Overcast For Falling Skies

TNT’s sci-fi series Falling Skies concludes its freshman season this weekend and like any good show near its final season episodes its building up to a good crescendo.

Here’s a very quick summation of the show. Earth has been invaded and conquered off-screen by aliens who are comprised of two types: the multi-legged skitters and robotic, armed-to-the-teeth bipeds called mechs. They’ve wiped out most of human civilization and have also kidnapped children and turned them into a zombified slave force via mechanical harnesses that are dug into their spines. The show follows the plight of a Boston-based militia group called the 2nd Massachusetts led by Capt. Weaver (Will Patton) and the program’s main character Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) who are trying to find a means to defeat the alien invaders.

The aliens have been scavenging the countryside for parts throughout the series and are building these huge towering structures in major cities. The purpose of the structures is unknown but guessed to be landing platforms. In the most recent episode “What Hides Beneath” the militia group is given orders to join an all-out attack on the structures. During a recon of the structure and the alien’s stronghold in Boston some revelations come up. First, the humans are able to develop bullets that can penetrate the mechs’ armor giving our heroes a glimmer of hope. Second a third alien species is discovered, and apparently it looks like they are in command of the skitters. Seeing these tall, elongated humanoids with their thin limbs was a surprise and unnerving. By the way the final look in the broadcast version differs from the clip shown on the show’s official website. But what was more disturbing was the revelation that during an autopsy of a dead skitter the humans find out that the skitters have their own slave-making harnesses attached to themselves too. What’s even worse is the implication that children who are attached to the harness for a long period of time are being mutated into a different type of life form. Already one of the rescued teenagers is showing an allegiance to the aliens and Mason’s recently liberated son has signs that he is mutating physically.

Falling Skies has been successful in answering some questions about the story and characters while bringing up new ones. What are the skitters exactly? Who are the new alien leaders and what is their agenda with our planet (please, please, please don’t let it be they’re after our water or gold–looking at you Cowboys and Aliens!)? Plus the show is giving out nuggets of information about the characters and developing them as well. For instance, in the “What Hides Beneath” episode viewers find out about Weaver’s family and their fate. There has been a hardening of sorts from Moon Bloodgood’s character of Dr. Anne Glass. Yet she is still the caring doctor we all hope for. Another good development which opened up a whole new can of worms was the rescue of Mason’s son Ben. When the show premiered the son was a captive of the aliens and the early episodes chronicled Mason’s quest to find his son and how he was held up. In other shows, this would’ve been the status quo and frustrating for viewers.  Here though, the son was freed and now the repercussions are becoming clear and it’s subtle, doesn’t hit you over the head.

Overall, the developments are coming at a perfect pace, not to slow, not too fast. It’s not a classic show but that’s fine because sometimes those kinds of shows get full of themselves. While there’s room for improvement at least they’re on the right path. If only the V revival was this good, maybe that show would still be around and remembered. Thankfully Falling Skies has been renewed for a second season and next summer can’t come soon enough. Anyone who hasn’t seen the show or missed episodes can catch a marathon on Sunday that precedes the season finale or watch them online.

José Soto

Images Courtesy of TNT