Falling Skies season 2 episode 4 review: Young Bloods

Less action and more talk than previous episodes this season, but still an enjoyable entry from the Falling Skies team. Here's Ron's review...

This review contains spoilers.

2.4 Young Bloods.

I have been wondering when the 2nd Mass would encounter another large, organized group of survivors. There were the previous militias mentioned in the first season (that got wiped out) and Pope’s gang (if you can call that a large, organized group). As it turns out, the kids that Hal and Ben run across while scouting are pretty large and well-organized, though they don’t have any adults around to keep them on the straight and narrow. Apparently, adults get you killed. Or so the kids say.

Among the surviving kids is, get this, Weaver’s long-lost oldest daughter Jeane, who Weaver went looking for at the end of the first season before deciding just to get drunk in the ruins of his old house. She’s taken on leadership position similar to her father’s with the group of factory kids, who I will call the Foundry Foundlings. Of course, now that she’s found her father again, she’s going to leave them after one last supply mission, right? Well, that remains to be seen. Weaver didn’t have the best pre-alien relationship with his family, and he’s got a lot to atone for.

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Meanwhile, a couple of the Berserkers have adopted Hal’s brother Matt as official bait for skitter-killing missions. Yeah, Hal doesn’t like that one bit. After cracking down on Tector and Boone (the two guys from the Berserkers), as well as Matt, the youngest Mason decides to head off on the rescue mission with Diego, Jeane, and the rest of the Foundry Foundlings to get back their missing friends. Hence, the 2nd Mass has to launch a rescue mission for the first rescue mission.

As it turns out, the kids from the factory were captured by a skitter harness factory recruitment team, so the 2nd Mass grills Ben on how that whole situation works. Apparently, the skitter harnessing program is some sort of Rube Goldberg contraption. One of the best aspects of the show is its ability to find awesome old buildings and abandoned factories in which to film, and they do a great job of finding an old paper recycling facility to turn into a post-apocalyptic monster factory. The harness tank looks cool, and I like the way the living parasite harnesses look while they’re swimming around in their tanks or sliming down a chute before flopping onto the back of a screaming child.

The alien special effects have really improved since the first season, too. The living harness parasites that Weaver, Mason, and company blow into pink paste look great. According to the Falling Skies watch-along app, they’re rod puppets with CGI-added antennae and other gross features. That app has become an invaluable source of fun behind-the-scenes information from the shooting of the show, with tidbits about casting, reminders of who certain characters are or how they have changed since the first season, and of course all that special effects information. I like to peek behind the curtain of a show by nature, and the app has become really a lot of fun; I’d love to see other shows adopt this method of creating fan interaction with the cast and crew.

There’s not a stand-out long shot this week, but there are some interesting moments. The opening of Matt riding a scooter through a burned-out cityscape was very well executed by director Miguel Sapochnik (Repo Men), and I liked the episode’s general search-and-rescue style. Things kept moving, there was action, but it wasn’t a budget-buster.

This week’s episode wasn’t terribly compelling, it seemed a little slow as the script (from Heather V. Regnier) was focused more on relationships than on action. Hal and his sons, Weaver and his daughter, Lourdes and Jamil… this was a talkier episode than the recent run has been, and while there were some good scenes, I’m still not really invested in Jamil and Lourdes as a couple, but I liked Weaver and Jeane’s talk, as well as the brief scene with Weaver and Mason. The reunification of Weaver and his daughter was very sweet, and more effective since I for one didn’t see it coming.

Falling Skies still seems to be heading somewhere, and I like that they’re coming into contact with other groups along the way. From Boston to Charleston is a long trip, and there’s a lot of country to cover between the two, with lots of opportunities to run into groups both friend, foe, and alien. I also get the feeling that we are due a Pope and Anthony episode soon, or at least a check-in with them. The road show keeps on rolling, and there are a lot of possibilities to explore in this strange new world.

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Read our review of last week’s episode, Compass, here.

US Correspondent Ron Hogan wants more Pope in his life. Here’s hoping Pope finds the foundling kids and the group performs an impromptu version of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

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