One of the driving forces for Falling Skies has been the family dynamic. The Mason family are the poster family for everything humanity is fighting for in a time where most of humanity is dead and aliens seek to harness our children. Season 1 focused heavily on introducing us to the Mason family and their efforts to get back the missing member of that family, Ben. Ben had been taken months ago by the aliens and harnessed. Every attempt to remove the harnesses had resulted in death of the child. However, they soon found a way and went after Ben and as many kids as they could.
Tom is the leader of the family of course, but in a lot of ways he is struggling to find the right way to protect his children and get back his missing son Ben. Toms history background allows him to be useful when it comes to troop moral and strategy as second in command but it doesn’t do him much good to his sons who want nothing more then to get back to a normal life. Of course alien invasions will put a halt to any normal life moments for awhile.
That doesn’t stop Tom from attempting to have at least a few normal moments in the midst of all the ciaos around them. Tom gives Matt a moment of fun and excitement with a skateboard. Tom and Hal have a normal moment of fighting as dad tries to tell son that he shouldn’t go out on patrol. Deep down Tom feels somewhat responsible for Ben having been taken and harnessed by the aliens.
After all of Toms efforts, Hal eventually makes the move Tom was too afraid to try and rescues Ben. But Ben isn’t the same and Tom knows it. While Toms mission to get Ben back is done, he knows that his fight is far from over and more sacrifices will have to take place before this is all over.
Hal Mason was the most adjusted of the Mason family, jumping right into playing solider and dis-obeying his father at every turn. Not unlike most teens today. Hal felt a personal responsibility to go and find Ben and bring him back. He regrets the last words he had with Ben, having been a fight. Ben and Hal never really got along, but that was his little brother and he was going to get him back. Hal also seems to attract every girl in a 100 mile radius of the 2nd mass. Right now the question is Hal/Maggie?
Hal finally got his chance to save Ben in a risky operation at the hospital, risking a direct fight with a skitter to save him. As happy as Hal is that Ben is back and the harness removed, he notices something isn’t the same. Ben isn’t the same bratty brother he knew, he is hiding something that he doesn’t want Hal or the others to know. Yet despite his doubts of Ben’s full recovery, he stands up to protect Ben from anyone or anything that tries to harm him.
Matt Mason is the youngest of the family, and all he wants is for things to be back to normal. He wants his dad, Hal and he wants Mom and Ben back. Hal and Tom both promise Matt that they will get Ben back, but their mother is gone. Matt finds himself wanting to help more and more but finding his father pushes back and wont let him at every turn. Even Hal has said that they could use with Matt learning to fight, it would be needed.
With Ben’s return Matt was very happy and the two were playful brothers like before, except even Matt noticed that Ben wasn’t the same. Against his fathers orders, Matt helped out Pope in making Mech bullets, giving the idea to Pope to melt down the Mech armor to make bullets that could kill a Mech.
Ben was taken a few months after the invasion and has been missing for many months. Ben was a very book smart kid and had questioned the fact that the skitters went with kids, he didn’t understand why the Skitters had kids. It was the first time Tom had seen Ben shake with fear in that way. When Ben was rescued, he explained to Matt he had never been so scared in his life when they harnessed him. He said after that the Skitters were like family to them, thinking with him.
Ben and a dozen other kids were saved, along with one a few weeks before Ben, Rick. While all the other kids spikes had gone away, the spikes in Bens and Ricks back remained and this concerned Tom. As the season pushed on, we noticed a stark difference in Rick and Ben, and both showed signs that they were not exactly normal. Rick couldn’t accept being with ‘the humans’ and Ben tried to convince himself everything was okay, but with his increased agility and the signal in his head, he knew something wasn’t right.
Ben could hear the skitters in his mind and denied it to everyone but Rick when he cornered Ben and told him he could hear them too. As much as Ben wanted it to go away, it couldn’t.
Toms sacrifice and Ben’s future
At the finale of season 1, Tom and Weaver are confronted by an alien ship and they ask Tom to come with them, or they will call Ben back. The harness was a process, one that Ben was not free from. They said they could call Ben back and force him but they didn’t want that. They said they didn’t expect resistance on this level. Tom could not resist trying to protect his family and agreed to go with them, much to Weavers shock.
One has to wonder why the aliens took Tom. We know they didn’t expect this level of resistance from the humans, but the real question is what was Karen referring to exactly? Was it the 2nd Mass’ level of resistance or Ben’s ability to resist the aliens? It’s an interesting question and it makes one wonder if taking Tom was a move to figure out why Ben isn’t bending to them and then force Ben to make a choice. Or to figure out how Ben is using their own signal against them and to stop him from doing it again. Notice that they didn’t offer to help Ben or stop the process, they simply said they would call Ben back to them if Tom didn’t go with. We have seen them be sneaky before and I have no doubt after what they did to Rick, that this is a ploy to learn more about Tom, the 2nd mass and most of all Ben.
Ben has a lot of fighting to do to keep his humanity intact. Producer Greg wouldn’t say whose side he was on, but I think we will find Ben torn between the aliens and us humans. With increased strength and powers caused by the evolution of his DNA by the harnessing process, that would lend to more control by the aliens forced on to Ben or at least more influence. They can already communicate inwardly to him and we are aware already that Ben can hear their signals. That perhaps could mean Ben will have to fight harder then ever before to help his father, Tom, come home and stop himself from becoming one of them.
Ben’s story only gets more intense, intriguing and important in season 2 and so will his fight to save himself and his father. The real question is what do the aliens really want with our kids? They seem very interested in Tom and Ben, leaving Rick to the wayside after getting as much intel on Tom and the base as they could from him. Ben has adjusted emotionally and physically better then Rick. Almost to the point of the perfect spy/solider. One has to wonder, if this wasn’t their intent after all and that Ben’s resistance is futile. But why Ben? Even I don’t know the answer to that, but we will all find out together in Season 2.