‘Falling Skies’ Season 3 Premiere Review

Published 2 years ago by

Noah Wyle Falling Skies On Thin Ice Falling Skies Season 3 Premiere Review

As they progress, certain shows begin to adhere to a particular rhythm in terms of the beats of their storytelling and how they move from chapter to chapter, or even season to season. In the case of Falling Skies, the season-to-season rhythm seems to include a jump forward in time to deal with a massive cliffhanger and to help establish the parameters of the new season’s narrative.

At the end of season 1, it was Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) boarding an alien ship, while season 2 introduced an entirely new alien species into the conflict. In the season 3 opener – which consists of the season’s first two episodes ‘On Thin Ice’ and ‘Collateral Damage’ – Falling Skies has quite a few questions to answer and it begins to do so by pointing out how much things have changed since we last saw any of these characters. For starters, Matt (Maxim Knight) has gone from undersized moppet to full-sized Ryan Phillippe look-alike, joining the recently promoted Colonel Dan Weaver (Will Patton) in using alien technology to prepare for an all-out assault on a mining facility filled with mechs and skitters.

All the major players show up, including Dan’s semi-estranged daughter Jeanne (Laci J. Mailey), and soon, all three Mason boys are present and fighting. It’s a swift and impressive scene for the series that’s had some complaints in regard to the way certain aspects of the aliens or their technology is portrayed on a rather limited budget. But the opening sequence manages to pull off multiple shots of mechs and skitters (those still under control of the overlord and those who have joined the resistance) engaging in battle that looks good and gets the viewer right back into the Falling Skies frame of mind. More importantly, however, the raid on the mine has a few tricks up its sleeve that help to add a new dynamic to the overall storyline, which, rather than rely on heavy exposition or a lengthy info drop to resolve, chooses to go with the tried and true time-jump, allowing the episode an opportunity to dole out information in short, surprising bursts of exposition that feel right at home with how the show operates.

Aliens Falling Skies On Thin Ice Falling Skies Season 3 Premiere Review

And that means letting the characters fill in the blanks with dialogue that’s supposed to sound conversational, but most of the time comes off as oddly specific in reference to the amount of time that’s passed, or the regime changes that have taken place. Of course, the aliens who landed in the closing moments of the season 2 finale turn out to have been kindly enough to join forces with the human resistance, offer them some advanced technology (as seen by the explosives and pulse rifles used in the assault on the mine) and finally provide a little backstory on just who the invading force is and what they want.

As it turns out, the invaders are known as the Esphani, while their pursuers, the Vohm, apparently led by an alien the humans have dubbed Cochise (played by Abe Sapien himself, Doug Jones), spend their days traipsing across the galaxy, helping to liberate the worlds that have been overrun by the Esphani.

Most of this information gets doled out piecemeal, as the first two episodes are really more interested in exploring what’s transpired in terms of the human resistance in the past seven months. Late last season, it seemed Tom Mason and his followers were ready to hightail it out of Charleston, but as the season establishes early on, not only have they not left the new hub of the U.S. government, but Tom has been elected president (of 20 square blocks). Part of Tom’s new duties includes leading the resistance, arguing with military commanders (particularly the excellent Matt Frewer) and providing platitudes to the war-weary citizens of Charleston. It’s essentially the same role Tom’s been playing since the series premiere, but now he has significant authority to back it up.

Will Patton Maxim Knight and Laci Malley in Falling Skies On Thin Ice Falling Skies Season 3 Premiere Review

There’re also the additional subplots of Tom and Anne’s (Moon Bloodgood) newborn daughter who is very advanced (in an incredibly creepy talking E*TRADE baby sort of way), as well as Hal’s (Drew Roy) psychosomatic paralysis and somnambulistic trysts with Karen (Jessy Schram) who has taken over as the Esphani overlord. But much of the plotting for the season ahead seems to do with the general distrust of the Vohm and their plans for the super weapon being built, and the mole who assassinated Arthur Manchester (Terry O’Quinn) for getting to close to his or her identity.

