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Falling Skies

The chaotic aftermath of an alien attack has left most of the world completely incapacitated. In the six months since the initial invasion, the few survivors have banded together outside major cities to begin the difficult task of fighting back. Each day is a test of survival as citizen soldiers work to protect the people in their care while also engaging in an insurgency campaign against the occupying alien force.

Watch Falling Skies – A More Perfect Union Online S02E10

A More Perfect Union

Falling Skies - A More Perfect Union Online S02E10 Tom and the others find themselves in the middle of an old fashion coup. Tom got what he wanted, the go ahead to meet with the skitters but Tom refuses to do it like this. General Bressler orders them all back in the cages when the alarm starts going off, aliens are in the compound. Upstairs the 2nd mass members who had been rounded up in the commons area were scrambling to get away from a small army of skitters that have infiltrated the compound.

Last time we checked in with the 2nd Mass, they had found their way to the supposed Garden of Eden that is Charleston, South Carolina. They quickly came to understand that, nope, this place sucks too.

Tom, Captain Weaver (Will Patton), Dr. Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood) and other 2ND Mass members use their bodies to shield the rebel skitters, forcing Bressler to relent and hear them out. Through Ben, Red Eye explains that the 2ND Mass should have killed the Overlord when they had the chance because it would have crippled the aliens’ war effort in that part of the continent. However, Red Eye says that the Overlord will be inspecting a new weapon in three days and that they need help from the humans to get inside. After Ben and the skitters withdraw to a nearby area, Bressler rejects the offer to team up as a trick and orders the 2ND Mass locked up.

He was so hell-bent on meeting up with them, but when Bressler detains Arthur and gives him a chance to do so, he throws it away. Things ended up working out, but for all he knew in that moment, Tom could have been making a decision that would blow their opportunity to team up with the rebels and also land him in jail right next to Arthur Manchester. Tom’s honesty and decency are admirable, but one of his weaknesses is allowing that side of him to ruin important opportunities. And as a side note, how absurd was it that when the security breach alarms went off, all of the soldiers completely forgot about locking up the 2nd Mass and instead headed for the main hall?

Later, we’re given a little tidbit of information regarding the death of Bressler’s son that I think would have served more useful if it was expanded upon earlier in the episode. The death of Bressler’s son at the hands of Skitters explains his motivations but his actions and the death of a few harnessed rebel kids left me still feeling cold towards the General.

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Watch Falling Skies – The Price of Greatness Online S02E09

The Price of Greatness

Falling Skies - The Price of Greatness Online S02E09 Falling Skies season 2 bunkers down with its ninth, and penultimate episode of the year “The Price of Greatness” as the 2nd Massachusetts finally arrives at Charleston , and Tom finds himself butting heads with his former professor Arthur Manchester (‘LOST’s Terry O’Quinn) as the group realizes salvation is not what it seems.

Tom feels pretty good to discover his former teacher/mentor is now the president, who says he can have a place in the government if Tom plays nice and endorses him. But when Tom tells him of the skitter rebellion, Arthur forbids him to tell anyone else. These survivors have no intention of fighting back.

The Weaver/Jeanie reunion was badly undercut by her inexplicable decision to desert her wounded father earlier in the season. There were some nice moments between the pair, like when Weaver backed her speech against Manchester, but its difficult to invest in a relationship that the show uses as a plot device.

But that’s just the beginning on Falling Skies “The Price of Greatness.” The meat of this story in Charleston begins when the Berserkers led by Pope try to steal back some weapons, Maggie (Sarah Carter) fails to stop them, and then they all get jailed.

And then the vote of confidence begins. Jean chides their leader, saying, “We’re not doing anything about it except waiting, hiding.” Tom then stands and agrees, asking if the real mission has been lost.

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Watch Falling Skies – Death March Online S02E08

Death March

Falling Skies - Death March Online S02E08The road is dark and full of terrors. Yes that is a re-take on the quote from Game of Thrones, but I think it fits the title ‘death march’. The 2nd mass is marching blinding to a promised safe zone without any decent intel.

