TV Review: Falling Skies: Season 2, Episode 3 “Compass”

Genre: Sci-Fi | Action | Drama

Air Date/Time: Sunday, June 24 at 9/8c

Network: TNT

Created by: Robert Rodat

Written by: Bryan Oh

Directed by: Michael Katleman

Summary:
Falling Skies chronicles the chaotic aftermath of an alien attack that has left most of the world completely incapacitated. In the nine months since the initial invasion, the few remaining survivors have banded together outside major cities to begin the difficult task of fighting back. Each day is a test of survival as citizen soldiers work to protect the people in their care while also engaging in an insurgency campaign against the occupying alien force, whose nature and purpose remains a mystery.

As the second season of Falling Skies opens, three months have passed since Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) went willingly with the aliens in one of their ships. Nobody has seen or heard from him during this time, and his absence has taken its toll on his sons. Tom hoped that by agreeing to a dialogue with the invaders, he would not only free his son Ben from the invaders’ influence but also get a better picture of the aliens’ overall plan.

Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation) also stars as Anne Glass, a pediatrician who works with the survivors to help them cope with the traumatic upheaval in their lives. Will Patton(Armageddon, TNT’s Into the West) plays Weaver, a fierce military leader of the resistance and Tom’s commanding officer. The series also stars Drew Roy (Secretariat) as Hal, Tom’s oldest son and a growing fighter in the resistance movement; Maxim Knight (Brothers & Sisters) as Matt, Tom’s youngest son; Connor Jessup (The Saddle Club) as Ben, Tom’s son who was captured by aliens and has since returned to the group; and Seychelle Gabriel (Weeds) as Lourdes, an orphaned pre-med student who helps Anne in the group’s makeshift medical clinic. Mpho Koaho (Rookie Blue) and Peter Shinkoda (The L Word) play Anthony and Dai, two resistance fighters in the 2nd Mass.; Colin Cunningham (Living in Your Car) is John Pope, the head of a gang of marauders called the Berserkers; and Sarah Sanguin Carter (Shark) is Maggie, a wary survivor from Pope’s gang.

This week’s episode takes us a step back towards Season 1 in many ways, as the struggles once again turn inward. The pace and the atmosphere is still a bit more action-oriented than last year, but the intra-group suspicions and factions take the lead in this episode. There are a couple of surprises, and a couple of new mysteries, both of which should turn into major plot points in the coming seven episodes of this 10-episode season.

It’s unfortunate that the sometimes unwieldy, sometimes stilted, sometimes cheesy dialogue is making it hard for me to feel drawn in, and that the decreased action in this episode makes it hard for me to stay focused. Don’t get me wrong, there are definite developments this episode, but I just didn’t feel them the way I think I could, were I given a better opportunity. One “reaction” scene in particular came seemingly out of the blue and wasn’t well executed by anyone, from writer to actor to director to editor. Come on, now, I know you can do better than this.

On the other hand, there was one really nice moment between Tom and one of his sons in which they said the same thing at the same time. It perfectly captured something familiar to probably all of us, when we say a line that has been repeated over and over again within the family, to the point where you all say it together. A lovely glimpse into a shared experience, a long-ago family life.

Out of the entire cast, Connor Jessup as Ben has either the best part, the best writing, or the best acting chops. Whatever it is, his character ironically – given he has that alien-implanted spine thingy – seems the most natural, and this week he really owns it. Well done. Everyone else is clearly working hard and doing what they can with what they’re given.

The music is once again nicely supportive and sets the tone without overwhelming. Okay, except for one bit that is straight out of some romantic scene from a really bad 1980s show, that fortunately doesn’t wreck the only scene in which it makes its appearance. The closing music is perfect. Costumes, sets, sound, lighting, all good. Directing and editing? Hm, maybe they could have done more with what they were given, maybe not.

In spite of some good and interesting developments and a couple of twists, I wasn’t quite feeling it this week. I’m expecting, hoping that it’s just a little miss-step, and that next week we’ll be back up to snuff with everything. If you are a fan of the show, you’ll enjoy this episode, and it shouldn’t be missed regardless, or you won’t know where (spoilers) are or why they’re all (spoilers).

I give Falling Skies: Season 2, Episode 3 “Compass” Three Out of Five Stars.

 

 

Erin Willard
Written by Erin Willard

is the Editor In Chief and West Coast Correspondent for SciFiMafia.com