Now it gets really interesting.
While I’ve really enjoyed FALLING SKIES over the first 5 episodes, you knew that they eventually had to advance past where they were in terms of story, location, and combatants. With last week’s Episode 6 “Sanctuary Pt.1”, we start to expand scope.
The episode saw a number of tonal changes, new characters, increased shades for the current characters, and the feeling that what had been the main focus so far was about to be upended. Again, I don’t want to do recaps. I want to entice and excite you enough to both watch the show and to join in the conversations.
Possibly the biggest growth arc is coming from Dr. Anne Glass. Originally the medic who home based at the camp and worked to save lives in an unaccustomed role for a pediatrician, Dr. Glass has moved far into the “She’s Got Balls” territory. While action outside of the school has been the domain of Tom, Hal, Anthony, Dai, and their small unit, the action inside the school has almost all come from the medical staff.
Dr. Glass (the great Moon Bloodgood) has had to move far beyond the Hippocratic oath. She has had to kill a captive Skitter to prove that it could be done by hand. She has had to confront the first bubbling signs of unrest and fear from the civilians, who up to now essentially served as background. She has had to make the moral and ethical decisions when a scared father demands drugs and supplies so that his family can flee.
And she has had to embrace the hardest thing a doctor who is trained to save lives has to do: Learn how to take one, by way of Margaret finally convincing her to take a gun. All of this is against Anne’s nature.
In addition, Anne now balances at least three storylines: With Lourdes, she is the medical staff. With Margaret, she is learning how hard it might be to keep her beliefs in the face of danger. And with Tom, she may be moving into a closer relationship.
In normal life, these would be a complication. In the new world order, one where rules of life are being rewritten day by day, they are almost inscrutable at times.
Move over, Tom Mason. Moon Bloodgood has brought the spirit of Ripley from the ALIEN movies to the show. Moon has built an amazing character portrayal.
We also see the disadvantage of the inability to communicate beyond your own camp. There is no real way of knowing who else is really out there fighting the skitters. As Eli and his family run from the compound, they are stopped by Clayton, from the 7thMass. He convinces Weaver to let the family go after retrieving the drugs.
Clayton also brings news of an impending attack on the compound. Up to this point, the battle has been taken to the skitters. It is assumed that the compound has been able to lie low enough to escape notice. Clayton tells of destruction in the 7thMass, and that he has a safe haven for the kids.
Supposedly, this would allow the kids to remain safe from the impending attack. The problem is that many of the kids are in the civilian ranks, from families who so far have remained passive. This request stirs the first real seeds of unrest and rebellion from the civilians. Being told that will have to let go of their children, even for a short time, causes some to soapbox and vent about the commands from the resistance leaders.
This unrest is only heighted by the presence of Ben, as well as Ricky and the other saved harnessed kids. They start to feel resentment and anger directed to them because they have been saved while other kids remain missing or have been killed. This shunning is palpable.
In addition, the readjustment of Ben back into family life feels a bit foreboding. It is obvious how close Ben and Matt are, and they act just like brothers, goofing and playing around. However, it cannot escape Matt that Ben has the remnants of the harness still in his spine. This fascinates and scares Matt and only serves to heighten his hero worship of Ben.
Hal is also part of that brotherly love, even choosing to keep the brothers together as Clayton leads the kids away.
For his part, Ben seems to harbor a strange longing for what had happened, as well as a definite ache in his heart for his late mother. Ben seems glad to be home yet lost in the stars. This makes it even more interesting about what life was truly like with the Skitters.
In a nice little subplot, we get to see Weaver bond even more closely to Jimmy, advising him to keep it frosty as a sign of support and as close to emotion as Weaver may publically allow right now..
It all comes back to Clayton in this episode. Everyone I talked with on Twitter shared the feeling that something wasn’t quite right here. I was curious about the name 7thMass, since the name 2ndMass was not an assignation but was simply way the leaders there decided to name it. Was there a 1st, or 3rd thru 6th?
Also, what was this sanctuary? Why was he the only one who made this trek to the 2ndMass in spite of danger from Skitters and Mechs? Why did one Skitter and Mech show up that night, instead of an onslaught of them?
As we find in the story, there is good reason to question his motives. As he leads the kids to sanctuary, it is also revealed that the kids are simply bargaining chips for some sort of survival, a pact with the Skitters or whoever is in charge of the Skitters. In addition, we find that all of his info has come from the captive John Pope. Was Pope giving the info under duress, was he saving his own skin, or was he also conned by the prospect of “sanctuary”.
Since this was Part 1 of a two-part episode, it is obvious that many of these questions will be answered or at least acknowledged in Part 2. However, this episode begins the next phase for FALLING SKIES as it moves beyond the compound and saving Ben.
It now escalates to the greater enemy, one that may come from those who command the Skitters and Mechs, one that may come from using the kids against basic human emotions, and one that may come from a greater understanding of just what will happen to the kids. Hints were made of a major jolt as a new alien is revealed and as the story starts to spread out through the more complicated storyline.
Now it gets really interesting.
PS: Thanks to @kimmyxoxo on Twitter for being the eagle eye who noticed a BLUE HILLS SKI AREA patch on Eli’s back pack. This will probably loom large going forward.