luke kalamar says the sky is falling …
Plot: 7 months have gone by and a lot has changed for humanity since the Volm arrived. Empowered with new alien tech and a different leader at the helm, the small remaining forces of the United States are slowly but surely winning more battles against the invading Espheni. Trust is in short supply however and some people view the Volm and allied Skitter rebels as a problem. There is also a spy within the human army that’s exposing their plans to the enemies, which is only the tip of their new found problems.
In a move that appears to be getting a lot of traction with recent shows, Falling Skies leaves a sizable gap in time between two seasons. The Season 2 finale, “A More Perfect Union,” ended with an unknown race of aliens landing in Charleston right in front of the human army. The big mystery was who these new additions were and if they were friends or foes. Instead of focusing on their early interactions, Season 3 instead jumps several months into the future where these new aliens, called the Volm, have allied with the humans and have provided many technological advances. This new technology has played a decisive factor in recent victories for this small but growing faction of people. There have also been a lot of changes over time with the characters we have become familiar with. Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) is now the President of the New United States, Hal Mason (Drew Roy) is paralyzed from the waste down, and Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood) is nearing the end of her pregnancy, to name a few. We also have some new characters named Cochise (Doug Jones), Dr. Roger Kadar (Robert Sean Leondard), and Gloria Reuben (Marina Perlata). With a new time gap and a fresh coat of paint for many characters, is Season 3 able to get off on the right foot or does it stumble on its own mysteries?
Despite some pretty glaring issues, the Season 3 premiere episodes “On Thin Ice” and “Collateral Damage” do a great job bringing us into this new world where the humans are actually a powerful fighting force and the Espheni are resorting to desperate tactics. It’s clear that the Volm have brought a lot of powerful opportunities to the New United States. It’s also obvious that in terms of production quality, the show has once again improved greatly. So far every new season has allowed the show to look better and make greater strides that were simply not possible before. A great example of this is Cochise, the Volm emissary who frequently works with Tom and his crew, and played by Doug Jones. Jones is best known for playing Abe Sapien in the Hellboy films and The Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Jones is obviously good at playing inhuman characters and does an excellent job as Cochise. The motion capture looks great and it sounds great as well. The Skitters and Espheni mechs look even better this time around too. All of this contributes to an even better viewing experience.
The new mysteries brought on in these two premiere episodes are very intriguing as well which is definitely very good. The big overarching problem is easily the Espheni spy who has infiltrated the New United States. There are a lot of possibilities of who the spy really is, and I like how it’s not blatantly obvious from the get go. Far too often do shows create mystery like this but then make it way to easy to solve before the “big” reveal. The natural suspect is Hal who we know was planted with a mind controlling warm by Karen (Jessy Schram), but his presence in certain events and paralysis while conscious almost completely absolves him. Hal’s paralysis is also a mystery in itself. We get an idea of how he got paralyzed in “Collateral Damage,” but then we also see him sleep walking. Why he can and can’t walk at certain times begs an answer, and I look forward to learning more about it.
Then we have Tom’s new born baby Alexis. The revelation that Anne was pregnant with Tom’s child in the Season 2 finale was a big moment for the show as it not only brought these two characters together in a new way, but this is the first new child born after the alien invasion. As Matt Mason (Maxim Knight) said in a surprisingly poignant moment for his character, the baby will know nothing about the world pre-invasion. But as we saw in “Collateral Damage,” things are not exactly perfect with the child. Despite only being a week old, Alexis is able to talk and move herself around freely. This rapid advancement is very possibly related to Tom’s stay in the alien ship after Season 1, but that has obviously not been confirmed yet. What is confirmed though is that this super child is creepy as hell. The scene where the baby disappeared under the bed and Anne couldn’t find her was extremely unsettling, probably because of the very creepy laughter that appeared to be everywhere in the room. I’m very excited to see more of this creepy super baby, but also a bit scared.
Some of the personal changes with the characters were great too. Tom is obviously the perfect fit to be President, I like how Matt has grown into a rebellious type, and Ben’s (Connor Jessup) ability to be a sort of super solider is awesome. There is however one character that is still resistant to growth and it’s even more annoying now after such a large time gap. I’m of course talking about John Pope (Colin Cunningham) who is apparently still grasping onto his anti-Tom Mason leadership mantra. Pope has been a mainstay of Tom’s group since Season 1 and his rebellious but caring attitude was always one of his charms, but now it’s wearing thin. Pope and his crew have a great thing going with Tom in Charleston and it’s annoying how they keep talking about fleeing to Mexico and being on their own. So much has changed for the better between Season 2 and Season 3 and it’s stupid that Pope is still who he was way back in the beginning.
I was also disappointed by the surprising lack of Cochise screen time in both “On Thin Ice” and “Collateral Damage.” The appearance of the Volm was the perfect end point for Season 2, but now their mentioned by name far more often than actually appearing. We’ve only see Cochise so far and even his scenes are few and far between. I get that the Volm have done a lot of good for the human race, but it would’ve been much better to actually see them at work. We already learned that there are more than 20 or 30 Volm on Earth by Charleston, and it’s weird that we haven’t seen much of them despite their grand entrance. I also found it bizarre that characters like Colonel Dan Weaver (Will Patton) are expressing concern with trusting the Volm too much. I feel like after 7 months and how much the humans have begun to rely on the Volm, it’s a bit too late to have concerns. The humans can’t even survive an ambush of super mechs without Volm weaponry, and the Volm were already established as the force that has protected Charleston since Season 2. The humans are ALREADY completely reliant on the Volm. Had this season taken place during their early arrival I can see Weaver’s point, but it’s a bit moot after 7 months.
With a whole cropping of new mysteries and fresh characters, Season 3 got off to a great start with two excellent episodes. However, there are still some problems that definitely held the premiere back in terms of quality, with Pope’s resistance to change being a big issue. Hopefully this will be resolved in future episodes. I am very excited to watch these new mysteries unravel though, and I’m looking forward to seeing if my theory of who the spy is comes true.
All photos courtesy of and credited to TNT.