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      Monday
      Jun252012

      Falling Skies Season 2 Ep. 1&2 Recap and Review


      Falling Skies S2 Ep1&2 Review

      Last summer I started watching Falling Skies on TNT, and it quickly became one of my favorite new shows.  I thought this summer I would write recap/reviews of every episode.

      The story so far:
      The Mason Men
      Falling Skies takes place in the aftermath of an alien invasion.  A small band of militia, called the Second Massachusetts, a group of about 100 men, women, and children, carry on the fight.  The main character is Tom Mason, played by Noah Wyle.  He has three sons, 20-year-old Hal, teenager Ben, and child Matt.  Ben, along with most teens, was at one time “harnessed“ by the aliens (called “Skitters” by the Second Mass).  Ben was freed from the alien mind control, but he has been given super-human abilities from his time with the aliens.   In last season’s finale, Tom was taken aboard the Skitter craft.



      Episode 1: Worlds Apart
      Recap:
      Three months have passed since Tom got on the alien craft.  The Second Mass sets up an ambush for the Skitters and their Mechs.   We see Ben with a little super-human hand-to-hand combat with a Skitter, and then he accidentally shoots his long lost father.  Whoops!  Doctor Glass begins the patch up job on their mobile surgery bus.  While under anesthesia, we see flashbacks to Tom’s time in the ship.  We see him being tortured by a red-eyed alien; then he is rescued by Karen, Hal’s former girlfriend, now a harnessed Skitter psychic translator.  She takes him to the Tall Alien, presumably the leader.  TA offers Tom the opportunity for humanity to surrender and go to a concentration camp. 
      Back to the future, Ben promises to show Matt a thing or two about fighting, then gets snotty with Hal about who is in charge.  On the next raid, the aliens blow up the truck and Pope’s Harley before they can begin.  They realize that the alien airships (beamers) are targeting the heat of the trucks.  Enter a new character, Jamil, who has convenient engineering skills, useful to camouflage the heat of the vehicles.
                      Back on the ship, and Tom has a debate with the TA.  He refuses the offer of the camps, grabs Red-eye’s shock stick, and zaps TA with it.  He is quickly subdued and dropped off in a field with a dozen other survivors.  The Skidders then proceed to massacre the lot of them, except Tom, who is allowed to go free by Red-eye. 
                       Back home Ben baits Hal into a fight by teaching Matt to shoot and mentioning Karen in front of Hal’s new love interest, Margret.  When Hal takes a swing at him, Ben demonstrates just how physically dominant he is over his big brother.
                       


      Karen?



      or Margret?
                       Flashback to Tom, walking back to the Second Mass from Michigan.  He rescues a young girl from attack.  The girl’s mother is dead nearby.  Tom and the girl escape on her motorcycle.  I figured she would be another new character, but she dumps Tom and heads to the mountains once he gets to Boston.  This is good.  She was annoying and had green teeth.
                      Back at camp, the Skitters are closing in, but they can’t move the bus because Doc Glass is still doing surgery on Tom.  Hal, Ben, Margret, and Dai stay behind to guard the bus.  The mechs pass by without incident, and Doc finishes her surgery.   There is a final flashback showing Tom getting shot, then he wakes up to the loving sight of Doc Glass, aw how sweet.  Their hand-holding is cockblocked when Ben and the other boys enter and we get our typical happy ending.  Tom is welcomed back by everyone, save Pope, who is suspicious as usual.  He plants the seed in Captain Weaver’s mind as well as the episode ends. 

      Opinions:
      The effects and CGI in this show is really well done.  I don’t know what kind of budget the show has, but compared to say, Terra Nova, which I know was a very expensive show, this looks much better.  I also want to mention the scene on the bus where the Skitters pass by.  There is no CGI in this scene, only lights and sound effects, but the tension is played out wonderfully.  They did a great job doing a scene like this on the cheap.
      I like Jamil, the new engineer character.  He’s got great dreads.  He brings a slight comedic touch to the show.  This show needs a break or two in the despair. 
      The fighting Mason brothers’ subplot is going to problematic this season.  None of the three of them are good enough actors to make this interesting.
      Grade:  I thought this was a good re-introduction to the series.  The CGI scene with Tom and TA was a highlight, as was the scene with no CGI on the bus.  Great acting and tense plotting will continue to make this show great.  My major complaint with this show is that every episode last season ended with a drawn out, calm ending.  I would like to see some of those moments of calm and levity throughout the episode, not exclusively at the end of EVERY one.  A-
      Episode 2:
      Shall We Gather at the River.
      Recap:
                      The show opens with Tom having a nightmare about the red-eyed alien.  He goes to see the Doc, worried that the Skitters might have messed with his mind.  Doc thinks he is being paranoid.  Jamil finds a bridge the Second Mass might be able to use to cross the river, where they’ve been trapped.  Dai shoots down a Skidder ship which falls to the other side, but not after slicing the bridge in half.   Tom reveals to Captain Weaver that he doesn’t think he should be trusted.  Weaver also thinks he’s being paranoid.  I know a foreshadow when I see one.
                      Weaver tells Jamil to rebuild the bridge, while Ben swims across the river on a scouting mission.  Hal and Tom discuss Ben’s changes and start to reconnect.  Tom makes Hal promise to “keep an eye on” him.  Hal also thinks Tom is being paranoid.  Matt overhears; then Tom collapses.  Matt is not convinced Tom is being paranoid, as the sledgehammer of plot drops hard.
                      Doc Glass looks in Tom’s eye and finds something.  In the scene of the week, she finds a worm in his eye and pulls it out with forceps.  
      ARRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!

