Falling Skies : Molon Labe, Trust Edition

NOTE: You can find a list of my previous FALLING SKIES and TV related blog posts here at the Falling Skies (and other TV talk). These are listed in reverse order.

The last episode of FALLING SKIES looked much farther back in history than what has occurred in North America. In reaching all the way back to ancient Greece, Falling Skies drew it’s inspiration from what has always been seen as another hopeless battle, THE BATTLE OF THERMOPYLAE. These words of defiance (translated as “Come And Get Them” ) spoken by King Leonidas as the Persian Army demanded surrender have parallels in American History, such as Patrick Henry’s “Give me Liberty or give me death” speech before the Virginia House in 1775 that allowed Virginia to join in the Revolutionary War. It is at its simplest a boast, and at its most complex, a way to unite different forces for a common good.

And in keeping with the Greek warfare theme: Beware the Trojan Horse.

As you follow FALLING SKIES, you see the issue of MOLON LABE has been ever present since the battle began. Whether through the need to unite soldiers, policemen, mercenaries, teachers, civilians and people far out of their comfort zone or the need to build a command structure that allows for an organized and effective response, the defiance in the face of the enemy rises above all else. The 2nd Mass united in a defiant scream.

Now, on the road to Charleston (and on the way to meet up with other survivors with unknown motives), the pushback from the aliens has advanced beyond what has been happening in the past. The defiance of a small group of 2nd Mass fighters could soon give way to a larger and more organized push back against the aliens. The aliens seen to know this. They seem well versed in our history, especially the psychological aspects. They themselves seem to understand our logic and emptions, and how to use them to manipulate us. The best example is how they used Karen (Jesse Schramm) when she was found by Hal (Drew Roy) and Maggie (Sarah Carter). Karen knew how to elect pity and sympathy from those she knew most susceptible to those emotions, and she knew how to manipulate and play those people off of the more skeptical ones.

As this episode opened, Ben (Connor Jessup) was lead right into a trap. Karen was able to convince him that they were meeting up with the alien resistance, but instead, the Overlord greeted then. As Karen attempted to reharness Ben, Tom (Noah Wyle) and the 2nd Mass were able to follow along and not only break up the reharnessing effort but also to capture the Overlord. They took the Overlord back and restrained him in the same room as karen had been kept. Karen escaped, and the normal course of thought would be that without the alien “general”, Karen would not know how to respond.

As this is taking place, the rest of the 2nd Mass was making preparations to make the journey to Charleston. Of course, having the Overlord around not only makes this more difficult but it also leads to a renewed skepticism and distrust in having the Overlord there, as well as having him so close to Ben. Some of the 2nd Mass thinks that the danger posed by Ben being around may be too great for the common good. Weaver even goes far enough to say to Tom that Ben is a detriment to their survival and must be sent away.

Add to this the danger that exists from the Overlord being held hostage and the rescue attempt by the aliens that soon ensues. This is where a major unresolved question comes up (for me at least). Since the band that tried to recapture Ben was led by the overlord, and he is now a captured general, who will now lead the aliens in their rescue attempt. That turns out to be Karen, who has essentially taken charge of the attack and negotiations. The question for me is whether she is acting on her own or is still being controlled by the overlord?

So far, when Ben has been in contact with the aliens, it is from very close proximity. If the overlords can control Karen from a distance, why not Ben? Who is truly in control and how much power does Karen actually have? Does the Karen that they knew even exist anymore?

This is seen in the first attempt to free the overlord. Karen and the mechs create a negotiation distraction in front of the hospital while Tom senses that this may be a smokescreen to cover a sneak attack from the rear. That proves to be the case and while Tom is able to fight that attack off, it causes a collapse in the basement that traps Anne (Moon Bloodgood), Lourdes (Seychelle Gabrielle) and Matt (MaxIm Knight) in the basement. As they try to find a way out, Jamil (Brando Jay) is able to make his way to them .

Jamil is incoherent and seems injured. A noise from a door attracts Matt’s attention, but Jamil tells him to leave it closed. At this point, Jamil starts to convulse and they discover that Jamil has become a host, a “Trojan horse” for the introduction of a new alien species, small spider like creatures that pour out from him and pursue the others. This is emotional not only for the viewer, who sees another character killed off, but also for the emotional pull that it puts on Lourdes, who sees the man she loves horribly destroyed.

The three take shelter by barricading themselves in a basement lab. They decide to send Matt through the air shaft to see if he can bring help back, while Anne and Lourdes design a way to use flammable oxygen tanks to essentially firefight their way out.

