Falling Skies Season 3 Review “Collateral Damage”

Falling Skies Season 3 Episode 1 & 2 On Thin Ice; Collateral Damage (3)

On episode two of the night of “Falling Skies”, we had an episode that lived up to its name, “Collateral Damage”. In order to foil a plot by the Espheni, Tom has to take some actions that prove the old saw that every war has its causalities. But what happens when those causalities are directly your fault?

It all starts when son Ben- aka Benji, much to his chagrin- discovers the aliens occupying a nuclear power plant, which can’t be good. It’s clear a new attack on Charleston is imminent, and though they might have the upper hand in knowing that the aliens are coming, they can’t exactly shoot up their operation, what with, I don’t know, a freaking nuclear reactor in the way. One false move, and everyone’s sporting no hair and radiation sickness and it’s goodnight Charleston anyway.

This query led Tom to one Dr. Kadar via the advice of Perlata, who turns out to be the man who got the power up and running in Charleston, post alien invasion. In exchange for being left to his own devices underground, he keeps everything in working order. I don’t know about you, but if I hadn’t known going in that Robert Sean Leonard was in this, I don’t know that I would have recognized him underneath all that facial hair and glasses and so forth, looking like he hadn’t bathed, like, ever. I suppose it’s a testament to his abilities as an actor that this role bears absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to his best-known role as Wilson on “House”.

Meanwhile, Tom’s son Matt is going increasingly rogue, skipping school and blowing crap up, as kids are wont to do in the dystopian future, I guess. There are no rules in the post-apocalypse, dad, so “F” you, man! Too bad the house he took out a big chunk of was ear-marked for rehabilitation for some of the families in town. Whoops! Tom wisely underplays his disappointment, which leads Matt to realize the error of his ways and agree to help fix what he destroyed. He also has a moment with Anne after snapping at her the age-old stepmonster line: “You’re not my real mother! I don’t have to listen to you!” The bit where he asked to call her mom later on in the show was a bit much, too soon, but we’ll let it slide as this was mostly a solid episode.

Eventually, Dr. K. formulates a plan, and so does Tom, wisely assuming that the mole will catch wind of it. He/she does and the aliens do indeed see them coming and attack fiercely, resulting in the aforementioned causalities, including newly-established “battle buddy” Lars. Lars, we hardly knew ye! Or any of the other people who died, for that matter, which made it a bit of a wash on an emotional level, but then they did kill Arthur in episode one, and thankfully, Noah Wyle can sell the hell out of a unknown person’s death, having done so on a near-weekly basis on “ER” for…dear God was that show on for 15 seasons? Holy crap! No wonder he can do that sort of thing in his sleep!

Cochise, already a really intriguing character, warns everyone that the victory may be short-lived, as the aliens don’t approach war the same as humans. He says that most likely they will consolidate all their resources and attack immediately, if only to show that the big win on the part of the humans didn’t faze them at all. This is, of course, good news for us as viewers (if not our heroes), as it ensures that the action will keep coming, which I am all in favor of.

Beyond that, Hal was followed by Maggie, who confirmed that he could indeed walk. She intercepted him right before he met with Karen, who was none too happy about it with her skitter pal in tow. Wonder what she was planning this time around, what with her creepy buddy along for the ride this time. A ménage a skitter, perhaps? (Yeah, I went there.)

Creepy baby Alexis continued to be creepy, and Anne continued to downplay it. I wonder if she’ll start aging rapidly, like that chick on “The 4400”. If so, that could be interesting, albeit derivative, all things considered. Perhaps leaving her as a baby that just gets super-smart and advanced really quickly could be more effective. Either way, that baby is muy creepy. I don’t know about you but I hear that spooky “Rosemary’s Baby” theme in my head every time I see it.

All in all, a pretty good episode. As with the previous one, lots of action, and another solid battle scene. As aforementioned, it was hard to be as affected by the deaths as we might have been, when it was people we didn’t really know as characters, with only Lars’ death deriving any sort of impact on an emotional level. There were also a few holes here and there, such as how Dr. K knew exactly where to plant the explosives in order to not cause a nuclear meltdown without blueprints, and, for that matter, how they got a proclaimed agoraphobe to leave his lair so easily, or not to head for the hills when things went sideways for a bit there. Also, they couldn’t have grabbed his glasses, broken or not? He could have still used them as an ad-hoc looking glass, at least while they were figuring out how to shut down the reactor. Better that than the alternative, right?

Overall, though, these were relatively small quibbles. The important thing was that the episode was exciting and entertaining. Even better, each episode of the night had its own sort of vibe, and was different enough in tone to not seem repetitive or unsatisfying. (See my review of episode one here.) I like the new vibe of the show thus far, and the new characters are pretty decent as well, especially Cochise, and of course the Mega-Mechs are cool. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how all of this will play out over the season.

What did you think of the season premiere of “Falling Skies” on the whole? Looking forward to the rest of the new season as well? Did you like the new characters? How about the new developments on the show? Do you trust Cochise? Who do you think the mole is? Sound off below in the comments section!