Where “Falling Skies” ranks in the overall Alien Invasion category won’t be known until series end. Definitely better than the latest “V,” probably better than “Invasion” (Let us know what your favorite Alien Invasion show is, or any alien show in general, in the comments section). But thus far, the show has at least been an excellent showcase for the producers’ creativity, in big events and within the small details. Episode 4, “At All Costs” has some great examples of this. Big scale: The aliens, weapons, and the battle scenes. CGI has come a long way, and cost has also come down, but the design and consistent behaviors of the aliens is commendable, and definitely of cinematic quality. On a more subtle scale, they show Cochise, a friendly ‘Volm’ alien with advanced technology, nervous as he boards a man made airplane. The concept of an alien having to use and completely trust man made equipment with its life is a comic take on the usual, stern “Your methods are inferior and unreliable” perspective we usually see.
Though there are also some devices in this episode that we’ve seen too many times. Hal’s alter ego takes over after an argument with himself via, that’s right, a mirror which he, that’s right, then smashes. And then evil Hal (and also ‘Shallow Hal,’ since he seems to go straight to his girlfriend for some, um, action), takes over Hal’s body. The use of a seemingly minor character, Karen, emerging as the new Lord for the aliens, was different and creative, and other aspects, such as Hal’s paralysis as he (ineffectively) fought off the implant was new and worked well. Thus my disappointment this week when we are delivered an evil twin / multiple personality subplot.
Falling Skies is essentially a series of story arcs, and the main story line, this week’s being the visit to the real President, may or not be given more screen time. It’s basically the one that moves the story along somewhat, but the other subplots hopefully also add to the entertainment value. This gives the writers and producers a great amount of flexibility. To date, they haven’t abused this flexibility; all stories seem to fit into the big picture and share general themes of hope, perseverance, togetherness, and seemingly unsurmountable odds stacked against them. But with ‘Evil Hal,’ and ‘Crazy Alexa,’ I hope there is more to these subplots than just realizing that Hal needs an alien exorcism of some kind, and that the baby is taken away and then later recovered (and alien exorcised as well). They are also starting to overuse the ‘Baby’s Evil Smile.’
The scene with the real President was engaging, however I can’t believe that they did not at least tell the President et. al. that there was a Volm on the plane before letting him pop out of the plane. And Pope’s negativity and naysaying is increasingly grating. Really, they just couldn’t take his plane? And really, the solder prisoner got to talk to the New President because see was, to quote, “Pitching a Fit?” Grains of salt come standard with all alien invasion series, but these actions relate to the depiction of rational human behavior.
Assuming there is a great story in place, for Season 3 or the entire series, I enjoy these weekly visits from the Masons and other defenders of humanity. Every episode seems to have at least one new take on something we’ve seen before. For now, that’s enough for me to keep watching, as I wonder how the final outcome will eventually play out. Remember to add your favorite alien shows below!