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Falling Skies – What happened to Tom Mason?

'Falling Skies' returns with an action packed pair of episodes. It has been three months since the 2nd Mass scored a victory in Boston and Tom walked onto the alien spaceship. What happened to Tom while he was on board?

- Season 2, Episode 1 & 2 - "Worlds Apart & Shall We Gather at the River"

Falling Skies – What happened to Tom Mason? [Hal and Maggie share a moment on Falling Skies 425x375] (IMAGE)

When we left the men and women of Falling Skies’ 2nd Mass, they had scored a victory aliens, but Tom Mason freely surrendered himself in order to protect his son Ben – or so we thought. As the second season kicks off, three months have passed; the 2nd Mass has experienced significant losses and Mason is still missing.

Last season, when Tom walked onto that spaceship, I predicted that he would learn a great deal about the aliens and their intentions for Earth. Sadly, his conversation with the toothpick revealed very little about whatever plan the aliens might have. And as much as I dislike Tom’s speechifying, I had an even greater problem with the aliens’. Are we as a society – or even as individual – the sum of our worst actions? Or are we a something different, perhaps a representation of the greater things we aspire to be? The aliens don’t seem to give a damn either way; they want Earth – they’re obviously trying to preserve something by lightening up on the neutron bombs – and the humans here still only seem to represent a nuisance.

The evolution of Ben Mason is going to be a major part of the story this season. His physical development has benefited the 2nd Mass in the three months that has marked Tom’s absence. With Rick gone, he is the only example of a child freed from the harnesses that we have. This heightened physical conditioning obviously is linked to the long-term affects of the harnesses. We know that they allow the aliens to control them – and that the skitters have some unusual paternal instinct through it – but is the physical evolution a part of the development of a slave race? Regardless of why the changes to Ben are taking place, the greater question is where they stop, and what will be left of the boy we know when it does.

The introduction of a skitter with a unique characteristic – I’m calling him Red Eye – has to mean that he (she? it?) will be a regular “character” this season. He seems to have a specific grudge against Mason (Was this one of the skitters he encountered last year?) and seems to be tracking him via the scary eye-parasite-robot thing. I like that the enemy this year won’t just be a series of anonymous, faceless aliens, but we will have a specific antagonist to follow.

I’m generally not one to comment on cinematography or camera work in general — frankly because I don’t feel I have the technical knowledge to do it any justice. But in the second half of the premiere, there was a very cool “oner” shot that moved through the camp as they prepared to depart. The scene flowed through several conversations, from Hal and Maggie finding a way to talk about sex without talking about sex to Pope giving one of his Berzerkers hell about his smell as well as Lordes and newcomer Jamil sharing a moment. I was struck by how much of a family these people had become; the story of a brotherhood developing in units at war is a familiar one, but the 2nd Mass is a collection of more than just soldiers.

Remi Aubuchon has joined Falling Skies as the new showrunner this season, and has indicated that the show would take a little bit of a different direction. Gone are the technological advances that the humans made, including the frequency jammer and the “magic bullets.” The second season is reportedly going to take on a darker tone as well. Through the first two hours, I applaud the change. The situation is dire for mankind; as the aliens pointed out to Tom on the ship, the war has been fought, and the aliens have won. The best hope for the humans is making things so bad for the aliens that Earth is not worth having anymore. When a war’s outcome comes at such a staggering price, it really can’t be called a win. Sounds like things should be pretty dark for the 2nd Mass.

Notes & Quotes

  • “Life brings you lemons? You blow its frigging head off.” – Pope
  • “If those atrocities are the worst of us, what does that make you?” – Mason
    “The ones who will decide if your world lives or dies.” – Alien leader
  • “Dr. Glass? Do you know anything about scotch?” – Weaver
    “Some’s good, some’s better?” – Anne
  • “I shoulda had faith that you’d come back for [your boys].” – Anne
    “Not just them.” – Tom (All together now? Aaaawwwwwwww!)
  • Rest in Peace Uncle Scott and Ricky, victims of budget cuts and/or changed narrative direction.
  • “No it’s true, Dylan’s alive. He’s holed up in a mineshaft in Minnesota rewriting his protest songs into war ballads.” – Random camp conversation, proving that writers Bradley Thompson and David Weddle might have a little Battlestar Galactica left in them.

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4 Responses to “Falling Skies – What happened to Tom Mason?”

June 18, 2012 at 4:26 PM

I thought it was really good. I liked the first season, but it never stepped up from being “kinda good” to great. Now I feel that the show may be on the right track. And I welcome a litte darker storyline.

June 19, 2012 at 12:16 AM

I think I liked S1 more than you did, but agree that it could have been so much better.

Here’s to Aubuchon taking things to the next level :)

June 19, 2012 at 1:50 AM

Still a little soft, but I am fully enjoying it!

June 24, 2012 at 10:42 PM

. . . . .

Yeah … robotic parasite in Mason’s eye made me wince. I’m a big believer that the only thing that belongs in your eye is your elbow (I’ll wait patiently while you attempt that …

… are you finished?) so that entire sequence was creeptastic.

We got story taking the main stage which was the intent and result of season 1. Let’s see what season 2 due. Nice opener. Bring on the “dark” …