I am late in getting this post up. Much of it comes from really rethinking last week’s episode, and much of it comes from not wanting to spoil too much.
FALLING SKIES Episode 5: SILENT KILL really started to ratchet up the story. While the main focus remains on Tom Mason and his three sons, other players started to see their storylines ratcheted up, made more curious, or in the case of one unlucky soul, ended. (Or was it?)
You also see Hal starting to really take charge in this. It might be teenage rebellion, familial love, or just frustration, but Hal is becoming much more forceful in advancing his own plans and participation. Such was the case in this week’s mission to rescue Ben.
Shocks came early on, as Dr. Harris was dispatched by the captive Skitter. To me, this was a bit abrupt, since he was part of the events leading up to the death of Tom Mason’s wife. My only thought is that this factoid served no future purpose so they wrote him out. However, why introduce this conflict only to abruptly end it? That makes me wonder if the Dr. Harris storyline is not quite finished.
It also ended a connection to Tom’s wife. She has not factored much into the actual story other than as backstory. I am curious about whether she remains backstory.
We also saw Dr. Anne Glass move to a much more emotional forefront, as she became the lead surgeon for harness removal in the absence of Dr. Harris. It allowed for the mixed emotions of being able to save some, but not all, of the rescued kids from the harness. It also movingly showed her tortured emotions regarding her family, all of who were lost in the invasion.
Again, my favorite part of this show is the fact that the sci-fi story is so rooted on the human side. While we have seen Skitters and Mechs and some of their viciousness, it has been in the minority. Even the initial invasion was told as a flashback utilizing a child’s drawings.
That means that those who come to a sci-fi show for the monsters and aliens probably have been a bit underwhelmed. Plenty of action, but to me, it is used sparingly and judiciously. However, since this is an action drama as well, I expect the conflict and the aliens actions to advance.
The main story was the mission by Hal to finally get Ben back. This created the creepiest scenes yet in the show as we finally got a glimpse into what the Skitters and the harnessed children are like, other than the glimpses of them doing forced labor. Hal himself blossomed as he challenged his father on attempting this.
In the end, the horror and creepiness of the scene was not from blood, guts, and shock, though it was definitely in evidence, but from the quietness of the scene. Hal chose to masquerade as a harnessed child and managed to form up with the same pack that Ben was in. This was a great scene, though I was a bit surprised that the Skitters didn’t spot Hal sooner, since he was furtively glancing around at time, instead of affecting the empty start of the other kids. However, Drew Roy played the scene extremely well, and this scene became an emotional and creepy high point of the series so far.
The way the kids were “cared” for while at rest by what seemed to be a “maternal” Skitter was unnerving. This turned from a type of serenity to a feeling of dread to a final explosion of horror and action as Hal rescued Ben. In addition, this allowed for the scene of the men of the Mason family finally reunited. However, even though Ben’s harness was successfully removed, we still do not know how his experience will affect him nor if he is truly free of alien control.
Also, since we saw that Ricky had been compelled in a previous episode to reattach the harness (possibly through radio commands from the captive Skitter). Does that mean that the studs that still remain in Ben’s spine also contain a controlling mechanism or have hardwired Ben’s thought processes?
The scene also showed more of the civilians and their activities and thoughts. Up until now, they have purely been window dressing, but this episode started to suggest answers to some of the questions that I have posed in previous postings and on Twitter. When do the civilians start to push back and question authority? Do they resent that Ben and Ricky have been saved while their children still remain captive and/or dead?
We know precious little about them, but I expect much more from them, including a definite rebellion from some of them.
In addition, up until this point, the 2ndMass has taken the action to the Skitters. The aliens supposedly cannot sense smaller groups of people. However, there are maybe 3600 in the high school compound. At some point, either through radio contact with the harnesses, the captive Skitter, or just civilian unrest, I fully expect for the Skitters to take the battle to the 2ndMass.
Will this battle include just aliens, or do we face the horror and emotional devastation of the compound being attacked by the harnessed kids under command, thus making for some very heavy moral questions as you fight them. We saw the kids armed and shooting at the group when Tom went to get some motorcycles.
It also circles back to an earlier theme. Do you sacrifice a life to save others?
One more thought: We did not see John Pope last week, nor have we seen Karen. I am curious as to how they make their re-entrances.
Finally, we saw some emotion out of Capt. Weaver, by way of the playing of a vinyl copy of MANY RIVERS TO CROSS by Jimmy Cliff. At first, Weaver reacted angrily to the playing of the record, but in the end we were treated to a private moment as Weaver listens tearfully to the record alone. We still do not know what personal experience this painfully recalls.
The next five episodes promise to really move forward and involve us, and the fact that it has already been renewed for Season 2 means that we will not get the suspended and abruptly ended story that has afflicted shows like THE EVENT, and THE CAPE.
I’ll be watching and tweeting along tonight as @adimike55. Join me.