‘Falling Skies’ Season 2, Episode 9: ‘The Price of Greatness’ Recap

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Terry OQuinn Falling Skies The Price of Greatness Falling Skies Season 2, Episode 9: The Price of Greatness Recap

There is an unwritten rule in all post-apocalyptic media that whenever a civilization manages to scratch and claw its way back to something half-way resembling comfort, it will, without fail, be governed by an individual drunk on power and kept inebriated by the steady flow of his constituents’ fear that, no matter how totalitarian things may be, the alternative is far, far worse. As Falling Skies has teased the existence of a new United States government and a functioning city in Charleston, it didn’t waste any time in showing that small comfort comes at a hefty price.

With the heavy casualties suffered in the effort to reach Charleston, the 2nd Mass may have been better off keeping the place a fiction, rather than find out it’s at the mercy of Lost’s Terry O’Quinn. After the road trip from last week’s ‘Death March,’ the ramshackle army of the 2nd Mass is given a well-deserved hero’s welcome when they are brought into what makes up the city. Once inside, the fighters are treated to the first bit of fresh produce and other comforts they’ve seen in quite some time. Captain Weaver (Will Patton) is even given a nice surprise as it turns out his semi-estranged daughter Jeanne (Laci J. Malley) is now a resident, though her arrival was also fraught with loss as her boyfriend Diego went missing some time ago, leaving Jeanne desperate to search for him. But no one in Charleston is eager to leave the safety of the underground mall that houses the survivors and the country’s burgeoning government.

It turns out the occupants are using the devastation of the actual city as a camouflage and means by which they can hope to evade detection by the enemy. The plan is sound, but once Tom (Noah Wyle) gets a whiff that the new “majority leader,” his former mentor, Arthur Manchester (Terry O’Quinn) is just sitting on a sizeable army and cache of weapons, rather than engaging the enemy and continuing to fight, then things quickly become clear that Manchester has confused safety with victory.

Things continue to progress in a less than satisfactory manner when, under orders from Max Headroom General Bressler (Matt Frewer), the 2nd Mass is essentially disbanded and its parts spread across the whole of Charleston for better use. Anne (Moon Bloodgood) is forced to take orders from a pompous heart specialist who can’t wait to pass off the scrapes, bruises and runny noses he’s been dealing with and get back to…whatever it is he thinks he should be doing. Lourdes (Seychelle Gabriel) is optimistic, insisting once word gets out about Anne’s field experience, she’ll be running the place.

Soon, it becomes clear that the pompous heart specialist isn’t the only one lacking experience in the field. Weaver has a chat with Hal (Drew Roy) about his attitude, telling him he’ll likely be leading these men into battle, as Charleston’s regimen of actual soldiers has never fired at anything that wasn’t a paper target. Hal, like the good soldier he is, seems to be on board with this plan, but cooperation with the Charleston army isn’t really in the cards for Pope (Colin Cunningham) and his Berserkers. The mutinous crew decides to raid Charleston’s weapon room and head away from the pseudo-city in search of skitters to kill and fingers to make necklaces out of. The plan is stopped short by Maggie (Sarah Carter), but the confrontation only lasts long enough to attract the attention of Tector (Ryan Robbins) and others in the Charleston army, who in the attempt to detain the thieves, end up shooting one of them in the arm.

The situation concerning the 2nd Mass begins to escalate, quietly at first, but after Tom follows up Jeanne’s speech criticizing Manchester’s reluctance to engage the enemy with another, more rousing condemnation of his policy of inaction, the floodgates are set to open. Manchester uses the arrival of a deharnessed boy to his advantage, both as a means by which he can seek to discredit Tom, and instill more fear in the people of Charleston that the enemy threat is essentially knocking on their front door.

Noah Wyle Falling Skies The Price of Greatness Falling Skies Season 2, Episode 9: The Price of Greatness Recap

The initial worry for Tom (and the quality of the show) is that the deharnessed boy might be Ben (Connor Jessup), but he turns out to be a simple messenger with news from the rebellious skitter Red-Eye. Of course, Manchester won’t hear of such craziness like joining the skitter rebellion, preferring to let them kill each other, if he even believes in such an uprising at all. That kind of shortsighted thinking cost the 2nd Mass an opportunity to explore the veracity of Red-Eye’s claims, and it’s not one Tom or Weaver want to pass up again. As such, the plan quickly becomes to rally as many members of the 2nd Mass as they can and head out with the deharnessed boy to meet Red-Eye, and possibly, Ben.

Hal, smooth as ever, decides he’ll use this moment to try and woo Maggie after his response to last week’s revelations left her feeling cold. Unable to resist Hal’s Affleck-ian charms, Maggie joins the rest of the group – which apparently now includes Col. Porter (Dale Dye) – as they prepare to make their escape. Unfortunately, the group is cut off and detained by General Bressler and his men, though Tector manages to redeem himself slightly by respectfully declining to arrest his former group. Pleas are made to Bressler to shrug off Manchester’s orders, and join the effort by shooting beings of non-terrestrial origins, which the General seems interested in doing.

