‘Falling Skies’ Season 2, Episode 4: ‘Young Bloods’ Recap

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Noah Wyle Falling Skies Young Blood Falling Skies Season 2, Episode 4: Young Bloods Recap

One of the more interesting differences between Falling Skies and The Walking Dead is the former’s sense of optimism, camaraderie and trust that is generally accepted amongst the survivors of an alien invasion that obliterated much of mankind. While there have been exceptions (like, John Pope and his band of outlaws from season 1, or John Pope and his anti-Tom Mason crusade in season 2) the 2nd Mass is, by and large, a group that has its stuff together and rarely questions those in need. A good example would be the willingness to take a biplane pilot at her word that Charleston is the key to the resistance.

By contrast, the survivors in The Walking Dead seem to be actively competing with the undead to see who can kill off the living first. Which of the two feels more likely probably has to do with your stance on the nature of humanity. Between the two programs, however, it could be argued the deciding factor comes down to a survivor’s response to leadership.

This theory is readily apparent in ‘Young Bloods’ – which really should have been titled: ‘How To Be a Good Soldier: 101.’ From the onset, the episode depicts the rebellious nature of young men and women against the pressing and unstoppable force of responsibility and duty. In fact, it’s practically spelled out as two unknown survivors abscond with Hal (Drew Roy) and Ben’s (Connor Jessup) motorbikes while an Army recruitment billboard stands perfectly framed in the background. This sets up a brief, but tense face-off between the Mason boys and what at first appears to be a Dickensian group of orphans with dirty faces proclaiming adults only get them into dangerous situations.

It’s an interesting dynamic: children living on their own, functioning as adults while rejecting the notion of adulthood, and it’s played against the desire of the youngest Mason child, Matt (Maxim Knight), to join his brothers as a fighter in the resistance. For Falling Skies, the attention to youth isn’t an attempt to ratchet up the drama simply by placing children in peril (despite the death of Jimmy in ‘Compass‘); it is actually a necessary part of the overall story structure considering the skitters rely on human children to replenish their ranks and act as cheap labor. Basically, the aliens are hellish versions of everyone’s parents.

As is the Mason way, Hal and Ben quickly make a tenuous friendship with Diego (Hector Bucio), the leader of the small group, and his girlfriend Jeanne (Laci J. Malley), with an offer of some spare supplies and a hot meal. Arriving at the 2nd Mass’ mobile headquarters reveals more of a surprise than either side was anticipating, though, as Jeanne turns out to be the daughter of Captain Weaver (Will Patton). The reunion, while powerful, also serves to fill in some gaps there may have been with Weaver since last season touched on his troubled family history. Weaver learns that his wife died of a stroke. This event also hints at the level of responsibility Jeanne had to take on in his absence, and suggests she still holds her father somewhat culpable for the situation the family was in after he left. Before they can get too deep into discussing the painful moments of the past, or get anywhere near reconciling, Jeanne, Diego, Hal and Margaret are off to deliver the supplies to Diego’s crew.

Meanwhile, Tom (Noah Wyle) catches wind that while out on what should have been a routine scouting mission, Matt has been acting as bait to lure skitters in for a couple of hot-shot snipers, Tector (Ryan Robbins) and Boone (Billy Wickman), to take out. For their insubordination, Boone and Tector are placed on sanitation duty, and Matt’s recon privileges are stripped – which creates another reason for Matt to dislike, distrust or fear his father, as he seems to do on a weekly basis.

Maxim Knight Falling Skies Young Bloods Falling Skies Season 2, Episode 4: Young Bloods Recap

The insubordination continues after the supply group returns to the 2nd Mass with news that the children have been attacked by skitters and taken to a harnessing facility nearby. The rift between Weaver and Diego – which started silently over Jeanne – widens when Diego’s plan to assault a dangerous location with little to no preparation is tossed aside by Weaver on behalf of its half-assed nature. Diego responds by attacking Weaver with a personal insult about protecting his family, then going off to storm the facility anyway and taking Matt along with him. By the time Tom and Weaver get a party together, they realize Diego, Jeanne and Matt are long gone, forcing them to mount a dangerous rescue mission on top of an already dangerous rescue mission – all because some punk kid couldn’t handle a little authority. Post-apocalyptic kids are the worst.

