One thing that the writers of Falling Skies have learned to do masterfully over the last three seasons is the skill to illicit a large enough investment by the viewers at the beginning, so that they can form long story arcs and spend some time developing characters. Tonight’s episode is an excellent example of the fruits of using that particular tool.
Once again the Mason boys find themselves in the thick of things when they find their rebel contact dying staying alive only long enough to warn the crew that skitters were on their way for them.
This is exactly the type of writing device I was talking about earlier. We become immediately interested in the outcome of the initial encounter. So much so that we actually tolerate the slow and sometimes agonizing pace that the characters reveal them selves to us. They peel off layer after layer, as if to torture us, until we see some newfound aspect of them that we had never noticed before.
Some examples of this are Dan Weavers reluctant alliance with Pope. Everyone has a line that they won’t cross and circumstances are pushing weaver closer and closer to it. Also Matt’s response to Hal’s reminiscing for a simpler time being that his dad would have never let him shoot a gun times were simpler. This is shortly before he kills a man for the first time. And let’s not forget Tom Mason always having to make the tough call between doing what’s right and going back to warn the Picketts or doing what’s right for him and avoiding the Espheni search party and continuing his search for his missing family. These are some good examples of the layers that make for both hearty characters that we should feel hard-pressed to be sympathetic towards and stories that keep us interested.
Something that the show does that I find truly annoying is make the aliens look completely inept. How is it possible that they have come across the vast reaches of space with all of this advanced technology in tow, only to be constantly out maneuvered by a bunch of savages on horseback? Every time I see a member of the Second Mass spying on the some sort of skitter activity with a pair of BIG 5 binoculars and almost no cover or concealment without being detected I cringe. I suppose to the writers it’s a seemingly small detail but to viewers like me, it’s inattention to the small details that take credibility away from theses amazing stories and the wonderful job the cast is doing. I’m not saying it’ll be the downfall of the whole show but address it or get rid of it. Don’t ignore it because it’s getting harder for viewers like me to.
There were two Items that I have my fingers crossed are some sort of foreshadowing. The first is Pope’s speech in the bar about preserving personal property and personal liberties. Although all he was asked to do was move his base of operations he seems to have a good idea of the direction that the Charleston government is heading. The speech reminded me of another revolutionary speech I heard of, only the one I know of wasn’t given in a bar; it was given in a German beer hall. The second thing I hope to be something more than an ill place line, was when the president referred to Lourdes as an “Apt Pupil” I find it hard not to associate those words with the Steven King short story about a Post-War Nazi who is discovered then persuaded to pass on to a troubled young man the horrors and atrocities of the holocaust with all the nightmares that it brings. Of course another big hint was that immediately after telling her that she acts accordingly. Individually, nether incident is worth mentioning, however together it’s not a big leap to think that this may the beginning of the next great obstacle for the survivors.
This episode is the latest example of the upward trajectory Falling Skies is on. Every week the writing gets better and the acting gets better. So good that it can be easy to over look the special effects and action sequences. Who knew that an Alien invasion would be so entertaining?