Falling Skies Season 2 Premiere Review

Falling Skies Season 2 Premiere ReviewFalling Skies feels slightly different in the early goings of Season 2 versus the rocky first season. Fundamentally it’s still the same; Tom and Weaver are doing everything in their power to keep a group of civilians alive in a post-alien invasion world. Yet, in a positive way, it is still different.

Season 2 kicked off Sunday night with a two-part premiere ‘Worlds Apart‘ and ‘Shall We Gather at the River.’ Like the series premiere, it begins with a gunfight against Skitters, only this time the Skitters are in full sight and have a mech at their disposal.

This gunfight is emblematic of the first notable difference in Season 2. TNT upped the Falling Skies budget and the producers put those extra dollars to work. There’s a more cinematic scope and feel to the show that begins with this gunfight and carries throughout the two-part season premiere. Not everything looks as “big” as it should, but there are some set pieces that never would have stood a chance at appearing in Season 1.

‘Worlds Apart’ picks up roughly three months after Tom walked on board an Overlord ship in the Season 1 finale. In his absence, son Hal has been forced in to a leadership position and is maturing on the job. His other son, Ben, has also become more involved in the fight, determined to prove his worth despite the scars from a harness that line his back.

Falling Skies Season 2 Premiere Review

Interspersed with the opening gunfight is a look into Tom’s time on the ship. The Overlords torture and eventually question him, and Tom of course fights back with balls of steel. This whole sequence, even though it is broken up into parts, looks plucked right from a movie and is up there with the best moments Falling Skies has produced yet.

Tom eventually gets off the Overlord ship the one way he can – by their choice – and survives a firing squad upon realizing he wasn’t the only human resistance leader brought in for questioning. It’s a bit of a stretch that bullets pound into the girl running next to Tom and he escapes unscathed, even by television standards. The Skitters had no reason to let Tom live as he ran away, yet chose to do so anyway for no apparent reason other than a flinch of sympathy.

Tom eventually reunites with the 2nd Mass in a shantytown setup underneath an interstate overpass. Here is where the show takes another turn in a new direction. Realizing he’s been captive and not knowing what the aliens have done with him, Tom refuses to return to his command post while Pope and others rightfully question his health and intentions given his captivity. Instead, Tom labels himself as dangerous and keeps everyone around him at arm’s length.

It will be fun to watch Tom as Season 2 progresses and how he deals with the knowledge that an alien worm-thing was plucked from his eye in by far the grossest scene in the series to date. He doesn’t trust himself, and John Pope certainly doesn’t trust him either. It’s a darker world in Season 2 and Tom’s unfortunate situation is right in the middle of the storm.

Falling Skies Season 2 Premiere Review

Tom’s fate now mirrors that of his son Ben, living with the fear that the aliens could take control of you at any moment. Ben seemed to have mostly conquered this fear through “anger” as he explained to his father, until he threw a curveball when he deliberately didn’t alert his team that he picked up on an alien audio signal in the woods. He just can’t seem to make up his mind which side he’s on. Assuming he has a choice in the matter.

‘Shall We Gather at the River’ ends the two-part Falling Skies: Season 2 premiere with a bang as the 2nd Mass cross a patched-up bridge to get out of Skitter territory. Skitters attack during the escape, and Tom steps up to sacrifice himself so the group can escape. As the bridge blows at the hand of John Pope, the 2nd Mass watch as Tom is seemingly flung off to the side.

I was a little annoyed that no one thought of sending out a small search party for Tom after the explosion. They all assumed he was dead, yet clearly he wasn’t. He wasn’t that far away, either, so just leaving so briskly made little sense. It didn’t take Tom long to catch up with the group, but the whole sequence came across as ill-conceived.

The second episode ended with a neat little twist as the eyeball spy thing returned to its master, the same Skitter that Tom attacked on the alien ship and left his face partially disfigured. This Skitter, named “Red Eye,” is the first to be singled out and given his own persona. Let’s hope there is much more of him and his spy work to come.

Here are some notable moments and observations from the Falling Skies: Season 2 premiere:

– Pulling the alien spy device from Tom’s eyeball was just nasty.

Falling Skies Season 2 Premiere Review

– All the new characters that were introduced either died or rode away.

– Ben is being set up to emotionally implode at some point.

– I can’t get over how Hal’s hair always looks perfect.

– Jimmy is growing up very quickly.

– For a second it looked like Weaver was trying to booze up Anne to put the moves on her.

– The previews tells us the Overlords will hit the ground running. I cannot wait.

– No more lost and found plots with Tom, please.

– The 2nd Mass is officially on the road, Mad Max-style.

When Falling Skies first launched last year, I was critical of the characters, their lack of development, and uninteresting plotlines. So far Falling Skies: Season 2 has quickly remedied all those fears and set up some compelling post-alien apocalypse drama to come.

– Dan Bradley

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