleston and grinned. Freaky!
There is something going on with Alexis. Is she really human? My guess is that she's been genetically manipulated somehow by the aliens. Perhaps when Tom was held they did something that affected his genetic makeup. Or, perhaps, Karen altered the fetus when she attacked Anne? There are many possibilities and none of that look favorable for little Alexis and her parents.
Despite these personal troubles, Lee's death set a morose tone for the entire hour. She was killed by another Human. It wasn't even an alien attack that did her in. She was a fighter and tough as they come. The 2nd Mass has dealt with many deaths, but hers was particularly poignant. That may have been especially true because of the nature of the attack and that she died a slow death.
Her desire to go to Disneyland was a reminder of how much the world has changed and the lives that the aliens took away. In a particularly touching moment, Pope gave Lee's necklace and charm to Matt. That young boy has had to deal with more loss in the previous two years than a grown adult should deal with in a lifetime. And, even at his young age, the fight was passed down from Lee to Matt.
The tree ceremony provided the Charleston residents a moment to grieve for all they have lost. Yet, there is no reprieve from the fight as their peaceful moment was interrupted by an air attack. The sacrifices will continue with no end in sight.
What do you think is going on with Alexis? Should Hal turn himself in? Or, should he leave the town? Or, just wait and see what happens? Will the President be willing to discuss the alliance with the rebel Skitter and Volm? Or will he fight against Charleston?