Now, the fate of a band of 2nd Mass’ers who were led by Boone becomes obvious. They went out to scout but were captured. Karen has raised a white flag and wants to talk with Weaver. When these talk do not produce the return of the overlord, Karen resorts to a type of “message” that is straight out of World War II. It turns out that Boone was captured and held by Karen. In a scene that looks like an East German prisoner exchanges, Boone is sent walking back towards the 2nd Mass, only to be gunned down in front of them. Karen and the aliens have delivered the message that this is war and compassion is the first casualty of war. Essentially another cold and calculated murder to prove power.

At this point, Tom goes to confront the overlord. As Karen did by playing possum as to her strength while being held captive, the overlord confronts Tom with his own show of power by breaking the shackles that were holding him at the beginning of the meeting. For some reason, Tom has brought Ben and the overlord has taken advantage of the situation to use Ben as his mouthpiece as well as to use Ben as a symbol of the overlords power.

It is a bit disconcerting to hear Ben speak the thoughts of the overlord in a cold, monotonal dispassionate voice. The overlord essentially tells Tom the old chestnut that they come in peace, but they come with a definite mission. The overlord says that the human race is not their concern but the dwindling resources of what they see as an out of control Planet Earth are. This almost seems like a much darker threat than the removal of Earth to make way for an intergalactic highway in THE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY. The overlord will explain nothing more about their mission but the ecological threat seems to resonate in the real world. Tom’s defiance, his MOLON LABE moment, brings a show of how much the aliens know how to attack the humans on an emotional plane. The overlord CAUSES Ben to collapse to the floor and convulse in agony. This continues inly until the overlord stops the control.

Tom responds by firing at the overlord and injures him. Karen is brought in to see what has happened to the now injured overlord. Karen appeals to Ben’s emotions, telling him she is glad that he is safe, but all that has happened was necessary to advance the cause. At this point, she notices how injured the overlord is and begins to attack Tom, but Ben restrains her. She is told that the only way for the overlord to survive Is for Karen and the aliens to allow the 2nd Mass to depart.

At this point, a crossroad is being realized. Tom now seems convinced that a rebellion exists and that Ben is necessary to that rebellion. He has also come to the realization that this rebellion can bring more danger to the 2nd Mass and while he does not like it one bit, he too realizes that Ben must go off on his own to continue the progress of the 2nd Mass resistance. In one of those great human scenes that make Falling Skies so much more than just shoot the aliens sci-fi, Tom and Ben have a very moving scene where Tom reluctantly says goodbye to Ben, allowing him to go off to do what he is destined to. In addition, he also allows Ben to grow up, reminiscing about his first emotional day at nursery school but accepting that he has grown up a Mason, and the Mason family will always find a way to be there for each other.

In the end, this episode begs the main question of who Karen truly is and how much power she can actually wield. We’ve already seen he as a master deceiver. What else is she capable of ? Charleston may hold that answer.

11 comments on “Falling Skies : Molon Labe, Trust Edition

  1. All the points you brought are good but We The Fans are debating if Charleston is a trap or a safe heaven.
    It is unclear why the aliens have not attacked the 2nd Mass from the air, their convoy it is not spaced between vehicles. The aliens find the 2nd Mass and let them go and no attacks.
    In the last episode they surrounded the 2nd Mass by the hospital and they show up in full force, just to rescue the alien leader. Why not do that in the airport? If the 2nd Mass blow up the alien’s aviation base, for sure the aliens know someone is about and not far from there the 2nd Mass had their fight on the bridge close by the airport. Any commanding officer would send scouts to find the enemy… the aliens have stopped pursuing the 2nd Mass since the bridge.
    No scouts have been sent ahead all the way to Charleston… (although I understand that would be a spoiler.) My indication that Charleston would still be in the fight it would be that the 2nd Mass encounters first alien troops surrounding the city, held back by a defense perimeter from the city defenders… A forward battle field area around Charleston, as in Stalingrad during WWII. Also a weapon used by the human defenders that renders the Mecs and air units useless takes care of air raids and the mechanized units. It would not be that far fetch of an idea because the The Strategic Weapons Facility and other facilities for military research for advance weapons are located in Charleston.
    This an other points have been pointed out in the FB page of Falling skies… Well besides of the comments of “I love the show” and so on, there are a few that like to comment a bit deeper. After all it is a show, but for one hour of our busy days we want to be transported to other realities and this show delivers that.
    “I love the show.”

