Falling Skies Series 2, Ep 1: Worlds Apart
Posted by Matt Farr on July 9, 2012
We’ll be covering this to the UK schedule, which is a couple of weeks behind the US airings. I covered Falling Skies season one last year, and broadly enjoyed it, but it wasn’t a show without failings. This was a show with a lot of ideas on what tone it wanted to set – sometimes dark, post-apocalyptic fare, sometimes a warmer recognition of humanity in the face of adversity – and it often struggled to marry these together. The big job, from my perspective, for the season break, was to bring these two halves of the show together.
“Worlds Apart” also has the issue of the Season One finale to deal with. With Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) off with the invading aliens, the main focus was always going to be getting the cast back together and the show moving forward again. And it has to be said that they do it with some elegance. Firstly, Tom’s time with the aliens is dealt with in flashback, as he lay injured and being tended to by the resistance. At the same time the resistance are packing up to go on the move away from the base that acted as both a shelter and a dramatic dead weight in the previous series.
The flashback structure allows the nature of Tom’s injury to be a major plot point for the episode and to space out a lot of the talking throughout the episode. Falling Skies has always been fond of debate club style dialogue and whilst I don’t mind that, it’s an improvement to see it broken up with a bit of tense action from the resistance, and the reintroduction of the wider cast. This latter point is also something that needed work last season and again it’s nice to see a bit more of the supporting cast as more than sounding boards for Tom’s historical analogies – something the show even pokes fun at!
In many ways this episode is a classic season opener – an episode that spends most of its energies re-establishing the setup of the series and setting out markers for what is to come, and it looks pretty interesting. But then Falling Skies has never struggled with conceptually interesting ideas, and more critically this episode manages to weld its two halves together pretty smoothly, which bodes well for the future. Its final resolution – the nature of Toms injury, his recovery from it, and the reactions to the resistance to having him back, are well handled and well-balanced.
So, on the basis of this first episode, things look good for Falling Skies. Whilst certainly not a great show, it looks to be a good one, and enjoyable one, and I’m looking forward to where this run takes us.
Falling Skies airs on the FX channel in the UK on Tuesdays, 9pm.
GS Reviewer: Matt Farr