Falling Skies: Review: Season 2 Eps 5-8

TNT, 8 July-5 August 2012

The 2nd Mass. continue the trek to hoped-for sanctuary in Charleston, yet are infiltrated twice by agents of the aliens…

Mid-way through the second season and Falling Skies has marginally improved, but from such a low base that it still has a long way to go before it becomes anything close to required viewing.

It is in the writing that this show really lets itself down. The characters around Noah Wyle’s Tom Mason are utterly inconsistent, seemingly chopping and changing from episode to episode to suit the theme of that particular instalment. Only Mason and Captain Weaver—the usually reliable Will Patton—seem written with any attention to their core characteristics. Worst offender is Sarah Carter’s Maggie who has done a complete 180-degree switch in her attitude to Hal Mason. In any other show this might be ‘character development’, but in Falling Skies it happens mere minutes after she’s actively rejected Hal.

The Mason children are shown to be utterly gullible as they are duped by a series of women: Ben by Karen, Hal by Maggie, and even little Matt by a harnessed girl picked up en route. At least Ben’s involvement reveals the existence of a rebel group (led by a red-eyed skitter) within the aliens and the possibility of a growing civil war. The capturing of an alien overlord in ‘Molon Labe’ is a great development, unfortunately squandered as Ben fails to reveal whatever knowledge he gained from ‘mind-melding’ with it.

Finally, ‘Death March’ seems to throw away a great cliffhanger moment in the arrival at a devastated Charleston about two-thirds of the way in. That’s a tip-off that all is not as it seems, and the arrival of Dale Dye’s military group to save the day comes as little surprise. Otherwise, this is a standard ‘getting to know characters through a journey’ trope, but the stories each character tells are so banal, they have little impact.

Verdict: Falling Skies limps along, disappointing as ever…

Episode 5 Love and Other Acts of Courage 6/10

Episode 6 Homecoming 6/10

Episode 7 Molon Labe 7/10

Episode 8 Death March 6/10

Brian J. Robb

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