Pope has officially gone off the tracks and drags Anthony and Hal along with him, Cochise reveals something that send Anne into a tizzy, Tom has another visitation, and Tom and Weaver prepare the 2nd Mass to move on.
Pope has totally and completely gone off the tracks. He is so consumed with grief and a desire for revenge on Tom (who he blames for Sara's death) that he goes farther than he ever has in the past. While he has always been just this side of stable and has caused problems for Tom and Weaver many, many times, this time is different because he has actually become a different person. He has twisted everything around so much over the years, that he has actually convinced himself that Tom and the Masons haven't suffered at all and that Tom is some kind of diabolical leader who is looking to sacrifice anyone and everyone to achieve what he sees as the "greater good". And Anthony is so upset about what has happened and the fact that he was taken off duty by Anne and Weaver that he is going along with Pope.
Pope is right when he says that a lot of people have died because of tom's various plans. What he is completely ignoring is the fact that many, many more people would have died if Tom didn't take some of the chances that he does. I don't always like Tom's plans, but he tends to come up with the best plan in a variety of bad situations. Tom's biggest problem is that this situation has been brewing since the 2nd Mass first encountered Pope. Pope has always had a beef with Tom and his sons and Sara's death pushed him over the edge and completely unhinged him. This Pope cannot be reasoned with or forced to back down. I don't think that this will end without either Pope or Tom ending up dead. My money is on Pope. The only question is whether or not Pope will take Hal with him.
Anne has the dubious distinction of performing a transplant on Cochise to save his life at the expense of his father's. Apparently, the Volm have some cultural more against using artificial means to extend a life if it reaches its natural end. Given the fact that Cochise's father dies after the transplant, I have to wonder if the act of transplanting an organ kills a Volm, which would explain the more. We did also get a fascinating look at the end-of-life ritual for the Volm. When death is expected, the person dying and (presumably) a member of their family commune with each other. If death occurs first, they can use a substitute and then each sees someone who has died. That was really quite cool.
The original version of the Skitters is apparently a massive threat to the Espheni, enough so that they were the threat that the Overlord mentioned to Tom. What I found most interesting was the assertion that they cannot exist on the same plane as humans. That would seem to imply that the visitations that Tom has been getting is from someone in a different dimension. Perhaps some sort of consciousness of the people before the Espheni changed them? This should be interesting.
Tom has gone off after Pope because Pope kidnapped Hal after sort of threatening Anne. I was honestly expecting Anne to die when Anthony brought her to Pope. I'm glad she didn't but I have to wonder why. And Weaver's warning to Tom not to lose himself is a good piece of advice. Tom has become harder recently and (as I said) I don't expect both him and Pope to survive this encounter. I wonder who exactly will meet the 2nd Mass in Fayetteville.
Until next week!