Sunday, July 13, 2014



Written by: Raven Metzner
Directed by: Bill Eagles


The fourth episode of our fourth season begins to unite our heroes.  David Eick and writer Raven Metzner were looking to move the character relationships down the road – Anne is challenged as she learns about Lexi and the overlord and comes into conflict with Lexi.  The writers wanted to explore her maternal instincts in conflict with her sense of the safety of the group. 

They also wanted to explore what had begun to be set up in the ghetto story – showing how Hal is becoming a leader in his own right.  Noah had advocated that Tom should begin to see and promote his son as a leader.  He knew that Tom would be in conflict, because he still, in his heart, longs for the safety of his boys above all else – but he also knows that Hal is proving himself.  That is why he gave him the big responsibility of getting the citizens out of the ghetto – and he gave himself the more perilous job of leading the skitters astray.  Noah and Drew had several conversations about how they thought their characters would approach the changing dynamics between them.

The hardest story of the week, for Will Patton and for all of us, was the discovery that Jeanne Weaver had been transformed into a skitterized human.  I’ve told the story before of how Will was involved in casting Laci J Mailey  in the first place.  He was at her final callback and read the audition scenes with her.  Over the last two years Will grew very attached to her.  Besides that, Laci is an out-and-out doll – a hard worker and a very committed, very emotion-based actor.  When she found out she was going to die in the episode, she was sad, but resolute.  She figured that sooner or later this was going to happen to her character.

What I think was fun and interesting for her was the makeup FX that Todd Masters and company applied.  She had to go in several weeks in advance and get a full body cast made.  Then, on the three days her character worked, she had a 3 to 4 hour session to get into the makeup, before filming could begin.  I think, for her it was an intense experience.

You know, we are up to the fourth episode and I haven’t talked much yet about the most significant new cast member we’ve added in a while – Scarlett Byrne as the adult Lexi.  As many readers of this blog predicted, Lexi’s destiny was to age to late teens/early twenties this season.  Before the season began, but after we had at least a broad strokes idea of where Lexi’s character would be going this year – we threw out a wide net in search of young actresses to play the part.  We, literally searched on every continent and every English-speaking country.   

I didn’t personally see every entry, the casting directors we had in Los Angeles (working with other casting directors in Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, London, Sydney, Melbourne, South Africa, and I’m sure other cities) did.  But myself and the producers at Dreamworks and Mr. Eick did see the first cuts – about 25 young ladies. 

Amongst ourselves we narrowed it down to 7 or 8 favorites.  As I remember it, there were two women from LA, one from New York, one from Atlanta (I think?) one from Toronto, two from London and one from Melbourne.  These we reviewed and discussed amongst ourselves at length.  We agreed that we needed to narrow it down to 2 or 3 – and that these we would have re-read with me giving them some direction – and that these would go to TNT to narrow it down to the winner.
I remember that between the time she put herself on tape, and when we wanted to re-tape her with direction, one of the gals had gotten married and was on her honeymoon in Hawaii.  I ended up talking to the poor thing in the hotel and the casting directors got one of the shows that shoots in Hawaii (Hawaii 5-O, I think?) to tape her.

What I liked about Scarlett , from the beginning, was that there was something special and other-worldly about her.  Plus, I believed if you morphed Noah Wyle and Moon Bloodgood together you could get her.

I got on a Skype call with her, and had a lengthy conversation with her about the character and the series.  Scarlett hadn’t been that familiar with FALLING SKIES at that time, but between her first read and her callback she had quickly watched a few episodes.  I found her bright and curious and liked that she asked smart questions. 

One thing I remember, as I discussed the re-tape and what emotions I wanted her to hit, was – she had taped the audition with an American accent, but during my conversation she was speaking with her natural British accent.  I told her – “When you re-tape, even in the introductory part where you are saying your name, and so on, only use an American accent.”  Her American accent was strong and I didn’t want people to prejudice against her.  When she taped, what she did, that I thought was smart was – not only did she use a USA accent, she had the person who was reading off-camera do the same.  “Very smart” I thought, and she got another check in my personal positive column.

