As quickly as it started, Falling Skies season 2 is coming to an end and wow what an ending it will be! Many were worried this years finale was going to be similar to last years and lead to disappointment. A big complaint at the end of season 1 was that Tom walking on the ship was too unlike the character. Many also complained that it was ended as if the writers didn’t know the show was renewed.
Season 2 Look Back: Regrouping
Season 1 was all about retreating and hiding in the wake of an alien invasion. Season 2 was the next step, Regrouping. The key strategy for the 2nd mass was to get as far away from the aliens as possible, while still fighting back while they attempt to regroup after a failed attack on the structure over Boston. The writers had a real challenge in explaining how they would get Tom back after he walked on the alien ship.
In the first episodes we get Tom back and they use flashbacks to cover the 3 months he was missing and we learn more about the aliens mindset about humanity and the resistance that the 2nd mass has put up. It has long been a sticking point of ours that the aliens wanting Ben back so badly was rooted in his ability to resist their influence. Deep down in side we knew there had to be a connection.
Our hunch was realized in the form of a skitter rebellion. Ben was no longer the same boy who was taken. He went from a sheepish formerly harnessed kid into a killing machine and soldier. His reckless behavior began to spiral him out of control and resulted in the death of Jimmy and many argue Jamil and Boone as well. His direct contact with the rebel leader Red-Eye and his involvement has been a risk to the 2nd mass which he eventually accepts.
During the overlords speech through Ben and his near re-harnessing, Ben learned the overlords are scared to death of this rebellion and they want to crush it as quickly as they can. This reinforces our thoughts on Ben being important. The aliens knew about some skitters ability to resist and likely crushed it early on without much notice, but they began to suspect that some humans were able to do the same and they needed to stem that quickly.
All of the alien interaction with Ben has left many in the 2nd mass to distrust him and he isn’t the only one. Toms return was not as welcomed by some as you might think. Pope was the most vocal about it, stating that it was a bit too convenient for Tom to have just walked off the ship without so much as a probe. Well wait, they pulled a “chip from his brian”. We still don’t yet know the purpose of this chip but we do know why Tom lived and was likely released unharmed, red-eye. He allowed Tom to survive and then used Ben as a thumb drive to get support for his growing rebellion.
It wasn’t long after the 2nd mass moved out of Boston that someone in a plane stopped by and told of a Utopia called Charleston. It wasn’t an easy pill to swallow but they did and the final stage of regrouping begins as they took the long journey to Charleston. However the road was dark and full of death on their way there.
Many of the characters this season have grown a lot over the previous season including young Matt. He has finally been allowed to help in the fight, but that head strong attitude that both him, Ben and Hal have doesn’t serve him well at first. He is taken by the skitters after rebelling against his father and going off with Diego to save their friends. Matt is nearly harnessed during a very creepy look at the aliens harness facility. It was there that Bens true connection to the aliens was fully realized by Hal.
The 2nd mass also learned there is a price to be paid for fighting back and its a steep one. First they lost Jimmy, a beloved young fighter and son to Weaver. Jimmy was also the only true friend Ben had in the 2nd mass. He blames himself, and so does the rest of the 2nd mass. With Ben a prime target of the overlords, Karen is sent in to retrieve him and Maggie is nearly killed in the process. Maggie had already been injured previously when a death squad was sent to kill red-eye and take out the 2nd mass.
They managed to protect Ben and take an overlord as a hostage and that had a very steep price to pay. A new alien creature was revealed and in a very ‘Alien’ sort of way. They came crawling out of Jamil, who didn’t survive the event and were trojan horses of sorts going after the 2nd mass from the inside. Karen would stop at nothing to get her master back and the next move was a world war II style execution of Boone. They free him and as he runs towards the Weaver and Tector he is shot, one bullet at a time, killing him slowly.
Much like a ladder, each of the Mason boys have moved up in their roles in the story. Hal went from headstrong teen into a leadership role, Ben moved up into the headstrong teen role and Matt moved up into the young willing fighter who wants to help. Hal also saw his relationship with Maggie grow as each of them struggle with a world that is no longer safe.
Ben found himself betrayed by his own brother and Karen this season as all sides begin playing mind games with him. The bewildered Ben ends up shaking off the mind games and makes a clear-headed choice to leave and join up with Red-Eye in an effort to make himself useful while protecting his family. Hal feels horrible for having doubted his brother so badly and fears he may never see him again.
Tom finds himself no longer the strong leader he once was, when he nearly breaks down on after reaching a destroyed Charleston. Matt has drawn up a will, Hal is missing and Ben has gone off as a 2nd in command to a skitter army of rebels. For once Anne was the voice of comfort and encouragement for Tom, who had always been her support during the first season. But looks can be deceiving and it turns out Charleston is underground.
Once there, Tom meets a former mentor and teacher who happens to also be running the place but paradise isn’t perfect. In fact, if Manchester had his way, they would all be pretending the aliens didn’t exist and the invasion never happen. This of course doesn’t sit well with Tom or Weaver who buck the system and attempt to get them to fight only to find themselves in jail for treason. To make matters worse, Red-Eye sent a boy to talk with Tom about a new development on the overlords.
Tom and Weaver get what they want but not how they wanted it. General Bressler declares martial law and arrests Manchester, offering Tom the ability to meet with red-eye. The question is, what will Tom do?
The Season 2 Finale and beyond
Season 2 stepped up to the plate and blew expectations out of the water. With great visual effects and complex stories, the new season left many people wondering just how they can top this year moving into season 3. There have been many great and favorite story lines for us in season 2 and I want to explore a few of those we felt were outstanding.
The alien mythology
The new season brought us an expanded look at the aliens and their motivations, even if only a little bit. They don’t have any desire to get rid of all humans and they also want any resistance out of their way. So what exactly are they doing here and what are they doing with our children. We got to explore what some would call “benefits” of being harnessed, and also found out their ships are simply drones, controlled remotely using the very same signal that any harnessed being can hear.
We got an upclose look at the harnesses, which are far more than a simply control device. They are in fact living organisms which thrive off being attached to other beings and using them like a parasite would. The harnesses also inject substances into the children that being to change them on a biological level which we see very clearly in the changes on Bens back and on the children from the episode “death march”.
Ben was a story for season 1: Rescue him and after that he became a somewhat minor concern with everything that was going on but in season 2 that was turned way up. Ben was a huge story line change for any character on the show. His evolution was physical and mental but most importantly emotional. Ben went through almost every single stage of pain and suffering a person could go through, riddled with guilt over mistakes he made that cost people their lives.
Ben left at the end of Molon Labe but he will return and the question is, as Matt put it: Will Ben love the skitters more than his own family?
Maggie has become a person of hope and strength in the 2nd mass. She is trusted by every single person around her from Dai and Anthony to Hal and Tom. As much as it hurt her to spill the beans to Hal about her past, she believed he would forgive her. She has also been the voice of reason, trying to get through Hals head that Ben was in a world of pain and that Karen was using him and Ben. She got hurt emotionally and physically but she has remained strong.
I always love going back and watching episodes earlier in the season of a show and catching small details that have an impact later on that you miss the first time around. Falling Skies is no exception. A few of the Spielberg moments that stick out to me include the scene with Matt and Ben on the roof, as Ben looks up into space and tells Matt that it is impossible for him to no longer be afraid of anything. What does Ben know that he isn’t leading on about?
Season Finale Exclusive
So you are all looking for fun nibbles at the upcoming finale so if you don’t want to know stop reading. If you do want to know checkout these exclusive photos and info about the season 2 finale.