This episode was not what I expected it to be, and this series is not what I expected it to be. Despite one absolutely terrible episode (#3), and one mediocre one (#2), this is turning into something special. And yes, they could still blow it. “They” blew Heroes, didn’t they? But right now, Falling Skies is doing what good television should do; it is surprising me, engaging me, making me curious, stirring my feelings, and doing a decent job with the stuff of script, acting, and set design.
And no, it’s not brilliant. It’s very good, and I will continue to blog it. But right now, I don’t care deeply about what happens to most of the characters. There’s a love of watching it that has a sort of formalism. Caring about who lives and dies is almost like peeking under the hood and seeing how this thing works. I like the doctor a lot. I like Noah Wyle, but maybe not as much as I should I don’t care two shits about Wyle’s oldest son. And so on…in this list of characters, I should be more involved, but not every show is a soap opera.
Showing cracks in the relationships among people isn’t unprecedented, either in this series or shows of this type, but it was well done, and what I wasn’t expecting was how it served as foreshadowing. All the little ways that humanity betrays humanity; by stealing medicine, by distrusting where trust is desperately needed, by othering a group (“razorbacks”), all are signs of a deep-seated betrayal of humanity, and focusing this particular episode on these things nicely foreshadowed the true betrayal at the end. As the kids diverged from their mapped route, it was obvious something was going to go wrong, and I was feeling betrayal in my bones, but how it played out was still incredibly shocking. When we saw Pope in the “previously on,” I was dismayed, but how he was brought back? Holy wow. It was the “two” in the one-two punch of betrayal, and it was really needed, because otherwise there was something a little too conversational and, yes, predictable about the tragic fate of Eli. But a chained prisoner in the basement? I say again, Holy wow.
I also like Dr. Anne’s working her way through post-traumatic stress. It’s well-established that in a war zone such as these people are experiencing, PTSD is rampant. And last week, we saw Handprint Anne show a little of the grief and rage she’s keeping beneath a warm exterior. But PTSD survivors are actually more susceptible to subsequent traumas, and in watching the doctor recover from being attacked, and choosing to arm herself, we were seeing a microcosm of what all of humanity is going through.
When the Skitter lifted the globe, Arthur snorted a bit about the symbolism. And if it was an entirely accidental object, I’d have agreed that it was heavy-handed and irritating. But then the Skitter picked it up, and managed to fully communicate, “This is a globe. It’s symbolic. Watch this,” and that intelligent and malevolent communication sold the scene.
What did you think? Are you watching? Are Skitters invading your nightmares?