Monday, August 13, 2012

Season 2 Episode 8: The Price of Greatness

A Heroes Welcome
So the 2nd Mass finally makes it to the end of the rainbow, aka Charleston.  At first, it seems to meet quite a few of their expectations, with hot food, running water, and soft beds.  They even get a round of applause from the citizens.  I thought the introduction to the city was very good as it presented the 2nd Mass with excitement but also a little uneasiness to being in such a different environment.  And of course, it's not long though before things reveal themselves to be too good to be true.

Familiar Faces
Charleston not only has food and shelter to for the 2nd Mass, but also a couple familiar faces.  Weaver's daughter is there, minus her boyfriend Diego.  We didn't get too much time with Weaver's daughter previously, so I don't have strong feelings either way with her.  I do think things may get a little too crowded with young people if she hangs around for too long.  

Old Friends Become New Enemies
Meanwhile, Tom Mason finds Manchester, an old professor of his, running the whole city.  While Manchester and Tom both share a love of history, they each have opposing views about how to write a new one.  I loved the Manchester's motivation.  Sure, he had the typical thirst for power, but I think it was more about his desire to be an instrumental part of creating a new government.  He's spent most of his life talking about the founding fathers and now he has a chance to be one himself.  Obviously, punishing anybody that disagrees with him and having the city basically just hide forever is quite a bit different from the actions of the original founding fathers.

Rebel Ambassador
Everything basically comes to a head when a deharnessed boy arrives with news of the rebel army.  Manchester fears what that might mean for his city and potentially his power so he overreacts and locks down Tom.  Bressler, the city's general, takes the opportunity to put the city under marshal law and lock up Manchester.  Tom and the 2nd Mass get what they want, the opportunity to go meet with the rebel aliens, but have left the city with a potentially worse situation than they found it.  I do think it's worth pointing out that the deharnessed boy was not Ben.  There has to be a reason for that.  Either the boy is a spy for the overlords or Ben has either been caught or in trouble somehow. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Season 2 Episode 6: Molon Lab

Well Laid Plans
As was pretty evident from last week's episode, Karen's arrival was part of a plan for the "bad" aliens to uncover information about the rebel skitters.  I was hoping Ben was actually well aware of her deceipt and was merely leading her into a trap of his own, but sadly, he was instead lead into an ambush by an overlord.

Karen and the Captive Overlord
It was fun to watch just how important the overlord was to Karen and the aliens.  It was reminiscent of the harnessed children on the almost motherly skitters.  Karen kept repeating that she wasn't actually under the control of the aliens, but rather, that she was acting on her own free will with gained knowledge and understanding.  This seems to at least be somewhat true since she didn't appear to be under direct control.  If that's the case, then I wonder what exactly caused her to change so drastically?  Is there some special procedure some harnessed children go through? Or is it merely prolonged harnessing that can permanently alter somebody's personality?  As for the overlord him/herself, the one thing that stuck out was the mention of their "task" that needs to be completed before they leave.  Hopefully more light will be shedded on this in the future.

Lourdes Survives... Unfortunately
Just when I thought I couldn't hate Lourdes any more than I already did, she goes ahead and provides a cringeworthy character change following Jameel's death.  Lourdes has been so upbeat and religious this entire time, even after her entire family dies, and all the other horrible things that have happened.  Yet, the second her (likely first) love dies, she decides to become a whiney little brat.  I didn't think I would miss her preachy holier-than-thou attitude, but boy do I now that she has become what she's become.  Hopefully she will be placed back into the background so that we can just go along pretending she doesn't exist.  I would like to mention how cool it was seeing yet another type of alien.  Those little spider-like creatures were pretty terrifying.  They almost looked like mini-skitters so I wonder if we'll discover some sort of link in the future.