The fates went Scarlett's way.  There was some internal debate, but I think the choice for her was pretty-much unanimous.  A bonus, which I hadn't been aware of at first was that she's played Pansy Parkinson in the last few HARRY POTTER movies.  Of course, this makes her a celebrity, especially with younger people, wherever she goes.

Coincidentally our director on this one, Bill Eagles, was also a Brit.  When we put together the schedule, I didn’t know any of the directors who were available for the fourth episode.  Based on resumes, I got several DVD’s of episodes from shows that were relevant or similar to “FALLING SKIES.”  Bill had done several episodes of the CineMax show, “Strike Back.”   I thought the directing on these shows was very exciting – and so Bill was hired. 

It’s always a bit of a crapshoot working with a new director in TV.  Even if they are very good, they may not fit with your show.  But, I was very pleased that Bill came in on day one really knowing the show, and taking command.  He was very organized and in control throughout prep as well.  As prep on this one went on, he continued to handle the complications that came up smoothly, and when

Will & Noah
Director Bill Eagles

Scarlett and the Monk

Noah Wyle on set

At lunch on set 

Hanging out in the cast tent

Drew and Treva study the script together

Tessa our 3rd ADgets Volm love
Wait!  Is the new "Beeman's Blog" out?

Collin Cunningham and newcomer Mira Sorvino


Otto Carius said...

Eick and Metzner really need to put the keyboard down and step away from the computer! They managed to pen the most convoluted and pointless episode this season...

1) I love how the aliens have all this amazing technology for traveling in space and lack a simple FLIR System. Why, advanced aliens have any advanced form of FLIR--right? I mean that is just not sporting... The Ghetto Escapees wouldn't make it 1 mile outside of the Ghetto before they were found and destroyed by AIR POWER! So just imagine the heat signature that a Diesel Generator and 70-100 People give off in Building??? It would be like shooting Fish in a barrel.

2) Pope The Mech Slayer-- I like how the Mark II or More Advanced Mechs were brought in last season to look really awesome. However, this season they managed to a) not hit a moving target, b) not follow said moving target, and c) not hit a moving target!!! In my M1A1 I could hit a moving target at 1500m while moving cross country at 30mph.... So why wouldn't a super advanced robot be able to do that and more???

3) Lexi- Do you really want to have Lexi- compared to the V Baby??? This entire physic powers stuff is totally absurd. It is starting to make the show look like a bad Superman knock off... Does our Yellow Sun power her?

4) Volm- These people probably the worst example of Spec Ops forces ever! They would never bring a large population of people to their base of operations. It would be like putting a red flag on it and telling the enemy to put a large guided bomb down the chimney like an evil St. Nick!

5) Tom's is in charge??? I thought Col. Weaver was the experienced Soldier? Now, all of the sudden Tom is in charge giving orders and quoting history books... I don't like it.

6) Stay Put-- But Scavenge. So, I want to know how you stay put and scavenge for weapons, food, fuel and medical supplies at the same time? I mean if Drew is to achieve those goals he has leave the perimeter of an abandoned industrial site. So, call me crazy, but Tom's orders contradict each other.

7) The Volm should have already reconned a position to fall back to in this scenario if they were going to help out Ghetto Escapees.

8) Sure, I believe that Tom, Weaver and Cochise with one gun and a hunting knife can do a jail break! That is totally believable. Last week I did on in an undisclosed location with a pen knife, Corky from Life Goes On, and some foaming anti-acid tablets!

9) Communicating by squeezing soil into a red glowing mass of superheated material. That was so many kinds of stupid that I had laugh.

10) Lexi the weapon... This is so boring that I want to put myself down after seeing it.

I have suggest do more than read the bold type in a Wikipedia Article for research on War...

Hyperion said...

