The Weekly Skitter Report: On Thin Ice/Collateral Damage
Greetings Evil and Geeky ones! We’re rolling out a new weekly feature today that will be keeping us up to speed on the weekly happenings of the TNT show Falling Skies. Aliens! Slave Aliens! Other Aliens that hate the first set of Aliens! And let’s not forget the human resistance fighters that just won’t give up on their hopes of taking the planet back. Join us every week for the rest of Season 3 as we talk the war stories of the 2nd Mass!
In a world with not nearly enough satisfying, well written Sci-Fi, Falling Skies stands out as one of my favorites. When the show was first being advertised a few years back, I was pretty skeptical on the subject of whether or not it would be good. First of all, it was on TNT, which wasn’t exactly known for hit shows. Sure they had The Closer, which I think may have been watched, but not by anyone under the age of 65 I suppose. I’ve never actually met anyone who watched it, but it was on the air for a few years so someone had to be watching. TNT though was mainly the channel you’d turn to on a weekend afternoon hoping to catch a little bit of King Kong or one of the billion or so showings of Conan movies that they seemed to pack their schedule with. It wasn’t a place for Prime Time appointment TV. To me, the show looked like it was going to be The Walking Dead with Aliens instead of Zombies, so I wasn’t sold on it yet. Of course it did have one thing going for it; name recognition in the form of Executive Producer Steven Spielberg. In the last nearly 40 years of film making, there’s one name that tops nearly everyone’s list of Sci-Fi directors and that name is Spielberg. Not El Senior Steven Spielbergo mind you, nope, Falling Skies had the real deal on board and that was enough to lure me in. Much to my surprise, I actually enjoyed the first episode and soon found myself waiting in anticipation each week for the new episode. Granted, it’s not my “Go To” show on Sunday nights, that spot usually belongs to whatever show is currently in season on HBO. In sports terms, Falling Skies is the Scottie Pippen to Game of Thrones of True Blood’s Michael Jordan. It’s a solid watch, but it just gets overlooked a little bit because of the other great shows on at the same time. Another bit of honesty, the CGI in Season 1 wasn’t exactly spectacular. At times it was nearly on par with the creatures you’d see in a Sy-Fy Channel movie (DAMN YOU, SHARKTOPUS!!!). But once the show became popular, TNT dumped a little cash in the budget and we got us some less ridiculous looking aliems.
If you’re not familiar with the show, it takes place on Earth several years after some malevolent Aliens have invaded. There are two types of Aliens: the multi-legged, spider-like Skitters, who are the grunts and slaves in this situation and the tall, lanky, menacing Overlords, who seem to be the ones running the show, so to speak. The invaders are after our resources and they’re more adequately equipt to take them from us. Wielding technology light years beyond anything we have, the Aliens soundly defeated Earth’s military forces and the remaining scattered groups of humans left are fighting for the fate of all humanity. Aside from our planet’s natural resources, the Aliens are also after one more thing: our kids. They’re rounding up children and fitting them with techno-organic harnesses that allow the kids to be controlled. They’re making them they’re slaves and they actually may or may not be turning them into Skitters as well. The full effects of the harnesses is unknown, but the kids seem to be developing enhanced speed and strength as a result of wearing them. The harnesses of course cant’ be removed without killing the child, but eventually the humans figure out a procedure for removing about 99% of the harness, freeing them from the mind control (although not really, as their seem to be some lingering effects on those that have been deharnessed). The main characters of the story are the remaining members of the Mason Family. Noah Wylie is Tom Mason, a former history professor and father to three boys: Hal, Ben, and Matt. The matriarch of the family was killed during the invasion, so in addition to fighting Aliens, Tom must also watch out for his kids. Hal is the oldest of the boys and even though he’s only in his late teens, he’s becoming a formidable fighter and strategist himself. Ben is also a teenager and actually began the series as a slave of the invaders. Ben was one of the harnessed children, but eventually he was rescued and deharnessed. The pieces of the harness remaining in his spine are having some odd effects on him including the aforementioned strength and speed, in addition to being able to communicate telepathically with some Skitters who’ve managed to escape the Overlords, forming a resistance of their own. Matt is the youngest of the boys and is still a very young child. Some other prominent characters include Will Patton as Captain Dan Weaver, a former Army Captain and current leader of the 2nd Mass, a group of resistance fighters from Massachusetts, and Moon Bloodgood as Anne Glass, a nurse whose proved to be an invaluable asset to the 2nd Mass time and time again. Anne’s family was killed in the invasion, but she is currently shacking up with Tom and is also pregnant with his child.
We get double the episode count this week, probably not because TNT wants to throw the viewers a bone, but more likely because the episode was sponsored by Wrigley’s Double Mint Gum or The Minnesota Twins or something. Did anyone notice the blatant Hershey’s product placement this week? It was as Pope got to the bar after returning from the mission in the beginning of the first episode. Some of the Berserkers were gambling with Hershey’s Kisses when one of them plunks down a giant Hershey Bar (label side up of course) on top of the pile of Kisses. The entire cast might as well have all turned to the camera, given a thumbs up and a smile while a golden voiced announcer extols the virtues of Pennsylvania forged chocolate. It wasn’t product placement on the level of Subway in the show Chuck, but it still really annoyed me. Semi-Interesting Side Note: I ate the worst Hershey Bar I’ve ever had in my life IN Hershey, Pennsylvania. I thought it’d be fresh from the factory and dreamily delicious, instead it tasted like it had been smuggled out of that factory in the ass of a drug mule.
