TV Review: Falling Skies 2.2, "Shall We Gather at the River"

This episode pales in comparison to both the one that preceded it and the one that follows.

rating: 3

The second act (of two) of the season premiere of Falling Skies picks up right where 2.1 ends. We find our heroes of the 2nd Mass trying to regain a sense of normality after the events of Tom Mason's return, wounding and fight for his life. All in all this episode felt like a throwaway episode. With 2.1 World's Apart it works but as a standalone episode it does not. So it basically stands in as the second half of the premiere. Spoiler Alerts! We find the resistance in a poor spot with their backs against a river and the skitter army moving in to trap them in a u-bend of the river. That any group calling themselves a fighting force could possibly find themselves in such a trap took a lot of suspension of disbelief - more so than the whole alien thing! But it makes an effective plot device. There's an important life or death mission that has to be dealt with. One other thing that felt tactically wrong about this episode was the choice to blow up the beamer (the flying ship) command structure AFTER the vehicles began to cross the fixed bridge. This is idiotic, serving only to forward the action and create a real sense of drama as the ships approach. Will they or won't they stop them in time? There was already quite a bit of drama with the emminent approach of the skitter army. But whatever... The real strengths in the episode is the characters. The episode serves to strengthen the inherent "goodness" of Tom Mason. The group has to contend with an alien parasite/bionic chip implanted into Tom (I'm hoping the why of this is answered soon). Is Tom really Tom. But unfortunately instead of playing this low and grimly the writers have Tom cuffing himself to the seat of the medical bus. Again - too much added drama that didn't need to be there. But speaking of character development we get more buildup on both Ben and Pope. Ben in the form of an alien ass-kicking force albeit with some questionable faults. Pope, I really want to like. I really do. He's badass but he's just got too many faults. He's racist, stupid and arrogant. But he does realize what needs to be done to kill the aliens. This episode again really points out the lack of female character development. Either the writers have dulled the female presence or these actors just aren't up to the job. Moon Bloodgood is extremely dull. I know her job is to ask tired and overwhelmed but hopefully they breath some life into this character. This episode pales in comparison to both the one that preceded it and the one that follows (which is totally brilliant I promise). Maybe I should have review this episode prior to 2.3. Still a decent effort. Three stars out of five.

When Jason is not watching films and TV (and writing about them) he can be found in his garden in the southern US.