Two good things came out of this episode: first Matt was rescued from the youth camp so we have hopefully seen the last of this miserable plot mistake; and secondly Pope got to be a little more interesting than usual. The episode also benefited structurally from spending its time largely with the Tom/Weaver/Hal/Pope universe, as with the previous episode. We are now down to two groups of 2nd Mass survivors with Matt having been rescued, and it looks strongly as though Hal and Pope are off to find Chinatown. If so then we will be looking at everything largely revolving around Chinatown which will certainly give more unity to the story telling. Overall, however, it feels as though we have had to wade through a lot of unnecessary plot to get us to this point, particularly with the youth camp story line. As I noted last week, audiences can cope with multiple storylines but the reaction will be a lot better where there is a need or a point to it all (see Game of Thrones).

One point on the Weaver story in this episode which felt really weak was his reaction to finding his daughter as a transformed monster who then dies after saving him. In Season 2 he gave a very authentic performance of distress when he discovered that she left him to go with Diego to the mountains. Apparently finding that your only surviving daughter has turned into the Creature from the Black Lagoon and who then gets killed is less of an issue given his not so grief stricken reaction when he meets up with Tom again. It also was just so cringe-inducing that he is immediately all smiles again when Matt gives him a big hug. This is not Will Patton's fault as we know he can act whatever he is asked to - yet again this is just bad writing.

Since everything is pointing to a reunion in Chinatown we once again have to ask where this is all going. Anne is finally having to come to terms with the fact that her "daughter" is not exactly normal, and we got another demonstration of Lexi's supernatural powers. Right at the end we also see the two main Espheni characters communicate through Rock-a-gram, or something.

Showrunner David Eick just cannot avoid the mystical and supernatural, it seems. In Battlestar Galactica it started out like this so was understandable, although even there he went too far in the view of many. Falling Skies did NOT start out like that and its fans loved its portrayal of gritty survivors battling away in a universe with real physics and aliens with genuine weaknesses. To the case that a show cannot survive on that sort of thing forever, I would only say see the Walking Dead. It just messes with the show's mythology when the Espheni can communicate through crushed soil, and it is just unnecessary. All I can say is that if they can do that then it makes their lack of security at the ghetto and inability to locate the escaped humans look all the more ludicrous.

I always thought one of the best ideas in Falling Skies was the Espheni using inhabitants of the worlds they conquer through the harnesses. It is verging on criminal neglect that this show has not explored all the implications of that properly, not least through people who were harnessed and were freed (Ben, Deni etc). Perhaps the rest of this season will right that error but it seems as though they decided instead to take it to Oogie-Boogie land instead. More and more I think the Lexi character is a big mistake, and one can only hope she eventually goes full Overlord, ages quickly to a crisp and goes down in a blaze of... something by the end of the season or preferably sooner.

I also have to say that for Greg Beeman to state in this blog entry that the actress playing Lexi looks like what the product of a union between Noah Wyle and Moon Bloodgood would turn out to be is just laugh out loud ridiculous. The child playing younger Lexi did indeed look like that, but the older version? Come on, give us all a break and admit you all liked her creepy look when casting.

Nunya Bidnezz said...

Another classic Falling Skies episode. Once again, I'm so glad you steered this show away from the soap opera and back to the action and suspense.

TNT kind of dropped the spoiler ball with the preview for this episode, so anyone paying attention knew that the thing following Weaver was Jeannie. Still, the way it was done blew me away. Jeannie came in to save the day only to die in her father's arms and give Weaver some kind of hope that humanity would never be conquered because we retain a sense of self. The interesting question here is, does everyone or was it just that Jeannie was particularly stubborn? Does the mutant have to have something to hold onto like a love for her father (re: Ben vs. Rick)? I'd like to see the process explored more.

The jury's still out about this Sarah character. On one hand, I can completely identify with her having a great time during the apocalypse. I think it would be more of a freeing experience than a tragedy for me, too. On the other hand, her calling out Hal when she doesn't even know the situation is obnoxious. Trying to create a female Pope could backfire as a Mary Sue.

Lourdes is a horrible character, has been since the beginning and is progressively getting worse. She doesn't have a mind and has never shown the first sign of thinking for herself. She's replaced god with Lexi. Hope she's eliminated this season.

I've found the hippie commune bullshit to be a huge bore this season, but now that Anne is there backing up Ben and Maggie I have hope for a huge collapse of the place, hopefully teaching the lesson that pacifism does not work as long as there is anyone who doesn't follow it.

