TV REVIEW: Falling Skies S2, Ep2: We Shall Gather at the River

Falling Skies continues with an episode that, in the US, aired as part of a 2-part season opener, and it’s not hard to see why. With Episode 1 functioning largely as re-introduction to the characters and initial resolution of the series 1 cliffhanger, it falls to Episode 2 to start to move the season forward. 

And moving forward is what it’s all about this week, as the 2nd Mass take to the roads away from the skitters latest push on their positions. One of the most immediately obvious changes of focus this season is the militarisation of the show; the civilian/military tensions and the like seem to have been disposed of, and this is now more fully a resistance show, playing to it’s strengths, I think, so overall a good move.

With a clear objective for the show – cross a broken bridge to get away – it also lets the characters show what they can do and how they interact on a more regular basis. Tom’s kids dynamic is increasingly interesting, especially with the presence of rescued Ben, struggling with the trauma of abduction and harnessing, mixed in with the more normal trauma of being a middle child with a somewhat over-achieving elder brother. It’s nice to see how Pope has fit himself in, and nice to see he retains his role as snarky Sawyer-from-Lost rip off that he always has been.

The story also gives a nice (if that’s the word) bit of Body Horror with the “bug” that’s been planted on Tom; a really well done, wrenching bit of TV that serves both to make the viewer uncomfortable, but to establish the idea that Tom may no longer be trustworthy, even in his own eyes. It feels like the establishment of a storyline that will run for a bit, and hope that it is.

By the end of the episode Falling Skies feels like a show a lot more comfortable in its own skin; a show that at the very least knows where its balance should be and is working very hard to get there. Long may it continue.

Falling Skies airs on the FX channel in the UK on Tuesdays, 9pm.

Reviewer: Matt Farr

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