Falling Skies: Review: Season 1 Ep 7-8

TNT, 24 & 31 July (US); FX, 16 & 23 August (UK)

Humans prove to be equally as evil as the alien invaders as they’re revealed as collaborators, while we meet an entirely new alien variant…

Sanctuary, Part 2 quickly reveals Clayton’s betrayal (he’s been trading kids to the aliens in return for his own safety), so this episode soon becomes a runaround, with the kids escaping and their parents searching them out. It’s rather tedious, and without the relief of any alien appearances… It’s more like the old 1970s’ Survivors series than anything else.

The answer to why the ‘mechs’ are bi-pedal comes in the revelation in What Hides Beneath of another alien variant, tall grey-like creatures that appear to command the insect skitters that were the only ones we’d seen previously. Even better, this episode also offers new insight into the skitters themselves and their relationship to the children they’ve been rounding up. Anne’s sudden desire to conduct an autopsy on the alien seems to come from nowhere, but digging around inside their dead captive, she discovers that the skitters may be harnessed children who’ve been transformed. This is a great concept that’s come very late in this run of episodes. Combined with the reveal of another tier of alien commanders, it makes this episode the best of what has been a rather poor run so far.

The rest of this episode is rather weak, with a focus on Weaver that is risible as he gets emotional, decides to walk out on his comrades then instantly changes his mind. The whole military assault on the alien ship idea is a bit confused: a few explosives (oh, and Pope is an explosives expert, as well as a gourmet cook!) will bring down their giant structure? Eh, OK… Better is Blair Brown, from Fringe and Altered States, who has a great cameo as a mad old bird who likes her tea and is also an alien collaborator (reminded me of the women in the hut in Terry Nation’s Dalek Invasion of Earth: has someone swallowed The Big Book of Terry Nation Script Ideas… I say ‘big’ book, but…).

Verdict: A welcome improvement—and some intrigue!—finally arrives in episode 8, but with only two to go let’s hope for a suitable big finish to make all this worthwhile…

Episode 7 ‘Sanctuary, Part 2′: 5/10

Episode 8 ‘What Hides Beneath′: 7/10

Brian J. Robb

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