Hey guys, it’s SB in italics, but everything else is twinkiesandwine, our new recapper for Falling Skies! She’s written the below post to catch you up on everything you’ve missed, and this is actually a really awesome post because you could TOTALLY jump right in to the show after reading this. And you should, because as Billy pointed out tonight, Hal and Ben are basically mini-Winchesters (correct). Please welcome twinkiesandwine to the party, leave her lots of comments, and just generally be awesome, as you all always are!
“It’s the world we live in, not the world we want.”
Previously on Falling Skies: aliens came, invaded Earth, bombed the major cities, knocked out the power grid and most modern technology, as well as destroying the world’s militaries and around 90% of the world’s population.
There are three types of aliens: “Skitters”, which are big insectoid-like critters with crab legs; “mechs”, giant robots that fire lasers; and then the apparent leaders, who look sort of like giant four-limbed snakes. Their objective is unknown, but they do like to abduct minors, who they “harness” into submission with a slug-like object that not only drugs them and creates some sort of psychic connection to the Skitters, but also
fuses to their spines, making complete removal lethal.
The show focuses on one of an indeterminate number of surviving humans, some of whom are committed to a resistance cause, the idea being that if the humans can make the cost of occupation too high, the aliens will leave them alone. This group is named the 2nd Massachusetts, after the Revolutionary War, which is something we get to hear a lot about since the main character, Tom Mason, used to be a history professor at BU and loves to make pointless and annoying historical allusions and comparisons. Tom was
also made second in command of the group in the first episode. Tom’s wife died before the series, but he has three sons: Hal, a 17 year old who is useful and a good fighter, Matt who is 10 or so and the most annoying moppet ever, and Ben, the middle son, who was taken and harnessed by the Skitters pre-series.
Most of the first half of the first season was Tom arguing with the military commander of the 2nd Mass, Captain Weaver. Seriously, every episode Tom was like “I want to go out and look for Ben” and Weaver was like, “yeah you can go do that after we do this other thing that is going to keep people from dying.” Also, I think Weaver is secretly and slowly dying from a mysterious illness. Other important characters are Dr. Anne Glass, a former pediatrician who is now that unit’s main doctor. She flirts awkwardly with Tom (her husband and son died in the attack), tries to communicate with a Skitter they captured (before killing in it a total badass move), and figures out how to remove most of the harnesses from the kids without killing them. She also did an autopsy on the dead Skitter and found out that Skitters were/are harnessed too, which might mean that harnessed kids get turned into Skitters.
The other major characters got introduced in the second hour of the series premiere. Tom, Hal, Hal’s girlfriend Karen (who later got taken by the aliens and now is sort of a harnessed alien ambassador), plus three or four other fighters are captured by a “post-apocalyptic gang of outlaws”, led by a charming asshole named John Pope. The gang attempted to barter Tom and the others for the weapons of the 2nd Mass, but ended up getting screwed over and Pope was taken prisoner. The rest of the gang was killed when the sole female member of the gang, Margaret/Maggie, seized the opportunity to kill the other members (who also raped her) and defect to the 2nd Mass. Pope spent some time as a prisoner, and then became the group’s cook, and then their weapons expert, all while maintaining his snark and his potential for screwing the 2nd Mass over.
By the end of the first season, they had rescued Ben from the Skitters and cut off his harness, but he still has parts of it in him that had already fused to his spine. They give him special super-human strength, endurance and hearing, but he is still not totally mentally cool. There are people who are shitty and pretend to offer refuge but are really selling off children to the aliens in exchange for safety. And the further along they get, the more likely it seems that the other resistance groups they knew about are gone.
They keep fighting, and in the finale Tom and Weaver manage to take down one of the aliens’ giant structures in Boston.
However, on their way back, they are intercepted by an alien ship and a harnessed Karen (Hal’s girlfriend) tells them that the aliens weren’t expecting such a high level of resistance and that intrigues them; they want to chat. In order to lure Tom on-board, Karen also tells him that Ben’s harness effects are not over, and that the only way to “stop the process” is for Tom to come on board. So Tom gets on the alien ship as Weaver looks on and there things end.
And with Season 2, we’re back! The premiere started off a replay of Tom getting on the ship, before jumping forward three months. The 2nd Mass is still fighting, setting up ambushes to lure Skitters and Mechs to get destroyed, but awhile ago they fucked up and got surrounded and lost over a 100 people, until Ben found a weak spot and got them out. Yay Ben! Ben also hit puberty over the last three months/year, and is now actually almost hot (which I can say because A. the actor is 18, and B. that is just within the
acceptable “1/2 your age +7” dating rule). I mean, he’s not Drew Roy hot, but when he’s all “I’m not the math geek you used to push around. Deal with it.”… I’m just saying, is all.