By the time the real rescue team arrives, Diego has managed to get his entire group (and Matt) captured and either thrown in a giant shoe closet or strapped to what looks like a very uncomfortable massage table. As Weaver and the others prepare to storm the facility, Matt and Jeanne are forced to watch as Jonny (Evan Bird, The Killing) succumbs to his harness. Before Matt can be similarly afflicted, however, Weaver’s team takes out the lone skitter overseeing the process, while Ben briefly communes with a swimming harness before destroying a tank full of them.

Back at camp, Hal confronts Ben about the glow-y parts of his harness, and is met with Ben’s patented afraid-of-being-an-outcast-so-act-more-like-an-outcast routine, while Tom, pleased with the deference Tector showed, reinstates him and Boone to sniper duty. However, Weaver is dealt another blow while recovering from some injuries he sustained after a harness attacked his leg. While he promises to make amends for his poor parenting, he believes Jeanne to have said goodbye to Diego, and that she intends to stay with him and the 2nd Mass. Jeanne waits until the medication given to her father takes effect and then slips out while he’s sleeping – leaving him a note to clutch and cry into upon waking. Post-apocalyptic kids have no manners.

On a bright note, Matt seems to have learned from his near-harnessed experience that he’s not quite ready to be an adult, and he’s lucky to have a father like Tom to comfort him when he realizes the world he lives in can be a pretty scary place. If only the episode could have ended with Billy Joel singing ‘Big Shot’ over the credits, the point would have been perfectly made.

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Falling Skies returns next Sunday with ‘Love and Other Acts of Courage’ @9pm on TNT. Take a look at a preview below.

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  1. I found it strange that after kicking off the season with questions about Tom’s experience on the ship and subsequent release that there was absolutely NO mention of it in this episode. I guess getting rid of Pope took care of that ? I hope they come back to it, because it made for an intriguing storyline. And Ben is just annoying me. Doesn’t he realize that not sharing his experiences with the Skidders is jeopardizing the entire 2nd Mass ? And finally, wouldn’t a harnessing facility have more security and guards?Hanging in there but this was easily the worst episode of the season.

    • I’m also a bit perplexed by the fact that no one has pinned Tom down to ask what happened on the ship for TWO MONTHS or that Tom has yet to divulge to everyone what the Aliens intentions are (and why they freed him)

  2. An interesting question posed in the first paragraph. However I think that both attitudes portrayed on their own shows are correct to an extent. This is because both threats are completely different as are the group dynamics. The larger the group becomes the more general hope there is, with everyone helping everyone in a common cause. With TWD though, the group is small, threats are around every corner and there is literally no place to hide. That tends to promote paranoia.

    • “Which of the two feels more likely probably has to do with your stance on the nature of humanity.”

      Yes, to a degree and particularly in some specific character cases, but not entirely.

      The difference in attitude of the survivors of the ‘Falling Skies’ versus that of ‘The Walking Dead’, seems in part to stem from the qualities of their enemies and and how those factors contribute to the situation they are in. As such, the camaraderie found in ‘Falling Skies’, and the oppositions found within and among groups in ‘The Walking Dead”, are to a degree, predictive of the dominating attitudes that many people would have when, respectively, faced with either situation, if such things where to occur in the real world.

      It speaks to the nature of the enemy, and a human being’s reflexive response. In one case, the enemy is from without, and therefore a stronger sense of comradery pervades as the overriding emotion. And in the other, the enemy is from within allowing fear and distrust to permeate.

      Additionally, the enemies are of different calibers. The aliens are bigger, louder and more intelligently and actively antagonistic in nature, while the walkers are dimwitted, slower, quieter, and have a more passive aggressiveness (And the infection also adds an additional undertone of fear). These qualities affect the severity of eminent danger. As such, this forces the survivors of ‘Falling Skies’ to band together in larger unites to push back a foreign threat; and breaks the ‘The Walking Dead’ survivors into smaller groups to combat an internal threat.

      Moreover, there is a big difference in the sense of hope. The survivors of ‘Falling Skies’ believe that when they are able to beat the aliens back, they can build resemblances of they old lives. On the other hand, the survivors of ‘The Walking Dead’ are not sure that they can overcome the walkers and the spreading infection, and have somewhat resigned to trying to build lives amidst the prevailing problem. And this builds upon feelings of desperation, coupled with distrust, resulting in the development of a society where my livelihood costs more than your life (which is one reason why Shane wanted Rick dead).

      • Nice analysis….