Back to those Aliens we’re here to discuss; The first episode of the night catches us up on a lot of the events that have transpired since the last time we saw everyone. If you remember the end of last season, Hal had one of those creepy, little, Alien Eye worms work it’s way from his eye into his ear and eventually, his brain. If I were a betting man, (and I am), I’d guess that having a metal insect nestled into your brain probably can’t be a good thing. At the beginning of the season though, Hal’s back in action manning a .50 caliber machine gun. Once the battle is over though, you find out that he’s paralyzed. As he was creepily staring at his face in the mirror when we last saw him in season 2, he had the ability to walk, but now he’s confined to a wheelchair. WTF, man? Hal has recurring dreams every night, in which he’s rendezvousing in the most sexy of ways with Karen, his ex-girlfriend/Current Alien Overlord. In the dreams, Hal has the ability to walk. It’s not really clear if he’s slipping Karen military secrets along with whatever else he may be slipping her, but surely this whole scene can’t bode well for Hal. I mean, teen pregnancy is a pretty dicey situation when Earth isn’t being invaded, so this is just ridiculously risky with all these extra-terrestrials about.
The big, huge, holy shit moment of the season 2 finale was of course the reveal in the closing moments of the different species of Alien landing on Earth. At the time their intentions were unknown, were the friends or were they foes? They actually turn out to be allies! Cough, cough, sort of, cough, cough. They’re called the Volm and in the time we’ve been away from the 2nd Mass, it appears that they have been great friends to the resistance. They’ve provided weapons, military aide and intelligence (Who knew the Overlords were called the Espheni?), as well as valuable, life-saving technology, like a machine that can deharness children without any lingering side effects. In the time that the Volm have been assisting, the human resistance has managed to win several key victories and may have even turned to tide of the war in their favor. Not everyone thinks the Volm have humankind’s best intentions at heart though. Capt. Weaver, now Colonel Weaver, is highly suspicious of them. The humans have also been working with the rebel Skitters as well, even fighting the Espheni side-by-side. The rebels warn warn the humans that the Volm have reinforcements on the way, possibly for sinister purposes. It’s also revealed that the Volm sit in on all human military strategy meetings and that they’ve been building a giant weapon of some sort, in secret with Tom Mason being the only human in the know about it’s existence. No one knows what the weapon does or is capable of, but one things for sure, it’ll help the humans and the Volm beat back the invasion.
Speaking of Tom Mason, he’s the mother@#$ing PRESIDENT!!! After Arthur Manchester was ousted at the end of season 2, the people of Charleston have elected Tom as their new leader. He’s now responsible for the remains of the United States, so that combined with the baby that Anne gives birth to in the first episode and it looks like Tom’s got his hands full for the foreseeable future. In regards to Anne & Tom’s baby, it seems that the newborn Alexis Glass-Mason might be a little bit more than human. She’s speaking, she’s standing, she’s hiding from her mom whenever she gets the chance; not bad for someone who’s about a week old.
So now that he’s not president, what’s Arthur up to these days, you ask? Tom has him investigating a possible mole in the resistance. It seems the Espheni have been tipped off to a few sneak attacks, so clearly someone’s been talking to the enemy. Arthur recruits one of the soldiers in Charleston, named Anthony, to be a part of his investigation. Anthony used to be an undercover police officer prior to the invasion, so he’s got a little bit of experience with detective work. I mean, he’s no Batman, but he can track down a criminal if he needs to. Arthur begins making progress with the investigation narrowing down the list of suspects. Technically he actually deduces the identity of the traitor, not through skilled detective work, but solely because Arthur sees his face when said traitor slips into his office and shoots him dead. Arthur let out a surprised “So it’s you?!?!?!?” before eating lead, which means it’s probably someone we’d never suspect.
Despite the mole stealing some key strategic plans to attack a nuclear power facility being used by the Espheni to fuel their operations, the humans manage to score yet another victory when they successfully demolish the plant at the advice of the Volm. Those in the Resistance were told of one plan of attack that was actually a ruse being employed to confirm the presence of the mole. The Espheni planned on defending the attack that they thought was coming, allowing Tom to secretly lead a small force into the plant once the aliens were busy defending the false attack lead by Col. Weaver. The humans are pretty encouraged by the victory, until the Volm rain on their parade a little bit. Cochise, the Volm liaison to the Resistance, tells the humans even though they’ve disrupted their enemies fuel supply, instead of retreating to lick their wounds, the Espheni will instead unleash an all out attack on Charleston in order to save face and appear that they’ve been unaffected by the human’s attacks. Oops, must have just slipped their minds.
Hal’s nightly dreams are getting more and more intense, making it clearer that he might not actually be dreaming these hook-ups with Karen. Maggie becomes suspicious when she finds Hal’s boots caked in mud one morning. Later on, she awakes at night to find Hal missing, but his wheelchair still in their room. She goes out looking for him and finds him wandering through the woods in a trance-like state. When Maggie awakens Hal and points out that he’s walking, his legs immediately give out and go limp once again. Could it be that Hal is the mystery traitor who gunned down Arthur? Could the ear worm be forcing him to give away all of the Resistance’s plans? Looks like we’ll have to wait until next week to find out!
Everything seems to be coming up Milhouse for the Resistance right now, but could they be setting themselves up for an intergalactic knife in the back courtesy of their pals the Volm? The Volm say they’ve been traveling from planet to planet, helping fight the Espheni after they invaded the Volm home world, but if that were the case, you’d think that they’d have picked up a few other species here and there to help fight this pan-galactic menace. I’d be suspicious of that if I were in Tom’s shoes. We’re only two episodes in, but it’s already shaping up to be an intense season. Check back with us every week for another Weekly Skitter Report!
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