Episode: Falling Skies 2.10 – “A More Perfect Union”
Original Air Date: August 19, 2012
Falling Skies Season 2 draws to a close with “A More Perfect Union”, and we have to say good-bye to our intrepid heroes from the 2nd Mass until next spring. As Season 2 ends, shooting has begun on Season 3. It also means the breathless wait until we find out what happens next. As this chapter for the 2nd Mass winds down, Tom discovers game-changing information, and the 2nd Mass encounters their most dangerous threat yet in “A More Perfect Union”.
When we left our heroes, martial law had been declared in Charleston, and the members of the 2nd Mass were rounded up and detained. Tom protests against the jailing of Arthur and the declaration of martial law. A coup was not what the unit had intended to happen. General Bressler gives orders to lock up the 2nd Mass. Alarms sound. The outer perimeter has been breached.
A group of Skitters enters Charleston. Tom recognizes the Red-Eyed Skitter leader; it’s the rebel Skitters. Bressler is still prepared to have his men fire, but Ben shows up, too, with the aliens. The 2nd Mass link arms and form a human shield around the Skitters.
Red-Eye tells them they didn’t understand what a prize they had when they captured the Overlord. He’s an important figure, in charge of all military operations for the Eastern part of the continent. The Overlords keep all plans and knowledge stored in their heads. If the Overlord is killed, alien operations in that part of the world would be thrown into chaos. The information is important now because Skitter operatives have discovered the Overlord’s location. He’s scheduled to inspect the construction of a large weapon. They don’t know the purpose of the weapon.
The Skitters are turning to the humans for two reasons: 1) They cannot enter the area undetected and 2) they don’t have access to weapons to breach the compound. General Bressler wants time to assess the situation, but through Ben, the Red-Eyed Skitter warns that time is of the essence. The window of opportunity is small and rare.
Tom asks Ben to stay at least the night. Ben can’t; not yet. He still has work to do. Bressler won’t believe in the Skitter Rebellion. He gives public orders that if any of the Skitters attempt to re-enter the city, they’re to be shot on sight. Captain Weaver volunteers the 2nd Mass’s fighters for the mission. Reluctant and after argument, Bressler grants permission. If not, Tom promises to be a constant “thorn in the backside. I intend to make it my life’s work.” After they leave, the General gives private orders for an attack on the Skitter delegation.
Hal goes to see Ben. The Skitter group has taken refuge under a highway overpass. The Skitters are asleep, hanging upside down like bats while a number of de-harnessed kids, under Ben’s leadership, watch over them. Ben has found the place he belongs with the Skitters. Hal tries to convince him to come “home” with the family. Ben has different responsibilities now. They embrace in a bittersweet farewell.
Big reveal — Anne is pregnant, and Tom doesn’t know. She plans to tell him after the unit returns from the mission. Arthur Manchester is freed, but no longer leader. Back in his office, Tom tries to console his mentor. Colonel Porter was the one who teamed up Tom Mason and Dan Weaver. Tom thought Porter was crazy, and Weaver might kill him in his sleep, but they found a middle ground. Bressler and Manchester have to find a way to lead together. People can no longer tuck their heads in the sand and pretend the aliens don’t exist.
There’s a commotion. Ben bursts through the door; soldiers trying to restrain him. He’s bruised and bloodied, and has news for Tom. The Skitter camp was attacked by soldiers. The Red-Eyed Skitter and a few others escaped the ambush. Ben didn’t see who attacked, just sudden firing. Ben argues that the Skitters and de-harnessed kids like him came in trust. Bressler claims it was people disgruntled by the fact that Skitters murdered their families during the invasion. They shouldn’t have been surprised by that reaction. Bressler cancels the mission.
Ben pleads with Tom. The Red-Eyed Skitter held back information about the weapon because he didn’t know if he could trust the humans in Charleston. If used, the weapon will wipe out everything. Ben has the plans and layouts in his head due to his connection with the Skitter leader. He can lead the fighters there. The 2nd Mass is up for the fight. Weaver informs Bressler the unit is going on the mission — with or without his permission.
