When we return to the world of Falling Skies for season 3 on TNT tonight, seven months will have passed since we last saw the 2nd Mass - and much has changed.
Tom (Noah Wyle) is President of Charleston, Ann (Moon Bloodgood) is about to have their baby, Hal (Drew Roy) is paralyzed and everyone is wondering if the new alien allies (led by Cochise, played by Doug Jones) can be trusted.
That’s the just the start of this exciting two-hour season premiere, so I grabbed some time with show runner Rémi Aubuchon to find what we can expect with the popular sci-fi drama over the next couple months. Read on for excerpts from our exclusive Q&A...
TV Fanatic: Why a time jump of seven months?
â€¨Rémi Aubuchon: I just thought it would be fun rather than tell the story of getting to know who the Volm are [or] watching Anne be pregnant for an entire season that it would be tons of just shoved into develop the heart of what the season is really about right at the beginning. So that was sort of the practical reason for it.
The other aspect of it too, is that the story we wanted to tell was the story of Tom Mason finding himself in the balance of trying to be a leader and trying to be a father. It’s a theme we followed for a while, but we really wanted to feed on for his character and felt that rather than ramping up to that, we should start right at the sight where things are at a critical stage, which is why the first episode is called "On Thin Ice," It’s just a little akin to the fact that not everything is as secure as it appears to be in the beginning.
TVF: Talk to me about Cochise this season and his relationship with Tom, which, at least at the start, is one of respect.
RA: Well, I would say that part of that story that suddenly Tom Mason finds himself in a relationship with an extraterrestrial being, which is in itself is unusual and a little weird, but also, he starts to realize how much he can learn from a being that has an objective view of you.
I think what's also interesting is that there's a little bit of a tension between Tom and Weaver and Cochise and we joking said in the writers’ room that it was like this very strange love triangle that we have going here. But I think that all three of them are stronger in some ways than the individual parts, which is one of the themes we want to follow that humanity or in Cochise’s case, Volm-manity, are interdependent upon personal relationships with people, no matter what the stakes are, how big the world is.
TVF: We find out pretty early that Ann and Tom’s baby isn’t a normal baby. Talk to me about that playing out in the season.
RA: It’s a little bit of an open question mark and we really don’t know. We’ve seen a lot of methods by which they can infiltrate a rank. They have a mole there right now. We have Hal with the eye worm. Who knows exactly how this came about that Alexis suddenly seems to have a different…well, she’s precocious. Tom Mason is a smart person, Ann Glass is a smart person, but there's something a little more special than that with Alexis.
But one of the strong possibilities is that Tom definitely spent some time in a spacecraft and who knows what they did to him. We really don’t know. It’s entirely possible they may have filtered his genes somehow or implanted something that we weren’t aware of.
TVF: We see a different side of Hal – and Drew Roy playing him – this season. How was it seeing Drew bring that different side out?
RA: When I pitched that initial idea to Drew, like any actor would, was a little nervous about how...he didn’t want it to look like a carton. And I thought he prepared two distinct characters yet out of the same source, that were really compelling and fascinating. When you finally see Evil Hal pop out, it’s pretty remarkable and it’s fun.
Good Hal is the cause for tension and struggle with Evil Hal inside and Drew did that. He really serviced that a lot. There are little tiny moments and glimpses of it, but he was always having that tension of trying to struggle internally with those personalities. I think Drew has done a great job.
TVF: Ann has a method now of removing the harness and Ben contemplates removing his spikes but he also has kind of accepted them. What's Ben’s journey? Because I think he said at the end of season, how he actually liked this because it was
RA: Right. Sure. Well I think that that's an interesting dilemma. I mean, what we’ve learned is that there's a downside to the spike. We didn’t know that before but clearly what they're recognizing is that the candle that burns very, very bright burns twice as fast, and so the risk of the spike is that their life expectancy is limited. We don’t know that for exactly sure, but that's what it appears to be.
All of a sudden, the Volm have given us the technology to not only remove the harness safely and without effect but also to remove the spikes. And there are a couple of things there that we might not know about. One is why are they giving us this technology? It seems to be out of a good place, but do we really know if that's true, and secondly, what does this mean for Ben?
TVF: There's a mole in the midst of the camp so how long is that going to play out? Is it a full-season arc?
RA: Short answer is yes…it would be good to find out who the mole is to prevent any other bad things from happening, but how far is the mole willing to go in order to fulfill its purpose? That's what we don’t know. What is up their sleeve? What's next? We’re not sure.
TVF: You have some great guest stars this season in Gloria Ruben and Robert Shawn Leonard. When you do that, is it the character that comes first or the actor becomes available and you make a character for them?
RA: It’s the character first. I also want to mention that Doug Jones playing Cochise is another huge and important character and actor playing that character because that was our scariest character. We were really afraid of it looking really hokey and we are so lucky to have Doug, who is not only a master at being able to make rubber suits come alive and look real, but also he’s just a terrific actor.
But the fun thing about writing for television is that there's a sort of jazz you can play with actors and while you create a character like Marina or Dr. Kadar, with Gloria and with Robert brought to those characters …we were watching the dailies and it really helped mold for us who those characters were and we suddenly found a way, in which, almost symbiotically we were creating those characters. And the fun surprise of all of that is I cannot imagine any other actor playing Roger Kadar and I can't imagine anyone other than Gloria playing Marina. So they did their job and hopefully we helped service them.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.