Falling Skies Review: The Skitter Secret
Attention members of the 2nd Mass: BEN AND RICK ARE NOT NORMAL!!!! Start paying attention to these once-harnessed kids in ways that go beyond mere glares.
Overall, "What Hides Beneath" was a significant episode of Falling Skies, revealing major information about Weaver, Karen and the Skitters. Still, I can't help but initially focus on the fact that these survivors aren't very intelligent.
How can a doctor such as Anne simply chalk Rick's condition up to PSTD? How can an athlete such as Hal just shrug off the fact that his brother can now do 100 push-ups and jump rope for close to three hours? For all the talk from the survivors about how they need to learn more about the aliens, it's frustrating to see them ignore those in their camp who had the most direct contact with those creatures.
Speaking of ignorance: hello again, Karen! Sorry you've been harnessed and all. The return of Hal's girlfriend would have had more of an effect if we'd heard a peep about her over the last few weeks.
But we've actually seen Hal flirt it up with Margaret and that 7th Mass girl instead. Has Karen's name even been uttered? I'm guessing the show was hoping to raise the shock value of her appearance here by putting her out of the minds of viewers since she was abducted - but the result, for this critic at least, was simply a less meaningful return.
This is the second consecutive week that I've written a negative review of Falling Skies. I do enjoy it, I'm a huge fan of Noah Wyle and there's enough on the show to keep me intrigued (the harnessed children become Skitters? I saw it coming, but certainly a lot of promise in that storyline.). But there are often storytelling glitches, such as the series' habit of telling instead of showing. It seems to have missed that fifth grade writing lesson.
On "What Hides Beneath," for example, think about the multiple times a character just explained a major plot point: Porter and the explosives; Weaver and his family; even Tom and his Gloucester misdirection. The final example may seem small, but it stands out to me: I don't like it when a show dumbs down its dialogue for viewers. Of course Tom was lying to that woman. Did we really need him to explain it to Hal, who was simply serving as a stand-in for the audience?
Similarly, Weaver is an intriguing character and I've always like Will Patton. But perhaps we could have been treated to a flashback or two? An image of him trying to save his daughter? I don't need Falling Skies to deliver non-stop action; I'd just prefer fewer speeches and exposition.
All this said, am I looking forward to next Sunday's finale? Heck yes. Let's blow that structure to smithereens, resistance fighters! Just please keep an eye on Rick and Ben as you do. Seriously, those kids seem pretty important.