  2. Thanks for the read and the comments.

    I believe that is all comes down to the aliens needing the 2nd Mass to lead them to the alien rebellion, which I believe they truly fear. They don’t know where Redeye is, and knowing that the 2nd Mass is on the move, they know they have to be moving somewhere. So, at least to me, they cannot destroy the 2nd Mass yet, they need them too much. At some point, that might change, hence the efforts at intimidation such as the murder of Boone.

    That may also be why the 2nd Mass resisted letting Ben know where they were headed, though Tom finally revealed it. The aliens understand human history and thought, but they can only read human minds that they have tapped into. That leaves open the question of how much of a detriment Tom might be, especially since he has been the one that the Overlord has talked/negotiated/intimidated . Do they have a way beyond harnessing to pick up knowledge.

    My bigger concern is exactly WHAT awaits them in Charleston. After all, there is no US government and hence no laws. If you remember back to the airport, the female pilot Churchill, mentioned a “2nd Continental Congress”. That means that they are attempting to draw up a new constitution. The question is, WHO is drawing this up and if there are other pockets of resistance in the country, will they accept these ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION or will there be a new civil war. After all, the North is marching to the South.

    As you point out, the real-life strategic attributes of the area of Charleston make it logical for defense, depending who is in control.

    Also, Karen could prove to be deadly.

    I feel exactly the same as you do. I love the show, but I want to be challenged as I watch it.

    Thank you again!

  3. So Ben leaving is doing more harm than good… Um? That is the reason the aliens do not attack the 2nd Mass. And yes, who is in charge in Charleston and how far is the extend of their control over the populous of the city. Wait, Red Eye or its cohorts are helping defend Charleston!? This could be a cool twist, because in the FB page of Falling Skies we have been debating if 3,000 humans are there, how come they have not been detected by the aliens? Underground tunnels, advance experimental weapons and so on but it could be the rebel skitters helping. Red eye needs Ben in Charleston as much as the enemy Aliens need Ben to guide them to Red Eye.

  4. Yes, it could be more harm, but as long as the Overlord is still prisoner of the 2nd Mass, and he seems to be badly injured, then he serves as a hostage for safety from attack. It also allows the Overlord to be transported directly to the next city when he might be too injured to do it on his own.

    As for RedEye. he has not been seen for a couple of episodes, so changes are he can already be on the way there. While he can;t “read” Ben’s mind up until now,because Ben did not know the final destination, don’t forget that little flying thing earlier in the season that came out of Tom’s eye and was seen flying into Redeye’s eye. We’ve never heard again what that was. Could that be a connect to Tom and to destination?

    As for Ben, he did tell Matt three episodes ago that he was going to have to leave for a while, so he has known this was coming.

    Again all of this is my own speculation and I would nothing more than to be proven wrong by the writers with an amazing plot twist.

  5. I am sure the worm probe did told Red Eye as long as the probe left after the pilot arrived. My memory is not to clear when the probe left the jar. But still it does not mean that Red Eye did not knew about Charleston on his own. Still Ben knew where to go with Karen to find Red Eye and he is close by. I believe Red Eye knows about Charleston and unfortunate the Alien leader. When he was been dismounted from the back of the cargo truck, Tom Spill the beans. Although we could argue that the alien leader did not understood him. We could only speculate what is Charleston waiting… but it is fascinating to speculate.
    Now, I noticed something from the last episode. The aliens showed in full force to the hospital. This gives credit that they do not attack the 2nd Mass due to Ben. The alien plan was to capture Ben then destroy the Second Mass with their pre-position strike force far out from Capt. Weaver’s sentry posts. But a twist happen, the 2nd Mass captured the leader and the enemy strike force had to become a rescue force. Ben is the key and Red Eye the door to be open to defeat the aliens in a asymmetrical war.

  6. Hey, What about the show last night? Seen Colonel Porter was a twist. Now I am more sure the people in Charleston are in tunnels. But I wonder what will happen to the 2nd Mass as a unit. Is Porter going to fold the 2nd Mass into an existing larger unit or making Weaver a Major and this time reinforce the 2nd Mass with season troops, disbanding the group that we know? Is Tom been an intellectual leaves his AK-47 and be involve in the creation of a new constitution? Also, Tom’s younger kid told the girl they are going to Charleston. I see a big fight in the streets of Charleston and the rebel skitters saving the day. What do you think?

