Falling Skies returned to TNT tonight and while fans may have been hoping the big cliffhanger season one left us with might lead to a bold new direction for the show, it seems their writers had something else in mind. Or rather, they had more of the same in mind.
Season 1 ended with with Tom Mason (Noah Wylie) willingly boarding an alien ship, with promises of help for his alien-perverted son Ben swimming in his head. Season 2 begins three months later and tells us in flashbacks what happened to Tom. The show offers no update at all on what everyone else has been doing, because apparently, they’ve just been doing the same old stuff. This means lots of hanging out in tents, shooting at skitters, growing beards, and generally just not showering. No big deal, it’s not like the planet’s been taken over by aliens or anything.
What happened to Tom on the other hand, should have been a big deal, and Falling Skies deserves a lot of credit for shooting it all in way that makes it seem like it is. The special effects are already much better than what we saw in the first season and we’re treated early on in the season 2 premiere to some pretty great, mostly CGI shot alien ship interiors. It all looks very important, unfortunately, it isn’t.
Spoiler alert! If you haven’t seen the season 2 premiere of Falling Skies yet, you may want to stop reading here.
It turns out that Tom’s time with the aliens basically amounted to nothing. They invited him up for a visit because they thought he might be ready to surrender. When he isn’t, they just sort of let him go.
Some cliffhanger. This isn’t exactly “Best of Both Worlds Part 2” here.
There is some small lingering mystery about what happened to Tom, but the bottom line is that we get pretty much no payoff. At best we just get another, far less interesting question than the one the previous season’s finale left us with. By the end of the Season 2 premiere Tom is back with the Second Mass Militia and everything is now set up for the series to resume doing exactly what it was doing last year, without much adjustment.
Whether more of the same is good probably depends on what you thought of the first season. I found it pretty uneven, but loaded with potential which might turn in to something special if they were willing to change things up in the second season. Barring some massive upset in subsequent episodes (which seems pretty unlikely at this point), it’s probably time to forget about all the Falling Skies potential and simply accept that this show is what it is.
So what is it? Walking Dead light, I suppose, with a dash of Lost mixed in. Whether you stick with Falling Skies will be determined by how much stomach you have for yet another show about desperate survivors who spend more time not talking to each other and pondering inscrutable questions than actually doing any, you know, surviving. Good luck to the Second Mass, they’ll need it if Falling Skies is going to make it through to a third season on TNT.