Falling Skies episode 8 review: What Hides Beneath

Ron isn't very impressed at the latest development in the world of Falling Skies...

This review contains spoilers.

8. What Hides Beneath

Of all the theories on the show, the one that most fans seem to have about the harnessed kids is simple: they slap that thing on you, it turns you into a skitter, and you go on about your business. The other main conspiracy theory about the show is that the skitters and mechs are just servants of another, more powerful alien race. Well, as it turns out, fans have had the right idea all along.

Normally, I’d consider it a spoiler to reveal such big information in the first paragraph of a review, but people have been saying it all along, some even in review comments (and the reviews are marked with spoiler warnings, in case you haven’t seen the episode yet), so it’s unsurprising when a skitter autopsy reveals a collar, or when the big bads of the alien world (some giant gray style aliens) show up.

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Are the giant aliens impressive? Meh. I like the skitter look much better, but I like the giganti-grays better than the mechs. I’m not sure where they’re going with the master race of alien controller, except to explain why the kids are so important, and perhaps why they have to steal kids in the first place. Still, why the recycling of Earth materials to make their giant fortress thing? Especially if mechs are essentially bullet-proof when it comes to Earth metals. It seems a bit weak, doesn’t it?

Speaking of weak, I continue to wonder just why Weaver and company ignore the double agent(s) in their midst. Namely, Sonia (Blair Brown), the woman who gets the drop on three seasoned fighters, then invites them in for tea and conversation. If you know she’s turning folks over to aliens and getting them killed, why would you let her live? The same goes, and I hate to say it, for Rick. That’s right, the kid they worked so hard to get back just isn’t quite coming back to himself, and he’s becoming more and more of a security risk with every passing week as he makes it clear that his loyalties aren’t exactly with Team Human anymore. While the other kids seem to be reintegrated, Rick’s just not having it. Maybe there’s hope for him yet, but his recent actions suggest that he’s pretty far gone.

Am I just brutal to suggest that collaborators deserve punishment for collaborating? Maybe I lack the very humanity that the show wants to establish that Tom, Weaver, and company are fighting for. Or maybe, I’m too much like Pope and too little a fan of strategic misdirection via feeding the plant false information.

The big theme this week was the past. Namely, Weaver’s got a lot of baggage he’s been dealing with, much like Rick. And much like Rick, Weaver’s having some trouble with his past. He’s drinking a lot, eating mystery pills, not sleeping and behaving erratically. Rick is being increasingly distant and creepy, which is making it harder for the other rescued kids to fit into camp.

Meanwhile, Pope is trying to ingratiate his way back into the good graces of the camp after betraying 2nd Mass so long ago. In doing so, he proves that he’s probably the smartest person on the show, Mason family included. He comes up with a brilliant idea (thanks to a tip from the littlest Mason). That is, what can bust through the current composite armor used by the M1 Abrams tank? Depleted uranium. What can punch through super-dense mech armor when normal FMJ rounds fail? Bullets made from super-dense mech metal. Why they’re just now figuring this out makes no sense to me, but I guess it’s easier to use the conventional weapons at hand than think outside the box.

That seems to be Pope’s role in this show. Even more so than Mason, Pope is an outside the box kind of guy, which is why he’s the resident bad ass on Falling Skies. He’s a little unorthodox, and that makes him both a pain to Weaver and the other straight-laced types, and their best weapon against the skitters and mechs. He’s also the most interesting character on the show, by far, and I can only hope that Pope’s importance in recent episodes means he’s going to become a more important character in next season.

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If anyone can keep this show interesting even in the face of Mason’s refusal to exact justice on someone who’s sent dozens of survivors to their deaths (or who may just have capped the old lady on principle), it’s Pope. He’s the wild card, he’s got the charisma, and he’s got the edge of danger that the show desperately needs. He also might epitomize the best and worst of humanity, and that might make him our only hope.

US Correspondent Ron Hogan wants way more Pope next season, and way less not-Pope. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

Read our review of episode 7, Sanctuary: Part 2, here.

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