Karen and the Overlord Alive and Well?
So the episode ends with the overlord bleeding out in a building filled with explosives.  I guess we just assume he and Karen survive the ordeal?  If so, that poses a pretty big problem.  Charleston.  Even if the overlord wasn't able to peek into Ben's mind, Karen should have already overheard the plans from a couple episodes back.  If you recall, she mentioned to Ben how she could overhear distant conversations and even quoted a conversation that did mention Charleston.  She didn't mention hearing about Charleston herself, but she basically quoted the bookends of that same conversation, so it'd be a pretty big plot-hole if the writers want us to believe she doesn't know about it.  If I were Tom or Weaver I'd have blown Karen and the Overlord to pieces just to be sure, especially when they can't know what the Overlord gleemed from Ben.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Season 2 Episode 5: Homecoming

Weaver's Bite Spreads
I don't think any viewers were too surprised to see Weaver's harness bite take a turn for the worse, though I must admit I did think they'd draw out the symptoms for a bit longer.  With Weaver being out of commission at the start of the episode, we got to see how well Tom would do in charge.  It doesn't take long for him to drop the ball a bit with a lover's spat with Dr. Glass over whether or not they should move out right away or give her time to try and treat Weaver.  She wins the argument in the end which does wind up being the right one as she does save Weaver.

Homecoming #1: Karen
The first homecoming of the episode is suspicious one from the start as Hal and Maggie find a deharnessed Karen next to a bunch of dead deharnessed kids in a mass grave.  Everybody is suspicious of her except for Hal, who instantly takes Karen's side over Ben's.  A little one on one time between Ben and Karen causes their spikes to glow which somehow causes Ben to instantly change his mind and decide to not only trust Karen, but to break her out.  He and Karen run off at the end, probably toward the renegade skitters, which we soon find out is likely what Karen wanted the whole time.

Homecoming #2: Pope
Pope finally makes his return to the 2nd Mass but brings with him some dire news.  Not only is there a group of aliens about to his the hospital where the 2nd Mass is holding out, but they are also especially interested in finding Ben due to his ties with the renegade skitters.  This revelation confirms two things.  First, that Ben was right in trusting the red-eyed skitter about a skitter revolt.  Second, that Karen was still working with the aliens and that her main objective was to get close to Ben so that she could discover the wherebouts of the renegade aliens.  Pope isn't in the episode long, but he does make a huge entrance.  It will be interesting to see how he is welcomed back into the 2nd Mass.

Charleston or Ben?
The 2nd Mass has a pretty big decision ahead of them, and it's one they will have to make soon with the aliens about to attack the hospital.  They either head off toward Charleston right away or they go after Ben and potentially meet up with the renegades.  Just about the entire 2nd Mass will opt for Charleston as we already saw how they reacted to the red-eyed skitter.  However, we know that they are low on food and fuel, so perhaps Charleston isn't even a valid option.  My guess is that Hal and Tom, and Maggie if she heals up, will take off toward Ben while the rest of the 2nd Mass takes off toward Charleston.  If Weaver is still injured though, who would lead?  Could Pope be put in charge?  Obviously I'm making a lot of guesses there, but I wouldn't be too surprised to see them come true. 

Monday, July 09, 2012

Season 2 Episode 4: Love and Other Acts of Courage

So We Meet Again One Eyed Willy
One thing I've been worried about with the show this season was how long they were going to draw out Ben's glowing spikes and their impact on his relationship with the skitters.  Luckily this episode answered quite a few questions regarding those spikes as well as giving us some new info on the red-eyed skitter.  I'm incredibly excited to learn about the supposed skitter resistance.  I do feel the red-eyed skitter was genuine and look forward to seeing if/when the 2nd Mass will join up with the skitters.  I'm also glad to see Ricki dead, as I very much hated his character in season 1. 

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
While the 2nd Mass deals with the red-eyed skitter, Hal and Maggie move their relationship right along.  I really don't know what it is about those two, but I really enjoy their banter and their playfulness with eachother.  As such, I'm relieved that it looks like they are finally going to start exploring the romantic side of their relationship.  Love's a roller coaster though, so I fully expect things to turn sour one way or another fairly soon because I'm sure the writers won't let them stay truly happy for too long.  My guess is the return of Karen.

