When Falling Skies viewers last saw Ben Mason, he was looking back on the spot where an alien with one red eye had just… hypnotized him? Implanted messages inside his brain? Read his mind?
Something unusual and dangerous had just taken place to conclude "Compass." Can Connor Jessup clarify it a bit for fans?
"It's not a mind wipe," the actor simply teased to me on the phone this week. "It's as close to a mind wipe as you can get."
While Ben's interactions with Red Eye remain a mystery, it's been made clear through three Season 2 episodes that a lot has changed for this young man, with Jessup explaining that those three months between seasons "were not kind to Ben."
"The Second Mass has lost a lot of people," the actor said. "He's started fighting in actual battles, it's the equivalent of entering a war zone at all times… on top of that, all these changes happening as a result of the harness are becoming more pronounced and distinct."
Remember, Jessup notes: Ben is still just 16.
"He's really scared. He's scared for his family, he's scared for himself. And that fear is manifesting itself in the form of anger and violence. That's his way of dealing with it."
And now Ben will need to deal with another emotion: guilt. He was with Jimmy last Sunday during the Skitter attack that took the latter's life.
Jessup said he was shocked when he read that Jimmy actually died, considering the way the script read and how it was "presented in the typical TV way of him making a recovery. It was such a surprise, it went against the trope of what you expect in that situation."
While he's sad on a personal level that Dylan Authors is no longer on the series, Jessup sees Jimmy's death as a major positive from a storytelling point of view.
"If you don't feel like there's legitimate danger, it lowers the stakes," he said. "But now, if the young soldier can die, anyone could be next on the docket."
And what is next on Ben's docket? In many ways, he's the key character on Falling Skies, the one survivor with a known tie to the invaders.
"He's been walking the line between alien and human," Jessup said. "That will be an increasing theme and the line will grow increasingly thinner. He'll become more volatile and Ben will eventually need to fall off that tight rope one way or the other."
As previewed above, Falling Skies airs a new episode Sunday night on TNT. Return to TV Fanatic for my detailed review the moment it concludes.