FALLING SKIES “Grace” Advance Review

FALLING SKIES Grace Episode 4

FALLING SKIES “Grace” Season 1, Episode 4 – I got an advance look at the fourth episode of Falling Skies where Tom and his crew are sent on a mission to retrieve motorcycles at Pope’s suggestion while Annie and Michael continue to investigate the captive Skitter.

The mission to pick up the motorcycles provides the nail biting action that Falling Skies is really good at, but it doesn’t do too much in the way of character development or even plot progress. I’ve begun to worry that Falling Skies might fall into a formulaic video game pattern where the ultimate goal of saving Tom’s son, Ben, is constantly sidestepped by missions to gain cooperation and gather necessary supplies. I bought it for the first few episodes, but I’m starting to wonder why Tom just doesn’t go AWOL in a desperate move to save his son. In general, Tom seems rather calm and collected considering that the Skitters have no known reason to keep his son safe and the odds of Ben staying alive decrease as the hours pass.

Where this episode really shone was in the developments that happened back at the base camp. Having a captive prisoner of war opens the gate for an examination of the dark side of humanity where the characters either allow themselves to slip into monstrous roles resembling their oppressors, or attempt to fight their own vindictive inclinations. This kind of exploration was exactly where I hoped Falling Skies would go and despite some heavy handed moments, I’m glad they’ve begun to address the occupation and war in more complex terms than a basic battle between good guys and bad guys.

Although this episode of Falling Skies gets off to a slow start, there’s a lot of suspense and a general terrifying feel to this episode which isn’t solely caused by the Skitters. By the end of it we learn quite a bit more about our protagonists and a little bit more about the Skitters. As much as I enjoy humans kicking alien butt, I find I’m much more drawn into a story when I’m conflicted about how to feel about the enemy and this episode was the first to take a little scratch at that surface.