Tom going caveman on the Nazi kid is classic Tom. He keeps his head UNTIL you eff with his sons. Then your ass is his. THIS is the Tom Mason I want to see, not the giggling flirting idiot of the last 2 seasons.

Next episode looks great, too. I've always loved Matt and I'm glad to see him back as a soldier.

Ken Row said...

"As prep on this one went on, he continued to handle the complications that came up smoothly, and when"

Cliffhanger? Will we ever know the end of this story?

Aldenata said...

@Evolve or Die:
"Scarlett and the Monk"
See, y'all? It's just like I said; space-faring Benedictines!

...who open Portals to Hell just so they can talk to each other. That could be cause for concern.

I actually kind of liked this episode, even if Falling Skies is getting the point where I can't let younger family members watch it. God, Skitterfied Jeanie was creepy, and it's probably a matter of time before Lexi gets about as bad...

"They were infamous, nightmare sculptures even when telling of age-old, bygone things; for Shoggoths and their work ought not to be seen by human beings or portrayed by any beings. The mad author of the Necronomicon had nervously tried to swear that none had been bred on this planet, and that only drugged dreamers had even conceived them. Formless protoplasm able to mock and reflect all forms and organs and processes - viscous agglutinations of bubbling cells - rubbery fifteen-foot spheroids infinitely plastic and ductile - slaves of suggestion, builders of cities - more and more sullen, more and more intelligent, more and more amphibious, more and more imitative! Great God! What madness made even those blasphemous Old Ones willing to use and carve such things? "
-HP Lovecraft

It's nice seeing all the players coming back into a coherent whole. Reminds me of all those silly movies with the "Getting the Band Back Together" quests. I'm sure the group dynamics are going to be different in the 2nd Mass after all of this is over.

(Word of advice for next season: be careful about overdoing the "split story" thing.)

I also like this new friend of Pope's, and think it's nice that he found himself a kindred spirit.

I do have a few comments/criticisms though:

-Seems kind of odd that the escapees haven't found or fashioned any weapons better than a steak knife. Surely they could improvise some simple zipguns, or maybe even a few bow and arrows. Even a few more sharp/heavy bits of metal would have been better than nothing.

-In a way, I could actually believe Kent's comments about the Espheni being fired upon first. (Remember the scene from Independence Day? When the newscaster asks the citizens of Los Angeles to please stop shooting at the giant alien mothership?)

I think I've mentioned before that the Espheni may have THOUGHT they were being attacked when we first started trying to communicate with them. I mean, what would we use while attempting to make contact? Radios? Well, as we learned at the end of Season 1, the aliens don't seem to like radios.

-"Cougar or bobcat wouldn't be unheard of in this part of the country." Bobcats sure. But assuming we're still somewhere in the Upcountry Carolinas... run-ins with Appalachian Cougars (locals call them "painters") would be incredibly rare. Like, borderline-cryptid rare; they were once considered officially extinct in the Appalachian Mountains, but people from Georgia to Maine have been seeing and hearing them for years and I think the guvment folks have finally admitted that we do still have a few.

My mom had a run-in with a painter a few weeks after I was born; blood-curdling scream like a woman being murdered, right outside the nursery room window. She still doesn't like to talk about it.

-Anne's early conversation with Lexi: the Tibetians are NOT, by and large, pacifists; they follow a much more interesting brand of Buddhism than what coastal hippie types seem to like. Historically the region was known for having a warlike culture on par with fellow inlanders like the Pashtu or Mongols, and for being a very dangerous place for outsiders. Some parts still are.

Aldenata said...

As for the 1950 invasion, the Dalai Lama actually had a professional, British-trained and equipped (allbeit small) military, plus many tribal militiamen who continued to resist the Chinese invaders for several decades. They didn't lose because they were pacifists (though a certain sense of naivete when dealing with the communists may have played a role in the ease with which they were conquered), they lost because the Chinese were more numerous, more experienced, and more coordinated. It didn't help that Maoism had a certain appeal to many Tibetians, coming as they did from a society barely removed from feudalism.

