The 2nd Mass’ first stop on the long road to Charleston brings tension between Tom and his youngest son, Matt, while Ben continues to struggle with his alien connection, and Weaver meets someone from his past. Here’s our take on the good, the bad, and the overarching story from Falling Skies 2.04 — “Young Bloods”.
- I had mixed feelings about the Berserkers prior to this episode, however Tector and Boon made me feel a little more optimistic about their existence. They brought a bit of flavor to their terribly-named group and the episode in general, while their Skitter-bait practices illustrated their capability and delivered some useful tension with Father Tom.
- On a related note, did anyone miss Pope? Me neither. Which is good, because while he’s Sawyer-lite, he’s one of the show’s more engaging characters. There was the question of whether Falling Skies could hold up without him following his (temporary) departure from the group, and while I consider “Young Bloods” to be one of the weaker episodes of this fledgling season, I don’t attribute that to Pope’s absence. Whether he’s missed in future episodes remains to be seen.
- We got some useful Hal and Ben tension along with some rather endearing moments between the pair. I also liked how they disarmed the ‘young bloods’ in a rather cool scene.
- Ben lighting up like a Christmas tree is always pretty interesting, but his symbiotic connection with the aliens went up another notch when he appeared to communicate with the pre-baked harness. Indeed, this was one of the few positive aspects that I took away from my Magical Harness Factory experience.
- We didn’t so much see the 2nd Mass ‘on the road’ as see them hunker down at another location. This is still an upgrade on the stagnation of last season, but I kinda hope we get to see them during their travels from time to time (the bridge of contrivance doesn’t count).
- The episode fell down around the Weaver/Jeanie storyline. I appreciate Weaver’s backtory follow up, but the way it was executed left me cold and was made all the less satisfying by the fact that she (quite inexplicably) left at the end of the episode. That’s not to say they had to stick together, but I don’t buy the reasons/shading that the story gave for her departure. What should have been a major plotline was given ‘story of the week’ treatment. This can be remedied over time (there’s always redemption in serial), but for now it feels really unsatisfying.
- Not such fun times at the Magical Harness Factory. There were some interesting sci-fi moments, but overall I found it too comical. I don’t think anyone needed to see Tom’s Harness Rage and the less said about Weaver’s ‘leg attack’ the better.
- I was disapointed by how formulaic the episode was, which is fairly indicative of the show in general. Something happens to facilate the very next scene or action point. For example, the harness latching on to Weaver’s leg in one of the show’s most cringeworthy scenes to date, just so Weaver has a ‘reason’ to be out of comission when Jeanie exits stage left. Even the way Matt’s baseball cap is used as a ‘reason’ for Diego to randomly start a conversation with him before inexplicably asking him whether he wants to join them on a really dangerous mission. The problem actually isn’t so much that the show does this, of course, but the fact that it’s so transparent and by-the-numbers. Perhaps I’m being a tad harsh, but at the same time this is an area I hoped would be improved in Season 2.
- While I was left cold and confused by the whole Jeanie storyline, there were some nice moments there, plus it might be interesting to see how Weaver copes with two losses in quick succession — first little Jimmy bites the bullet, now Jeanie comes ‘back from the dead’ only to leave him without so much as a “thanks for the supplies”. Not to mention he now knows for sure that his wife is dead. Closure or conflict, which way will the Weaver turn?
- Young Matthew Mason (Aka M&M) was a bit over the top in this episode, but in that believable impressionable kid kind of way. He brought a few chuckles, which is more than I can say about the most of the 2nd Mass. “BASHOON-BASHOON!”
- Would it kill them to give us more Two Guns Maggie?
- Is Dai still alive?
- Tom and Anne can be a bit eye-rolling at times, but their little “hi”-”hi” scene was kind of sweet….. in a sickly kind of way, of course.
- Ben uses his
Spidey powersSpikey powers to hear where the bike bandits went. Who needs a compass when you have in-built navigation? Speaking of which, I’m glad Weaver’s compass was given more context following the Jimmy affair and its titular debut.
- “I’m Hal, and that’s my brother, Ben”. Ben: *waves*. They may have taken his spine, but they CANNOT take his sense of humor!
- Major take-away from the episode: the harnesses are essentially ‘alive’ prior to receiving a host. We kind of know this, what with the whole symbiosis thing, etc, but this was good insight.
- The ‘young bloods’ have a different name for the Skitters. Of course they do.
- We also got another compassionate Skitter, seemingly trying to comfort the kids prior to being harnessed. The dichotomy between the Skitters and their Overlords continues to intrigue, particularly with Red Eye lurking in the wings.
- So, Matt almost got harnessed. It might not make the headlines, but that’s kind of significant in Mason circles.
- A few members of the Falling Skies cast admitted prior to the season that there was one episode they were not to proud of. I wonder whether it was this one?
- “It is well that war is so terrible — lest we should grow too fond of it.” – poignant Robert E. Lee quote overlooking the latest 2nd Mass settlement. Ironic yet appropriate, these kind of visuals serve as intriguing narratives in themselves. I just hope the directors don’t make them too obvious. Sure, some folks will miss them, but that’s why the best easter eggs/metaphors work.
- RIP Magical Harnesses. You were the backbone of the Magical Harness Factory. May you rest in rather slimy pieces.
- I’m often skeptical when episodes end in sing-songy fashion, so they had me at a disadvantage. That’s all I’m saying.
- Weaver’s daughter Jeanie is alive, but his wife didn’t make it – she died from a stroke.
- Further insight into the organic nature of the harnesses.
- Is Tom an unwitting sleeper agent?
- Why does Tom have gaps in his memory; what happened during that time?
- What is Red Eye’s agenda; why did he allow Tom to live?
- Why the Red Eye? (aside from being a distinguishing feature).
- Is Red Eye working on its own volition or at the behest of the Overlords?
- What was the parasite/device that Red Eye implanted inside of Tom — Tracking device? Mind control? “Circuit board”?
- What are the Overlords overarching plans for Earth and humanity?
- Why did Red Eye spare Ben’s life and what did he do to Ben?; it seemed to be reading/scanning him.
- Is there really a government in Charleston?; Have they really made contact with the wider world?; Can they be trusted?
- Where do the harnesses come from?
- Why do the Overlords continue to harness our goddamn kids?
7/10 Seriable Stars