Falling Skies “Death March” Review

With only 300 miles left to go, the 2nd Mass pressed on towards Charleston, fueled by hope in the face of fatigue and exhaustion. With most of their time spent on the road, the bulk of tonight’s Falling Skies episode, “Death March,” was like eavesdropping on a handful of road trip conversations. Some of those road trip conversations were decidedly more engaging than the others.

On the medic bus, Tom, Anne, Lourdes, and Matt were dealing with the same old story of a being able to trust or not trust a harnessed child. Jenny, the harnessed child that was hit by the convoy, was farther along in her Skitter transformation than the other harnessed kids we had seen, but the drama surrounding her was just another variation of the same story that we’ve seen on Falling Skies many times before.

As usual, the adults mumbled about whether or not they could afford to trust the harnessed kid before deciding to keep her under a useless guard who would not be around when she escaped and put the 2nd Mass in danger. Of course, the harnessed child would have time to learn plenty of information about the 2nd Mass’ operations before escaping. This time it was Matt’s turn to unintentionally leak the 2nd Mass’ movements to a potential Occupation spy.

Jenny’s harness was damaged and it didn’t seem like she was there to intentionally get information about the 2nd Mass, but why haven’t the adults in the 2nd Mass learned their lesson from their experiences with Karen and Rick? Shouldn’t they have been incredibly cautious about letting Matt talk to her at all? Kindness is one thing, but Tom should have told Matt that it was very important that they limit the amount of information they gave Jenny about Charleston since they had no idea if she was an intentional plant like Karen, or if she was simply another kid like Rick who felt more at home with the Skitters than with humans.

In the advance scout truck, Hal and Maggie were having conversations about their “darkness.” While Hal was out to get water for the truck, Pope pressured Maggie to tell Hal about “who and what” she was. The way Pope phrased it, I was hoping for an entirely different kind of jaw dropping reveal from Maggie, but it turned out to just be about her criminal history in the pre-invasion world.

Maggie revealed that she had been an 18 year old drug addict thief who had a baby in jail. While that might have been a big deal in any other setting, in a post-apocalyptic world, I don’t see how that matters. Pope and Hal (or anyone for that matter) are in no position to scrutinize Maggie for her life before the invasion. Plenty of people without criminal histories turned out to be cowards and thieves in the face of the Occupation. We already know who Maggie is and she is not her past. Maggie has been a hardworking, courageous fighter and if Hal loses his faith in her because she was something different in another world, he’s the idiot.

The most interesting road trip dialogue came from the conversations between Captain Weaver and Tector in their truck at the head of the convoy. Their dialogue provided a ton of development for a character that we had hardly seen before on Falling Skies. We had only seen Tector as a side character, so Weaver’s conversation with him about his history pulled him out of the background. Tector’s skills make his past relevant to Weaver, but like Maggie, the regret and guilt that lingers from his life before the invasion have no place in this fight.

When the convoy hit the busted bridge at Charleston and looked over the bleak landscape ahead of them, I was frustrated that the 2nd Mass’ first reaction was defeat and desperation. They had only seen one side of the city from across the bridge, but they were ready to pack it up and move on. My first thought was that this desolate city would be the perfect cover for a massive and successful resistance. To any outsider, Charleston would look like a completely destroyed city with no connection to the outside world. The Overlords would have no need to bother with a city that already looked like it had been nuked to the ground.

Thankfully Colonel Porter and his team came out of the brush when they did, because the 2nd Mass was about to turn around without trying to find another way in or bothering to send in scouts to take a closer look. The new American capital of Charleston was exactly what I thought it would be and it fooled the 2nd Mass, so I expect it has been successful in fooling the Overlords as well.

From the previews for next week’s Falling Skies, it looks like the 2nd Mass will face an entirely new set of challenges in Charleston as the clash of politics and organized power comes into play for the first time. Still, I’m looking forward to the 2nd Mass planting themselves in one spot and getting involved in what I hope will be a much bigger fight against the Occupation.