-Weaver's a Colonel now? When did that happen? I remember him being a major in Season 3, but that's a whole heck of a lot of officer for what at the begining of Season 4 looked like little more than an oversized platoon. And it looks like Tom, whatever rank he's supposed to have, is the commanding officer. Or maybe not? Resigning as Commander in Chief of the United States of Charleston has left him in quite the grey area, ain't it?

Hmm... free-floating rank, political as well as military duties, capable of altering or overruling any decisions made by commanders of whatever unit he's assigned to? And now I have this irresistible urge to start calling him Tom "Commissar" Mason. SUFFER NOT THE ALIEN TO LIVE!!!

-What is it with the 2nd Mass and their obsession with getting generators running, first thing they do, no matter where they are? Is it really that important to them that their new homes always be nice and lit up for the benefit of the Skitter bomber crews? There are a few good reasons to worry about electric power (if you needed to run a radio or perform major surgery, for example), personal comfort shouldn't be one of them.

In any event, what are the chances the generator would be in a good enough condition to run? Good chance that the battery has gone bad and will need to be replaced. Good chance any diesel left in unsealed, almost-empty tanks and fuel lines has turned into algae-infested gunk. Good chance that rats or birds have built nests in the radiator or exhaust vent and will cause it to burst into flames once they do get the thing running.

We have hospitals in my area being evacuated every time it snows because the power goes out and some trifling little thing has rendered their used-once-a-year generators inoperable. Most large farms also have generators, and I think some owners manuals advise WEEKLY tests of things like the battery and coolant system (I don't know how many farmers actually do this). So the Second Mass was very lucky to find one that they could get running so easily after several years, unless the owners and employees of Ochotta Industries were nice enough to winterize it before abandoning their foundry.

I could say the same thing about all the trucks they left behind, though I'm really more curious as to why they left the trucks behind in the first place, and how no one else has managed to find them in all the time that's passed since the start of the war.

-I know I'm probably sounding like a broken record on this point, but the Second Mass wouldn't have half the needless drama if they had anything approaching formal ranks and subunits. The commanding officer could have then delegated a certain portion of his force to scouting, another to patrolling, another to base defense, and the most useless portion can be assigned to local defense...

Though in Falling Skies it seems that everyone who ain't a Mason tends to be more or less useless; we still haven't gotten as far as we should from the "fighter"/civilian dichotomy. To an extent I know why this is so (y'all are on a budget and it costs too much money having the extras do anything except standing around like a bunch of mindless idiots) but if that's the way it's got to be then why not just forgo extras entirely and use mannequins?


*closely rewatches previous episodes*

Well, I'll be... :P

Aldenata said...

-Hal was right about Winnsboro; Pope leaving by himself with in one of their few vehicles was idiotic and there would have been absolutely no harm in waiting until the officers had returned and the integrity of their position had been assured. If nothing else, he should have gotten a team together to go with him (but that would require having the extras do something, and that would cost money).

In Pope's defense, he is the one who got the truck running so by all rights he could claim it as his property, and—barrack-room lawyer that he is— he could say that his actions weren't so much "insubordination and desertion" as they were "temporary resignation". Still doesn't make this little flareup any less unnecessary.

-Nice of Sarah to just leave her diesel out in the open like that, where any random passerby could see it. Yeah I know; 90% initial dieoff plus, oh I don't know... 80% in the first year, 70% in the second, etcetera? That still leaves .24% of the world alive at the end of the third year. That's 57 people left in Fairfeild County, South Carolina alone; enough to require defensive precautions.

(It could be that she was using her diesel as ambush bait, but then what happens if someone comes across it who can't be handled by a single shotgun?)

-Didn't Cochise have one of those coilguns on him before being jumped by Skitter!Jeanie? I could see Toma and Dan being rash enough to blunder into Camp Espheni without the aid of the alien supersoldier (leaving him comatose in the woods to be eaten by coyotes while they're gone), but it seems... odd that they wouldn't think to bring his gun.

