Welcome back my fellow rebels! Season 1 left the 2nd Mass high tailing it out of Boston while Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) was willingly boarding an alien ship. (Jump here for Season 1 recap.)
SYSTEM WARNING – SPOILERS
Season 2 opens three months later. A small squad of 2nd Mass fighters, lead by Captain Weaver (Will Patton), are making their way through a war-torn city street with Mechs and Skitters hot on their heels. Part of the unit is positioned in a building to rain bullets from above. Weaver calls a retreat. Ben can see a fallen Skitter trying to crawl to safety but he can’t get a clean shot so he jumps out the two story window and goes all kinds of Rambo on the Skitter’s throat. Hal runs after him. (Down the stairs and out the door like a normal human.) They hear a single gunshot. Hal demands that Ben follow orders and fall back but another Skitter comes around a corner. Ben instinctually shoots it but behind that Skitter is Tom. He’s taken a shot to the gut. (ugh, poor Ben! He’s just accidentally shot his own dad!) Hal and Ben get him to the rendezvous with the rest of the squad. The squad gets him to the “hospital” which is now in a bus. (Looks like the 2nd Mass is mobile.) Tom’s lost a lot of blood and the bullet is still lodged inside somewhere. Dr. Glass (Moon Bloodgood) is going to have to get it out.
Tom flashes out of consciousness. He wakes in a box and begins to thrash and scream. A red-eyed Skitter drags him out by his feet then zaps him several times with a crazy zat-stick. Karen comes to his rescue. She says she’s still Karen but she doesn’t act exactly like the old Karen. She’s responsive but zombie-like – stiff, monotone. She informs him that the aliens will allow the resistance to surrender. She then takes him to a room that looks a lot like a throne room. Sitting in a chair in the center is one of the tall skinny Overlords.
Dr. Glass thinks she’s gotten the bullet out but he’s lost a lot of blood so they’ll have to wait and see what happens. Hal updates Weaver on miscellaneous incidents. (Hal’s become the mighty young man hasn’t he?) Weaver still wants Hal to keep an eye on Ben. He may be fighting on the rebellion’s side but he could turn at any moment. Another worry – They haven’t heard anything from any other units. Weaver can’t be sure they will have any back up so the plan is now to just hurt the aliens as much as they can. Hal agrees.
Back on the alien ship – The Overlord says they will set up a protected area where human survivors can live. (That American Indian analogy from season 1 is really hitting home early this season.) The Overlord points out that they are just following human history. They are doing exactly what humans would do and have done. Tom makes the point that if those are human’s worst attributes than what does that make them – the ones that have killed billions? The Overlord responds, “the ones who will decide if your world lives or dies.”
The squad goes back out that night. Beamers come flying in just as they’re setting up their plan of attack. Their attack centers on the pickup but ends up taking out all of the surrounding bikes as well. It comes back for a second strike. It’s as though it’s targeting the heat signature alone. Pope’s more pissed because they got his Harley. The group returns to base on foot.
Weaver calls in the 2nd Mass’ new engineer, Jamil, to figure out a way to mask the heat of the engines for all of the vehicles. They have to be able to move; and soon.
Tom cautions the Overlord not to draw too much from the past because the humans of now – their history has yet to be written. He then beats the red-eyed Skitter, takes his electro-rod and goes after the Overlord. He gets a mighty jolt in before the Skitter comes to his senses and knocks Tom cold. Tom and a group of other humans are released in a field. All of them got the same message – lead their people to the neutral zone. All of them gave the same “hell no” response. The red-eyed Skitter leads a Mech in a slaughter. All but Tom are killed. It intentionally leaves Tom alive. (Message sent I think.)
Ben’s teaching Matt how to shoot. Hal thinks this is a really bad idea and something their dad would disapprove but Ben stands up to Hal this time. He doesn’t want Matt to end up taken like he was. If he’s old enough to load a gun he can learn to shoot one. Matt needs to know how to defend himself. Ben makes sure Hal understands completely and physically (holding Hal’s wrists he forces him easily to the ground) that he’s not the geek to be pushed around anymore.
Tom’s almost 800 miles away in Lansing Michigan. He’s got a long walk ahead of him. He scavenges as he goes and finds a coat and big sack of money. The money comes in handy making a fire. (What else are you going to do with it in a world run by aliens?) He also comes across a man trying to take a bag from a teenage girl. Tom’s able to beat the guy off and take his gun. The girl is rightfully scared. Tom gives her the bag back but wants to borrow her motorcycle. Reluctantly she agrees as long as they stop when she says and they don’t leave her companion unburied. Tom thinks that’s a small price to pay to get a faster mode of transportation.
