This review contains spoilers.
2.5 Love and Other Acts of Courage.
This episode of Falling Skies postulates an interesting theory for the new universe post-alien invasion. As we all know, there are three types of alien invaders: skitters, mechs, and overlords. The thought has been that they are three variations on the same species, or three different alien species working to the same end. However, as we have discovered this week, that might not be the case. For example, the Red Eye skitter that I have been assuming to be this season’s bad guy (and everyone has been assuming, from what I can tell), may not be all that bad. He might just be misunderstood.
That is, if you can believe what happens in this week’s episode.
Tom and the 2nd Mass hear the sounds of gunfire in the city on their way to Charleston, and they leave Cam to go and render aid to the resistance group they feel is currently in a firefight. When they get to where the fighting was, they don’t find dead humans. Instead, they find dead skitters and destroyed mechs, and the dead skitters have the sort of wounds that come from mech fire. In the midst of the rubble and under one of the bodies, the 2nd Mass group finds an old friend: Rick (Daniyah Ysrayl). That’s right, guys and dolls, he’s NOT dead and he’s STILL on the East Coast.
According to Rick, Ben is in trouble. Tom and the crew go running into another bombed-out industrial wreck to come across Ben and Red Eye the skitter, just hanging out. Rather than looking to draw blood, Red Eye wants to talk team-up. As it turns out, the skitters—like Ben, Rick, and the other children—aren’t working with the overlords of their own volition. They’re harnessed and forced into servitude, much like we were. All that is to say, they seem to think that the human resistance is the clue to their own resistance to the overlords.
This is a pretty fascinating idea kind of hidden in an average episode. There’s the Hal and Maggie budding love affair, Weaver being crotchety, and Dr. Glass needing supplies (and sending valuable manpower out to raid a somehow untouched hospital facility), but the interesting thing is the division among alien warmongers. If we’re harnessed and the skitters are harnessed (with what they call kemlochs), then why wouldn’t we be able to work together? Aside from the fact that you can’t really trust the motivation of the skitters or the harnessed kids that can talk to them, that is. Hence, when the skitter kill team (that Red Eye warned them about) heads in their direction, Weaver wants to shoot it immediately and leave. Of course, that doesn’t happen, because we can’t lose our alien version of Pope just yet.
I have to admit, the Hal/Maggie thing doesn’t quite work. The actors are good, and their performances are good, but for whatever reason, I’m not invested in their relationship in the sense that I root for, say, Anne and Tom. It seems unnatural for those two to have delayed their relationship so long. I’m sure they’re being cautious, given Maggie’s previous history and Hal’s eagerness, but they’ve known one another for a long time in storyline terms at this point. Shouldn’t they have paired off by now? Even Jamil and Lourdes have got together, and Jamil wasn’t introduced until after the first season! I can’t blame writer Joseph Weisberg for this, since this is an issue the show has had for quite some time with its relationships in general. Still, at least Hal and Maggie seem to be progressing, and given her traumatic history with Pope, it’s understandable that they take things slow. It’s kind of frustrating though, since the viewers all know where they’ll end up and their bonding scenes seem a bit out of place considering it’s a little too meet-cute in a gritty sci-fi show about aliens.
Still, it’s not terrible, just kind of a let-down after the last few weeks. Veteran director John Dahl (a ton of TV, Joy Ride, and Rounders) does his best, but he doesn’t have any good long shots to work in or any way to really show off. The script just doesn’t seem to be there for it this week. It’s not as if the writing was awful, it’s just that it was kind of a set-up show for later in the season. There are some interesting ideas set up in this episode, but it remains to be seen how they’ll execute it or where it will end up going. If they’re willing to give the show more teeth, it can end up being a real step in the right direction.
US Correspondent Ron Hogan wonders what the show has in mind for Pope when he and Anthony return. This is two weeks sans Pope, and that’s two weeks too long. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.
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