Falling Skies finally returns to TNT this Sunday, June 22nd after what seems like an eternity. So what was Falling Skies about again? What do we need to know? And what can we expect to be explored this season? To help answer all these questions, I’ve put together a little primer that’ll catch you up on the past three seasons. In addition to that, we’ll also take a look into new alien data files and the mysterious interviewer who has just infiltrated the 2nd Mass (between Season 3 and 4).
The Story Thus Far:
The story thus far has been quite expansive, and yet pretty straightforward at the same time. Basically, the Earth has been invaded by the Espheni, a technologically advanced alien race that not only employs military grade strategy; but also has enslaves the races of the worlds it’s destroyed and turns them into their faithful foot soldiers. One such captive were the ‘Skitters’, the 6-legged aliens originally though to be the invading race before the actual Espheni Overlords were revealed. After trying to rescue groups of children who had become ‘harnessed’ into becoming the aliens new slaves, the 2nd Massachusetts Militia Regiment (a military group led by Colonel Daniel Weaver and Tom Mason, a history teacher) led an attack against an Espheni base and destroyed it.
After the attack, Tom was taken by Karen (the harnessed/ brainwashed girlfriend of his son Hal) to the Espheni Overlord in charge of the Charleston area. Tom was eventually released after being tortured – and who knows what else – by the aliens only to discover that he nor his old team members trusted him. This would prove to have good grounds since a alien worm was discovered in his eye a little while later that belonged to a red eyed Skitter. This Skitter turned out to be a friend as well as trying to start a rebellion against the Espheni Overlords who had enslaved his race before Earth. Tom’s other son Ben (having been harnessed, but then set free) was able to communicate with this rebel Skitter and joined his group.
Later the Rebel Skitters revealed that the Espheni weren’t trying to wipe out the humans; but rather a different threat that was coming from the skies. Tom and his team joined by the Rebel Skitters attacked the Espheni’s new weapon and killed the Overlord in charge, but not before Karen implanted another –more malevolent – bug in Hal. After the attack succeeded, a new race of aliens appeared on the battlefield, these aliens were known as the Volm and had been fighting the Espheni for a long time after their homeworld was destroyed.
The Volm fought alongside Tom and the others, but didn’t enjoy complete trust from anyone. The Volm’s technology proved incredibly useful for the fighters, but the presence of a brainwashed Hal and Lorde – the medic who had been taken over by an entire swarm of worms. During this time, two Presidents were killed by Lordes and Hal turned over his newborn baby sister named Alexis (aka Lexi), who seemed to possess unnatural abilities and accelerated growth spurts.
When the final battle came, the Volm leaders told Tom and his team that they would be relocated to a camp in Brazil while the Volm would continue the fight instead. Tom and the other fights chose to stay and fight which at first angers the Volm leaders; but then admire the bravery of humanity. The Volm let the 2nd Mass return to Charleston where they encounter Karen who offers a truce. The Espheni have been weakened and Karen warns Tom that the Volm can’t be trusted. Tom responds by shooting Karen and then finding his kidnapped daughter and wife – Lexi and Anne – nearby. Meanwhile, Hal tries to tend to a dying Karen, but his current girlfriend Maggie shoots Karen in cold blood. As the season comes to an end, Lexi sees a still possessed Lordes and somehow is able to call all the worms out of her and crush them into dust with her bare hands. What will become of the 2nd Mass, what will the Espheni do now, and what is Lexi?
‘The Enemy Within’ Video Diaries:
If you’ve been following Falling Skies in the months leading up to the preimer, you’ve probably seen or heard about their Enemy Within mini-webisodes, which are an unnamed interviewers talking to the main members of the 2nd Mass. If you haven’t heard about them, then you can go on FallingSkies.com to watch them. If you don’t have time for that, then here’s the break down of the episodes.
‘The Enemy Within’ mini-webisodes places you behind the lens of an unnamed journalist who has joined the 2nd Mass – or rather ‘infiltrated’. During the first episode in which he interviews Hal and Ben, we hear him comment before the interview that he has “blended in”; but what is he blending in from. Is he Espheni, Volm or something else? Despite shaky and awful quality, these mini-webisodes not only give us hints into the identity of the interviewer, but also some insights into what to expect this season.
All the interviews begin friendly enough; but they all take a turn for the worse once the ‘interviewer’ begins asking about some very sensitive issues. From pestering Hale about Karen, asking Anthony and Pope about the Volm and their plans, to questioning Lordes about Lexi, the interviewer knows a lot for someone who was just ‘picked up’. In the first webisode, we see him take a map out of Hal and Ben’s bag; and by the final ‘interview’ we find him dropping off a package my a tree marked with a strange insignia.
