‘Falling Skies’ Season 2, Episode 3: ‘Compass’ Recap

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Noah Wyle Colin Cunningham Falling Skies Compass Falling Skies Season 2, Episode 3: Compass Recap

It’s hard to not to snicker when the characters on any show not set in Westeros utter the slightest word regarding the inevitable approach of winter. In Falling Skies, though, the writers’ use of the pending weather change to drive the characters into the main story for season 2 is as good a reason as any to fear a few falling flakes. Besides, Game of Thrones doesn’t wholly own the season of winter, does it?

After the season 2 premiere did such a solid job of getting the ball rolling, ‘Compass’ is one of those episodes burdened with the unfortunate task of slowing things down so that the pieces can be properly aligned and ready to go when the larger story really kicks off. Of course, that means the 2nd Mass eventually running to a (supposedly) larger, more organized unit that, unlike the now 176 survivors led by Captain Weaver (Will Patton), is certain of the direction in which it is headed.

That direction is very clear, and it’s one regarded by Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) as the right way to go. Understandably, Weaver is concerned about his crew, and considering the losses the 2nd Mass has suffered recently, it’s no wonder his mind is occupied with the preservation of life, and not continuing to engage the invading aliens in conflict. Weaver uses winter as an excuse, feeling it would be better waited out in the relative seclusion of the Catskills – where his troops might be able to rest, recuperate and live to fight another day. Like Tom says, though, “…if we’re resting, we’re not resisting.” Yes, it’s hokey dialogue (and not the last to be showcased in ‘Compass’), but it does get the point across in an episode whose sole job is to get the audience prepared for the rest of the season.

One of the key points is that after leaving the relative safety of the school they occupied during season 1, the 2nd Mass now has to stay mobile if they want to stay alive. That is made clear time and again, and has served (so far) to make the danger of season 2 feel more much more palpable and real than it was in season 1.  But, as hinted by the title of the episode, Weaver is going need some help in deciding which direction is best for his band of survivors.

The scruffy, ponytailed captain isn’t the only one in the group who may have lost his sense of direction, however. In fact, the episode hints somewhat that everyone in the 2nd Mass is a little lost in the woods at the moment. Whether it’s the confusion brought on by a thirst for vengeance and the blindness that accompanies hate – as is the case with Ben (Connor Jessup) – or the hopelessness of grief that has Anne (Moon Bloodgood) counting the days on the calendar, there is a feeling that, in all the fighting, many have begun to walk aimlessly. And so, because it has Saving Private Ryan and The Patriot in its DNA, Falling Skies decides the best way to get everyone as close to the same page as possible is to remove a well-liked, but slightly unnecessary character.

Jimmy (Dylan Authors) always served as a tool to help ground Weaver without giving him too much to be concerned about. Weaver can’t rightly be using one of the three Mason boys to replace his lost child, but he also can’t be seen palling around with some kid, so the orphaned Jimmy, who comes and goes as he pleases, was really the best way to showcase Weaver’s humanity.

Considering Ben’s bloodlust is largely responsible for Jimmy being impaled on a tree – by Red Eye, no less – it’s expected that his response to the boy’s passing would be as emotional, if not more so than Weaver’s. Instead, Weaver reserves his emotions for a charming, if inelegant eulogy, while Ben responds by acting like a self-destructive, cagey weirdo; thereby ensuring the rest of the group will continue to think of him as such.

Colin Cunningham Noah Wyle Falling Skies Compass Falling Skies Season 2, Episode 3: Compass Recap

If the response to Jimmy’s death felt off, then Tom’s decision to join the Berserkers after Pope (Colin Cunningham) dragged him into the woods and accused him of being an alien stooge was off the charts bizarre. Maybe it was all deliberately related to the episode’s core theme, or simply an easier way to justify Tom and Pope eventually duking it out, but it all came off a little clunky.