  7. Col. Porter was a definite surprise. However, I’m not one that is so glad to see him. I’m not sure if he is the Porter that we knew. In addition, there is a guest star in the rest of the seasons episodes who is known for some strange happenings. I’m not naming who in case you don’t want that spoiled. So, I’m really curious why Porter is back, seemingly in charge, and so far away from Boston and Fitchberg.

    They also seem to have formed a new government, but we don’t know if it is the kind of democracy we are used to.

    During the commercial break,right after Jenny ran back into the woods, I asked a friend on Twitter about Matt’s journal, because I had lost track of it. When the show started back up, Matt asked his dad where his journal is. Jenny had seen the journal and may or may not have written in it or tampered with it. Kind of curious.

    And finally, this was the first episode since the very beginning where you did not see Ben in any current scene. You know he is near, curious to see what is up.This could be the big rebellion that you are talking about.

  8. Terry O’Quinn as the President or by political Succession as the President. Also it would make sense to have a Martial law in place. About the harness girl, Jenny, she knows about Charleston and the Aliens are on their way there. I am sure if the tunnels are narrow enough the large Mecs will not go in. I think it will be a skitter attack supported by the small “Crawlies.” Also Potter, I imagine that what the US Government wanted was to learn about the Aliens before committing elite combat units. In cases like this, if it ever happen, the best thing to do is to hide your important military assets to attack another day. The 2nd Mass as well as the other militia units were just test subjects to detect weaknesses of the Aliens, I am sure NATO countries would follow the same procedure. Porter was assigned by higher ups to form the Militias in the Boston area. After been defeated in Boston he and what ever was left of the 1st Mass moved to Charleston. He might had found something to defeat the Aliens…. Who knows. The Aliens overlords have been looking for this Human military units as well as the Skitter rebels all over the planet.

  9. When I was in Iraq in 2003- 2004. Saddam ordered his best aircraft to be move away from the airfields to save them so to be used later… Or so he thought…. If we ever get invaded, similar strategies would be follow. We need to learn first of them then months later mount an attack. The order to retreat and disperse for our military units would be the best course of action. In a asymmetrical war, subterfuge, hit and run tactics using the lowest tech possible would be the way to go. Going by the scenario presented in the show. But to tell you the truth, a biological weapon launch from space by aggressive aliens would do. Several years later or even centuries later “By centuries I base that in the distances in space among stars as well as Dr. Einstein, would kill all humans or our numbers would be no threat. Let me quote Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto… “The fiercest serpent may be overcome by a swarm of ants.” Our strength as a race to repel an invasion from space is the numbers game. We are going to be more because we are the home team. A biological agent from them would be the opening salvo, like battleships did in WWII to soften enemy positions on a beach before the Marines could land. Still, I love the show.

  10. You know, I think Terry O’Quinn as President will not be the sinister guy with a hidden agenda. What ever happens the 2nd Mass did it to it self. The thing that we all talk about is why the 2nd Mass was never attacked as the other Massachusetts militias, might come to surface. We all know the aliens did not attacked the 2nd Mass because Ben was going to lead the fish heads to red eye But O’Quinn and perhaps the members of the 2nd Mass do not know this. The President finds also that Tom was captured and implanted, to top it off Tom suggests joining forces with the rebel Skitters. This will be suspicious to the leaders of Charleston and the President orders all the members of the 2nd Mass round up. Some how the 2nd Mass escapes Charleston and now they are running from the new American government and the fish heads. Now, why a new government? A new constitution? I think the government in Charleston split from the still working original US Government. Most probably the real US Government moved to one of the central states, like Nebraska.

  11. I realized last night that there is at least one more person in the 2nd Mass that has a sensor eye worm implanted, before Tom was. Now it does make sense for several occurrences in the show that would look as un-probable coincidences. I think there is a good explanation for the 2nd Mass not been attacked to death. The over-lords have been invading other planets and they have the experience to know that on each planet they have invaded, there is a residual resistance that can deter their efforts. As Charleston it is as well as in other countries. That is why this person in the 2nd Mass has been bugged, to find the human resistance. I would say this is a standard procedure for the over-lords and makes sense, we use spies so they do also. But to compound the over-lords problems they now have a Skitter rebellion. What ever the over-lords have for Earth can’t be concluded until this two resistance movements are taken out. The over-lords know there is a mayor center of human resistance but could not find it, until now. The 2nd Mass has to leave Charleston, quick, fast and in a hurry. What do you think?

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