Why is it that crusty kids and skitterized humans are venomous but actual Skitters, as far as we know, are not?

-Lourdes' coordinates might have been more helpful if she gave longitude along with latitude. I checked the decimal degrees for Latitude 35.226 and apparently the city to which it most closely corresponds (35.226944,-80.843333) is... Charlotte, North Carolina!?

A hippy commune in the Buckle of the Bible Belt? Someone on the writing team has a unique sense of humor...

-Where did Sarah get beer? Homemade, possibly. I wonder what from; sorghum and persimmons seemed to have been popular choices back in the day.

Surprising that no one got to the pills before her. Maybe they weren't all that useful for combat medics.

...y'know, if you ever need to incapacitate someone, I recently learned that the seeds from morning glory vines contain a powerful hallucinogen. Just a thought; probably less likely to put them to sleep eternally than hardcore anesthetics, and less likely to poison them than shrooms.

-Escaping multiple megamechs by vehicle seems... unlikely. Are they really such bad shots? Did that patrol not have any air support on standby? If Pope and Sarah didn't die in Winnsboro, it should have been because the Espheni are following them back to their foundry (which they may well be doing).

-Skitter!Jeanie's death wasn't quite Old Yeller-level touching, but it was still poignant. I knew it had to happen, but it was still sad.

(Is this a bad time to say that I can't help "thinking about my Jeanie" without also thinking about Forrest Gump?)

-Good thinking on Hal's part with the graffiti, but it seems odd that he didn't consider the possibility of having to evac beforehand.

(It looked like he was writing some kind of code below "Croatan" so maybe he did. But in that case, why was he so worried about sending out patrols or foragers when they could have found their way to a relocation point just as easily as Tom and Weaver.)

Aldenata said...

-As much as I like Sarah, her introduction to the rest of the characters was done... badly. No, mayors and sheriffs don't exist anymore, tribal nobles do. That's what Hal is at this point, and being insolent towards one is a good way to get a spear jammed through your gut. For all she knows, the guy she's telling off could be one of the rapist cannibals she was talking about earlier (she'll think it's funny until she actually meets a few).

-Technically, Anne was not breaking her word to Lexi when she ordered the Overlord restrained. She merely wanted to talk to him in a more unequivocal fashion (with a pair of needlenosed pliers, no doubt).

As for the Overlord, "just following orders" seems to me like a really bad thing to say to someone whom you essentially sodomized.

-The thing with the Esphenis using crushed dirt to talk to each other was kind of odd, unless that really WAS a Portal to Hell. In which case I'm...

...I don't even know...

So, why is the Space-Fairing Benedictine with the Portal to Hell named after an ancient Greek astronomer?

*looks at future episode titles*

Oh. Moonbase.

@Otto Carius
1. They don't even give rifles to their foot soldiers, so I don't think entirely impossible that they wouldn't give their air crews any sensors beyond the Mk1 Eyeball.

Of course even then it should be difficult for a group that large to avoid any halfway-competent aerial sweep. You are correct on that point.

2. Yup. Bipedal war machines are a really bad idea, IMO.

3. Yup. Mutant baby: bad idea then, bad idea now, mutant babies are ALWAYS a bad idea.

4. In all fairness, I think the foundry is a waystation or safehouse for the Volm, not an actual base. At least they don't seem all that bothered about having to evacuate it.

5. Dan was in charge in Seasons 1 and 2. Tom seems to be in charge after he's made President of the United States of Charleston. At this point it's kind of hard to say who's leading and following. I think I'm sticking with my commissar theory.

6. Could have been that he wanted them to stay near the foundry, but look for any supplies that might be hidden on or around the property, because surely an abandoned foundry is a good place to find food, penicillin and guns... You're right.

Aldenata said...

7. Yup.

8. Yup. They should have tried arming themselves better, and perhaps bringing more help.

9. Portal to Hell, Otto! Of course it's beyond conventional understanding. What human mind could interpret such hideous forces of cosmic diabolism as are wielded by these abominations from the stars?

10. Putting yourself down? That would not be the most illogical of choices my dear child, for surely a death by your own hand is preferable to the horrors that will otherwise soon consume you.

