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FALLING SKIES Delivers a One-Two Punch

banner_recapFALLING SKIES
Season 1, episode 5: “Sanctuary, Part 1”

The good folks over at io9 say this is when “Falling Skies” starts to get good. I say it’s been very nicely building to this point all along.

We begin this week’s episode with a family that has had enough, and they’re ready to get out of Dodge. They don’t like the way things are going, and they think they can do better on their own, with the medical supplies for trade. Mr. “I’ve Got a Gun” even uses it to smack Dr. Glass around a bit. (Remember, last week she shoved a scalpel into the head of a Skitter. Do you really want to mess with her?)

The addition of Henry Czerny to the cast (as 7th Mass survivor Terry Clayton) was a welcome sight. I hadn’t seen him since Clear and Present Danger, at least as far as I can recall.

A lot of this episode built around the civilians. Dissension in the ranks over Clayton’s plan to take the kids to a ranch ahead of the rest of the group, leads to some rather well-written and well-played scenes among the day players and background characters. Tom faces a moral dilemma. Does he keep his kids together with him, right after going through the trouble of rescuing Ben, or does he send them ahead?

Meanwhile, the Skitters have sent a single scout with a mech, a sure sign that they’re about to attack. Same pattern that led to the demise of the 7th Mass.

Jimmy and Weaver get a few nice bits together. It feels like those two are going to bond. There’s been something there from the beginning, when Weaver called Jimmy a “good soldier” in the pilot. It reminded me of Batman’s words to Robin in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, which made me think a parent-child relationship wasn’t too far out of the question. And we see more of that here.

We’re also seeing the “civilians vs. soldiers” thread woven into the story, too. Both in how the civilians are reacting to the evacuation plan, and in how Tom has to force himself to think like a soldier instead of a father. That divergence has been downplayed in recent episodes, but it comes back here with well-crafted writing that puts Tom smack in the middle of having to make hard choices.

Anne has to make a hard choice, as well. She’s shown she can make tough decisions when it comes to the safety of others. Now she has to reconcile those feelings and start to think about protecting herself. With Maggie’s help, she starts coming out of the trauma, and we start to see the Moon Bloodgood everyone’s used to seeing: aiming a gun and smirking a bit. Despite the fact that she’s not going to be pulling any Terminator stunts, she definitely looks to be getting more comfortable in her skin with regard to being ready to fight.

 

The biggest question I have this week (aside from the one that would give away the ending…) is why Ben acts so differently from Ricky. Both were harnessed. Both had the harnesses removed. Ben seems more adjusted on the whole. Even more adjusted and mature than some of the grown-ups. Is this proportional to the amount of time a harness is attached?

All in all, a well-crafted episode that takes everything up several notches. Way up. And the ending is worth every moment of the last two weeks wondering about certain things…

[Official Show Site at TNT]

Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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