This week's ponderously titled "Falling Skies" episode pushes forward a couple of expected but nonetheless welcome developments as the battle against the alien invaders takes a turn.
****Some mild spoilers about this week's episode after the jump.****
"Love and Other Acts of Courage" (yikes) elaborates on something we've known since last season: the Skitters aren't in charge of this little invasion and might be as much victims in the whole conflict as the humans are. Last season, we learned that the harnesses that are being grafted onto Earth's children are slowly transforming them into the six-legged creatures, and that maybe the Skitters didn't look the way they look now.
Here, we find out that within the invasion, there is a resistance (maybe), and that inside that resistance are parties that believe Tom Mason and the Second Mass could potentially be the bridge to unite the Skitters and help them take down the tall aliens dubbed the "Overlords" this episode.
I won't reveal how the Second Mass comes by this information, but it does involve a character that they thought lost coming back (even if just briefly), and it puts Ben at odds with the rest of the group. In spite of his Skitter killing spree this season, a part of him is loyal to them (the harnessed part) and the question that's swirling in everyone's mind is how long until he becomes another Ricky, selling out the group so he can get re-harnessed?
Another intriguing idea: how would an alliance between humans and the Skitters work? They require human children as intermediaries and that sight alone has got to set back the peace process any time a military leader has to communicate with someone in the Skitter chain of command. This might be the greatest obstacle to any kind of alliance since the resistance (and we the viewers) know what these aliens are capable of. It's for this reason that I was willing to buy Tom's explosion this episode. The whole scene was played much too big for my liking (and it sort of oversold the drama), although it did come from a genuine place for the character.
On the relationships front, Hal and Maggie have this protracted will they or won't they thing. I say protracted even though it only spans one episode, but I don't buy the interactions between the two. She's such a serious, put-together woman who's seen and done horrible things before coming to the Second Mass while he's still a kid playing soldier. They just don't work as a potential couple (or even loyal squadmates).
I'm not going to pretend that this week's episode is some kind of revelation. In fact, many of the things that play out in "Love..." have been laid out pretty clearly since the end of last season and the beginning of this one. But just because it's expected doesn't mean that it's not well done. The scope of the conflict has changed, and if the last of the human resistance decide to stop going it alone against the Overlords, then this series might go from an interesting Sunday night diversion to the kind of thrilling war TV that I can get behind.
Falling Skies airs Sunday nights at 9 on TNT.