The fallout of the Tom/Pope brawl is even more problematic, as it places Falling Skies back into the familiar territory of a show without one of its biggest agitators and fascinating presences. Perhaps due to the Berserkers staying behind, Pope’s solo adventures will be short lived. On the other hand, since Anthony (Mpho Koaho) decides to travel with him (mostly to ensure Pope doesn’t return seeking vengeance for his bruised ego and face), it would suggest Pope’s time away from the 2nd Mass may be an adventure all it’s own – which could either be compelling or detrimental to the rest of the season’s story arc.

And it looks like that arc revolves around a Continental Congress that’s been set up in Charleston. The group learns this information from a pilot, Avery Churchill (Camille Sullivan), who lands her tiny airplane smack dab in the middle of their not terribly inconspicuous camp. As far as information, Avery seems short on precise details, but she has plenty of kind words for Weaver and Tom, as well as the promise of hot water for the rest of the survivors. Weaver is naturally justified in his skepticism, but after weighing the option of waiting out the winter alone, or giving his people a fighting chance in Charleston, he chooses the latter.

Hopefully, the time ‘Compass’ took to set up the direction of the next few episodes will be utilized to the fullest extent, so that Falling Skies doesn’t have to stop to check it’s bearings like this too often.

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Falling Skies returns next Sunday @9pm with ‘Young Bloods’ on TNT. Check out a preview below:

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  1. Hopefully the direction will be grt………!!

    • I think the “concentration” camp the aliens referred to in the first episode of this season is in Charleston. Why go to the trouble of rounding everyone up when you can trick them into going on their own ?

      • I think you are right!

        The lady pilot told everyone EXACTLY what they wanted to hear!

        Charlston is the “reservation” the alien leader talked about.

        • totally agree!!! charleston is the neutral zone the overlord spoke of. he stated tom would lead his people there……tom said no. so the best way to make him lead them……is to trick him to doing so.

  2. Actually I found the decision to have Tom join the Berserkers a fairly rational idea. This would allow Tom to keep an eye on Pope but it also would allow Pope to keep Tom fairly close.

    And Pope is too pivotal (and interesting) a character to be away for long. I suspect he and his loyal “friend” will reappear in 1-2 episodes with some important piece of info about the aliens.

  3. anyone else think the aliens sent churchill , these aliens seem to be wearing the 2nd mass down to nothing slowly but surely so i got to imagine they are doing the same to any other groups out there .. and also we have seen before that they have found many humans willing to work with them and aid them in taking over our planet .. alos i am glad to see pope go i very much see him in the same vien as shane from walking dead .. either way still love the show and cant wait for next week .

    • THANK YOU!!!! A stranger literally comes out of the blue and starts telling stories about how great things are in Charleston and Weaver is the only one who, briefy, smells something fishy? I was waiting for Tom, the history professor, to speak up with a “beware of Greeks bearing gifts” type speech. Pope didn’t even question her story and he’s totally paranoid.

      • yeah i really cant understand why tom didnt find it fishy, especially when basically the aliens made him an offer of oh you can have a great little area all to yourselfs to live in peace ..
        basically what churchill is saying

        im pretty sure the aliens made more offers to others , and im pretty sure this churchill person is just a person sent by the aliens to round up surviors get them all in one place make the extermination more easier .. and why didnt tom tell weaver about what happened on the ship .. there are some things i just dont understand about the show that i dont know if thery trying to do a “lost” vibe or what ?
        and whats the deal with the skidders out in the woods wtf are they doing out there .. looks like thery sitting out and having a bud light ?? and i dont understand in the first season pope made it sound like they would come accross skidder orgies BUT why would engage in such behavior if they are “harnessed” they are essentially being controled correct so i dont understand some of this stuff ..

        • I’m under the impression that Red Eye and his band of Skidders have their own agenda. So it would be logical to meet far away from any alien platforms.

