Welcome back Falling Skies fans!
We are halfway through the season and already the TNT network has picked Falling Skies up for a second season! It certainly appears Steven Spielberg has a winner with this new show that introduces us to spider-like aliens called Skitter and their mechanical monsters the “Mechs”!
Todd Masters of MastersFX worked with Steven Spielberg‘s designers and CGI (Computer Generated Graphics) special effects house ZOIC Studios to create the wonderful Skitter characters we see in Falling Skies!
I cannot help but notice the resemblance between the Skitter’s and the aliens portrayed in J.J. Abrams movie Super 8 which Steven Spielberg was also involved in.
However, I must point out that while similar, Neville Page is the man who created the Cloverfield monster and was the individual behind the alien out of Super 8..
I am excited to be writing about this weeks episode of Falling Skies “Silent Kill”. Under the direction of Dreamworks Television we learned even more about the characters and one shocking thing about the Skitters! When we last saw our group of survivors they had just discovered that the Skitter have a vulnerable spot inside their mouths behind the soft pallet. Uncle Scott (Bruce Gray) and Matt Mason (Maxim Knight) found that the Skitter also communicated through radio waves to deliver their messages to their victims.
This must be how they control the children, telepathically via short distance radio waves. We know this because the caged Skitter actually used Ricky (Daniyah Ysrayl) to communicate with the humans of the resistance. The Skitter appeared frightened or even scared, but I suppose maybe it is because it is a prisoner of war. The Skitter asked the members of the resistance to kill it via its mental link to Ricky.
Could it be that bad going back to Skitter high command without his child prisoner? Is there a punishment by the higher echelon in the Skitter hierarchy for failure? It appears so since the Skitters we have observed are actually be the foot soldiers in the Skitter army that watch over the children. The question lingers though; Why so much interest in our children?
Falling Skies illustrates how humans can band together in a time of crisis to fight for their freedom and the safety of their families. We started the series six months after the invasion. That was enough time for our survivors to get over the shock but not far enough into the future for their mourning to be over.
With Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) losing his wife the very first day of the invasion and Dr. Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood), a pediatrician, losing her son there are moments in the show where we get to see real human emotions. Falling Skies nails that! During the “Silent Kill” episode we saw a softer side to both Captain Weaver (Will Patton) and Anne who have been mourning their own family losses quietly.
Falling Skies is not your typical alien invasion show. We were spared the spaceships arriving, the blowing up of buildings, as well as world leaders including our President trying to communicate to make peace with the aliens.
Also nice were the scenes not included like people running around frantic in panic. They have been here for six months and let us all face the facts; the Skitters kicked our ass plain an d simple. They then proceeded to kidnap our teens and turned them into slave worker drones!
Silent Kill opens with Margaret (Sarah Sanguin Carter) and Hal Mason (Drew Roy) getting back from a recon mission with hard drugs, in fact narcotics that they had procured from the local drug pusher. We do not know the precise details, but thanks to Margaret’s street smarts and survival instincts, the drugs have been obtained while Tom prepares for a mission to save the enslaved children!
During this and future episodes, Doctors Michael Harris (Steven Weber) and Anne Glass will need these drugs to keep the victims from dying during removal of the harnesses from the backs of the children. But are the harnesses nothing more than bugs with metallic drug injecting tentacles into the children?
The reason the invading aliens attach these harnesses to the spine of the children is more than troubling. The act literally turns them into walking zombies that follow every command the Skitter give them. It now seems certain that the harnesses are a bio mechanical interface between the humans and the Skitter. The harness can inject an opiate like substance to control the children and when removed, the children suffer from withdrawal and die. Keeping the children addicted to the drugs that the harness releases is an easier way to keep the children obedient. It appeals to their pleasure seeking side that all humans are prone to favor.
As we learn during “Silent Hill”, it appears that each Skitter controls a certain amount of teens so they can work the children around the clock. Are they training them so later the children can go inside the Mech? Could it be the two-legged Mech’s are actually operated by harnessed children like poor Rick (Daniyah Ysrayl) who remains haunted by his time with the Skitters?
Tom Mason, Hal Mason and a small group of soldiers are planning on going to the hospital intent on rescuing the children and using the harness removal procedure observed in “Grace” to save the children and the “missing”.
Margaret, who was (against her will) with John Pope’s (Colin Cunningham) group at first, has proved herself to be quiet useful. With her crossbow skills and her knowledge that helps her navigate the soldiers around the hospital. Tom and Hal have a lot to thank her for. .
Doctors Anne Glass and Michael Harris are at odds on how to treat the alien that Tom Mason brought back. Anne is giving the skitter water and trying to communicate with it. Does it really know what she is trying to do? I think we will come to find that the Skitters understand much more than we give them credit for.
Dr. Michael Harris has such a dislike for the Skitter that he shows it no mercy while he is holding it captive. Antagonizing it seems to be something he enjoys. In the end though it is the Skitter who has the last laugh as he kills Dr. Michael Harris. I saw that coming. Did you as well?
