Review

Review

TV Recap: 'Falling Skies' Episodes 301 and 302 - The Season Premiere

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Falling Skies Episode 301 & 302
“On Thin Ice” and “Collateral Damage”
301 Written By: Remi Aubuchon
301 Directed By: Greg Beeman
302 Written By: Bradley Thompson & David Weddle
302 Directed By: James Marshall
Original Airdate: 9 June 2013

In Episode 301...

Seven months have passed since season two, and Charleston has turned into a real community.  Tom is “president,” though he still leads missions and insists no one call him Mr. President. Hal is paralyzed from the waist down, presumably from Karen’s kiss at the end of last season. He still goes on missions, acting as a human turret on a Hummer, and undergoes physical therapy during the day. He and Maggie are living together like an old married couple. Ben, it seems, has himself a girlfriend, Dani, another rescued teen. He and Max have both become integral parts of the army. Anne is watch-your-shoes pregnant, running a full-functioning clinic with Lourdes at her side. Weaver’s daughter, Joan, is living in the camp and in the opening scene, she is part of the rescue mission which liberates 25 harnessed kids, including her boyfriend, Diego. Pope is still Pope: working with the team but constantly scheming.

The biggest news of this season is Cochise. The new alien that greeted Tom at the end of season two is now working with 2nd Mass (or whatever they are calling themselves now) to fight against the skitters - aka the Espheni. Cochise is a Volm, and he brings lots of important tech, including powerful weapons and a machine that safely and painlessly de-harnesses kids. With Cochise’s help, humanity is making progress in reclaiming their planet. The season opens with a massive battle against the skitters, but what should have been a relatively normal attack turned into an ambush. It soon becomes clear to Tom and Weaver that there is a mole amongst them. Tom puts Arthur in charge of ferreting out the mole. He enlists Anthony’s help in the mission and gives him a long list of potential subjects. Later, Arthur is greeted in his office by an unseen visitor. “Oh, so it is you.” Then he is shot. Yeah, it’s pretty cheesy. Arthur was definitely shot with Volm tech, which is supposedly strictly regulated. Trusting Arthur’s decision, Tom keeps Anthony on the mole investigation.

The circle of life continues and Anne gives birth to a healthy baby girl, one they name Alexis Denise Glass-Mason. Tom’s kids are excited for a sister and the new family unit seems to be jelling well. But Anne notices that Alexis is different. She seems to be advancing at an abnormal rate, like standing in her crib and making eye contact with her mom while only one day old - apparently that is not normal.

Maggie and Hal are making a go as a “married” couple. They never got the honeymoon phase and went straight into that old, grumpy routine that includes lying: Hal is having “nightmares” about Karen, where she lures him out to the woods and they have sex. But when Maggie discovers Hal’s boots in the back of the closet, caked with mud, Hal begins to question whether or not these are dreams. Muddling things further is a report from the skitter rebels who say that the Espheni’s have installed a new overlord, a human overlord. Karen.

Several members of 2nd Mass are uneasy with an alien in their midst; chief among them is Weaver. So Tom takes him to a super-super-super secret bunker, miles beneath the earth, where the Volm are building a massive weapon that will be able to take out the newly-revealed tower bosses that the skitters are rolling out. These tower bosses, thousands of them across the planet, create a defensive web that prevents the Volm airships from entering the atmosphere. Taking out even one of the towers will create a hole big enough for a Volm ship to enter, and could be the deciding factor in the war.

In Episode 302...

Ben and Dani discover a massive megamech factory that produces both the mechs and the fuel. Taking out this factory would be a huge blow to the Espheni, but there is a problem: there is a nuclear reactor at the core. Tom and Weaver seek out the advice of Dr. Roger Kadar, a brilliant - but agoraphobic - scientist who runs the Charleston power grid. He lives underground in the power center. Kadar says the only way to take out the factory without running the risk of nuclear fallout is to first shut down the reactor, then implode the reactor upon itself using specifically-placed charges. The crew goes over the mission and plan to attack from behind.

Weaver’s crew engages in a massive firefight with the skitters. The mole must have been in on the tactical meeting, because the skitters and mechs were waiting for them. In fact, this was all Tom and Weaver’s plan - they now know that the mole is among them. In fact, when 2nd Mass goes off to fight, the mole sneaks into the war room and scans the plans with some alien tech. The tech then flies away, but it looks like the scan may have left a watermark or an imprint of some sort. The leaked intel left the front of the building unguarded.  Well, the front of the building is almost unguarded: a platoon of harnessed kids that are more alien than human are there to fight Tom’s crew at the front of the building. They are relatively easy to fend off, and Tom, Kadar, and their crew move in. They have 15 minutes to shut down the reactor before the radiation will become dangerous. Kadar breaks his glasses, so he has to walk Tom blindly through while Maggie holds off the skit kids. Tom manages to get the reactor to shut down, sets the charges precisely where Kadar tells him, and they evacuate. Watching from a safe distance, 2nd Mass watches the lights go out. They succeeded. They lost four of Weaver’s crew in the process, but it was a necessary loss. The Volm did not partake in this mission, but Cochise is proud of the results. He warns Tom that the Espheni will attack ferociously to prove they have not been weakened. 

On the mission, Lars is attacked. He survives the attack but is hit with some sort of infection that none of their medicine can cure. With only hours to live, he gives Maggie his dog tags - she is the only family he has. Earlier in the episode, Hal accused Maggie of sleeping with Lars, so assume this will cause lots of problem.

Meanwhile, Matt is turning into a delinquent. He and his buddies skipped school for the fourth day in a row and head into a burned-out suburb to light tiny explosives in houses. The explosion is much larger than they anticipated, and Anthony and his crew capture the boys when they think it is an attack. With Tom in the field, Matt is delivered to Anne, who lectures him and sends him back to school. Matt plays the “you’re not my mom” card and runs. When Tom returns from the mission, Matt has had some time to think about what he did and apologizes. Tom gives him a similar lecture, but then takes some of the blame for not spending enough time with him. Matt feels that school is totally useless in their new reality; Tom explains that he hopes the war will be over in Matt’s lifetime. Matt also feels terrible about what he said to Anne. He apologizes to her, which she accepts without hesitation. Then Matt asks if it is okay if he calls her mom. Anne is moved nearly to tears. Anne, meanwhile, is having trouble with her biological child. At only a week old, Alexis crawled off the bed when Anne wasn’t looking. She finds the baby under the bed, proudly shouting “mama.” Anne tries to tell Tom about this, but chickens out, saying instead that the baby seems “very advanced” for her age, then laughs it away as her imagination.

Maggie wakes one night and discovers Hal is not in bed - but his wheelchair is still there. She dresses and runs out looking for him. He is sleepwalking his way to rendezvous with Karen in the woods. Maggie shakes him out of his reverie, proud and excited that Hal is walking again. She leads him away, leaving an unhappy Karen with a skitter friend.

Dig It or Bury It?

Dig it. The show is coming back strong. I have been lukewarm about the series thus far, but now that we are deeply enmeshed, it is more interesting. We are done with all the “what is going on?” stuff; now we are onto the war. Ruthless fighting, more aliens, and mutant children. The mole subplot is off to a cheesy start with lines like “Oh, it’s you” and camera angles from the mole’s POV. But showrunner Remi Aubuchon promises we will never, ever see the reveal coming, so I am game.

Prophecies?

Hal is already making mole accusations; Anne’s baby is getting weirder; and the two-year anniversary of the alien invasion is approaching, and with it a potentially devastating attack.

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