Honest question: with the Second Mass driving its way down south to the promised security and comfort of Charlotte, what’s stopping the presumably very ticked-off aliens from blasting the convoy off the road with their fliers? After the violently effective episode “Molon Labe,” it’s hard to imagine the invaders bringing all of their resources to bar to take down the Massachusetts survivors.

Murphy’s Law struck in a couple of places: Hal, Maggie and Pope got a busted radiator hose (of course) and the rest of the caravan was attacked by the sibling of a harnessed girl that they picked up, because apparently nobody has learned their lesson yet about picking up harnessed kids.

“Death March” is the first episode in a while where it feels like this is a group of people on the move, with the resistance convoy now less than 200 miles from the supposed promised land of Charleston. As such, most of the action is spent in the confines of the various vehicles, where its characters are forced into conversations that are much more loaded than the involved parties would like. And there are definitely some good moments scattered across those vehicles, even if plenty of them feel like the show’s as tired of being on the road as its characters are.

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Watch Falling Skies – Love and Other Acts of Courage Online S02E05

Love and Other Acts of Courage

Falling Skies - Love and Other Acts of Courage Online S02E05In this Falling Skies episode, the leaders of the 2nd Mass receive new information that could drastically improve the human resistance’s odds of defeating the alien invaders. However, the revelation could actually be an elaborate trap set by the aliens themselves. Hal and Ben take center stage in this episode, as Hal finally makes a move on Maggie and Ben reveals his recent communications with one skitter in particular. The revelation in “Love and Other Acts of Courage” makes it a key episode in which progress is finally made in the battle against the invading alien forces.

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Falling Skies’ season 2 episode 5, “Love and Other Acts of Courage!” It’s an eerie sight early one morning, as a number of Skitters perch themselves atop a building, and howl at the sky with arms outstretched, including the Red-Eye. Also joining them on a nearby roof, glowing spikes and all, is young Ben!

With the blossoming romance between Tom (Noah Wyle) and Anne (Moon Bloodgood), not to mention the constant “we’re just partners” kind of flirtation going on between Hal (Drew Roy) and Maggie (Sarah Carter), one could say the human race doesn’t let something like their pending extinction or enslavement stand in the way of having a good time.

Amongst the rubble, a half-dead Rick is found buried under one of the Skitters. When he comes to, he is disoriented and convinces the team that he knows the whereabouts of Ben and will take them to him. When the crew find Ben, he is protecting a Skitter that Tom is quite familiar with. This particular alien was amongst those that interrogated Tom when he was kidnapped last season. According to Ben, this Skitter is a good guy. Rather than killing the creature, they take him in.

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Watch Falling Skies – Young Bloods Online S02E04

Young Bloods

Falling Skies - Young Bloods Online S02E04Falling Skies season 2 harnesses its fourth episode of the year “Young Bloods” as Hal and Ben encounter a new group of youths, one of whom has ties to Captain Weaver, while Matt finds himself increasingly drawn to dangerous missions.

This theory is readily apparent in ‘Young Bloods’ – which really should have been titled: ‘How To Be a Good Soldier: 101.’ From the onset, the episode depicts the rebellious nature of young men and women against the pressing and unstoppable force of responsibility and duty. In fact, it’s practically spelled out as two unknown survivors abscond with Hal (Drew Roy) and Ben’s (Connor Jessup) motorbikes while an Army recruitment billboard stands perfectly framed in the background. This sets up a brief, but tense face-off between the Mason boys and what at first appears to be a Dickensian group of orphans with dirty faces proclaiming adults only get them into dangerous situations.

Case in point, Matt has his first mission. It deviates from the original assignment. Tom doesn’t take too kindly to his nine year-old being Skitter-bait. He reams out the dudes responsible for the recklessness and sends them to laundry duty. Matt has a fit for being embarrassed – he wants missions, he wants to grow up (the anti-Peter Pan syndrome).

Now that Jeanne has left her father, the fall out from that will haunt Weaver far more than her being there ever could. Not only will Weaver be devoting time to protecting the Second Mass, but now he’ll also deal with the mental struggle that somewhere in Skitter central is his daughter, whom he’ll never have a status update on. Maybe until it’s too late. A parents worst nightmare, the fear of the unknown.