Though beyond the prodding into sensitive information, we also get a look at some possible side-story’s this season. For starters, it appears that there is still some hard feelings between Hal and Maggie for killing Karen. Add this to the growing comfort between Maggie and Ben, and we start to get an explanation as to why we saw Ben and Maggie kissing in a promo – this also makes Ben and Hal’s comment about them having different taste in women very awkward.
Two other strange points in these webisodes happened when the ‘interviewer’ was speaking with Anthony and then with Maggie. For starters, he seemed very anti-Volm as he wonders why we didn’t just kill them; and if Anthony trusts them. As for his talk with Maggie, he simply asked what was so bad about the Espheni to which Maggie replies their mind games. From eye worms to what they did to Karen, the Espheni have proved that there is no line they won’t cross. After possessing Hal and Lordes last season, you have to wonder what new horrors they can possibly come up with this season.
Whether this mole will be revealed or not is unknown. In fact, he might not even play a role at all in the show since he is already under suspicion and has already reported on his findings. From the look of the first few minutes of the season, it appears that the team is split up – again. Though this time the 2nd Mass has been divided up much more than ever before with at least 3 different groups (Tom’s group, Lexi’s group, and the reeducation camp Ben is in). In the end, these mini-webisodes probably were more down-time-filler to hint at this season than actually having much impact this season. The show’s already gone the mole route. To do it again this soon would be poor writing. The webisodes weren’t the only media we got from Falling Skies in recent weeks. We also got a look into some new aliens and tech; and one thing is for sure: the battle is evolving.
The big theme this season seems to be evolution. The Espheni have upped their tactics and seem to have new plans for the humans. The humans used to be an annoyance; but now – thanks to the mini-webisodes – we know that the Espheni actually place certain members of the 2nd Mass on their Most Wanted list. If they are such an hassle for the Espheni, why haven’t they been exterminated in full yet? Why do we see kids placed inside a Hitler Youth-esque reeducation camp? If the rest of the Espheni tactics are any hint, the humans are in for a new NEW breed of war.
The Espheni have evolved their military tactics to involve massive obelisk-like pillars that can be fired like missiles and then activated to form an impenetrable fence. Once these ‘camps’ are set up, a massive ship refered to as ‘The Eye In The Sky’ hovers overhead to monitor everything that happens. It’s a safe bet to assume these ships have an Espheni leader on board; but they’re not the most immediate threat. The Espheni have evolved the Skitters into new forms called Black Hornets. As if the Skitters didn’t have ridiculous mobility to begin with, the Black Hornets are larger, faster and can fly.
Though what about the humans? A while ago we saw signs of children turning into Skitter-like monsters after being harnessed for too long. Will this season finally expand upon that? Some set photos show shots of Hal with sharp teeth. Its unclear whether this was him just messing around or if the human-skitter hybridization is about to expand. Considering we also catch glimpses of some humans in strange cocoon/embryo-like structures, there will definitely be some more creeptastic stuff going on this season.
And now for the rapidly aging, once creepy toddler – but still relatively creepy child – named Lexi. After she was born she already exhibited strange behaviors and rapid development, which made her desirable to the Espheni. Once Tom had been reunited with his daughter, we found she had already aged several years in a few weeks. Now during this season we find that Lexi ages rapidly again into a still creepy, yet now attractive 20-something year old played by Scarlett Byrne.
Beyond the rapid aging and brunette to blonde transformation, there is a lot more going on with Lexi that we don’t know yet. Is she good? Is she bad? Is she something else entirely? LExi was already special before the Espheni captured and experimented on her. Did the machine the Volm taught Anne to use have a side effect on her unborn baby; or did the Espheni do something to Tom before Lexi was conceived? This mysterious girl is obviously is going to play an important role this season; but so too will her relationship with Lordes. She saved Lordes life and whether human or alien, Lordes has vowed to protect her at all costs, from whomever she has to.
This is certainly going to be an interesting season for Falling Skies. The past few seasons have had a mix of both good and bad plot points. Hopefully, this show will maintain what we fell in love with from the start – the human element. Also, it’d be nice to see the Volm back and working side by side with humanity again. There’s been so many man vs alien films/tv shows that seeing humans and aliens work together – outside the Marvel and DC comics – is a very welcome novelty.