Seriable’s KatesFate looks at the symbolism and themes from Falling Skies EP. 1.03.
Well here we are, three episodes into the series and I am still watching. I liked Episode 1 & 2 of Falling Skies and rated them both an 8/10. I enjoyed Episode 3 even more.
“Live and Learn” and “The Armory” presented us with the story and its characters. Episode 3, “Prisoner of War”, gets deeper into these elements and begins to peel away the layers of the characters and the mysteries.
The episode begins with Tom and his chosen group of soldiers, including Maggie, out on a thwarted quest to find and rescue Tom’s son Ben. They find a group of children being guarded by Mechs and Skitters – they are being used to salvage scrap metal. Maggie wonders why they would come to earth for scrap metal and my mind immediately begins to wonder the same. It’s possible that the Skitters don’t have the proper elements on their planet to create fighting machines like the Mechs, who could be made out of the very scrap metal the children are collecting. Maybe they travel to other planets to salvage the items they need? It’s a thought, so I am throwing it out there.
Most of the people reading this will probably get a bit tired of me mentioning or comparing this show to LOST, but I won’t apologize because I think Steven Spielberg would love to have the same sort of show that “Darlton” gave the world. And for him to use certain elements from LOST, wouldn’t and doesn’t surprise me. There may not be flashbacks but there is a lot of symbolism and certain themes have already presented themselves throughout all three episodes. Patriotism, starting over, religion and humanity, for example, have all been mentioned more than once.
Patriotism oozes from the show in many ways. The Resistance has their headquarters at JFK High School and the mural on the school depicts Lincoln and great moments in American history. Tom Mason himself is a history professor who uses his knowledge of military history to help fight the aliens. The use of the bulletin board to showcase missing children is reminiscent of 911 and recent tsunamis.
“Darlton” had a habit of naming some of their characters on LOST with names of philosophers and scientists, whereas Spielberg has used names such as Lourdes and John Pope, both having religious connections. It will be interesting to see how the show presents religion and atheism in light of the alien arrival. The name Tom Mason could be a homage to the real Tom Mason – an actor who stood in for a then recently deceased Bela Lugosi in the movie titled, “Plan 9 from Outer Space“. I am sure these names are not just given by coincidence.
In the episode we are introduced to Dr. Michael Harris who also happens to have ties to Tom Mason. We learn that Tom’s wife Rebecca was left to die by Harris who fled to save himself during the first attack. It also just so happens that he is the one person so far who has been successful in removing the harnesses from the children.
The rescue efforts to save Ben are thwarted and Mike’s son Rick is rescued instead. In the process, Tom is knocked unconscious and Hal and Karen are captured by a Mech. Once Tom comes to, he goes back to find Hal and Karen. One of my favorite scenes takes place in the corridor when Tom single-handedly defeats the Skitter that ambushes him. I literally jumped out of my skin as I wasn’t expecting a close encounter with a Skitter at that moment. Tom brings the alien to Weaver and they have a full-fledged prisoner of war.
Meanwhile Hal wakes up to find Karen being dragged away by Ben and a couple of other children. A Mech suddenly appears with a small group of harnessed kids and a Skitter approaches Hal. The Skitter points at Hal and then the children and the Mech proceeds to execute the kids. This is the first attempt at communication from the Skitters. They are using Hal as a messenger with the message, for each child you take we will kill the rest in the group. When Tom finds Hal, he understands what has happened immediately and with the Skitters now having Karen, they too have a prisoner of war. Will there be an exchange of the prisoners at some point or is Karen doomed and headed for certain death?
The removal of the harness from Rick was quite a cool scene and it also presented us with more questions as to how the harnesses actually work. Dr. Harris uses morphine to counteract the effects of removing the harness which somehow attaches to the nervous system. We learn that if a child wears the harness long enough, the harness and the child become one. Does this mean that the children will become Skitters? Are the harnesses actually Skitter offspring and the Skitter require some sort of host to reproduce?
In a nice twist at the end, the Skitter prisoner of war opens his eyes at the same time as the previously harnessed Rick. This presents us with many more questions about the harness and the Skitters, and left us with a nice little cliff hanger and something to theorize about until Episode 4.
I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this episode, including the funny moment when Pope announces that he is a chef, and I can’t wait for the next episode to find out more about the Skitters, where they come from and what their mission really is. I give this episode of Falling Skies 9/10 Skitters.