Falling Skies is proving to be one of the major hits of the summer. Viewers per episode are numbering over 5 million, making it one of the highest rated cable network summer series for TNT. Less than half-way through airing its second season, its renewal for a third season was announced.
Episode: Falling Skies 2.03 – “Compass”
Original Air Date: June 24, 2012
Ben and his friend Jimmy have a new hobby, Skitter hunting. Ben takes great pleasure from killing the alien creatures.
The 2nd Mass takes refuge in an abandoned airport hangar to regroup, repair, and recover from their previous encounters with alien forces. Dr. Glass worries that the environment could be a catalyst for illness. But the airport is not a secure hiding place. Captain Weaver favors moving north to the Catskills for the winter. Tom is concerned that if the group hunkers down somewhere to wait out winter, they’ll be doing exactly what the Overlords want — not resisting.
Pope and the Berserkers jump Tom, drag him into the woods and Pope demands he leave the 2nd Mass, including his sons. Tom is rescued by Ben and Jimmy, who are out on patrol. The trio takes the Berserkers back to Captain Weaver. He’s ready to be rid of the renegades. Tom argues that they need the skills Pope and the Berserkers possess. He requests to be assigned to the Berserkers so he can keep an eye on what Pope is doing. This news is not met with openness by Pope, who resents the welcome Tom received when he returned from the mother ship. But he agrees when Weaver gives an ultimatum: accept Tom or stay locked up.
Ben and Jimmy attack a group of Skitters. Jimmy is mortally wounded. One of the Skitters activates Ben’s spikes and is able to control and communicate with Ben and render him helpless.
At the camp, Dr. Glass works desperately to save Jimmy. Ben is forced to admit to his father and Captain Weaver that he and Jimmy have been hunting Skitters every night. Their actions have placed the location of the 2nd Mass at risk. The Berserkers are sent to check out the site. Tom finds a compass the Captain had given to Jimmy. Skitters with a Mech return, and the group has to take cover. The aliens have come to retrieve the bodies of their comrades. Tom countermands Pope’s order to shoot, and the Berserkers obey him.
A biplane lands at the airstrip. The pilot is an envoy from Charleston, operating on direct orders from the new Continental Congress. Charleston has become a gathering point for survivors and has been declared the new capital. A search is on for all the surviving resistance groups, and she’s been looking for the 2nd Mass for several days. She has an invitation for them to join the forces gathering at Charleston.
Captain Weaver detains the pilot until the 2nd Mass is ready to leave the airport so she can’t reveal their position. He’s skeptical of her accounts of life at Charleston, including hot water and electricity, but many others are excited at the prospect of a bit of normalcy.
Dr. Glass is unable to save Jimmy. Ben blames himself for Jimmy’s death. The 2nd Mass must bury and mourn one of their own as they prepare to move out. Captain Weaver gives the pilot leave to depart. Before she goes, she implores him to lead the 2nd Mass to Charleston. The people in the group trust his leadership and would follow him even to the gates of hell.
Pope and the Berserkers are uncooperative during the preparations. As Pope insults Tom by calling Ben his half-breed son who killed one for the Skitter team, Tom notices Jimmy’s compass is now hanging around Pope’s neck. He took it from the med bus. As Pope sees it: “Finders, keepers.” The tension between them comes to a head and they brawl. In the end, Tom has to be pulled off Pope before he beats him to death. Pope plays his trump card, threatening to take the Berserkers and leave. Captain Weaver says go. But the only one willing to leave with Pope is Anthony. Someone needs to keep an eye on Pope, and he’s willing to be that one. He owes it to Pope for saving his life. Dr. Glass patches up Tom and they kiss.
The people of the 2nd Mass say their good-byes to Jimmy. Ben gives the compass back to Captain Weaver. Weaver’s father had given it to him and he’d always intended to pass it to his daughter, but never got the chance. The 2nd Mass moves out, bound ultimately for Charleston.
Ben encounters the red-eyed Skitter. His spikes glow and the Skitter seems to be communicating with him. The Skitter hears Hal’s motorcycle coming and runs off. Ben doesn’t tell Hal about the encounter. The brothers ride off into the night.