          • yeah that is the worst case of pink eye i have ever seen …

        • This is exactly what even I have been thinking about ?
          But regarding the skitters, having “discussions” in the woods and that too(and very strangely) not accompanied by the ‘Mechs’ looks something fishy.
          If I think out of the box, what I see something interesting, which is this:
          These skitters are ‘harnessed’ or inshort enslaved by those tall humanoid aliens. Red-eye and a few must have realized that, and are ‘planning’ to come out of the situation in some way. Whic

        • why didn’t Tom smell anything with the delicious offer churchill made?
          The same thing I have been wondering about.

          And regarding the Skitters having “discussions” in the woods, and that too (and strangely) not accompanied by Mechs looks fishy as well.
          Now if I think out of the box then I see something very interesting:
          These Skitters have been “harnessed” or are enslaved by those tall humanoid creatures.
          Seems a small group of Skitters (along with the red-eyed) have realized this and are planning out a way to get out of this situation.
          This might explain what those skitters are doing in the woods.
          If I go with the same theory, then we have very interesting outcomes ahead.
          Probably we will be seeing the humans allying with the skitters which could set humans and the skitters both free.
          Seems red-eyed is going to play a crucial role ahead.
          Lets wait and watch….

          • I was under the same impression as you that when Anne did the Skitter autopsy the implication was that the Skitters where “harnessed” as well as the humans. But that is not what they where alluding to. The implication (as I just found out from reading in another recap website and which now makes way more sense from what we have been seeing of the harnessed teens/children changing more Skitter-like) is that the Skitter they cut open/autopsied showed the skeleton/human structure internally, along with the harness imbedded deep inside! This implying that the harnessed children’s DNA slowly over combines with that of the Skitter’s and they become a Skitter! The Skitter’s body in essence grows over the human body- which is why Anne found the human skeleton and harness inside the Skitter body AND why the skin around Ben’s spikes is becoming so hard and scale-like- and Anne knows this! The children’s skin is turning green and scaley- and I guess we’ll see what happens from her on out. I’ll stop now- Lol! I’m getting too excited and it’s 2am!
            Take care : )

            • sorry excuse the few spelling errors- I hate to not be able to go back and edit! ; P

      • Liked the 1930′s vintage Waco cabin biplane!

    • First thing I thought of when the 2nd Mass accepted Churchill so easily after her speech. There is a very good chance Churchill will lead them directly to the aliens.

      What’s weird to me is all the 2nd mass knows the aliens can control humans so why they are not more skeptical when a new human arrives I don’t know!

  4. Great show, but does it get on anyone else’s nerves that these people don’t even act like they’re actually hiding from anything? They drive around with lights on, leave the lights on at all of their “secret” hideouts…a more vicious alien force would’ve ended this show midway through season 1.

    • I think you are overestimating how many there are and underestimating how much territory they have to cover. It’s a BIG planet and unless they have billions of aliens transported here, it would be possible to elude them if you kept on the move.

      • exactly is jusy like ants in your yard .. it can be weeks or months before you find all your any mounds ..

    • I think you are over estimating how many there are and under estimating how much territory they have to cover. It’s a big planet and unless they have billions of aliens transported here, it would be possible to elude them if you kept on the move.

      • Agree with Cinema Viper. I think the aliens that are on Earth now are just part of the first wave. I think their job was to subdue the locals and prepare Earth for the arrival of the main fleet. They may be too busy with preperations to go hunt down EVERY rouge human.

    • I think you are over estimating how many there are and under estimating how much territory they have to cover. It’s a big planet. Unless they have billions of aliens transported here , it would be possible to elude them if you kept on the move.

  5. I kept waiting for someone to request that bi-plane chick submit to a body check for a harness, seems like a pretty basic requirement to me. She didn’t have that sort of dreamy demeanor most of the harness folks have, and she was certainly older that most, but you never know.

  6. I read some other review that made a good point….What is it the aliens want from earth? So far that hasn’t been revealed. Once that’s made clear the humans might be able to use that against them.