While the time jump took away the opportunity for the audience to learn about the Vohm in real-time, the decision to skip ahead still feels like the right one. Falling Skies works best when there’s an element or moment requiring the characters and plot to work back from, rather than eventually come to accept. In many ways, this set-up is just like the series premiere, which saw the resistance in full swing following the invasion. There’s a period of adjustment, but since many of the characters (aside from a nearly unrecognizable Robert Sean Leonard as Dr. Kadar) are so familiar, season 3 manages to quickly acclimate itself and get off to an intriguing start.


Falling Skies continues next Sunday with ‘Badlands’ @10pm on TNT. Check out a preview below:

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  1. Despite the plot exposition heavy dialogue at times i really loved the start to this season, it seems to have a few intriguing sub-plots that should make for a very fun season three. I really like the spy arc it gives you something to think about while watching, and sort of filter out the possible characters that could be the culprit. I’m pretty sure it’s not Hal that would be a little to easy, it couldn’t of been Weaver or Mason cuz they were out fighting when the spy took the map, don’t know? those baby scenes admittedly freaked the crap out of me. good start can’t wait for next episode.

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  2. I liked it, but I’m a little disappointed that the new “Overloard” is just Karen. I want one of the Giant Fish head aliens to be in charge, not just some blond girl that became an alien controlled person like a year ago…here’s hoping some more of the big Esphani show up again…Karen is a little lame…

    Otherwise…good episodes…I’m glad it’s back…

    • Karen isn’t lame. At all. She’s owning that character and she’s really embraced the role of villain with what appears to be great joy and excitement. And the fact she’s the hottest chick on the show doesn’t hurt either. Last part’s obviously subjective, just wanted to make everyone aware that there was already a bias from the start. But I also think Lourdes is hot but her character doesn’t seem to matter or produce anything interesting about it. What we know of her now is the same we knew of her back in season 1. She’s Mexican, she’s Catholic and very devout, and in season 2 she showed a little more emotion but it was the wrong kind for this series. Look for her to be killed off, only I don’t know how they’re going to make it seem important because in all reality, she’s more of a prop than and actress. Just in the background for the conveniences needed in certain scenes.

      So I’m not just thinking with Mr. Winky…

      And getting no back info on the new aliens, and the fact they even exist, is something I’m worried about. Like, this is going to get stupid real fast. Honestly, they were pushing it with 2 alien species…but you can see that one of those species, the skitters, are like the equivalent to dogs for fish heads. They maybe smart, or even smarter than us but still…they’re no match for invading aliens. So it makes sense for the humans and skitters to team up. It’s win, slavery or die.

      But these new aliens…it makes me think we’ll see more. And then Tom will jump a shark.

    • Oh, and as far as Karen goes…it makes sense. Maybe the don’t want to risk sending in more of their kind and putting them in danger. A human is expendable and can take orders just as well as their own. She may also serve the purpose of being able to lure other survivors into slavery.

      When Hitler conquered France, he made a Frenchman figurehead. Vischy? Something like that. Had he taken Moscow he’d probably have put a Russian “in charge.” It actually makes perfect sense. Not to mention she’s human, she can undertand things other life forms may not be able to even comprehend. Just because they’re technologically advanced doesn’t make them eternally wise. It could be very likely our technology is unknown to them, as well. When the Romans made their first attempt to take Spain, they noticed the swords the Spaniards were using we superior to their own…despite being uncultured heathens and barbarians or whatever Rome thought of them at the time…I’m sure they made some improvements, but the gladius was a Spanish weapon.

      It’s just as silly to presume we have nothing to teach them as they do to us. Wenever liked China, but we loved their gun powder.

  3. Can’t say I was too pleased by the time jump. I was looking FORWARD to exploring all that had taken place in those 7 months instead of having it dumped in my lap all at once to try and assimilate and apply to the bigger picture.

