JC here, covering for Raked. She’s got a cold, so wish her a quick recovery.
FALLING SKIES: 1.08 “What Hides Beneath”
After this episode, only the two episode finale remains of the first season of Falling Skies. I’ll admit, I wasn’t much of a fan of the previous episode (nonwithstanding the reappearance of Pope near the end). I didn’t really like the story of the human collaborators; it felt like the plot had been done this way too many times before. It made me immediately think of the part in Watership Down when the wandering rabbits find what looks to be a safe, healthy warren, only to discover men are keeping predators away just to fatten up the rabbits within and snare them for dinner. This plot point dawns on the reader of Watership Down slowly; so slowly that you can’t help but feel horror and disgust over the betrayal and surrender. In Falling Skies, this was all telegraphed too quickly and too easily; I saw it coming from a mile away and there wasn’t much shock or surprise. But enough about last episode…
This week’s episode was much more entertaining to me. Pope had a bigger, more entertaining role in this episode, so perhaps his mix of brash irreverence and unpredictable chaos was the missing ingredient. I really enjoyed the scene with Pope explaining to Matt that he shouldn’t be afraid of the mechs, because after you destroy them, they’re just a hunk of metal.
Also interesting was Weaver’s backstory, which they really got into here. It’s not particularly unique (daughter was harnessed, he tried to get her out of it and killed her as a result) but it was told convincingly; I could definitely see his previously solid resolve crumble into an alcoholic haze of regret.
We learn a lot of new things in this episode, but they leave us with more questions. First, skitters aren’t the only kinds of aliens out there. There are others, taller with smooth, elongated bodies and legs. Could they be the commanders in charge of the invasion? Second, the alien structure in the middle of downtown was constructed using the scavenged scrap metal that all the enslaved children around the city have been digging up. Third, we know that Hal’s girlfriend is now harnessed and serving the invaders. Finally, skitters aren’t really aliens at all. They’re actually harnessed children who have been mutated and changed in some way. I’ll admit, I didn’t see this coming until right before Anne sliced open the dead skitter; even at that point, I wasn’t sure they’d actually do it given the show’s tendency to lean on noble sacrifices and happy melodrama, but they did. It was a nice, dark twist that has me even more interested in the season as it reaches its conclusion. Why do the aliens want to create these skitters? What are they after, exactly? We might not find out right away, but given the plan to use a couple bombs on the supporting legs of the alien structure, the last episode will probably be explosive.
Sorry, bad pun, but I couldn’t help it. In all seriousness, I’m looking for a few good fight scenes, a few answers, and maybe a few more intriguing questions to carry us into Season 2.