Falling Skies Episode 5: Sanctuary Part 1

 Posted by on July 19, 2011 at 5:24 am  Falling Skies
Jul 192011

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.

Falling Skies Episode 5 Moon Bloodgood

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?


  5 Responses to “Falling Skies Episode 5: Sanctuary Part 1”

  1. Spielberg is a hack of epic proportions, and this show is yet another demonstration of that. There are literally a dozen other shows more deserving of coverage.

  2. Agree with ET. I gave up after ep.2, but the review here of ep. 4 convinced me to revisit the show. Mistake.

    When the soldier from Mass ‘whatever’ comes in and says “I’m here to march your under-20 kids off into the distance”, who is going to fall for that? Then they let him do it? Then after being very specific about the route, the other adults in the posse are just OK with making change. The writing is just amateurish.

  3. I don’t watch much television at all, but I like the show … for me it’s 10 episodes of summer entertainment, not anything serious.

    The idea of alien invasion has been done in movies many times, and on television by the two versions of “V.” I was much disappointed in the recent re-make of that series and wasn’t surprised it was cancelled.

    For the first time I can recall, this series explores what would happen after human civilization breaks down, so it goes farther than movies have done.

    While a lot of “suspension of disbelief” is required because of unbelieveable situations (like the skidder not be watched 24/7 by an armed soldier), it’s entertaining to me.

    • ET, I really don’t blog shows that are “deserving of coverage.” I blog shows I watch. We are always looking for more writers who watch other shows.

      RSB, the soldier from the 7th Massachusetts was well known to all of them; to Will Patton, to Noah Wyle, and to the actor whose name I forget who plays Mike. They’d fought together in the past and were part of the same army under the same commander. Three was no reason on earth to distrust him! And kids in a war zone? Often not the best detectors of secret collaborators. What we can see from our living room couches is not the same as what you can see when you’re standing there. Certainly if the show is distancing you enough that you’re thinking of it that way, it’s failing you, but these aren’t objective plot flaws.

      mike, yes, part of why I watch is because I’ve always felt that the “alien invasion” concept was ripe with possibilities that have never been fully realized on TV. The new “V” was a terrible waste of potential.

  4. […] to look at the rioting in London for a real-life example! A defeated and demoralized group like Clayton’s can do terrible things, as can a lone survivor scrambling for food and comfort. By creating this […]

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