However, I did not think it would come so quickly in Falling Skies. Steven Weber is such a brilliant actor and I really would have liked to see more out of him in this series. With Harris’ death by Skitter, now it is up to Anne to remove all the harnesses from the children. With the loss of her own son she has found she can get peace of mind knowing that she can save others. In one scene that to me was full of emotion, Anne shows Hal and Tom how they can actually kill the Skitter.
We see Anne remember when Mike (Martin Roach) knocked the skitter unconscious by hitting it in a nerve center behind the soft pallet. Not wanting to risk the mission and Hal’s life on a theory, Anne takes a scalpel and plunges it into the Skitter mouth and twists it until she kills it!
Hal and Tom are shocked at what they just witnessed but if you asked me it was time Anne actually got mad at the aliens for killing her family. Storming into the hall, Anne goes to the bulletin board with all the missing family members and tells Tom that she does not have anything that belonged to her family that she could put up. The only thing that she has is the blood from the skitter that she had just killed. Anne slams her hand onto the bulletin board and smears it with blood. She walked off leaving Tom standing there in disbelief. Actually, I think it was really good to see Anne getting angry and taking her revenge out on the skitter.
In Silent Kill, we get to observe a side of Captain Weaver’s character that we did see not in the previous episodes. A softer side that shows he is suffering a loss of sorts. What exactly the loss is that he is experiencing is yet to be told. Could it be the loss of his wife or the loss of his child? Maybe that loss is what has turned him into a hard yet determined man. Together with Mason’s knowledge on military tactics surely they will find a way to keep the civilians of the “Second Mass” safe from the Skitter and bring the children home safely.
In the first few episodes it appears that the Skitter are just using our children for hard labor. In Silent Kill we see a different side of the Skitter. As Hal Mason sneaks into the hospital with the harness strapped to his back, he follows the other children to a room. The Mech looks at Hal Mason but does not notice that he is not with the group. One can only speculate as to why. The children all lie down in a circle and the Skitter climbs over them and protects them like a mother protecting her children.
The Skitter rubs each of them on the head as if it is showing the children affection. Why are they doing this? Could there really be children inside the Mechs? Maybe the Skitters are training the kids by making them work so hard to get them ready for insertion inside the Mechs?
After the resistance soldiers raid the hospital and they rescue the children, they are all taken back to the camp where Anne, assisted by young Lourdes (Seychelle Gabriel), Tom and others remove the harnesses. Speaking of Lourdes, I am hopeful she gets more lines and more of a character in the future. Lourdes helps and the harness removal procedures are successful for all the salved children except for one child who perishes in the process. We are immediately reminded that with the loss of a patient, a child, proves to be a painful reminder to Anne about her own loss.
However, even with removal of the harness, are the children really saved? With Ricky, he did not even remember his father. We observed that he even strapped the harness to his own back in last episode to try and free the captured Skitter. Can removing the harnesses really free these children from the Skitter control? Why does Ricky not notice and recognize his father? The answer is that some of the children are obviously affected and brainwashed more than others “bonded” to their Skitter masters.
With each episode we see the characters getting closer to each other and forming new relationships. Could this mean something for Tom and Anne? It would seem so. I for one would not mind seeing a relationship form between these two characters. Both of them suffer the loss of someone. Maybe bringing the two of them together will help them heal. Hal and Margaret seem to be getting closer to one another in a budding romance.
My biggest question would be what happened to Karen after she was kidnapped by the Skitters and harnessed? No one has been looking for her which I think is odd, but maybe I am just impatient? Hopefully in future Falling Skies episodes we will see what has happened to Karen (Jessy Schram). I hope it is possible that Hal or the others will be able will rescue her? as you may recall Karen was last seen being dragged off likely to be harnessed! 🙁
Overall, “Silent Kill” was a very good episode. Anne and Margaret both took on a much more important role in the show, which had mainly focused on or been about Tom Mason and his efforts to rescue some of the harnessed kids including his son Ben. After the harness removal, much to my surprise Ben wakes up and actually recognizes his father. This being said, it was heartwarming to see Ben (Connor Jessup) and father Tom reunited at the very end of the episode.
In the Silent Kill episode I definitely missed John Pope’s crazy antics. However what the episode lacked in “Pope comedy” it made up for with several touching moments over and above the reunion of the Mason family. None of the moments were more touching than Captain Weaver (Will Patton) listening to the record at the end of the show. I hope we soon find out who it was that Weaver lost during the invasion. Maybe Weaver will eventually put a picture up on the bulletin board with the rest of the missing?
I would like to share a few more observations; Will our survivors be able to remain at the abandoned John F. Kennedy school? Or do they plan to move to a more safe and secure location? Some sense of normalcy was kept in this episode with Sarah (Melissa Kramer) and her baby.
Anne Glass showing up to demonstrate her support at the baby shower was a step towards healing for her and was quite touching. And will we see John Pope again soon? It seems certain because Colin Cunningham is listed for more episodes, so I cannot wait to see what he has been up to. I also hope that he is written into season two of Falling Skies!
Falling Skies returns each Sunday evening in the United States at 10 PM E/P 9 central on TNT. Make sure to tune in to the next episode. “Sanctuary” (part one) and find out what is about to happen to our band of heroes! In the meantime we include the video recap of “Silent Kill” courtesy of TNT!
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