    I wanted to see how these new aliens assimilated into the group, the initial tension, cross relations with the Skitters, how they turned the tide, Tom’s beginning as President, seeing Terry O’Quinn for more than what amounted to a cameo before being offed!?!…..yeah all that stuff.

  4. You didn’t mention the ER reunion with Gloria Reuben.

    I like how Falling Skies time shifts forward, it lets our imagination fill in the holes.

    What’s up with the youngest Matt’s hair? Looks like a mini Ryan Phillipe.

    The baby creeped me out, especially when she peered out of the crib with that freaky smile, that side plot is going to be interesting.

    I wasn’t sure but did Karen say that Hal “broke” the probe which is why he’s mentally paralyzed?

    I don’t trust the Vohm either, that “big gun” they’re building may just be a giant human cooking machine so they can eat them ala Twilight Zone.

    I’m glad some Falling Skies is back, now that we are in between Walking Dead seasons and SyFy has killed most of its good summer programming.

    • Like the Simpsons episode where the aliens had a book titled something like “To Serve Humans” where the humans thought this meant to serve man kind, but it was actually a cook book for serving human dishes….

  5. WHY is there a “time jump”? WHO promoted Weaver from Captain to full Colonel, skipping Major and Lt. Col.??? I think he’s cool (and hot) but to skip two ranks? You gotta be kidding. And how did they suddenly get horses?

    • LOL. Great point. Now we’re on horseback again. And it’s good to know that even after getting that old a gray, one can still be considered “hot.”

  6. Was it me or did it feel like this show jumped the shark? Really liked the 1st two seasons. Just wasn’t prepared for the hokey dialogue and the talking alien right out of the gate. Kind of had that Revolution feel to it. I like when shows push the boundaries of belief. However, sometimes you can get carried away and go too far.

    • You are not the only one who thought the show jumped the shark. It’s just a collection of tropes now.

      Mad Scientist/shut-In
      All Aliens Speak English
      The Spy
      Action Girl
      Love Triangle

      Those are just the ones I came up with off the top of my head.

      I’ll be darned. There’s already a trope page up.

  7. It looks like future episodes (if not the next episode) will touch down on some questions that I was having on whether or not there would be other elected presidents leading other colonies and the conflicts that could come from the differing of opinions between the multiple presidents.

  8. So they show another set of even bigger and more scary killer robots. My question about both these and the other robots that really have that whole sound thing to scare the hell out of everyone……How did they manage to build these big powerful robots…That seem to have the marksmenship of Helen Keller? They might seem scary as hell, but it they can’t shoot better than that then their biggest weapon is the fear factor.

  9. This show just jumped the shark with the whole advanced baby/star child thing. The most overused plot idea in modern TV Sci-Fi. It’s bad enough they have to talk to the kids bout their feelings before every battle with the Aliens, now the got a star child. I bet the baby grows at an adavanced rate. It will have the body of a 12 year old by the end of the season and will be the key to defeating the aliens.

    • LOL..oh man..you nailed this one.I agree there is way too much talky talky about feelings just before every little skirmish, especially when you get biker dudes/biker chicks on same battleground. it is a bit too much. I am not a fan of child involvement in any super duper save Earth battles.It is pushing the envelope pass the curve of acceptance.
      At the rate of growth this baby will be 58 by the 4th episode of the season.

  10. Although I enjoyed this premiere overall, there’s one point I almost turned it off in frustration.
    Why does Karen’s back glow when she gets busy with Hal? This is a HUGE ripoff from Battlestar Galactica and if there wasn’t so many actors, locations and themes from BSG I wouldn’t mind too much. But the entire series feels like a carbon copy of the “New Caprica” storyline of the first half of the third Season of BSG.

    I like Falling Skies because right now, we have NO sci-fi show on TV and it fills a need, but everytime I watch it I miss BSG, and I which it was on HBO.

  11. The Worst haircut on TV is Matt Mason–Falling Skies, Reminds me of a Poodle, or Flock of Seagulls, Someone needs to do him the biggest favor ever! & Shave that Poodle Mullet off his head…Right Now