Falling Skies season 4 episode 2 review: The Eye
Falling Skies' real-world elements are a better hook than its sci-fi fantasy, argues Ron...
This review contains spoilers.
4.2 The Eye
When Karen was a crucial member of the Espheni forces, their lapses in judgment made sense. After all, Karen might have been smart and knew the ways of the human, but she also had all the downfalls of the human, especially her connection to Hal Mason and company. Even with Karen gone, it seems as though the menacing alien collective that has invaded the Earth—skitters, fishheads, bugs, mechs, and mega-mechs—is obsessed with Tom Mason rather than, say, the Volm, their long-time enemies who are aiding the humans in their guerrilla war versus the Eshpheni conquest machine.
Of the many things going on in the show, the least interesting to me has to be the story of Lexi, played as an adult by Scarlett Byrne (Pansy Parkinson of Harry Potter fame). I know it's going to get more interesting, but to see Lourdes become the manipulative fanatic so soon after being the alien pawn seems a bit much. Lourdes doesn't seem to get a break. I like that Dr Kadar (the great Robert Sean Leonard) is there as a counterpoint to Lourdes, and I do like the sexual tension between Maggie and Matt. There are a lot of possible good points there, and it could definitely become more interesting, but as of right now it's just a bit bland. No matter how many secret alien powers she has, or how many forces are pulling her in different directions, I'm not just buying in.
I'm much more invested in Tom, Pope, Weaver, Hal, and the whole prison break situation they have in Charleston. Pope as a black marketeer is very much in character for that particular person, and his ability to thrive in pretty much any situation, particularly those of his own making, is pretty fun. He makes a good foil for the straight-laced Mason and the disciplinarian Weaver, though I would like to see him be a bit friendlier towards his former allies due to their shared history of struggling against the alien occupation together. There should be some prickliness, but at the core, as we saw, it's still the guys of the Second Mass together against the world, which is why Pope and Weaver fought on the same side when push came to shove, even if Carol Barbee's script made it clear they still weren't pals.
The other settings, like Ben's adventure in the brainwashing camp and Anne's turn from the kindly doctor to Girl Rambo, are less explored, but are still a bit more interesting than Lexi's troubles on the commune. Ben's setting is very visually distinctive, and director Sergio Mimica-Gezzan does a good job accentuating the creepiness of that particular setting. As for Anne, she machine-gunned a bunch of skitters this week, so you know that's the storyline that's going to keep my attention. That Anne is on a collision course with Matt's Hitler Youth camp suggests that it's going to pay off, perhaps in some sort of massacre, though I doubt Anne has the guts to shoot kids, even if they are dangerous, brainwashed kids who may or may not be part of the alien plot to create weapons.
Speaking of creating weapons, the constantly shifting alien motivations are one of the things that seems to hit home the most for me when you look at how occupying forces generally have to spend their time. They're working on offensive capabilities, and looking to build their army with local conscripts, which is what has happened throughout history. In Vietnam it was winning hearts and minds, then Vietnamization. Whenever something stopped working, we tried something else. When putting harnesses on kids didn't work, and the escalation of force with the mega-mechs didn't work, the next option is to turn human adults into weapons via genetic engineering, assuming the hybrid doesn't wipe them all out somehow.
The fact that the alien invaders can't get something consistent to work against the pesky human guerrilla forces would be something Tom Mason would have built an entire history lesson around two seasons ago, but for now he'll have to be satisfied with being smug and figuring out a way to get out of the alien prison camp thanks to a Faraday suit. The unique combination of positivity and real-life war parallels continues to be the plot engine that powers Falling Skies and keeps the show interesting, more so than the fantastical elements of Magic Lexi's flowing hair and weird blood.
US Correspondent Ron Hogan is impressed by the commitment to beards among the 2nd Mass and its soldiers. Everyone has facial hair, which is as it should be in a war situation. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.
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