Falling Skies Review: "Shall We Gather at the River"
This episode was a much bigger step in showing where the show can go this season. My own personal hope is that the show didn't just blow all of their budget in this special two hour opener as it was not what I would have expected from the show. The season got started by showing a lot of the alien ship that Tom was on for a long period time and even some very well done action scenes. All of these scenes seemed much more realistic then they were in the first season, it could just be that the show now has a bigger budget but either way, I am pleased. As I stated in the previous episodes review, the writing seems to be more focused this season as well and the acting seems much more refined. It is surprising to see how far Ben has come. This episode continues to show the growing tension between he and his older brother Hal, which I certainly hope becomes a big story line past just this season.
A big plot point of this episode was the second mass was unsure of whether or not Tom was trustworthy. Most people believed he was, but Tom was unconvinced and didn't want to take a chance. To make matters worse, he had a nightmare of the skidder with a red eye that seemed to be his warden when he was on the alien ship. With gaps in his memory, he had a hard time trusting himself as he wanted to make sure that he wouldn't be a danger to everyone. His fears came to fruition when his eye began to bleed and Anne found a metallic worm-like parasite crawling around in his eyeball. Through a painful procedure and an incredibly hard scene to watch, the good doctor was able to pull the parasite out and place it inside of a sealed container. Why not destroy it? Well then the drama would be gone pretty quickly, instead let's have it in a perfectly "sealed" container only to escape later making things difficult for us later. Good plan guys. After this painful ordeal, Tom quickly asked Weaver to tie him up as they can not be sure that their isn't another bug in his system and it is possible that previous parasite had already worked it's mojo on him. Weaver reluctantly agrees to tie him up as the group passes over a bridge that a scout team found.
Before crossing the bridge they found, Weaver decided it was best for someone to cross the river and check to see if it was safe. Ben being the best swimmer gets the job and when he crosses the river, his head immediately begins to hurt when he comes across alien technology. It is a sort of beacon that leads him in the direction of anything relating to the aliens. Upon investigating further, he finds a communications tower guarded by two mechs. He takes photos of the tower with a film camera, now my question on this is simple. Where does one develop film in the apocalypse? Anyways, when he returns he shows Weaver and company the photos he took. Weaver decides that it is best if a small group waits out at the communications tower as they lead an assault across the bridge. It leads to some predictable moments, but all the same they are all entertaining. A big moment before setting off onto the mission was that romance seemed to be in the air between a few characters. The new mechanic character seemed to have hit it off with Lourdes while Hal and Maggie seem to be getting closer.
This episode had a scene that I will not forget for sometime. It wasn't something with big explosions or an emotional scene, it was simply a very well shot scene that you don't see very often in a television show. In this scene, it showed Lourdes talking to the mechanic, then Pope with his degenerates, then Hal with Maggie and so on. All of it was filmed in one continuous shot that was close to three minutes long. It was very impressive nonetheless. As for the episode itself, it was one of the better episodes I have seen thus far in the series. I am very intrigued to see if anything happened to Tom, although I doubt he is changed in any way. I am also pleased every time Pope has screen time, his anti-hero antics very often keeps the group alive due to his ability to do the things others cannot. The reveal of what is happening to Ben is also intriguing and will certainly lead to plenty of tension within the Mason family.