Ankle Biter
Looks like the harness bite from the previous episode is going to cause a lot more problems that Weaver initially thought.  Whether it's a simple infection or something worse is anyone's guess, but I will take a shot in the dark and say that the red-eyed skitter will be able to prove his intentions by showing the humans how to treat/cure Weaver's leg bite infection.  If the infection gets much worse, we may see Weaver out of action for an episode or two which will let us see Tom in action as the head honcho for a bit.

Two Weeks to Charleston
Tom mentions at one point during the episode that they are about two weeks away from Charleston.  They are currently held up at a hospital and need rest, so we don't know how long it will be before they hit the road again, but knowing they are that close to Charleston likely means we'll be able to see what's really going on at Charleston fairly soon.  I hope they don't leave it as a cliffhanger for this season, though that would make sense.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Season 2 Episode 3 Ratings Continue to Slide

The third episode of this second season of Falling Skies continues the downward ratings trend as the 18-49 rating dropped to 1.2 from last week's 1.3.  Total viewers fell as well to 3.4 million from last week's 3.8 million.

While dropping ratings are never a good sign, it should be noted that Falling Skies was up against not only the Olympic Trials but also the BET Awards Show.  I know I seem to keep making excuses for the dropping Falling Skies Ratings, but the truth is, the show has been going up against some stiff (and temporary) competition so far this season.  While the Olympic Trials may be over, the Olympics themselves start pretty soon and will likely prove to hurt the Falling Skies ratings as well.

If you're interested in seeing the other cable shows Falling Skies was up against last weekend, check the listing here.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Season 2 Episode 3: Young Bloods

Matt Mason, The Next Jimmy?

With Jimmy dead, it looks like Matt Mason has stepped up to be the new annoying kid in the group.  The opening scene with him being used as bait for the skitters was pretty fun, but the aftermath that followed was frustrating to watch.  First off, it was painfully obvious Matt was going to continue to disobey his father until something bad happens to put him in his place.  Second, I'm not sure if it was the writing or the acting or what, but watching Matt throw temper tantrums at his father was annoying.  Maybe some viewers enjoyed Matt's adventures in this episode, I, however, am hopeful the kid got enough sense scared into him at the end of the episode that we won't have to deal with his lashing out much longer

Ben Mason, The Glowing Statue

I'm not sure what it was about this episode, but Ben continued my frustrations with the Mason boys as his very bland/expressionless acting really started to get on my nerves this episode.  I've bought into it for awhile and just attributed it to being a side effect of his harnessing, but as he gets more and more screen time, his lack of expression during scenes starts standing out, and not in a good way.  I'm glad Hal has already discovered something's up with the glowing spikes, and hopefully that will lead to some new discoveries on that front soon. 

Hal Mason, Maggie's Man

I continue to enjoy the interactions between Hal and Maggie.  It's fun to watch two young adults stumble around in love without even knowing what they have.  The contrast of their happiness together with the hardships of the world around them makes it that much more special.  I'm also glad that they aren't rushing that plot line either as it's fun to see it develop slowly.  I do fear the obvious future conflict that will occur with a potential return of Karen. 

The Young Bloods Themselves

Diego and crew brought a fun new perspective to the situation.  We have a group of kids that have survived without adults and have done so fairly well.  Part of me was annoyed at the idea that they would choose to leave at the end rather than stay with the 2nd Mass.  At first I thought it made no sense for them to not want the security of the larger group.  But as the kids said at the beginning of the episode, adults kept putting them in danger.  A smaller more focused group who's sole purpose is to hide and survive is definitely a smaller target and does make their decision to remain on their own a valid one - even if I still don't agree with it. 

Weaver's Got a Kid!

I guess I can't go without mentioning Weaver's daughter.  She played a pretty significant role in the episode, but I honestly didn't care about her much either way.  I definitely do feel sorry for Weaver as he had finally gotten over losing his family just in time for those wounds to be reopened again.  Now he has to deal with his daughter leaving again, though he at least knows she's alive.

No Pope?

