TV REVIEW: Falling Skies S2, Ep 8 – “Death March”

Funny thing about expectations – sometimes they’re a good thing, because they put you in the right frame for a show, or because having them thwarted can be good and interesting. Other times they’re a bad thing, because you just end up disappointed. So when Falling Skies titled an episode “Death March” just after a dark and interesting episode the week before, my expectation was for more along the same vein; the same tightness, the same dark heart. But my expectations were doomed to be thwarted, and not in the good way.

The 2nd Mass are on the move again towards Charleston, and seem to have left the Skitters and Overlords and Mechs (oh my!) far behind. This week it’s a push on down the road and a bunch of introspection, presumably to get all the character stuff lined up for the final two episodes coming up. The problem is that the abrupt removal of last week’s escalated threat lowers the tension somewhat, and we’re back to characters sat in trucks talking about their feelings, which is never a strong suit of Falling Skies.

In fairness, some of the introspective stuff is pretty decent. They pick up an accidentally de-harnessed girl showing signs of advanced physiological change, and there is some good stuff between her and Matt, and her “brother” coming to get her is another example of Falling Skies done well. In this case, you never clearly see the brother, just fleeting impressions of something that was once human, coupled with the girl’s honest desire to go with him. It’s creepy and cool, but feels like something they should have done earlier in the series, not now when you want pace and drive towards the series end.

The other storylines – more on Maggie and Hal, which is….alright, I guess, and the emergence of Tector more into the foreground, aren’t bad by any stretch, but aren’t what I wanted to see after the upswing of recent episodes. The first reveal of Charleston is well handled, and Weaver’s (successful) attempt to revitalise them is well done, if a little over-familiar; the second reveal bodes well for an interesting run in. This is far from a poor episode of Falling Skies, but it is an episode that’s spinning its wheels when it should have been driving forward with more confidence.

 

Rating: 3/5
GS Reviewer: Matt

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