Monday, August 08, 2011

"Falling Skies" Episode 9 "Mutiny" and Rising Tension: A Television Review

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Director: Holly Dale.

Writer: Joe Weisberg.

Cast: Noah Wyle, Moon Bloodgood, Will Patton, Drew Roy and Colin Cunningham.

Episode 9 of the sci-fi television show "Falling Skies" aired August 7th. This episode was part of a two hour finale, which ends with "Eight Hours." This one hour episode put soldier Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) firmly against Captain Weaver (Will Patton) over a planned attack in Boston. Previous episodes involving reconnaisance have been building the tension for this attack that takes place in the final episode. The plan comes into question when the scout Dai (Peter Shinkoda) returns with news of the 4th and 5th Mass' demise, along with Col. Porter (Dale Dye). Events in this episode make the attack look like a suicide mission, while others argue for striking back against an alien invasion. This episode was full of tension, more unpredictable behaviours from Pope (Colin Cunningham), and a cliffhanger ending, with the attack moving ahead as previously planned.

"Mutiny" was mostly centered on the powerplay between Cpt. Weaver and Tom Mason. Tom is the second in command of the 2nd Mass' and his previous interactions with the Captain in the previous episode "What Lies Beneath" has put his command in question. It seems Weaver is, understandably, showing some stress from a war with a hostile alien species. He has turned to amphetamines to deal with events and Tom wants a change in his plans for the attack on Boston. Basically, Tom believes the mission is suicidal and Weaver has already proven he has suicidal impulses in "What Lies Beneath." So, Tom is right in questioning the attack, especially in the light that the 4th and 5th regiments have likely been destroyed.

Ah, then there is Pope, the Dionysis of modern television. Gone are the dancing and wine, but the chaos of this age old character is still here in Pope. What is Pope's motivations for so vehemently wanting the attack to go ahead? Pope seems to have a vendetta against the aliens as seen in the episode titled "Grace." Here, Pope went on a solo mission to eradicate some sleeping skitters. So, there is a backstory here, which has not been revealed involving Pope and this alien force. A second hypothesis involves Pope having a general hatred of mankind (misanthropy). Expect his backstory to be teased in Seas. 2, which airs in the summer of 2012.

Finally, this episode ends with the sensationalist cliffhanger ending. Weaver convinces fifty fighters to follow him to Boston, under the pretense that the 4th and 5th Mass' intend to partake in the attack. But, where is his evidence for this? The tension builds towards an exciting climax, as Hal, Mason's son, leaves to partake in the attack as well. Families are split, Ben is receiving alien radio transmissions and Weaver looks to become the Jim Jones of the American militia. However, optimism still remains in the 2nd Mass'; so, events might just go as they have planned.

Expect Pope to have a separate agenda in this season finale. Also, expect to see Hal reunite somehow with his ex-girlfriend Karen (Jessy Schram). Ben might hold a key to the alien transmissions. The final episode will definitely enlighten viewers on the (non)-existence of the 4th and 5th Mass'. Surely, the 2nd Mass' is not all that remains of the resistance! Either way, "Falling Skies" is a well written and thrilling series which is deserving of the second season. Hopefully, the final show, which will be reviewed shortly, does not disappoint.

Writing/plot/subplots: 7.5 (lots of great characters with conflicted motivations here).
Pacing/continuity: 7 (this series seems to shift from an action-packed episode to a more plot driven episode, not sure about this style).

Overall: 7.25 out of 10 (this reviewer is really enjoying the show).

Learn more about the series at the "Falling Skies" official website:

"Falling Skies" at TNT

A companion book for the series:

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