Glad to be active and have a purpose again, the unit prepares to leave on the mission. Jean wants to go with them, but Weaver won’t allow it. He can’t bear losing her again. Charleston needs people like her to rebuild the society, the ones who will stand up for the right thing. Tector rejoins the Beserkers. He threw his uniform into the incinerator. He didn’t like what it was doing to his head. Now, he’s got his mind right. Matt wants to join the fighters. Tom gives him his own mission — stay at Charleston and keep Lourdes safe. The fighters of the 2nd Mass pull out on their most dangerous and important mission they’ve ever faced.
To reach the weapon facility undetected, the 2nd Mass navigates a series of narrow caves. Ben feels the Overlord’s presence. They blast in. The aliens aren’t there, but they know it won’t take them long to arrive. The goal is to lay the charges and get out fast. The weapon points toward the sky. Ben says it wasn’t meant to be used on humans. Skitters attack. Karen follows, directing the attack. A Skitter throws Dai against a wall, and he falls, still and unmoving.
The fighters are subdued and secured, at the mercy of Karen. The Overlord has tried to be patient, but Tom has been a constant nuisance. He is curious how they found the facility and intends to find out, whatever it takes. A Skitter brings her one of the torture stick devices. She starts with Tom, who swears he’ll die before telling anything. Karen moves on to Hal. Instead of using the stick, she kisses him. When she finishes, he’s unconscious. Weaver is also willing to endure and die. Karen saves Anne for last. She realizes Anne is pregnant, and tells Tom it’s his child. She powers up the device with a look of anticipation. Tom gives in.
A Skitter grabs Karen, and the bonds holding the fighters fall free. The rebels have arrived and are on the attack. The Red-Eyed Skitter and the Overlord battle each other. The Overlord has a built-in weapon — a sword-like blade that retracts from his arm. He slashes the rebel leader, and the Red-Eyed Skitter falls. Tom grabs the torture stick and attacks the Overlord. Tom trips him and bludgeons him repeatedly with the stick. Ben rushes to the side of the mortally wounded Skitter leader. Karen escapes by inhumanly scaling the sheer wall. But she leaves a warning for Tom: It will never be over between them.
As he dies, the Red-Eyed Skitter clasps Tom’s hand in friendship and solidarity. The 2nd Mass and remaining rebel Skitters escape just before the charges blow. The weapon is destroyed. Together, they defeated the Overlord. The 2nd Mass returns to Charleston, bruised but triumphant. But the victory had a bitter cost; Dai was killed. Hal is still unconscious, and none of them know what Karen did to him.
Alone, Hal awakens. As he looks in the mirror, something moves under his skin. One of the parasite worm creatures crawls out of his eye and enters his ear. Oh no, it’s evil alien-possessed Hal!
Bressler agreed to restore civil rule on the condition that Manchester is no longer the Majority Leader. It’s a job better suited to a younger man, like Tom. Tom has other plans. As soon as everyone is recovered, the 2nd Mass is leaving Charleston. Captain Weaver and Tom have agreed Charleston isn’t the best place for the unit. They’ll keep fighting — not because they want to, but because they have to. The group doesn’t know what’s out there, but they’d rather face it together as a team.
Sirens sound. The building shakes like an earthquake is happening. Everyone runs outside. A massive storm brews overhead. Many points of light drop from the sky. It’s spaceships — but nothing they’ve ever seen before. One lands right in front of the humans. An armored creature walks out. The new alien lifts its visor and reveals its face. Where did it come from? Is it an ally or enemy? Those answers won’t be known until Season 3 begins.
For me, the end of Season 2 was like coming to the end of the first in a series of books. One aspect of the story is resolved, but something new and unknown is thrown into the path of the hero. The showdown between Bressler and Manchester never paid off satisfactorily. Two powerhouse actors in Terry O’Quinn and Matt Frewer, and they were underutilized. A lot of time was spent on the political situation in Charleston, but not much happened, whereas the coming together of the Skitter Rebellion felt a bit rushed. The final battle with the Overlord at the weapons facility had great action and visually exciting effects. It’s sad that they killed off Dai. It seems to have become an accepted trope in the genre that at least one well-known and well-liked characters has to die every season.
One of the elements I really liked about this season was how the aliens became true characters with personality and purpose, not just the random bad guys the heroes fight. I’m intrigued by the set-ups for Season 3 — the Second Mass back in action, a non-reformed Karen, an alien-possessed Hal, and a brand-new alien that could be friend or foe. As Captain Weaver informed Tom Mason, it’s “something we’ve never seen before”. That’s my hope for Season 3’s storyline of Falling Skies.