TV REVIEW: Falling Skies: Series 1, Ep 6: Sanctuary (Part 1)

So, I felt last week was a marked improvement for the show in terms of balacing it’s often conflicting elements into a smoother blend, helped by some of the underwritten characters starting to ease into something recognisable as a proper shape. This week we have the first part of a two-parter, so expect more questions than answers.

I think the big issue I have with this episode is that rather than built on the last couple, which deal more and more with the relationship between the Skitters and the Harnessed, it instead decides to go to that other old “under occupation” trope of threats from other resistance units. The cliff-hanger wasn’t a shock, to be honest, and whilst I can sort of see how that sort of thing would happen, the second part needs a bit more back story as to how that sort of behaviour comes about. But that’s for next week, I guess.

Internal threats are the big theme this week though – the episode starts with the medical centre being stuck up by a desperate family, demonstrating that it’s not all civic bread-making in the school, and keeping Anne an active character in her own right, as opposed to being someone for Tom to talk to. There is a breif return of the military-civilian tension, although I’m left wondering why so many otherwise healthy looking adults end up in the civilian camp; surely everyone who could would be tooled up?

It was nice to see the return of the “Boy soldier” Jimmy to the front lines though – as a concept he’s a great idea and I’d like to see more of him. His panicky fight with the Skitter was the right mix of bravery and terror and his reaction to it nicely written and acted. It was also nice to see Tom’s kids used well, and how they’re dealing with Ben’s return. His unusual athleticism and slightly unnatural poise (he’s very calm for a kid rescued from Alien Oppression) makes him out and keeps the long-running arc of the show in the episode without it feeling too heavy handed.

So it’s hard to draw too many conclusions on Sanctuary (Part 1) without seeing Sanctuary (Part 2). Like too much of Falling Skies it’s a familiar idea done reasonably well, and blending of elements seems to be being kept up. So I guess we’ll see, next time…

GS Reviewer: Matt
GS Rating: 3.5/5

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