Anyway, after one of the ambushes, Ben “senses” there’s another Skitter, but when it pops out and Ben shoots it, he accidently shoots Tom, who was behind it. Whoops! Tom gets rushed back to camp, where Dr. Glass does what she can, while Ben feels like total shit. Tom being knocked out is convenient in that we get flashbacks to his time on the alien ship, as his nightmares, I guess? He was kept in a storage closet for a couple of days (how did he keep track of how long it was?), then he was cattle-prodded by a Skitter before Karen showed up to take him to their leader, who is offering a chance for the resistance to surrender and live in a reservation/prison/internment camp. It seems that the aliens have studied human history, but mostly focused on the Wiki articles under the heading of “Unimaginable Human Atrocities and Genocides” and were inspired by that. They’ve determined that “oppression is in [human] nature”, and even though Tom’s like “You’re fancy aliens! You should be more evolved that us terrible humans!” they ain’t having it. Then, hilariously, Tom warns that they should be careful to draw too many lessons from the past (even though that’s basically all Tom did last season), “because our history has yet to be written” before he snags the cattle prod and fries the tall alien, but then a Skitter knocks him out.
Tom gets left off the ship in a field with a bunch of other captives, but then everyone but Tom gets mowed down by a Mech and Skitter duo. Did they leave Tom alive just to fuck with him, like they did last season with Hal? Or is he bugged and is leading the aliens straight to the 2nd Mass? Answer: definitely the latter, probably both. The rest of the flashbacks are boring, with Tom going from Michigan to the 2nd Mass, saving a girl from being mugged, burying her dead mom and using her bike until she decides to bail and head up into the mountains. By the end of Hour 1, Tom’s flashbacks have finished,
so he wakes up, to the joy of everyone, including Anne, so they can continue to awkwardly flirt, and Weaver, who blames the high casualty count on not having Tom there to argue with him. The only one less than happy is Pope, who smartly questions what the hell Tom went through and how he got back.
Which is apparently, something Tom is equally afraid of himself. He’s having freaky Skitter nightmares and is worried that he might be infected or have a tracker or be a sleeper agent. Both Dr. Glass and Weaver are like, “haha, you’re so silly”, but after Tom makes Hal promise to stop him by any means necessary if he starts acting crazy, he starts seizing and bleeding from his eye. And then there’s the grossest thing ever where there’s an alien parasite worm thingy inside Tom’s eye and they have to hold him down to pull it out as he’s (understandably) flipping the fuck out. Guys, I can’t with eye stuff; I had
a corneal ulcer last year and it was The Worst. Also, apparently eye parasites are en vogue for all aliens, since I think there was something like that in Prometheus? I might have been half-asleep when I saw that movie, but I think I remember that.
They stick the worm in a jar, and everyone else is pretty lasseiz faire about it, while Tom is like BURN IT WITH FIRE (which they don’t, and of course it escapes later). He’s so freaked out by himself that he demands they restrain him, in case he has any more parasites in him, at least until they get across the river, which is the Big Problem this episode. They’re trying to cross the Housatonic River to avoid getting pinned down by the aliens, who are advancing on them from the north and east. They found a bridge and then broke it when they shot down an alien ship and some wreckage landed on the bridge. They get to fixing it enough to get the group across, while Ben uses his super powers to swim across the river and make sure they’re not walking right into an alien camp.
Ben finds the wreckage of the ship, and also gets a wicked static migraine from it, until he pulls it open to reveal what looks like a harness and stomps it to death. So the alien ships have no engine and no pilot, powered by biotechnology; basically they’re cylon raiders. I wonder if Ben will end up flying one. When he gets back to camp he lies that he didn’t see or hear anything radio-esque, but Weaver stares at him intently, so he probably knows Ben is lying. They make a plan to take out the radio receiver on the alien command tower Ben also found, to give them enough time to get over the river and through the woods
without being attacked, and they actually do.
Unfortunately, aliens are attacking them from the other side of the bridge, so the rest of the group has to move fast before they detonate the explosives to destroy the bridge. It’s going good until the med bus wheel gets stuck in a hole and for some reason Tom has Matt cut his restraints so he can get off the bus and help shoot at the on-coming Skitters and mechs. Even Matt is actually a little helpful by shooting a machine gun at a Skitter. But for some stupid reason Tom stays there shooting while everyone else has already made it to the other side of the bridge (or been killed).
When he finally decides to start running back across the bridge to the rest of the group, the Skitters and mechs are right behind him and he is literally screaming, “Blow it! Blow the bridge! Do it now! Do it now! Blow the bridge!” But Weaver keeps stalling, until Pope, the only person there with balls, grabs the detonator and blows it. Everyone’s shocked, thinking that Tom’s dead (again), and even though Pope did exactly what Tom was yelling at them to do, Hal gets pissy and punches him out, claiming that Pope was looking for an opportunity to take Tom out and he took it. For the record, Pope didn’t look satisfied, or at
all happy about it, and even tries to apologize to the boys.
Thankfully, we don’t have to spend another half season looking for Tom the way we got slogged down over the search for Ben last season, because he comes wading out of the water, announcing himself before Ben can shoot him (again). Everyone is happy.
The gang heads to an abandoned airport for their next camp; Lourdes (Anne’s medical assistant) notices that Tom’s eye parasite has escaped its jar, and we see it fly back to a Skitter on the other side of the bridge and crawl into it’s eye. Fun.