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TV Review: FALLING SKIES Season 2 The March To Charleston

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Season 2 of TNT’s Falling Skies premiered to quite good audiences, thanks to a solid first season the show had begun to gather momentum, I decided that to keep up with the US on this was a waste of my bandwidth and I should just hang for it to premiere four weeks later on the UK’s FX network. Following the season 1 finale I hadn’t really decided whether I would watch the second or not, but I have to say I’m pleased I did as Falling Skies has now been renewed for a third season and as promised TNT ramped up the action and story in this second season and they have firmly cemented it as one of my favourite non fall shows, essential summer viewing when all of our regular favourites are away.

At the end of that first season Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) willingly got into an alien spacecraft for reasons unknown, season 2 sees him return to Human resistance group the 2nd mass, any explanation? Of course not, Tom has just been tucked away on an alien ship for the last three months and he doesn’t know why. I was expecting answers to this but actually I don’t care that they didn’t come because this second season of Falling Skies was even better than the first in my opinion. This season introduced a new angle to the Skitters who were the season one protagonists, the alien foot soldiers who the 2nd mass were fighting or hiding from on a daily basis. Turns out the Skitters were kids who had been harnessed by the aliens when they invaded other planets, in season 2 they wanted to stage a fight back, a section of them formed a resistance group and communicated with Commander Weaver and Tom Mason through Tom’s son Ben, Their plan? To kill their overlords and then co-exist as one big happy family.

The 2nd mass however have other plans, get to Charleston, a town they know is occupied by military and where a new civilisation has been started, kind of like Terra Nova, just this time were not 85 million years in the past. I think what I enjoyed about season 2 was the fact they were on kind of a road trip, the 2nd mass didn’t find themselves bogged down in once location too often and like season 2 of The Walking Dead that added to the danger that was on offer from Mech’s and Skitters, although Mech’s really didn’t feature to heavily in the second season I only recall seeing them in the opening battle which was probably one of the best in the entire season.

As with most new season, Falling Skies introduced some new characters to the mix, first was an impressive new addition Jamil Dexter (The Killing’s Brandon Jay McLaren) a voice of some authority in the 2nd mass ranks and also a handy mechanic, however no sooner did his story get going they killed him off, I thought a bigger named actor may have been granted a little more screen time than the five or six episodes he was treated too.

If I had to say anything about the second season it would be the story line involving Charleston, I have no problem with it per-se but right from the beginning (or at least mid way) of the first season the mission for the 2nd mass has always been to get to Charleston, they finally get there at episode six or seven, however they find that Charleston is not all it was cracked up to be, they have formed a government with Arthur Manchester (Lost’s Terry O’Quinn) as President, he has helped form a military and the citizens of Charleston find themselves some what oppressed, not allowed to leave the confines of the city which will be the US Capital when order is restored.  The 2nd mass, being on their own for such a long time don’t take lightly to being treat this way, they have countless run in’s with both Manchester and the military before finally deciding that the city walls of Charleston are not really for them.

All that brought about what season 2 was really setting up, the march into season 3 and possibly many more for this show. Earlier in the season Ben Mason (Connor Jessup) had decided that he didn’t belong with the 2nd mass and much to Tom’s dislike he took off to go live with the rebel Skitters in order to help them kill their overlords. That’s where this got interesting but it should maybe have been introduced into the story a little sooner. The apparently “safe” Charleston was very easily breached by Ben and a bunch of his Skitter pals in the final episode, he came to inform them all of some laser gun (which is way to geeky for me to remember the name of) that was going to be used by the over lords to kill them all. The shift then came about and it looked like Charleston was not the be all and end all of the story and focus should probably have been put onto this laser gun thingy mabob a little sooner, at least then we could have had time to build to it.

Thinking those would be the final scenes of the second season we were dealt another surprise. Hal Mason (Drew Roy) had been knocked unconscious during the battle to destroy the laser gun (I’m starting to sound way too geeky now, that’s three times) and woke up in a room on his own, even after the 2nd mass had agreed to keep an eye on him, he had one of those weird alien worms (sounding geeky again!) crawling out his eye and then back into his ear with a real creepy “let me get my mission started” smile on his face. So you can be sure that Hal is going to be worth keeping an eye on during the third season. Then just as the gun (I’ll leave the geeky bit out this time) is destroyed loads of things drop from the sky one of which turns out to be a space ship (seriously I’m not a geek) and another new alien steps out, roll credits. Season three will no doubt be bringing us the answers, who are the new aliens? Are they friends are foes? Maybe that gun was pointing up to keep them away, who knows?

One thing is for sure Falling Skies done a great job of cementing its reputation for me during its second season and I look forward to what season three has to offer, especially as the 2nd mass would seem set to leave Charleston meaning that its once again going to be a bit of a road trip.
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