Falling Skies Review: What About the Children?
If Mrs. Lovejoy of The Simpsons was watching Falling Skies this week, she can rest easy: someone was definitely thinking of the children.
A lot of people were, in fact, as kid safety was on the minds of all 2nd Mass adults in "Sanctuary, Part 1." Unfortunately, that didn't stop them from making a poor decision.
I knew Terry Clinton couldn't be trusted, and not just because he was portrayed by Henry Czerny, forever ingrained in my mind as Robert Ritter, the man who tried to frame Jack Ryan in 1994's Clear and Present Danger.
His appearance just seemed too fortunate and random. It also took place just moments after Weaver chastised Tom for a lack of awareness. The Captain is gonna be awfully embarrassed when he discovers how his old pal fooled him here. Also, awfully angry.
The episode set up both an intriguing moral dilemma and a suspenseful cliffhanger. What would you have done in that situation? Kept your children by your side? Or, as Tom eventually realized, would that have been more of a selfish move than a protective one? There's no right or wrong answer, which is what always makes for the best storytelling. I want shows to reside in the grey.
As for the ending... wow. How did Pope get captured? Does he have a previous relationship with Clinton? More pressing: why on earth is Clinton agreeing to these exchanges with the aliens? Blackmail? And, man, how eerie was that harnessed girl?!?
The latter question represents what I find most interesting about the series: the connections that exist between Skitters and their harnessed kids. Ricky acts like a zombie, but Ben seems re-energized and mature, and is certainly stronger than ever. As someone familiar with the human body, Anne should have been on alert the instant Hal said his brother can do 100 push-ups without breaking a sweat.
That would be a challenge for an NFL linebacker, let alone a 14-year old boy.
Then, of course, there was this line from Ben, regarding his captors: "They weren't monsters. They were like a family. I miss it sometimes." Spine, meet shivers.
But has Ben been programmed in some way to think that? Did the Skitters truly make the kids feel welcome? We saw how they all slept together last week. Might the aliens actually, somehow, possess good intentions?
This week's Falling Skies raised those issues, increased Anne's role, gave us a unique comparison between guns and credit cards and introduced a twist to the show's storyline: human/Skitter interaction. So far, not so good in that regard. Can't wait to watch part two and see where it goes next.