It is at night, especially when the moon is gibbous and waning, that I see the thing. I tried morphine; but the drug has given only transient surcease, and has drawn me into its clutches as a hopeless slave. So now I am to end it all, having written a full account for the information or the contemptuous amusement of my fellow-men. Often I ask myself if it could not all have been a pure phantasm—a mere freak of fever as I lay sun-stricken and raving in the open boat after my escape from the German man-of-war. This I ask myself, but ever does there come before me a hideously vivid vision in reply. I cannot think of the deep sea without shuddering at the nameless things that may at this very moment be crawling and floundering on its slimy bed, worshiping their ancient stone idols and carving their own detestable likenesses on submarine obelisks of water-soaked granite. I dream of a day when they may rise above the billows to drag down in their reeking talons the remnants of puny, war-exhausted mankind—of a day when the land shall sink, and the dark ocean floor shall ascend amidst universal pandemonium.

The end is near. I hear a noise at the door, as of some immense slippery body lumbering against it. It shall not find me. God, that hand! The window! The window!

1. I've never seen Game of Thrones, nor even read George Martin's books, but I've heard it said that one big reason why he stalled is because he had so many subplots going on, and all of them so important to the overplot, that he couldn't keep up with all of them any more.

2. Note that Cochise was worried about Weaver's emotional stability even before his daughter died. Even the alien knows there's something wrong with him.

Whatever other problems this series has had, they tend to have a pretty good grasp on human psychology. I don't think it's bad writing, I think it's a classic case of blunted affect; common symptom in extreme post-traumatic stress disorder (we saw an even more obvious case in Lourdes after Jamil died). Simply put, Weaver is quietly going nuts.

Remember what happened the last time he had a nervous breakdown? Back in Season 1? Last time it happened, he went on a suicide run. It could be a problem if he tries that again.

3. Mystical/supernatural: meh. Any universe with FTL travel is already a pretty weird one (So is any universe with frogs in it. Frogs are creepy.) so I don't really mind this. I will say that the writers should be very careful if they decide to go here. The last semi-hard science-fiction series that dabbled in the supernatural and didn't make a mess of it was Quantum Leap, and I don't know if Falling Skies could ever replicate that.

@Nunya Bidnezz:
Good question on who can resist the Espheni transformations and what it is that helps them do it. I'd say that it's a bit of both, nature and nurture.

I too am expecting the commune to go the way of the Moriori. Ever hear of them? An entirely-pacifist tribe living on what are now the Chatham Islands off the coast of New Zealand, they were invaded by the Maori in 1835, conquered, enslaved and eaten. The few survivors were kept as broodstock for the Maori and forbidden from marrying other Moriori, so that the entire race eventually went extinct.

Otto Carius said...

Aldenata :

Well I have to problems with the Espheni-- 1) the beamers or UAV's are supposedly designed to use thermal sensor remember the pilot episode-- where Pope uses flares to draw in the Beamers? So, what happened between Ep1S1 and Ep4S4? Did the Espheni just throw away all of their FLAIR tech and put a retarded Skitter in as the pilot? 2) They conquer entire planets and they've never come across any species that wants to resist them? Really, they've never encountered anything like the Humans before? I think that is odd. It would seem to me that evolution would tend to favor species that have a strong self-preservation gene.

As for the Generator... I've just sort of accepted the fact that the writers throw out any and all notes they get from whatever Blackwater Reject they have for military consultant. No, way would the first priority to be to get a generator running! Guns--Yes. Food-Yes. Medical Supplies--YES. Generator? No. Fuel for making improvised explosives--HELL YEAH! First off the generator generates an electromagnetic field that can be detected. Then you have the noise during operation that gives away your posiiton to ground units. Finally you have the light sources you spoke of. So turning on a generator as you so rightly pointed out is a good way to get a missile in your ass.

The only reason to use a generator at all is to lay an ambush for the attacking forces. Draw the enemy into one location with a small force-- use them to attack it and delay the enemy while the rest of the people bug out.

