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“Compass” Points FALLING SKIES In The Right Direction
The death of a major character, whether they’re a series regular or just recurring, can be exactly what a struggling show needs to inject a tone it otherwise was lacking. In Falling Skies’ case, Jimmy’s untimely demise in “Compass” serves the purpose of finally giving a good sense of the stakes in this post-alien invasion world. People have died before, been kidnapped, and seriously injured, but saying goodbye to Jimmy was a heavier weight for the show to bear. In essence, Jimmy was a symbol of the world gone wrong. Here we have a boy who only a year ago was as innocent as any child should be at his age. But because of the invasion, he had to grow up fast, learn to be a soldier, and fight for his freedom alongside his fellow resistance members. He was brave, well liked, an important member of the 2nd Mass. He was a friend to Ben, and a surrogate son to Weaver. And yet his life was plucked away from him just like that. That’s the reality the world of Falling Skies.
related | FALLING SKIES SEASON 2′S RED-EYE MYSTERY
It takes a lot of guts to kill off any major character, but even more to take out a young one, barely even a teenager. It’s a sign Falling Skies’ second season isn’t playing around anymore. The happy go lucky nature of the show’s first season is disappearing fast as the situation becomes more hopeless. Even the prospect of a larger community in Charleston is a far away dream. First the 2nd Mass has to get there. Trekking across the American landscape hasn’t been easy. I can’t imagine that changing just because a reasonable goal has been found. It was a smart move to remove the resistance from that elementary school military base of Season 1. It served its purpose as base for the characters to call home while we got to know them, but the story works better when the resistance is constantly on the move. Having a regular setting gives a false sense of security that shouldn’t be there. Being out on the road all the time is a more realistic approach to this war.
Pope’s reaction to Tom this week is typical of his character and provided some good tension between them. It’s good of Tom to recognize Pope as an asset to the 2nd Mass, despite his abrasiveness. He really is an asshole, but the way Colin Cunningham plays that aspect of his character makes him pop off the screen. And its because of his unquestionable charisma and ability to command every scene he’s in that makes me weary of his decision to leave the resistance and strike out on his own. He was removed for a string of episodes in Season 1 and his absence was certainly felt. I can only hope the decision to send Anthony with him means we’ll still be checking up on him from time to time.
All in all if you take out Jimmy’s death, this episode felt like it was Falling Skies in set up phase. We’re introduced to the idea of a community in Charleston, giving the 2nd Mass some hope and a destination to reach, Pope and Anthony have gone off to have their own adventures for a while, and Red Eye was shown to have some kind of hold over Ben, whose back spikes light up whenever Red Eye is close to him. The action took place mostly at or near the temporary campsite at the airport. I was glad to see the step up in quality from last week’s premiere carried through to “Compass,” further giving me hope this season as a whole will be an improvement on last season.