I'm pretty surprised we didn't see any Pope this episode.  I would have thought they'd have shown what he's up to a little.  You know, tease just enough for us to know he's still around.  I'm actually glad they didn't show anything though, as that will make anything they do show us in the future that much more satisfying. 

Daddy Issues Be Dammed

While I was definitely disappointed by the younger Mason brothers, the episode as a whole was pretty good.  I hope they don't have Weaver get another nervous breakdown with the re-loss of his daughter.  I doubt they will go there, but you never know. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Season 2 Episode 2: Compass

Note: I will no longer be doing recaps of each episode.  Instead, I will do a more lengthy review and focus more on my opions.  I figure that if you're reading this then you've already watched the episode so you don't need me recapping what you've just watched.

So Long and Farewell

So I guess I should start off with the big shocker in last night's episode... the death of Jimmy.  I gotta say I'm glad to see him go.  Yeah, I know that's cruel but he's rubbed me the wrong way since early in the first season.  He didn't seem to have much of a purpose other than to show young kids are fighting.  I guess he did have an impact on Weaver, but that's about it.  Jimmy's death did prove to be a catalyst for two important twists - Pope leaving the 2nd Mass and Weaver deciding to take the survivors to South Carolina.

Pope Leaves... Again

While Jimmy's death meant little to me, seeing Pope leave the 2nd Mass definitely broke my heart a little.  He's definitely one of my favorite characters and knowing he won't be around for awhile will definitely be sad.  However, he's left and returned a few times before, so I'm sure it won't be too long until he comes back and I'm guessing his return will be quite entertaining.

South Carolina or Bust

It's not all doom and gloom with the 2nd Mass however, as a pilot by the name of Avery Churchill reveals a new capitol with thousands of fighters, a newly formed government, and even hot water.  I'm thrilled that the 2nd Mass now has a more concrete goal as the "just survive" theme was in need of boost.  The promise of hope in South Carolina also lends quite a bit of suspense as we can't be sure Churchill was being completely upfront and honest. 

One-Red-Eyed-Willy

It's amazing how much depth the one-eyed skitter has by just having a red eye.  By being able to tell the difference between him and other skitters, we are able to follow his story and get a better feel for his motivations.  Until the red-eyed skitter, the enemy has basically just been "the aliens".  Our villain now has a face... somebody to try and understand.  Of course, we don't really know his what he's up to just yet, except that he's tracking Tom and the 2nd Mass for some reason. 

Kryptonite Spikes

So apparently super-powered Ben has a bit of an archilles heel.  The spikes that are likely the source of his added capabilities also seems to allow the red-eyed skitter to control him.  Actually, we don't know if he was controlling Ben or just able to freeze him.  Also, my guess is that he was basically downloading information from Ben during their last encounter.  This would obviously be incredibly bad since the skitters would then know about South Carolina.

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

The fact that it's only the second episode (or third depending on how you count the premiere), this season has already delivered many new twists and plot developments.  I don't think anybody can claim things are moving too slowly, what with the death of Jimmy (a semi-major character), Pope's departure, news of a new capitol in South Carolina, revelations about Ben's spikes, and the intrigue of the red-eyed skitter.  This season is turning out to be a great one.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

S2 E1: Worlds Apart/Shall We Gather at the River

Recap and Review

The season two premiere of Falling Skies hit the ground running as we join up with the 2nd Mass a few months after Tom's disappearance.  The resistance fights on as they have been ambushing and harassing the alien invaders as much as they could even with their dwindling numbers. 

It's not long before Tom makes a miraculous return, though he is accidentally welcomed back by being shot by his son Ben.  While Tom makes his recovery, we are shown flashbacks of his time aboard the alien ship.  Not too much is revealed except that they offered to let the remaining humans live in a prison camp sort of arrangement.  Tom refused and had to deal with the repercussions of his refusal.

The aliens do eventually let Tom go while shooting a bunch of other prisoners around him.  They obviously have a plan for Tom which we find hints of a little later in the episode.