Civilians don't exist in a Partisan Movement. You just have combatants and combatants with better skill sets.

As for the Portal to hell. I just thought it was the wrong way to go. It felt like Eick was attempting to put into this show some of his lesser ideas from New BSG... Frankly, I don't know why they went to that extreme other than some one thought it was cool.

Aldenata said...

"The beamers or UAV's are supposedly designed to use thermal sensor remember the pilot episode-- where Pope uses flares to draw in the Beamers?"

IIRC, they were even more effective in the early tower defense game and the prequel comics; targeting individual humans as well as problematic strongpoints.

"So, what happened between Ep1S1 and Ep4S4? Did the Espheni just throw away all of their FLAIR tech and put a retarded Skitter in as the pilot?"

As a matter of fact...

Remember Ep2S2 (Ep1.5S2?), where Ben got to see the guts of a downed beamer and his spikes started glowing from what looked like a harness inside of it? We've seen beamers go down before, and they previously looked entirely mechanical, like the mechs. And what about that control tower that they fired a LAW into? Those were never needed in the past.

Seems to me that their air force is indeed, to some extent, devolving. Why? Well, bad writing is always a possibility, but my own justification was that they're being forced to produce/make use of simpler aircraft because of higher-than expected attrition rates. Sort of like how both sides in the Cold War expected to field antiquated equipment in a hot war once the first-rate stuff was all destroyed or in disrepair.

(Ever play Twilight 2000? Fascinating scenario; I remember once commanding a squadron of British Scorpions and Centurions and trying to figure out whether or not they could go toe-to-toe with a similar number of Commie IS-2s and T-34s. [No.])

All that said, any sensor tech that can be so reliably thrown off by flares or building insulation—which they quit bothering to use in Season 3— can't be all that great to begin with.

2. "They conquer entire planets and they've never come across any species that wants to resist them? Really, they've never encountered anything like the Humans before? I think that is odd. It would seem to me that evolution would tend to favor species that have a strong self-preservation gene."

Humans are warriors/survivors otherwise special. Not my favourite trope unless some really good justification is given (as it was in Legacy of Aldenata), but it does seem to be popular.

I would agree that intelligence seems to correlate closely with aggressiveness (You know all those sins that are supposedly unique to man? Slavery? Ants do it. Killing for pleasure? Dolphins do it. Organized warfare? Gorillas do it. And have you ever seen how cats behave? Face it, smart animals are mean animals.), and any species we find of roughly-equivalent intelligence will probably also be a species of roughly-equivalent aggressiveness.

Carl Sagan would not agree, and I'm afraid that for the time being he has a bigger following than I...

Aldenata said...

Military consultant: Dale Dye was their consultant. I don't know if he's still on board or not. No idea how what level of expertise he can bring, or how much of it is followed.

Civilians: I agree. In fact, Atlanta Burns Again was initially written because that part in particular annoyed me and the youngins so much that we wanted to see if we could do a better job; Militia Organization Done Right, so to speak.

(Just for that, I'm always half expecting each new episode to open with the Espheni randomly deciding to atomize the entire Peach State.)

Portal to Hell: withholding judgement on that one for now. If it is a thematic mistake, it could prove to be a highly amusing one. Could you imagine the galactic fallout of the Espheni opening new vistas upon which even their sullen eyes and voluminous minds are unequipped to gaze? How our world will become verminous with things that should not be? See now how freshets of the inky damnation encroaches from within and their ebony killships devour the cosmos!

(I'm sorry, but you can expect a lot of this for the remainder of the season)

Gambol said...

What happened with the fact that Ben could hear something in his head when Skitter was kept in a cage in S1? He had a headache ....
Or in S2 when he found ship in the woods. also he had a headache because he heard the sounds of the radio. Espehni control the ship and Mech's in such way right?
In S3 and S4 we do not hear about it
So... why Ben doesn't have a headache when those ships fly over his head? Why he didn't hear anything when he is close to the ship with he and Tom were going to fly to the moon?

Or not hear beamers that sent Lexi? In episode 1 if he should hear that something's coming out of the sky when the attack began??

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