CliqueClack TV

Falling Skies – Boulevard of broken dreams

'Falling Skies' 2nd Mass finally gets to Charleston, but will South Carolina live up to the dreams everyone has developed?

- Season 2, Episode 8 - "Death March"

One of the reasons that I’ve been such a big fan of Falling Skies in its first season and a half was the separated, nomadic nature of the 2nd Mass. Intentional or not, there are quite a few similarities between their plight and the challenges faced by another rag-tag group of human survivors. The arrival at Charleston threatens to change that dynamic while the members of this rag-tag “fleet” think back on what they’ve lost, who they were and most importantly, who they have become.

This episode was full of characters reflecting on what they have lost instead of who they have become. For some, it should be an easier realization than others. That Hal “needed some time to comprehend” who Maggie was before the war was more than a bit ludicrous. The eldest Mason son has experienced more than his fair share since the invasion – as everyone has – but his relationship with Maggie has been defined by both accepting the other for who they are. The first words out of his mouth when Maggie shared her past should have been about the person that she is today, and not who she was.

I’m not sure Falling Skies has ever shared a moment more heartbreaking than Tom’s breakdown in front of Anne. Matt’s making out a will was a more horrific moment than finding Charlestown burned, losing Karen or Ben leaving the 2nd Mass. Since we’ve met Tom Mason, he has strived to keep his youngest son’s innocence intact; this season has seen it start to dissolve. What started out with Matt going out on patrol has slowly lead its way to the moment where Matt hands his father a will. Even his conversation with the young harnessed girl showed just how lonely the boy is. There are not many members of the 2nd Mass with their innocence intact, making Matt’s story so much worse to see unfold. 

Another area that Falling Skies has shined is its development of secondary characters. I especially enjoyed the story arc that Weaver and Tector shared this week. Will Patton is such a talented actor and absolutely shines in these one on one moments. There aren’t many unbroken members of the 2nd Mass; everyone has stories like Tector’s, but the post-alien-invasion world is one of new starts, and his conversation with Weaver finally provided the breakthrough moment for him to begin his. Lordes, too, is slowly recovering from her trauma, which is considerably more recent.

Falling Skies is rooted in several archetypal stories: a father protecting his sons, the resistance war against a greater foe … but one of the most resounding stories is the many characters moving past their previous lives and embracing their new ones.

Looking ahead to next week, though, I have my reservations on where the story might be going. The sealed-off, traveling 2nd Mass has always defined this show. As the crew arrives in Charleston and looks ahead at what a new civilization might look like, will the show struggle at developing a new narrative — I’m looking at you Jericho Season Two — or redefine the what the show is all about. If there’s a science fiction show on the air today that’s earned the benefit of the doubt from me, it is Falling Skies, so we’ll see where the story goes.

Notes & Quotes

  • I could actually chart out the parallels between the 2nd Mass’ journey – and arrival – to Charleston and the trek to Earth(s) that the characters on Battlestar Galactica made, but I’ll spare you a trip into the 7th circle of nerdiness.
  • Who puts Pope on scout team with Hal and Maggie? What logic does that make?
  • “There was a time when you felt differently.” – Pope
    “No, there was a time when I lied about it.” – Maggie
    “At least you’re consistent.” – Pope
  • “I don’t know where Hell is, but I don’t think I’m ever going to see Ben again … and my nine-year-old just made out his will.” – Tom
  • “I don’t know what to say to them …” – Weaver
    “I respectfully suggest you make something up … sir.” – Tector


Photo Credit: TNT

6 Responses to “Falling Skies – Boulevard of broken dreams”

August 6, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Tom didn’t know where Hal was.

Pretty sure they’ve all got a decent beat on hell by now.

August 6, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Huh … I totally misinterpreted (and obviously misheard) what he was saying there.


August 6, 2012 at 11:55 AM

. . . . .

There are two moments in recent television viewing (one relatively recent, anyway) that have really tripped my trigger:

– The first episode of The Walking Dead with the scene of Morgan attempting to off his walker wife. Heartbreaking.

And …

– This episode of Falling Skies when Tom’s anguish was showcased as he pulled Matt’s will out of his pocket, a jarring moment out of Noah Wyle (and with his back turned, even!) equally heartbreaking.

Had you not mentioned that last scene in this review, Ivey, you and I would be over and done with.

August 6, 2012 at 2:41 PM

I’m glad I passed the test.

I’ve always been a fan of big, heart-tugging moments like this on TV. I’m generally drawn to it more when it is the friend/buddy/mentor relationship … Eriq La Salle and Wyle had a wonderful moment in the season six conclusion of ER.

August 6, 2012 at 1:22 PM

I love the addition of Ryan Robbins. I have liked him since I first saw him in Stargate Atlantis. Then he was in BSG… the Sanctuary… good actor. As for Charleston… I think that it is not going to be what it seems. I still think it is under the control of the aliens. Sort of a POW camp. I think that the second mass will end up leaving there and moving on with the help of the skitter rebellion and Ben.
I teared up when Matt gave Tom his will. I have two kids in their 20’s and I still can’t imagine them giving me their wills. Heartbreaking.

August 6, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Deb: That’s a great catch … As much as I’ve been pushing for Luciana Carro to get a larger role, I never made the connection between Robbins and BSG/Caprica. D’oh!

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