    • that would probably be a good plot reveal for the finale or for season 3

  7. What do you think it means that the aliens can still control Ben? No doubt they are going to turn him on the 2nd Mass when it suits them?

    Also, has anyone else noticed Ben has pretty much developed super-strength?

    • they all get super strong after harnessing, both he and rick showed signs of higher stamina and strength in season 1

  8. For all those wondering why the men seemed to take a good looking woman who dropped in from the sky at her word……..The answer is…..They are men and there’s not a whole lot of women left in their group…..Might cloud judgement a bit.

  9. I think that the aliens are basically hacking into Ben’s mind.Now lets just say that Charleston is not controlled by aliens and is real if they have been reading Ben’s mind now they know were the 2nd mass is heading and were more of the human resistance is.

  10. Pope and Anthony will get to charles-town first and warn the 2nd that it is an earthling reservation. Underlying the pacifist humans will be rebellion. Churchill was sent out by the Contin Congress to search for allies and send them south. There they will be briefed by John Locke (fr lost)who is at the forefront of the uprising. The 3rd season will center around the larger forces and united resistance.

    Red eye skitter fills Ben in on the aliens purpose (to enslave and conquer) and that charleston is a reservation. The Skits were enslaved by the aliens and see a way out. They seek a deal with the 2nd in which they’ll turn on the aliens and join forces with the 2nd and other brigades in return for peaceful asylum on earth if they drive off the alien imperialists. Karen will bridge the gap between skitter and human.

  11. I think this episode was a great big chunk of depression, and that’s what made it great. I expected Jimmy to recover, but somehow feared he wouldn’t. As only a minor character, his death wasn’t quite the “anyone can die” that I’ve read elsewhere, but it was still shocking.

    Red Eye… now, he’s a bit of a mystery. There’s a lot of talk about him perhaps being some kind of rebellious skitter… But let’s look at the evidence… He was on the ‘mothership’ near to one of the head aliens… Doesn’t seem like a position he’d be in if he were _that_ rebellious. On the other hand, he does seem physically damaged in some way, so perhaps that was punishment…

    I’m starting to wonder if Ben even remembers his encounters with Red Eye. He definitely looks dazed afterwards and he reminds me of the reaction I’ve seen when an epileptic blacks out. They know they’ve blacked out, but they don’t remember how or why. This could also explain why Tom hasn’t yet told anyone about his experiences on the mothership. Is it possible he just doesn’t remember? That the eye bug wiped or suppressed that part of his memory before it ‘bugged out’ (pun intended).

    The Charleston thing is _obviously_ a trap. I’m disappointed that Tom didn’t do the whole Trojan Horse thing – it would’ve been cliched, but it would have given him pause for concern when Weaver decided to take the 2nd Mass there anyway.

    I think my only quibble with the episode is the attack by Jimmy and Ben on the 3 skitters. Jimmy clearly said that he would only be able to get two of them… So why attack without a plan to take care of the third one? Looking forward to next week’s!

  12. one thing that seemed off was pope being beyond a total jerk…..after the ending of season one saw a much more “converted” and likeable pope……..series 2 has seen a complete ass. It doesnt fit somehow

  13. i believe…….and you may think this sounds stupid…….redeye skitter is someone ben knew as a human

  14. Its an awesome series keep it coming

  15. hi, i’m a fan of falling skies and we can’t see this on tv. Can someone sent me the episodes of season 2 and 3? my email is dusoleilg1@hotmail.com.
    thx,

    Guy

  16. I appreciate the time the author took in recapping the Seasons episodes for us, but I have to say that of all the recaps I have read (to catch myself up on the first 2 seasons I missed and have been unable to find anywhere to watch)- this was EXCRUCIATING to read!! I can’t count the number of times I had to reread sentences, humorless- no pertinent or intriguing information conveyed. I almost went into a coma and I can hear you saying, “Then why did you continue to read it?”; and to that I say “I don’t have a clue!!”

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