Dr. Glass reports Tom’s status to Weaver; nothing’s changed. He offers her a shot of Glenfiddich scotch – if they have to bug out fast it’ll be a shame to let it go to waste. He admits he needs Tom back as his second in command. Dr. Glass thinks Weaver has done everything Tom would have wanted him to do. Jamil bursts in the tent with a solution to the heat problem! He’s found a bunch of fiberglass blankets they can use to mask the heat of the engines. Ben comes running in next, “something’s wrong with my dad!” Tom’s mumbling and he’s started bleeding again.
Tom is able to find the area with the school but he knows the 2nd Mass would have left long ago. The girl tells him that was her mom they buried and she thought the safest place to hide is in the mountains. (There’s no place to hide now sweetie.)
Pope and Anthony are dropping some great brotherly banter when Hal and Maggie run up with a report that Mechs are about a mile east. If they move the med bus Tom won’t make it. The decision is made – the med bus stays behind until Tom is stable. Everyone else must go.
A small squad stays behind with the med bus. They can hear the Mechs’ creepy moan. Their only plan is to lay low and hope the Mechs just pass on by. Things get tense as Tom begins to flail in pain but the Mechs don’t see a thing. All’s clear. They can leave.
Weaver actually smiles when he sees that bus. The next morning everyone waits to see if Tom will wake.
Tom’s still in dream land. He and the girl hear Mech fire and shot guns. The girl says she’s going to the mountains like her mom wanted and takes off on the bike. Tom can now hear Weaver barking commands to fall back. Tom fires a shot at a Skitter then jams a piece of rebar in his head. He then gets shot by Ben. (And the Tom story comes full circle.)
Tom wakes in the med bus to see Dr. Glass dozing next to him. The Mason family is reunited. He gets up and walks outside. (WTH?! You can do that after getting shot in the gut?!?!) Pope is the same old crass Pope – wanting to know how Tom got off the alien boat. You can tell it’s on Weaver’s mind as well.
And so ends hour 1.
Shall We Gather at the River
Several men are sleeping in a military tent. Old red-eye Skitter comes in and grabs Tom. He wakes with a startle during the day to an empty tent.
Dr. Glass checks him out head to toe but he seems normal. They get to talk a bit about the missing three months. They’ve been hard on her. So many people have died on that med bus; so many people she cared about. She keeps a picture of each to remind her. Rick didn’t make it.
Hal, Maggie, and Jamil are scoping out an old rickety bridge to see if they can cross. Hal points out that the Skitters have blown all of the bridges. (So why is this one still standing?) Ben and Jimmy are at the other end of the bridge when a Beamer heads toward them. Dai’s able to shoot it down but it takes out a big chunk of bridge with it. (Oops.)
Weaver is filling in the military gaps for Tom. After they blew that structure in Boston they had Skitters on their tail night and day. Weaver did everything he could think of to shake them. They were surrounded in Pittsburgh. Ben found a soft spot in their lines so they were able to get away. They lost more than a hundred people that day. They can’t afford another Pittsburgh. And he needs Tom. He needs his second in command. But Tom can’t trust himself so Weaver shouldn’t either.
Pope’s Berserkers are gearing up and talking about Dylan (yes Bob) being alive and holed up in Minnesota broadcasting rebel songs. (YAY! It’s Ryan Robbins) Lourdes reluctantly tends to a wound on Pope. He tries to get some info out of her about Tom but if she knows anything she’s not sharing. Meanwhile, the scouts are back.
Weaver and crew head out to the bridge to see what they can do. The only option is to patch the bridge. The Skitters have them pinned from all directions. Hal volunteers to take a boat across with Maggie to scout the other side. Ben steps in to point out he can make it faster by swimming. Weaver agrees and sends Jimmy to cover him. (This is a harsh reality for Tom to see his son this way. Ben is slowly becoming one of the aliens.)
Tom asks a favor of Hal. He admits he’s got time chunks missing from his memory. He can’t be trusted. He wants Hal to keep an eye on him. If he does anything strange he wants Hal to take care of it. He demands Hal promise – and then he starts bleeding out of his eye.
GROSS ALERT!! When Dr. Glass examines Tom’s eye she sees some kind of gray wiggly thing. (OMG shudder!) She’s able to pull it out with Tom kicking and screaming the entire time. (I’m guessing that hurt a lot.) It looks like some kind of metal parasite creature. (Do you remember the thing Trinity sucks out of Neo’s gut in the Matrix? Ya that – just a lot smaller. Double shudder!) Dr. Glass plops that writhing wiggly like son-of-a-gun into a glass jar and slaps a metal lid on it.
