FALLING SKIES: Symbolism, Themes & Names – Is Spielberg A LOST Fan?

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.

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  1. KatesFate says

    Thank you for pointing that out, I failed to do my homework properly. After looking into it more thoroughly, I did not find any reference to a poet, however I did learn that John Pope was a United States Army Officer during the Civil War, so perhaps that is the correct reference. Thanks for reading.

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  2. chrispatt86 says

    Great review Roco, it left me thinking too, i find very interesting all the Skitters & Mechs stuff we have seen in this episode and i am still thinking about what we saw in episode one about perhaps they have got more of human that it seems because of the mechs having two legs, want to see more! loving the show!! Nice cliffhanger that makes me think too that you are in the right direction somehow aboute the harness “making” new skitters, nice!!

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    • says

      Hi chris, this is actually from KatesFate – one of our contributing writers.

      I agree though, it’s interesting to consider the hints with been given about the true nature of the ‘aliens’. Hopefully Ep.4 will advance the overarching mystery while continuing to develop the characters. I particularly want to see more from Anne.

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  3. chrispatt86 says

    WOW! Didn’t see it at the begining! Sorry KatesFate! Great job!! Let’s see we have got more to talk about after episode 4, im sure we will see more interesting things!

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  4. Nico says

    Great find on the civil war general. A lot to suggest he is the closer allusion the writers are making. Check his wiki page, there are references to possible antagonism he felt towards other officers, and the threat they felt he posed. Certainly brings the right associations to mind. Of course, pope’s turns of late on the show do seem to have a flair for the dramatic and mock heroic, a la the poet whose name he shares.

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  5. Nico says

    Definitely some interesting references to the general’s “aggressiveness and lack of tactical skill” which does seem to match up. His later life may give a clue to our character: he actually advocated more humane treatment for native Americans–could this be a clue to a possible hidden philanthropy that pope the character is hiding for now?

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    • KatesFate says

      I read the wiki page and it was extremely interesting. I rather like Pope and would like to see his character take more of an interest in the Resistance. I think he has a lot to offer and if his namesake is any indication of how his character will turn out, we could learn some very interesting things about Pope!

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      • Nico says

        Definitely. Great performance by Colin Cunningham, makes the character more than just a crazy guy, he is really interesting.

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  6. says

    Hi Katesfate,is Kate ok for short?

    You mentioned patriotism as a prevalent theme for this show and I agree. I have no doubt the use the name “Mason” in the show because many of America’s founding fathers were masons. I am also sure it is no coincidence this show is set in Boston as it seems there is no better place to stage this new “American Revolution” and they have to start from square one again this time against new oppressors.

    The retreat from Boston nearly parallels the path of what is known as “Battle Road” where the Minutemen fought the British back in 1775. They’ve gotten some of the geographical facts wrong but at least they ended up in Acton. The men of Acton responded to the call in 1775 and fought in the battles of Lexington and Concord.

    As far as that JFK High School mural is concerned please check out my tumblr posts. (Yes, shameless plug.) The men rowing Washington across the Delaware were from Marblehead, MA. where one of the shows retreating Regiments was assigned to.

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    • KatesFate says

      Hi Dave. Kate or Kates for short is perfectly fine.

      Thank you for reading. I love the points that you made about the parallels between where the show is set and the American Revolution.

      Everywhere you turn on Falling Skies there is some small reference being made to patriotism or the American Revolution. I never thought about the name Mason being connected to our founding fathers, but it makes perfect sense now that you brought it up. Good catch!

      I love the use of themes in serialized television. I will check our your tumblr posts, nothing wrong with a shameless plug! :)

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  7. Nisse says

    Since one charactar is named Pope I assume the Mason family represents the freemasons. Anne Glass is surely then a reference to “Angels” or in another word “Angles” which of course is something masons (as well as I) consider to be quite significant. The Rebel skitter refer imo to the same entity as Prometheus in Greek mythology and lately the Hollywood scene as well. Captain Weaver might perhaps correlate to the Achitecht figure in the Matrix Trilogy?

    It’s quite funny I think, all this recent subtle marketing by these hidden organisations. The TV series “The Event” is another example where illuminati is being portrayed in a totally different illumination than what we’re used to. I dunno what to think. Are they good? Bad? Neutral? Are all this fear and stigma unjustified? Study Plato! Google “morphogenic field”! This is all real folks! Prometheus has returned to free humanity from slavery!

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    • Sybil says


      I totally agree with you. Using the name Mason is so telling. AND can the Pope character in Falling Skies be any more evil – just as the Pope in the Vatican is one of the most demonic entities on earth. If you need clues as to what those tricky buggers are doing, simply watch network TV or movies.

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  8. Nisse says

    Just now I discovered something. Hal, Ben and Matt. If we put their names together and subtract one T we get Halben Mat. This in german means “half mat”. Could this refer to our dimensional plane of existence and therefore also indicate that there’s more to it than what we can observe? Would that be the higher dimensions of perfect geometric relations which Plato suggested? Fringe with the alternate universe colliding with ours! Eureka where the town is almost shut down tru colliding with the outside world! The symbolism is EveryWhere!!!

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