The good intentions of the 2nd Mass come back to haunt them, however, as Bressler apparently intends to set them free, but in doing so has detained Manchester and declared the military in charge of Charleston. As Pope points out, Tom’s efforts have landed everyone smack dab in the middle of a coup.

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Falling Skies ends its second season next week with ‘A More Perfect Union’ @9pm on TNT. Check out a preview below:

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  1. This season has been way to short. I want to see some aliens getting their butts kicked!

    • It seems the “glory days” of full 22-26 episode seasons are relegated to the big 4 channels and we are stuck with 10-13 episode seasons for the smaller networks. I can understand doing this as an initial trial but we have moved bast that stage. Why? I don’t know considering I am only watching the channels with NEW material. Once Falling Skies is over for the season I watch something else.

      So if they made more episodes I would watch their network longer which I thought was what they wanted. Seems a bit counter-intuitive but what do I know.

      • What “glory days”? 22-26 episode seasons were always relegated to the big 4. Non-premium networks have generally always had 10-16 episode seasons (with the higher number being the rarity). I actually prefer this as it minimizes the need for dreaded filler episodes or long winded seasons that slumber along to milk the Nielsen system by constructing the narrative around sweeps weeks instead of flowing naturally.

        I also find it a better trade off to have a slightly longer wait time between seasons and get the season as a whole rather than have a season go on hiatus (again, constructed around sweeps) then come back staggered because aired episodes catch up to the production schedule, and having to deal with two new episodes, one week off, one new episode, three weeks off, all staggered out and culminating in a finale once again centered around sweeps… which often leads to dreaded cliffhanger finales should the network decide not to bring the show back.

      • I honestly hate the big 4 networks for having 22-26 episodes, as much as i love the fact that its essentially more TV, it’s just not reasonable to expect shows like this, or any non-procedural genre(which is all i watch) to sustain good plotlines over that length for so many seasons.

        While i agree 10 is short, i think what FX is doing with SoA, and Showtime with Dexter, homeland etc, around 13 is a perfect number. I have liked this season dramatically more than the first, which i found to be ok, this season has been great, and i anticipate the next season to be even better.

      • The world is changing form shortened TV series to fewre movies being released. The SUMMER of 212 was thw rost over all for movies that I can remember.

        The shortened series are being persued because wwe the public were suckers and bought into it. Through our viewing habits we let the network execs know that its perfectly OK with us to screw us over with massivekly reduceed seasons and excessively long breaks.

        When ABC first tried this crap with LOST it was then that the viewing communit shoudl have said HELL NO. But atlast here we are.

        I have no doubt that if the reality tv crap genere has not suprassed the %50 mark yet (and thereby the dominant genre for TV ) I’m sure that 2012-2013 will see Reality TV become the leading genere and kill off true drama TV over the next few years.

        Just think about it. If you were a network executive who coudl either air hours and hours of cheap crap (aka Reality TV) or air a reduced number of horus of quality drama/comedy/games/action and pay a lot more to do it and both would net the esame result in ads sales whcih of the 2 would you choose?

  2. i agree, i wish this had like a 13 episode run each season. But this season has been better than season 1. cant wait for the finale! then hopefully the following week will be doctor who so i wont have to wait long between series!

  3. Last night was degenerating into a cliche “despot rules city that seemed like salvation but isn’t”. The ending redeemed that. Is the general siding with Tom or not? He seemed not to backing Manchester (name?). Anyway, it suddenly got very interesting.

  4. They don’t have the budget; like Game of Thrones, so the put the $ into the special effects which needs to be carefully thought out so the budget can be used its fullest. I am hoping Steven Spielberg will give them a bigger budget,but I know they are about to start filming. I thought this season was much better than last yeah’s

  5. 11 episode season, rediclous.

  6. 11 episode season, rediclous. Although I do enjoy watching the show, its very predictable.

  7. The show seems to be wandering just like it’s characters sometimes, and the problems they ran into in Charleston make me believe more and more the aliens aren’t even out to kill everyone since they could have wiped these people out on multiple occasions. Terry O’Quinn playing the prototypical political wannabe gave the show an antagonist that wasn’t an alien and despite his self-serving reasons, his questions about the amount of contact the 2nd Mass. has had with the aliens are a bit valid. Not having Pope turn on Tom, but still let his bad intentions be known just seems to set up another double cross down the line, which again makes it hard to see how they will survive an actual alien onslaught since they can’t even stop fighting each other.

    Things kind of got lost when the supposedly paranoid military and government leadership pulled the same plot device that has been bugging some people all season and allowed a formerly harnessed boy into their compound, again shining a light on the fact these people are never as well hidden as they seem to think they are and always get found by someone. Weaver’s daughter showed up again faster than I thought she would, and Ben will probably make an appearance in the finale along with the Overlord and Hal’s ex to cause some havoc.

  8. My biggest issue was the underground mall. No one in their right mind would build an underground mall on the coast – one good tropical storm and it would become the world’s largest swimming pool. Why choose Charleston for such a ridiculous plot device?

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