Falling Skies episode 3 review: Prisoner Of War

Falling Skies steps out into the daylight, with a solid episode. Here's Ron's review of Prisoner Of War...

This review contains major spoilers.

3. Prisoner Of WarI’ve been wondering just why the aliens would use their entrapment devices on teenage kids, versus full-grown adults, and I believe I may have come up with some reasons.

1) Teenagers are stronger than children, but not as dangerous as adults. 2) If you get them harnessed young, as they grow into adulthood they stay easily maintained. 3) Aliens need the manpower for their scavenging missions.

Okay, the third one isn’t something I came up with, it’s something they overtly showed in the latest episode of Falling Skies, but you have to wonder why aliens came to earth to start a recycling program. Seems to me like teenagers would be the ideal recruitment force, as they’re ready to work now, but still have a long life of slave labor ahead of them.

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Or rather, the kids will be slave laborers unless Tom Mason and his band of freedom fighters can intervene. Granted, that’s easier said than done when the kids are under armed guard all day, every day, but it’s worth a shot, right? Well, except for the fact that once you free the kids, you still have to get the harness off them and thus far, removing the harness removed the life from the wearing slave.

Still, progress is being made, or so it seems, both on the slave spine front and on the resistance front. There’s an unorganized resistance group, with various cells active across the country, and Doctor Michael Harris (Steven Weber), who comes into camp, and who may have a clue as to the extraction of the harnesses. However, they need a volunteer, and that means Tom’s one-man crusade to save his son might serve a larger purpose. (Harris and Mason are also old friends, if that helps make him more likable.) They’re not successful in grabbing Ben, but they do manage to grab Anthony (Mpho Koaho)’s son

Meanwhile, speaking of larger purposes, Tom’s POW from the debut episode, John Pope (Colin Cunningham), has problems with the food. Namely, the food sucks, so it’s up to Pope (with the approval of the others) to take over as the guy behind the warming trays. Apparently, in addition to being a hunter, looter, and skitter-killer, he’s also an accomplished, trained cook with experience when it comes to feeding a few hundred prison inmates.

Here’s one thing for the show: this time, we saw the skitters and the mechs in full sunlight, and they actually looked pretty good. The skitters are a bit dodgier, but the mechs look very good, and remind me a bit of ED-209 from Robocop. Say what you want to about the alien buildings or the night-fighting from the debut episode, but at least they’re willing to spend their SFX budgets on daytime effects and aren’t taking the cheap way out all the time. They even let Tom get into it with one of the alien skitterers, up close and personally.

I also like the way Pope is slowly proving his worth to the group, thanks to his variety of skills. He’ll eventually be running around with a gun, but it won’t be for awhile. Of course, he seems a bit too good to be true at the moment, but I guess every group needs a hard-nosed survivalist, just ask Merle from The Walking Dead). The group didn’t need adding-to, but the development of Tom’s group of squad mates is always nice to see.

All in all, it was a good second official episode for Falling Skies, following the opening double; there were some good action scenes, and a nice recurring guest star spot for Steven Weber, who is always welcome on my network television. All they need is to get Helen Hunt, Kelsey Grammer, and some of the cast of Friends involved, and it’s a NBC must-see TV reunion!

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Read our review of the Falling Skies opener, Live And Learn, here.

US Correspondent Ron Hogan would have been a horrible teenage slave; he’s also not much of an adult slave, for that matter.Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

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