        You can also look to Jericho and BBC Survivors for other takes on post-apacolyptic survival..

        I think the main split between what happens to humanity comes down to Robinson Crusoe vs. Lord of the Flies…

        Do we keep trying to live civilized in a world without order or do we stop pretending that we are civil when all order is gone….

      • I’m a fan of both shows, too, but I’m finding that TWD fails to balance the action with the melodrama. The idea that Rick, Shane, and Lori would spend valuable time on that high school jealousy crap when they were barely surviving was unbelievable in the extreme. I’m no fan of Tom/Anne, but at least they handle business before acting all gooey and ruining the episode.

        • Wait til the next season of TWD, Beth…the action is going to be so ramped up, it will feel like a totally different show…Season 1 and 2 were the set up for the cast of characters, now we will see how the world around them is a much more dangerous place than in the past…

          • That’s what I’m hoping for! Now that they’ve killed Shane we’re left with a boring, snoring group of one-dimensional characters. I’m hoping the action will distract from that.

      • lol, you basically exploded my single paragraph into the analysis I would have done had I wanted to spend the time. :)

  3. What about when weaver got bit by the harness that will affect him some where down the line

    • Yes, that harness bite probably will affect him down the line. He also made mention to pain killers when being treated by Anne. Perhaps a long stretch but maybe because Weaver is hopped up on pain killers since last season the harness bite will affect him sooner or differently because his brain chemisty is already messed up. The harness attacks you like opiates so we’ll see.

  4. Next to the premiere, best episode of the season so far. The best part the whole Harness factor scene. It’ll be interesting to see how Ben’s refuse to communicate his problems affect the 2nd Mass in the long run and if Weaver’s bite will have some type of effect on him.

    • I honestly thought this was the worst of the three so far. Not that is was bad and I enjoyed it but nothing seemed to happen in this episode that helped us learn anything more about the aliens, the 2nd Mass future plans or even a cliffhanger.

  5. Loving season 2! I wasn’t sure it could live up to the first season, but they’ve managed it. They’re keeping the action going and developing characters nicely, which is sadly missing from The Walking Dead. Ben has rapidly become my favorite character and the one who keeps me on my toes.

    I can do without the Anne/Tom crap. They both lost spouses just a few weeks before starting their ridiculous flirting. It’s just not realistic. I can buy the Hal/Maggie thing a little better. Karen was a girlfriend Hal couldn’t have known for more than a few weeks, so not so serious. I just hope the writers aren’t going for the cheap pregnancy plot cliche.

  6. Does anyone know the name of the classical music played on guitar or lute during the last scene? I’m thinking the composer might have been Ravel or another Romantic composer.

    • It’s “Claire de Lune”, by Debussy. Visit http://teresainfortworth.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/claire-de-lune/ to hear it on 10-string guitar.

      • Thank you Joe, it took me a while to place it. Just a moment ago I thought of Debussy and found a version on Youtube by the Dublin Guitar Quartet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwoNcu52AOA

      • Thank you for that. I also thought that was a cool version of the classical song. I listen to classical when I am in the office to help me focus and when I heard that I knew the song as being one in my playlist. I can’t wait to add it to my classical list now. Thank you again!

        Dandy D

    • Debussy, Clair de lune, guitar solo, James Edwards

  7. Spoiler here……..But I have a hard time with all those kids choosing to stick with the teenage leader…Especially after seeing how much of an advantage there is to having some real warriors there when they need them. I think that the natural feel for safety in numbers would have to effect some of them. I don’t think that part was done very well….Then again it most likely is a temporary situation that will be revisited sometime in the future when someone comes back to ask for help again….

  8. In season 1, they used to shoot the hell out of skidders but they would still survive. Now, they seem to be putting them down with handguns left and right with virtually no issues. I just can’t seem to get fully on board with this show. I’ve been waiting for an alien invasion television show like this for years. It has been a big disappointment this season. Subpar acting, cheese-filled emotional scenes and a (lets be honest) somewhat boring plot are all competing to usher in the shows final demise. I’m not going to stop watching yet because come on, it’s a post-apocalyptic tv show! But, I will just have to see about next year.

    • They’ve just learned where to shoot them for the most efficient kill.

    • Plus most of the first season their bullets were not made out of an alloy that could harm the skidders. Once they figured out and were able to mold a metal that would pierce the skidders it was open season.

  9. The Army Recruiting billboard in the opening sceen shows a child soldier.

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