You know that if there was a plane crash, and Tom and Pope were the only survivors, that a fistfight between those two would be a mandatory scene. Somewhat predictable but also not too long and fun to watch unfold. And dropping a snake on someone else’s face in any circumstance will likely evolve into a fistfight anywhere, let alone when stranded in the woods.
“Search and Recovery” took a slight break from alien blasting and looked at some of the issues the human fighters are facing: survival, isolation, loss, and had a really strong focus on motherhood and family.
On that topic, the Mason boys shared memories of their real mother. They talked about missing their real mother and worried about whether she died alone. Ironically the younger Mason, Matt, just recently decided to start calling Anne ‘Mom.’ And it was Anne and her baby that they were searching for. Anne has some serious motherhood issues herself – there is no alien hybrid chapter in “What to expect when you’re expecting.” And Tom at one point is left completely alone and hopeless in the woods – the polar opposite of being safe and secure with your mother.
But it is not just Tom in this situation. “Search and Recovery” brings attention to this very motherless world, as we are reminded that most characters, including the VP and even Pope, had families at one point.
Seeing the dead woman had a very strong impact on the children & young adults, and they created a strong, but fictitious, collective memory of her when she was buried. This showed how important a ‘real’ family still is to these rebels, who are now all in a larger but less strongly connected family.
They used one of these family moments to show how cold the new ‘Evil Hal’ is. As Matt and Ben hugged each other, Hal looked on with an indifferent gaze. The subplot of Evil Hal is a bit overdone, but the producers do seem to be doing it well so far. Except for when Hal smashed the mirror.
At the end of the episode, Tom and Pope are back, and things are pretty much the same except for the missing Anne and baby. I think it helps to get viewers invested when they spend time on the details of the human character’s experiences; they are not just blasting aliens to be free – they’ve been free before and have also lived ‘normal’ lives before.
That said, it would have been nice if there were a few more developments this episode, other than learning that the VP could be the mole. Tom & Pope’s experiences didn’t result in much (except survival), though they have a stronger connection now that they have that shared experience. And like the fistfight, I suppose the ‘jump off a cliff into the river’ moment was also inevitable.