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Sunday, June 9, 2013

My Review of Falling Skies 3.01 and 3.02- On Thin Ice and Collateral Damage

It's been seven months since the events of the second season and there's a whole lot going on.  The Espheni (aka the Overlords) have a new leader as does the New United States.  We see the fallout of Hal's worm thing and we are introduced to the aliens who landed at the end of last season....

So, let's start with the aliens.  We now have 3 alien races.  The Espheni are a race who go throughout the galaxy conquering planets for their resources.  In the process they have enslaved the Skitters (what is their real name?) and the Volm (aka the aliens from the season 2 finale).  The Volm managed to escape or drive off (missed which one) the Espheni and now go throughout the galaxy helping to free enslaved planets (or so they say).  The Volm have brought new weapons which fire some sort of energy pulse and medial technology to remove harnesses safely.  They are also building what they claim is a weapon which will help to defeat the Espheni.  Oh, and we also found out that the structures like the one destroyed in the season 1 finale supposedly form a network which keeps Volm ships off of planets the Espheni have enslaved.

Yes, there are a lot of supposes and so they says there.  That is because while we know what the Volm say, it is yet to be determined if they are in fact telling the truth or if they are driving off the Espheni in order to enslave the planet themselves.  And that is a fear shared by many humans, Weaver included.  Given everything that has happened, I can't blame people for being suspicious of the Volms motives.  Tom seems to be going along with what the Volm want, which is slightly surprising.  But, as he pointed out, sometimes you have to team up with people you don't want to team up with for a greater purpose.  It remains to be seen if he is merely being expedient or if he honestly believes what the Volm are saying.

Speaking of Tom, he is the new President of the New United States.  Not surprising, all things considered.  He is Manchester's protege and is familiar with history and government.  He is also a civilian who has military experience, so he can see both sides well.  He is also well positioned to be a leader because his son (Ben) is the best connection with the rebel Skitters that the humans have.  All in all, I do not think there was really a better choice to be the new president.  Unfortunately, his new job is not keeping him from fighting and is causing him to leave Matt more or less alone at a critical juncture and Matt is reacting in a fairly predictable way (more on that momentarily).  It was nice to see that he and Anne are still together and that Anne has in fact given birth now.  The baby is a little freaky and is developing *MUCH* quicker than she should be.  So want an explanation for that.

Matt is reacting to the absence of his father by rebelling in some interesting ways.  He is finally able to help on missions, but he is also skipping school and blowing up random buildings.  Oh, and he also severely mouthed off to Anne.  On a somewhat amusing point, Maxim (who plays Matt) revealed in a tweet that he was actually told to throw in a curse word when he was mouthing off in order to get Moon (who plays Anne) to react appropriately.  Fortunately, Matt does have a good head on his shoulders and admitted what he did to Tom and then apologized to Anne.  There is hope for him yet.  I was also amused to discover that Maxim has a similar facial structure to Connor (who plays Ben).  That was good (or fortuitous) casting there.

Ben is still operating as the human connection to the rebel Skitters.  He has also found a new deharnessed girl who works with him to communicate with the rebel Skitters during fights.  Other than that, not much has changed with him.  He has apparently worked things out with Hal and is doing a good job with what he has to do.

Hal, on the other hand, is not having an easy time.  At first, the probe Karen inserted into him paralyzed him from the neck down for some reason.  She claims that it was because he was fighting it.  Now, the probe has confined him to a wheelchair.  The issue is that there is nothing physically wrong with him.  He can walk around (and does to meet Karen when he is asleep), but when he is awake, he can't walk.  I am wondering if this is a psychosomatic thing or if the probe is actually doing something.  I was definitely annoyed when he accused Maggie of sleeping with Lars, but I wonder how much of that was because he is frustrated with being stuck in a wheelchair.  Hopefully he'll stop being an ass soon.

Weaver is definitely wary of the Volm.  He seems to hesitantly trust the rebel Skitters because of Ben, but he does not fully trust the Volm.  I wonder if he is going to be to Tom what Tom was to him: a voice to challenge and critically examine decisions.  That would be an interesting dynamic change.  I was definitely surprised when I saw that Tom created a plan to use Weaver's column as bait to trick the Esheni into leaving the gate to the power plant unguarded.  It was obviously with Weaver's complicity, but it was still surprising.  I saw a ruse of some sort coming, but I did not expect Tom to do what he did.  Was it necessary?  Yes, it was.  But it was still surprising.

And Karen is the new Overlord for the Esheni.  Given that she was the human representative of the previous Overlord, I am not surprised, but that is not good news.  She knows Tom, the 2nd Mass, and humans, so she will be able to use psychological warfare like the Esheni could not before.  I suspect that leaving the harnessed and changed kids to guard the inside of the power plant was her idea.  She knows that humans will hesitate before killing kids, and they did.  That was an impressive move on her part.

I have to wonder who the mole is.  It could be Hal, but there are some things which militate against him being the mole.  When Manchester was shot, he was (supposedly) at Anne's bedside waiting for his half-sister and when the mole went through the plans, Hal was (apparently) with Tom and his group.  There is no definite proof exonerating Hal, so we'll leave him as a suspect for the moment.  All we know for sure is that the mole knew Manchester (witness Manchester's reaction when the mole entered his office) and the mole has access to military weapons.  I would also suspect that it could be Tom's aide, Ben, or the new deharnessed girl.  Both Ben and the girl could possibly be controlled through the spikes on their backs, and in that case they may well be unwitting moles.  Tom's aide was known to Manchester too, so that would not be terribly surprising.  Given what I have heard, I expect to know the identity of the mole by episode 8 which has been described as a game changer (not in those words though).

Until next week!