Monday, July 25, 2011

"Falling Skies" Episode 7 "Sanctuary: Part 2" and Quick Exits: A Television Review

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Writer: Robert Rodat.

The "Falling Skies" episode "Sanctuary: Part 2" aired Sunday, July 24th on TNT. For those unfamiliar with the show, this is a sci-fi series that takes place on earth, after a hostile alien invasion. The antagonists look like green spiders and the show is a look at a group of survivors known collectively as the 2nd Mass'. In this second part of a two part plotline, the 2nd Mass' meets remnants of the 7th Mass'. This second group is dealing and negotiating with the aliens in a treacherous fashion to ensure their survival. This episode shows some more creative writing as the aliens try to harness more kids for slave labour. Pope shows himself to be an anti-hero, while the resolution of this episode brings the 2nd Mass' to a relative quiet homeostasis. One question remains; where were the aliens in this showing?

The aliens use Clayton as their Benedict Arnold, to harvest children in the local area. Clayton hopes to save his own skin by giving up the children of the 2nd Mass' and others they may find. This gives them a window of safety, but how long does Clayton think he can maintain this short sighted plan? Thankfully, Hal Mason (Drew Roy) and Mike find out about his double-dealings, while at his community lodge for skitters and survivors. Events kick into high gear when Mike runs a rescue mission, to save his son and others from alien capture. A firefight ensues and the excitement builds.

Pope (Colin Cunningham) reappeared in episode 6, "Sanctuary: Part 1," and here he takes a more active role, by also intervening in Clayton's plan. Pope is an anti-hero and a Byronic hero. Byronic heroes are a partial origin for anti-heroes, as this type of character is brash, hateful of authority and a little self-destructive. Pope has all of these qualities and a few more questionable traits. However, this character incorporates a lot of light and dark, which makes him so unpredictable and entertaining to watch. In this episode, Pope returns to the 2nd Mass. His reward for helping the 2nd Mass' out is a bullet hole and a release from suspicion.

"Sanctuary: Part 2" brings a two part plotline to an entertaining conclusion. Some of the final scenes will be kept out of this review to encourage others to watch the episode; suffice it to say that the 2nd Mass' returns to a semi-routine seen in previous episodes. Their location at a high school has been maintained for several episodes now, despite an alien invasion. As a sidenote, where were the aliens in this episode? This reviewer did not see any of the ugly green beasts, which seems strange. That aside, the writing, interplay and plotline seen in this two part show-within-a-show was a fun and entertaining watch.

Some infighting amongst the militia units of the resistance has provided some nice shades of gray. From "Falling Skies," it would seem that man is his own worst enemy, even when faced by an external threat. Yet, this is sci-fi drama, where almost anything goes and melodrama is a staple. Finally, future episodes look to incorporate some more surprises with episode 8, "What Hides Beneath," airing July 31st. All of the episodes mentioned here are not to be missed!

Overall: 7 out of 10 (some good tension, interesting story, conflict amongst many characters, a solid and complex resolution to this episode).

"Falling Skies" at TNT:

Falling Skies at TNT (Previous Episodes)

A companion book to go with the series:

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