Monday, June 22, 2015

Falling Skies: The Status of the War

This summer will be a first for us here on More TV, Please. Or at least for me. It is very rare that we cover a series live here if we haven’t covered earlier seasons. Sure there have been a couple exceptions like Leverage (although the first and final seasons have been covered) and Once Upon a Time (we did not cover the freshman run). But in this instance, we are coming into a show that has never been covered here on the blog before. To be honest, until very recently I hadn’t seen Falling Skies. But after sitting in the panel for it at San Diego Comic Con 2014, my interest was piqued and I binge-watched the first four seasons in preparation for the final run this summer. So before that comes along, I wanted to give a little summary of who the characters are where they’ve been thus far.

The Premise

Falling Skies is based on the idea of how would humanity respond to an alien invasion. Sure, it’s not a new concept but in today’s TV landscape of remakes and reboots, there is very little that is purely original. Humanity hasn’t exactly been decimated by the invasion but things are fairly bleak for the survivors. And it seems that just surviving, trying to find food and supplies, is just as dangerous as an alien encounter. Over the course of four seasons, we are introduced to a myriad of characters and alien races. But the thing about the setting that really intrigued me was that for the most part, the early seasons took place right here in Massachusetts. I really appreciated the geographic references to places that I recognized. It was also intriguing to see how some subsections of humanity chose to thrive and fend off their alien attackers. When we first meet up with our ragtag band of heroes, they are part of the Second Massachusetts Regiment. In the wake of this tragedy, the old militia form of defense was resurrected.

The Cast of Characters

At the heart of our ragtag band of renegades is the Mason family, led by former history teacher Tom (played by Noah Wylie). Tom eventually gets put in charge (well second-in-command) of the Second Massachusetts Regiment, under the leadership of Colonel Dan Weaver (we will get to him). Along for the ride are Tom’s sons, Hal, Matt and Ben. When we first are introduced to the Masons, Ben has been abducted by the aliens, known as Skitters. Tom’s main mission is to rescue his middle son and free from the alien’s hold. It is by no means an easy process. Along the way, Tom falls in love with Anne, the regiment doctor and they believe they have a daughter together named Lexi. It turns out some of the other aliens (there are a lot) impregnated Anne. Lexi, given her alien DNA, isn’t accepted into the family for quite some time (especially when she grows up and starts killing people).

Colonel Weaver has a very hard exterior but he wants what is best for the people under his command (militia and civilian alike). He makes the tough calls and does his best to keep his people together and safe. Sometimes his plans don’t work so well, especially when they make it to the new United States (if this feels at all like NBC’s Revolution, that’s probably because it is. However, Falling Skies clearly came first and probably did it better) and it turns out to be a big mistake seeking refuge with these so-called Patriots.

While there are many other humans populating the Second Mass and the other groups they encounter along the way on their survival quest, the aliens make up a large portion of the rest of the plot. As mentioned earlier, there are the Skitters who remind me a little of Species 8472 from Star Trek Voyager. We spend much of the first season believing they are the invaders who have stolen their children and relegated them less-than-ideal living conditions. Ultimately, it turns out they are being controlled by the Espheni (very tall aliens who have actually enslaved the Skitters to do their bidding). In the fourth season, we are introduced to the Volm, interesting aliens who end up allying themselves with the Second Mass.

The Sit Rep

As I’ve alluded to above, a lot has happened since we first met the Masons and their allies. They’ve discovered that the Skitters aren’t the enemy they thought they were. Some of them have even banded together and sided with humanity to try and exist peacefully and fight back. Yes, as a species they are still pretty awful but their overlords, the Espheni, are far worse. Forced labor camps and torture. The plan was to turn all of humanity into Skitters basically. Also as I mentioned before, Lexi is not exactly human. She’s had her struggles along the way but she makes the ultimate sacrifice to save her father and her family by killing the prime Espheni overlord. Humanity is one step closer to being free of their invaders. But Tom is lost in space somewhere and we have no idea how he’s going to get home or how the rest of the Second Mass will handle the potential loss of their leader.

I am very excited to see where the show goes for its final run. I’ve enjoyed the story thus far and while I am definitely sad to see it go (although you can still see Noah Wylie on TV this coming winter in the second season of The Librarians), I am happy the writers knew this was the final season going in. Knowing the end is coming helps the creative team wrap everything up for the viewers. There’s nothing worse than a show ending before they knew it was over and not getting to tell all the story they intended. So check back each week to see what the Second Mass is up to as we take that last trip with them.

No comments:

Post a Comment