While Tom is recovering, Pope begins questioning Tom's arrival and warns of the risks of keeping Tom around.  Even Tom has doubts as he asks to be watched over in case he endangers the group in any way.

It's not all about Tom though as the 2nd Mass has been cornered by the aliens.  They need to cross a river to escape but a shaky bridge and some patrolling beamers (flying alien ships) make the escape quite a challenge.  Luckily they have Ben Mason, aka Falling Skies version of Captain America as his type with the harness has given him added strength, agility, and hightened senses.  They use Ben to scout the other side of the river.  During his mission, we learn that he can hear transmissions from the aliens - something he hides from his comrades.

While Ben is gone, Dr. Anne Glass pulls out a worm type creature from Tom's eyeball.  They store the creature in a glass jar and fear what it's presence in Tom might implicate.  Tom decides he can't be trusted and has Weaver tie him up just in case.

Ben returns with news of a structure that's communicating with the beamers.  Ben, Hal, Margaret, and Dai all head out under the cover of night to blow it up while rest of the survivors make their way across the bridge.  All their best laid plans start unravelling but Tom buys them enough time to cross the bridge just as Pope blows it up while Tom tries to cross.  Of course Tom survives and is happily reunited with his family once again.  The happy reunion may not last long however as we see an alien skitter (the same one that tortured Tom on the ship) hiding in the trees with the eyeball worm thing flying into the eye of the skitter.

Closing Comments

I gotta say I really enjoyed the premiere. They started it off with a bunch of action which got things moving realy quick.  I'm pleasantly surprised that Tom returned at the very beginning of the episode as I was worrying they would string that out a bit. 

I loved the flashbacks.  Normally I hate flashbacks but the ones of the ship and the ones with the girl and the bike were great.  The bit with the eyeball worm thing was a bit cheesy at times with the escape of the creature painfully obvious, however, I do like the added suspense/mystery surrounding its purpose.

I didn't mention Margaret much in the recap above, mostly because the show was almost all Mason this time around, but she continues to shine as one of my favorite characters.  I especially enjoyed her back and forths with Hal.

All-in-all I'm very excited for this new season.  I was a little worried that they wouldn't be able to continue the drama of an alien invasion for this long, but it looks like that may have the formula to keep us entertained for quite some time.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Falling Skies Season Finale Ratings

Looks like the Falling Skies Finale was a big hit as it drew in 5.6 million viewers - the biggest audience since the premiere. This is a pretty significant jump from the 4 million viewers all the other episodes were hovering around. I'm sure being a season finale as well as two hours long while also having a Falling Skies marathon leading up to it all boosted the numbers.

It will be very interesting to see if next year's season premiere opens with bigger numbers than this year's premiere. Either way, I'm sure the cast and crew are excited this season ended on a high note with the ratings.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Episode 8: Mutiny/Eight Hours

Recap and Review

The first season of Falling Skies comes to an end with a jam packed two-hour finale that answers some questions while throwing a few more at us in the process. It was one heck of a roller coaster ride, so let's get right to it.

The finale opens with Dr. Glass showing Tom the harnessed skitter. Obviously this worries Tom, but before he can dwell on it too long, a wounded Dai comes back from a scouting mission. Before he can report, he's rushed off to Dr. Glass as he falls unconscious. To make matters worse, Weaver still plans on following through with the counter-offensive while keeping Tom in the dark of up-to-date info.

Lourdes overhears Tom's concerns and reveals to Tom that Weaver has been taking some drugs that could be affecting his ability to command effectively. Tom confronts Weaver with that information, but instead of accepting responsibility, Weaver has Tom locked up.

It's not long before Jimmy gets help from Hal and Maggie and break out Tom. They all head to the infirmery to talk with Dai who regains consciousness. He tells them that Porter is likely dead and that the other attack groups are likely wiped out as well. Weaver apparently was already told this but is still continuing with the attack. They all confront Weaver and after a tense show down, they all agree to come clean with everybody and let people volunteer for the mission if they'd still like to go. Hal volunteers to go while Tom stays behind to protect the school and the civilians.
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