It is a bit odd, I admit, to be watching this series while stocking up the pantry and engaging in “social distancing” in my own home, a response to the growing danger of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world. I am going to stick with it, although it is possible my observations may take a darker turn—just as the series takes a darker turn in this episode of War of the Worlds, currently screening on EPIX USA and FOX UK.

The “pockets of humanity” left after the devastating alien attack are on the move now. And they each have varying degrees of success in improving their situations and determining what has happened to the world they once knew.

For example: Bill (Gabriel Byrne) and Helen (Elizabeth McGovern) walk the streets of London pushing a shopping cart filled with the remains of a robot dog, heading for Bill’s laboratory at the university. Bill tells everyone that yes, it’s one of those things and yes, it’s dead, and—with pride—“My wife shot it.” Helen continues to refer to him as “ex-husband.” There is a connection growing between them, though, born of grief, their shared past, and the odd ability they seem to have of surviving.

Just out for a stroll, doing a little shopping…

Another connection in this episode is between Bill and Tom (Ty Tennant). You can see Bill’s fatherly and teacherly side being reawakened as he pokes at the dead robot dog and Tom asks questions.

I have no idea what I’m doing with this dead robot dog thing, but talking about neuroscience is a nice change of pace.

Tom: Is that it’s brain?

Bill: You see how tightly bound the neural packages are? There’s a high correlation between neuron density and intelligence.

Tom: What does that mean?

Bill: A larger animal, like an elephant, they have a bigger brain but lower neuron density, whereas a bird with a smaller brain has greater neuron density. I guess it means that you’re more likely to be intelligent if you’re dense.

Tom: Is that a joke?

Bill: Kind of.

Humor in the classroom is always recommended.

Bill connects with another young person, Emily, but only enough to learn that this problem space he is investigating is more complicated than he thought. How can this young woman “know” something is there when she cannot see it? What is going on? Another puzzle piece presents itself.

You’re not blind? Oh, you ARE blind? Comes and goes, does it? That’s different!

The other “pockets” have varying degrees of success, or I should say, varying levels of TERROR with their travels, and the episode ends on the darkest note yet. So dark a note that, after being lulled by a romantic interlude and more luscious Nick Cave music, the final shot scared me to bits and I screamed in horror.

This really IS the war of the worlds and the aliens are not visiting for a lark. Got it. Only three episodes to go. Bring on the tragedy.

PS. I bet Bill figures out how to kill them, though, don’t you?


A screencap from the brief profile of Gabriel’s character, Bill Ward, at the EPIX page for the series.

A few new production stills have popped up. These people really are shopping for the End Times… wink

Stay tuned. heart


  1. Yes, it’s scary to see an episode of “War of the Worlds” and to take protective measures against a global virus at the same time. And just like in the series, in real life all hopes of salvation lie with the scientists. Parallels are unmistakable. And it becomes clear what is important in life. Love is all we have left.

    • Absolutely right, Rosi, about the parallels. In these postings, I’m going for a “light” touch, but I will work on an essay about this series and those parallels will be part of what I want to address.

      Compassion, empathy, love, sympathy, generosity: these are the qualities that help make us human. I trust that these are the qualities that help us all survive. <3

  2. The time of global quarantine is so comparable with the theme of War of the Worlds – streets are empty, museums, theaters, cinemas are closed, people are terrified with unknown enemy and uncertainty, doctors work on the edge of their strength, scientist are trying to study the enemy and find the way to destroy it or invent protection against the enemy. Both scenarios- in real life and in the film look apocalyptic, but still there is always a Hope and humanity should be united in this fight and support each other with some help, humor, good advices, non standard decisions, kind attitude and whatever that may help to overcome crisis and return to normal ,usual life. Because life is beautiful and priceless ❤

    • I like your list, Violetta:

      –good advice
      –non-standard decisions (imagination!)
      –kind attitudes

      A good recipe for the future. <3

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