TNT’s alien-invasion drama Falling Skies just wrapped up its second season, leaving fans with just as many questions as answers and the introduction of a new element that could have a huge impact on the third season next year. In the aftermath of the finale, showrunner Remi Aubuchon took a page from the Lost producers and sat down to do a retrospective interview and shine a teensy-tiny bit of clarity on some of the show’s mysteries.
Spoiler warning if you haven’t watched the season finale of Falling Skies yet.
Speaking with EW, Aubuchon said that the second season unfolded for the most part just as they planned it at the beginning, adding that “70 percent” of what the writers discussed at the beginning of the season was realized as the episodes played out. One element that to be downsized a bit was the climactic battle where the rebel skitters come to the rescue of the captured 2nd Mass, a battle that ultimately ends with the deaths of both the red-eyed skitter leader and the fish-head overlord. The filmed version didn’t change the concept, just the size of the execution. Aubuchon recalls pitching a version of the scene to Steven Spielberg and TNT’s head of programming:
…I had this whole thing of saying, ‘Thousands of skitters are gonna come down one side of the mountain! And another thousand rebel skitters are gonna come down the other side of the mountain! And they’re gonna clash, and they’re gonna fight! And in the midst of all this comes a herd of spiked kids!’ And obviously we didn’t do a big version of that, but we did a small version of it.
Perhaps the single most intriguing factor of the finale (which almost made up for the glaring lapses in logic and characterization) was the final moments which saw the arrival of an entirely new alien species. Dressed in some rather badass battle armor, the new aliens could be either a crucial ally to the humans, or a threat even worse than the fish-heads and skitters. We won’t find out the truth until next season, and naturally enough, that’s precisely as the writers wanted it. Aubuchon explained their thinking in working out the visual design of the newcomer (no, not that kind of newcomer):
It’s uncertain as to whether or not he’s friendly or unfriendly, but the one thing that we can definitely determine is he kind of looks a little like us in a way. His eyes do not seem as shark eye-like as the overlords’ eyes did or even the skitters who have a frightening look to them. So I’m hoping that some of the speculation will be ‘Wow, this is not only a game changer, this could be a game changer for the good.’ And then that begs the question of ‘is it too good to be true?’
Aubuchon also clarified the nature of the giant weapon that the 2nd Mass managed to destroy during the finale. The skitters told the humans that the weapon wasn’t meant to threaten the humans, so if not us, then who? The fact that it was pointed skyward and that the mysterious new aliens arrived shortly after its destruction suggests that, whatever the nature of the new aliens, the fish-heads really didn’t want them to land on Earth. As Aubuchon puts it, “Well, it seems to be a big coincidence that they took down this huge weapon, and all of the sudden these guys landed.”
One interesting tidbit that comes out of the interview answers a question that isn’t really touched on in the finale, but which has been hanging out there unresolved for quite a while now. When the humans made the shocking discovery that the skitters are themselves harnessed by the same control devices they had been implanting on human children, it raised several questions. Were they serving the fish-heads of their own free will? And since their harnesses were actually inside their exoskeleton, did that mean the harnesses had physically altered them into their current appearance from some earlier native form? The first question has been answered pretty solidly throughout this season. As for the second, Aubuchon comes right out with a concrete answer:
Our take is that, no, that’s what the skitters looked like. They were six-legged creatures on their planet, and basically they looked like that. What the harness does — it does a lot of things — but one of the side effects of it is that it creates a sort of exoskeleton around the creature itself, and you can see that happening to our human kids. In fact, our nickname for them in the writers room is ‘crusty kids.’