Making its highly-anticipated return to television, the Falling Skies season 2 premiere presents a compelling story with enough twists and plot points to help drive the series into what appears to be an extremely exciting season.
Picking up months after the Falling Skies season 1 finale, the Overlord decides to speak to Tom. Given Tom's knowledge, the Overlord looks to him as a historian. Speaking through a harnessed Karen, the aliens make an interesting comparison to humanity itself, by revealing that their actions are simply reflecting what the inhabitants of Earth have done many times over. By using Karen as the Overlord's mouthpiece, it presents an intriguing way to deliver an impactful conversation without taking a bigger chunk out of the show's already limited effects budget.
Instead of using Tom's interaction with the Overloard to simply progress the second season's story, numerous intriguing plot-points were seamlessly layered into Falling Skies' currently progressing story. Upgraded to be more than reoccurring targets for fire through the use of ocular tinting, a Skitter named Red Eye has become the first of the "lesser" aliens to be given his own clearly defined personality.
Additionally, Tom's connection to the aliens following the interaction helps to establish some interesting storylines that will be played out as the season progresses. Even though he escaped (relatively) unscathed, having Tom being "tracked" by a bug in his eye serves to expand the capabilities of the aliens, as well as the extent that they're willing to go to achieve their goal.
While having a somewhat-undercover agent in any series involving a revolution isn't exactly new, it's typically used as a surprising plot twist towards the middle of the season. Giving credit to the series' producers, the characters react as one would expect someone constantly at battle for survival. Suspecting Tom right from his initial return, it's very likely that the characters were one step ahead of the audiences watching. After all, we saw him escape.
Also stepping away from the plot expectations, the revelation of Tom's tracking implant comes with the historian requesting to be tied up. As if it were testing viewers to figure out what's going to come next, the Falling Skies season 2 premiere takes away many presumptions audiences have learned from television viewing. This element certainly helps the series to side-step many of its genre cliches, as well as provides a completely engrossing viewing experience.
Of course, Tom does ultimately get free when tension is at its highest – though not much craziness ensues. Well, besides being blown up. Luckily, Tom's son Ben has things under control.
Providing more background for Ben's character and what exactly the effects are of his harnessing is certainly an interesting storyline to explore. While attacking an alien structure with a camera and some friends did feel a bit rushed, given its scale, showing the survivors' ability to defend themselves against aspects of the aliens' infrastructure gives hope that the war is not lost.
Even though the ultimate goal of crossing a bridge was achieved (after 2 hours), the typically simple task was brilliantly wrapped in so many layers of storytelling and character development that, in the end, making it to the other side of the river felt like a grand conquest. However, it would have be nice to see some seasonal arcs (and intended goals) conveyed in the premiere – even if they're only briefly touched upon in each episode.
Overall, the Falling Skies season 2 premiere successfully continues the compelling story of survival that began last year. Through slight twists on expected plot progresion, and the inclusion of new and interesting elements, the series has managed to take a large-scale battle against humanity and turn it into an inclusive tale, where everyone can be affected without even noticing it.
While further episodes will reveal more, the type of character development, intriguing storylines and exciting action that will be contained in Falling Skies season 2 , there's no doubt that TNT's hit drama will likely become an epic adventure, spanning many seasons.
Falling Skies airs Sundays @9pm on TNT
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