What They Say:
Compass – The 2nd Mass moves into an airport hanger; Anne grows concerned about the health of the group; the Berserkers create a plan to get rid of Tom.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the two episode opening prior to this that got the second season underway, Falling Skies didn’t do much to really make it a must watch show. The series did some neat things towards the end of the first season, but it just meandered too much. And while the opening episode had some interesting moments to it,t he whole thing really does just feel like it’s going to meander even more. There are various character stories that have some moments, but the larger narrative continues to be the weak point of the series since it only has the one real goal but often doesn’t seem like it’s really touching on it all that much.
With this episode, there is one again a few things going on from the start, some taking more precedence than others. With the overall forces having been weakened, we now get the 2nd Mass that are looking to head to the Catskills in order to ride out the winter and all that it brings. At the same time, those that remain are dealing with a varying degree of sicknesses spreading around. With everyone having given so much to survive up to this point, it’s little surprise that there’s something weary about them as they’ve been drained of a lot of their energy and will. Of course, those doing the work to help keep everyone from being sick are running themselves ragged as well, though there is at least a little bit of humor about it.
The show is also working a subversive angle that’s out there since Tom’s return as there are many in the camp that just doesn’t trust him. And rightly so, considering where he ended up for so many months. The one that makes a move on it is Pope though as he tries to give him a forced chance to leave and go his own way, which turns into a goofy little mess overall. One that does end up with Tom doing what he can to ensure that they themselves aren’t the ones that get tossed out. It has the kind of logic that makes sense on Tom’s part, having him join them to keep an eye on Pope, but it doesn’t really eliminate or handle the main problem where people just don’t trust Tom. Putting him in the Berserkers just changes the focus of things a bit.
While the show deals with all these smaller issues and some of the parenting aspects that come up as Tom has to deal with Ben and his issues, there is a bigger change that comes into play here. With the group holed up at country airport, the arrival of an unknown plane brings in a lot of concern and potential. The introduction of Avery Churchill here as she reveals her mission to find survivors and move north and eventually to Europe brings the series into the larger picture. We got some of that with Tom’s trek before, but even that was just small and personal and not really a look at what’s going on in the world. Through Avery, we learn of a new Continental Congress operating out of South Carolina that wants to do more regrouping with the various militias and bring them in so they can start doing something bigger to deal with the invasion forces.
There’s a slow and somber feel to the episode as it progresses and deals largely with a death of one of the younger soldiers in the fight, which is dealt with well enough even if it’s given a bit too much weight. The focus with Ben through it is well done as he’s coping with so much and it also becomes a catalyst point between Tom and Pope that ends up causing Pope to head out on his own, since most of the Berserkers opt to not go with him since they know they have things good where they are even with the loses and the kinds of missions they get. This somber aspect feels odd considering some what we get with Avery, taking the focus off of her and her revelations, though it does provide them with a new path to pursue.
Falling Skies does finally start to look at the bigger world that’s going on here, something it’s touched upon a couple of times in the first season but not with any deep meaning or import overall. What we get here is the sliver of hope that was needed in order to change the path that they’re on. There’s a decent mix of character material going on here, some in small bits such as Tom and Anne, but also the continued greater focus on Ben with what he’s going through and a significant but not unexpected change for Pope to go through once again. The show continues to be one with a lot of promise but still lacks that key, critical voice through which it can grow and change. Some of the nudges here give me a little more hope that it may find it.