I’m quite glad the Evil Hal story arc is over. And I was very relieved to see that Hal taking his father Tom hostage was not an hour-long event. But I do wish it could have been resolved without Matt using Charleston’s hidden tunnels (that the rest of the military somehow didn’t know about). Falling Skies does pull out the overused plot device every once in a while.
Aside from the hostage subplot involving underground tunnels, ‘Be Silent and Come Out’s main events were the aftermath of the hostage situation (Pope’s betting scenes in the vampire-bar like Popetown), Hal’s bug-ectomy, and the resignation of Tom as President as he and his family go off on horseback to find Anne and the baby.
Pope’s constant, childlike behavior of seemingly understanding that he needs to stop acting like a 15 year old kid, and then going off and pulling a stunt, getting into a fight, or in this episode, engaging in generally idiotic behavior (placing odds on the hostage situation outcome), is getting old. It seems it is more a result of casting, in the sense that the writers and producers have a ‘what are we going to do with Pope this week’ dilemma. Colin Cunningham is great, but his character is stuck in a cyclical rut.
The CGI and concept for the ‘bug removal agent’ was pretty cool, and (I presume) realistically disturbing. This was pretty creative – the predicament that it would kill Hal if there was no bug, and the form this agent took was a lot better than if they just put a bigger bug into Hal to go on a worm hunt.
There is still ambiguity about the mole, and exactly who killed Arthur Manchester, as well as some uncertainty about the new president, Marina Peralta, played by Gloria Reuben. It should be noted that Gloria Reuben is doing an exceptional role playing the VP and now the P. Could she be the mole?
The initial success of Falling Skies can be attributed to kickass CGI, the detailed culture, motivations, and sci-fi concepts of the alien beings (like the harnessed children), and the solid core characters of Tom and his family. But the longevity of the series (it was renewed for a 4th season) is due to, plain and simple, good wartime storytelling. Many alien series take one of 2 routes – they either bask in clichés (like alien possession, forbidden human/alien relationships, the advantage of man’s ‘emotional’ factor), or their plots go absolutely haywire in an effort to go where no alien series has gone before. Falling Skies at times has an old western feel to it, like the classic cowboys and Indians movies. These films showed that it was not always about the battle; lots of good material was created by showing details and issues within their off the battlefield lives. This in turn gave all battles more emotional weight since we knew and better understood the characters.
As the season (and series) continues, the writers and producers will have the challenge to keep producing good character stories without, for example, going into the land of time travel, hyperwarp, alternate realities, or shocking 180º turnabouts (What? The aliens are good)? For now, they seem to be staying the course and are producing some good stories about aliens as well as ourselves.