I’ve heard the thought expressed that Falling Skies is a show that gets better as it gets darker. That maybe if it left some of that “humanity can be great” stuff behind and just get into the gritty nastiness, then so too would some of the shows wider problems be left behind. That said, we would probably end up with something looking a little bit like The Walking Dead with aliens instead of zombies, and that isn’t a show without issues either. This week, Falling Skies gets pretty dark, so we’ll see how that looks, shall we?
I ended last week looking forward to the 2nd Mass getting the hell out of the hospital and on the move again, but for once my expectations were confounded and we got a different sort of episode. Equally quickly dispatched was the ideas that Ben and Karen would spend a while running around the woods or that we’d see the Skitter rebels again. Instead Karen tries to hand Ben over to a “fish-head” boss caste alien, only for the pursuing 2nd Mass to storm in and rescue him, gaining an unexpected prisoner in the process. I like how Tom’s reaction to capturing him is pretty much one of shock, which perhaps mirrors how much the opening section of the episode throw me off-balance.
So valuable asset in tow, the rest of the episode is the Hospital under siege, as the aliens are unwilling to use brute force to overcome the resistance fighters in case their boss gets caught in the crossfire and a pretty brutal siege it is too. Falling Skies has been pretty cavalier with the lives of its supporting cast this season and we lose another couple here – a minor character in one case but a more long-standing cast member in another. The nature of both is gut-wrenching; one a return to the Body Horror that Falling Skies is justly proud of, the other a atmospherically shot heartbreaker served mostly by the reactions of the soldiers watching it. This show knows how to step it up when it needs to, re-enforced that the stakes were pretty high.
On the plot front, we received more of an insight into the aliens plans; which are somewhat vague on some levels but at least give the impression they didn’t just invade because they were bored one Sunday afternoon. The habit of the aliens of speaking through Harnessed kids remains chilling, no matter how many times I see it.
You often get the impression that the invaders are fairly light on resource, given how easily resistance can move around, and I’d like to know what the point of it all is. This week we get the implication that there is a deeper agenda, and I hope that’s the case.
All in all, a pretty storming episode of Falling Skies, but one that maintains its fair content of hope, and humanity in face of the end of the world. Approaching the home stretch of the season, it seems that this balance can be reached, so I guess I retain my hope for the future too.