Everyone is arguing over what to do with the parasite AND Tom. Tom’s best solution is to restrain him. There could be more of those things in him and they can’t take a chance. Weaver does just that.
Ben finds plane wreckage as he scouts the woods across the river. He gets a piercing blast to his brain. He finds a harness looking creature screaming among the wreckage. He kicks it dead. After a while scouting again he hears that sound again. This time he finds Mechs and Beamers at a small base. Smart boy takes lots of photos.
Pope makes it very clear he’s not happy with Weaver taking Tom across the river. He thinks they should put a bullet in his head. They’re going to have to deal with the human lo-jack.
Ben has a sit-down chat with his dad. How does Ben keep the Skitters from controlling him? Hate. (More like the white-hot hate of a thousand suns.) He shows his dad the extent that the scales have started to cover his back. Tom agrees that hate is a powerful emotion, “but if hate is all you’ve got then they’ve won.” It was his love for them that kept him going.
As everyone is preparing to bug out Hal and Maggie talk about the Skitter sex life. Jamil and Lourdes seem to be sweet on each other. Matt doesn’t want to have anything to do with his dad. And the ‘bug’ eats its way out of the glass jar and escapes out a window (after crawling all over Lourdes – shudder).
Hal, Maggie, Ben and Dai are charged with blowing that base in the woods.
Jamil gets the bridge patched so one by one the vehicles start to cross.
The Mechs at the base have caught wind of Pope and his Berserkers so they leave to engage. Dai’s not close enough to hit the base so he slides down a hill to get a closer shot. He hits the antennae!
The Mechs might be heading after Pope and his gang but the Beamers are all about the bridge. They get off a few shots that make everyone duck for cover. Weaver finds Jamil taking cover right next to a box of TNT. (Not the best place kid!) Lucky for them the Beamers leave. Without the antennae they have no control so they seem to head back to base.
Pope returns with Mechs on their tails. Everyone needs to get across that bridge so Jamil can blow it. But of course the med bus gets stuck! (What happened to the Mech buster ammo?!?! Now would be a good time to use it!) Weaver wants everyone to hoof it across the bridge but Dr. Glass can’t leave the wounded. Matt cuts his dad’s bonds. Tom races to the front of the battle to man the 50 cal. (Of course he does. Because not one of the other soldiers up there fighting could jump up there and take over. It HAAAS to be Tom that saves the day. The writer had me with great story up until now.) A Skitter jumps aboard in front of Tom (note he’s in FRONT of the business end of the 50cal!) but Matt takes it out with an uzi. (Really? Not only do you make the history teacher run all the way to the front to save the entire convoy but now you gotta have the little kid pick up a fully automatic machine gun after one lesson on a shotgun?!?! FACEPALM) That Mech takes a lot of people out before Tom can take it down. The rest of the group is able to get the med bus going. Tom makes a run for it across the bridge. He’s yelling for them to blow it. Weaver keeps telling Jamil to wait. (It’s a very tense Braveheart kind of “WAAAAIT”) Pope takes matters into his own hands – literally. He takes the detonator and blows the bridge. It doesn’t look like Tom made it.
Weaver lets Hal know they’ll go back and search for Tom as soon as they make camp. They lost 3 vehicles, the food truck and 6 fine men. The scouts spotted a Skitter-free airport they can use for the next camp.
Pope tries to apologize to Hal but Hal pops him with a great right hook. While they’re fighting Tom comes stumbling out of the water back from the dead AGAIN. There is much rejoicing. (There was much “REALLY” on my part. Sigh.)
Lourdes notices the parasite has flown the glass jar. The next time we see the creepy wiggler, it’s is crawling into the eye of old Mr. Red-eye Skitter.
Creepy ending to such an action packed two hours. Many times I’m disappointed with season premiers. They usually don’t have enough follow-up of enough action but this time Falling Skies impressed me! Well I was impressed until the last 5 minutes but even then it was still a very fun ride. I guess writers have to push that envelope of cheese in action sequences. It’s got to be over the top so we stand up and cheer. I just think they might have been able to do it a wee little bit better.
The introduction of the new alien life form (the parasite) and the character establishment of one of the Skitters (Old Red-eye) were great additions. I also like the addition of new 2nd Mass members. The entire show seems to be growing and that what it should do in a consecutive season.
What were your favorite parts? Where do you want to see this season head?