       Even the second time, it is really hard to watch.  Tom insists that Weaver zip tie him to the bus until they get across the river, just in case. 
                      Ben swims across the river and finds the Skitter ship.  Inside the wreckage is a live creature, who is making a noise only Ben can hear.  He stomps the small creature to death then follows the noise in his head until he finds the control tower for the beamer ships. 
                      Back at camp, Matt won’t have anything to do with Tom, and Pope shows up to gripe and complain about Tom being allowed to stay in camp.  Pope is a cool character when he is fighting, but the rest of his whining and complaining is getting old already.  Even his fellow Berserker, Anthony, pulls his gun to prevent Pope from killing Tom.  
                      Ben and Tom have a discussion about mind control.  Ben says that he uses hate to keep the Skidders from taking over.  Tom, predictably, argues that love is more powerful than hate.   Ben doesn’t want to hear that though.  Ben lies to Weaver, Jamil, Hal, and Anthony about being able to hear the Skitters, but Weaver suspects he is lying. 
      The summer's cutest new couple
      As the 2nd Mass prepares to bug out, we have a lighter moment between Pope and his Berzerkers, then Jamil and Lourdes where she kisses him, then Margret and Hal.   
      As they prepare to cross the bridge, the worm taken from Tom’s eye burrows its way out of the container.  It starts to crawl up Lourdes, but instead of infecting her, it turns into a moth thing and flies off.  Good fake out, Falling Skies!
      As Ben, Hal, Margret, and Dai move in to blow up the beamer tower, the 2nd Mass bugs out across the repaired bridge.  Dai blows the tower before the beamers can re-blow the bridge.  As the vehicles cross, Pope and the Berzerkers retreat from the oncoming Mechs and Skitters.  The bus breaks through the bridge stranding Doc, Tom and Matt.  In the big drama moment of the night, Matt decides to trust his father, freeing him to fight while the others push the bus across the bridge.  All that foreshadowing is for naught, as Tom is fine and climbs a 50 cal, helping to hold off the Skitters while they push the bus across the bridge.  A Skitter climbs the 50 cal and is threatening Tom when Matt grabs a gun bigger than he is and kills the Skitter.  I don’t know enough about firepower to know if that is feasible or not.  It seems not.
      Tom waits too long killing Skitters, and Pope grabs the detonator from Jamil blowing the bridge with Tom still on it.  I bet he dies here.  As Hal comforts Matt, Pope comes over to apologize.  Hal punches him just as Tom comes walking out of the river.  Ben pulls his gun, but Tom says, “Once is enough I think.”  I’m shocked.  I thought for sure he was dead. 
      Lourdes notices the empty specimen jar as the moth flies to Red Eye the Skitter, and crawls into his other eye socket.  Yuck.  Cool, but yuck.
      Opinion: 
                      The eye scene is an early contender for summer gross out of the year.  Time to step it up True Blood!
                      I thought we’d seen the red-eyed Skitter too many times.  I really like the idea of creating specific Skitters with specific personalities.  It’s hard to do when the characters don’t talk.  He (She?) is officially a character now.
                      I appreciated that they put the moment of Zen in the middle of the episode, rather than at the end.  A good change of pace.
      Opinion:
      This episode was fairly typical of the show.  It was fairly predictable, but very well done.  If you didn’t like this one, you don’t like Falling Skies.  This is pretty much all you get from it on a week-to week basis.  The eye scene and the dawning of the Red Eye era push this to a little better than average.  B+
      RED EYE!!!!!!!!!!

      References (2)

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      • Response
        myculturalobsessions - Imported 2012-07-03 - Falling Skies Season 2 Ep. 1&2 Recap and Review
      • Response
        Response: weblink
        Amazing Web page, Preserve the good job. Many thanks!

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