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Watch Falling Skies – Compass Online S02E03

Compass

Falling Skies - Compass Online S02E03Falling Skies season 2 continued Sunday night with episode 3, “Compass” in which the 2nd Mass had a visit from an outsider as a fighter’s life was hanging in the balance after they moved to the airport hanger.

After the season 2 premiere did such a solid job of getting the ball rolling, ‘Compass’ is one of those episodes burdened with the unfortunate task of slowing things down so that the pieces can be properly aligned and ready to go when the larger story really kicks off. Of course, that means the 2nd Mass eventually running to a (supposedly) larger, more organized unit that, unlike the now 176 survivors led by Captain Weaver (Will Patton), is certain of the direction in which it is headed.

From week-to-week I either find it incredibly frustrating that no one is listening to Pope or find that Pope is incredibly frustrating. This week it’s the latter. The guy is brilliant when he wants to be but sometimes it seems to serve the writers best to play him off as a complete idiot. He’s not wrong to be concerned about Tom, even Tom still agrees about that, but it’s the way he handles the situation that’s so infuriating. Maybe we should just expect him to make a complete ass out of himself every-so-often since it’s in his character, but sometimes it’s simply frustrating. Taking Jimmy’s compass was one of those times as well. As anti-hero, he’s succeeding. I just wish they’d establish a bit more of an arc for him other than going out of his way to piss off Tom. Hopefully that’s what we’re seeing when he leaves the 2nd Mass with Anthony.

Luckily the whole episode didn’t rely on Ben. Instead we got our first great storyline with Pope this season. His interactions with Tom this week were the best parts of the episode. The tension was built early and effectively as Pope and his berserkers captured Tom and told him to walk away or die. It was a bit surprising that Tom refused as Pope actually has a good point. But as a compromise Weaver and Tom agreed that Tom would join the berserkers.

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Watch Falling Skies – Worlds Apart/Shall We Gather at the River Online S02E01/S02E02

Worlds Apart / Shall We Gather at the River

Falling Skies - Worlds Apart/Shall We Gather at the RiverFalling Skies returned to television tonight with a two-hour premiere to kick off the summer season with a bang. The first half of tonight’s premiere, “Worlds Apart” filled us in on the progress of the 2nd Mass and gave us a peek at the mystery inside the occupation’s spaceships from Tom’s point of view. “Shall We Gather at the River” continued the 2nd Mass’ attempts to fight the occupation and find safety for their group.

Last season’s ‘Falling Skies’ finale “Eight Hours” left a big cliffhanger to be resolved, as Tom was whisked away by the Skitters, leaving the rest of the 2nd Mass. to fend for itself, so how does “Worlds Apart” get us started? What will season 2 of ‘Falling Skies’ bring?

If you’re just joining this series, it’s not too terribly difficult to get caught up. Aliens swooped in and attacked the Earth, winning the war in relatively short order through surprise and superior technology. Now resistance armies are fighting the occupation. Our hero is Tom Mason (Noah Wyle), a history professor whose expertise in battles of the past proves useful (sometimes cloyingly so) to the current situation. In tonight’s Season 2 premiere, Tom’s regular history lectures are mentioned with fond irony by people who’ve been irritated by them in the past, and maybe that’s a sign the show will try to be a little less heavy-handed in that regard (although I really like the conceit that a history professor is useful here). Tom has three sons, who are part of the 2nd Mass. Weaver (Bill Paxton) is the head of the division and a career soldier. Pope (Colin Cunningham) is a smart-ass gang leader who has joined forces with the division to the consternation of many, sometimes including the audience.

The performances are solid, particularly from Noah Wyle, Will Patton, and Colin Cunningham; the atmosphere of an Earth invaded is well-rendered; and the special effects are better than expected. More generally, though, I find there’s a sense of optimism to the show that’s lacking in post-apocalyptic shows like The Walking Dead, trading an overwhelming sense of despair for a scrappy, can-do spirit on the part of the human resistance. There’s still a fair share of sadness and paranoia amongst the survivors, but there’s still something hopeful in the show’s attitude, the feeling of “It’s tough, but we’re gonna win this one.” (It also helps that unlike Walking Dead, I’m not actively rooting for every character to shut up and die painfully.)

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