Episode: Falling Skies 2.04 – “Young Bloods”
Original Air Date: July 1, 2012
Hal and Ben discover a group of young people surviving on their own. Matt wants to be more involved in the fighting. Captain Weaver reconnects with a family member. The 2nd Mass discovers an alien factory.
Two of the Berserkers use Matt as willing bait to lure Skitters into a trap. On a scouting trip, Hal and Ben discover an operating alien factory guarded by Mech units. While they’re distracted, their bikes are stolen by two youngsters. Ben is able to track them by listening for the bike engines.
Tom brings Anne a Choco-pie, and they share a romantic moment but are interrupted by Lourdes, Dr. Glass’s medic.
The search for the bikes leads Hal and Ben to a group of young people who have managed to survive on their own. Hal convinces their leader, Diego, to come back to the 2nd Mass’s camp.
Tom is upset when he learns about Matt’s activities. But Matt enjoyed the experience and wants to be more involved in the fighting. He accuses his father of “ruining everything” and it becomes a major issue between them.
The female leader of the young survivors is Captain Weaver’s daughter, Jean, whom he believed dead. They’re happy to find each other, but he wants to step in and be the protective father. She’s had to learn to survive without him and has her own life now with Diego and the others. When the survivors, along with Maggie and Hal, return to their place laden with supplies, they find it’s been ransacked and all but one of the others missing. One young boy hid. Skitters came and took everyone else. Ben says the aliens intend to harness them and is convinced the factory is a harness facility.
Ben’s memories prove valuable to the 2nd Mass’s plans to rescue the young people. Diego is determined to charge in and rescue them, no matter the cost. Weaver loses his temper and Jane leaves with Diego. They convince Matt to come with them.
Captain Weaver regrets the way his anger tore apart his family. If he’d been able to control it, his family would still be alive. As the fighters prepare for an assault on the alien facility, Weaver discovers that the young group, which includes his daughter and Tom’s son Matt, has gone ahead.
At the facility, the fighters discover the young bloods have been captured. The situation is now dire, a race against the clock to save them. They have to go in blind, not knowing what they’re up against. Inside the facility, Matt, Johnny, and Jean are strapped to cots. As a Skitter holds Johnny down, the harness process begins. The “harness” is actually a parasitic creature resembling a sea slug that attaches itself to the spine with spikes. Then its outside hardens and becomes the “harness”. As the Skitter begins the harness process on Matt, the cavalry arrives just in time. Captain Weaver, Tom, Hal, and Ben break in, guns blazing, and rescue Matt and Jean.
Ben is drawn to the holding tank that contains the creatures. He places his hand against the side. One of the creatures swims up to his hand and his spikes begin to glow. Ben is able to break the connection and opens fire on the tank.
Maggie and Tector rescue the other young captives. The Masons and Captain Weaver try to destroy all the creatures. One gets missed and bites Weaver on the leg. Jean pulls it off him.
Back at camp, after the excitement has calmed, Weaver apologizes to Jean for his past behavior and gives her the compass. Jean and Diego’s young group have decided to stay on their own instead of joining the 2nd Mass. Jean doesn’t have the heart to tell her father she’s leaving with them. She places a letter beside him. Although letting her go breaks his heart, she has her own life now with Diego and the children. She’d love to stay with him, but believes the young survivors need her more.
Hal shares a stick of gum (a rare find) with Ben. But the brotherly moment is broken when he questions Ben about the spikes glowing. Ben tells him to back off. The episode ends with a montage of life in the 2nd Mass as the group settles in for the night: Jean and Diego leave with their young people; Weaver reads the letter and cries; Lourdes and Jamil comfort each other; after his terrifying experience, a subdued Matt crawls into bed with his father.
One of the elements I like about Falling Skies is the simple, heartfelt moments that permeate each episode: Tom giving Anne a Choco-pie as a romantic gesture. Hal and Ben sharing a piece of gum. Kids playing ball in the middle of camp. These moments of “normality” are the heartbeat that makes viewers fall in love with Falling Skies.