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Old Faces Return to FALLING SKIES in “Homecoming”
Falling Skies has managed to pull off an intense hour television this past Sunday, but not without giving me a bit of a scare first. “Homecoming” opened up Tom and Anne behaving like a young couple at the start of a new relationship, and it was all very cutesy, but not at all what I hope to see from this show. I like the romantic storylines to a point, but if the show ever gets to where it puts more focus into romance than the threat of aliens then I’m going to lose my mind. Graciously, the lovers were outshone by Weaver’s sudden illness thanks to a bite from a harness he received a few weeks ago. He collapses while in a meeting in a startling fashion, clearly showing us he is not suffering from an Earth-born infection. Believe it or not, Weaver and his well-being is not the focus of the episode either. While Tom and Anne and Weaver crop up from time to time, the main concern is Karen; found naked and de-harnessed out in the woods among a mass grave of children.
While “Homecoming” had plenty of thrills and a lot at stake – the group’s supply of gas has run so low, they only have a enough to keep their camp running for 12 hours – it also had many shortcomings. Tom and Anne have a lovers spat when trying to decide what to do about Weaver which felt entirely unnecessary, especially Tom’s accidental use of his deceased wife’s name. As for Karen, she was so obviously still under the alien influence that watching her scenes where she’s acting innocent and unaware were just taxing. But this episode works as a whole, managing to bring a sense of impending doom once John Pope returns with a warning – too little too late – of Karen’s agenda.
On a personal level, I was displeased with how easily Ben was lured to Karen, finding it creepy when they nearly kissed. Then again, it is supposed to be creepy, so I guess in that sense it’s a huge success. I just wish Ben would be smarter. He was right on the money when he said Karen couldn’t be trusted, but then he ends up trusting her and helping her escape, easily believing that Margaret attacked her when the opposite was true. And as for Margaret, I don’t believe her life is in any real danger, but I kind of wish it were. Death can be a powerful motivator, and in a post-apocalyptic world such as this, motivation can drive a ton of story. Imagine how much more interesting Hal would become if on top of losing Karen to the aliens, his new love was also killed, but by his former love. That’s the kind of twisty, messy drama that could help Falling Skies. Instead of having everything cookie-cutter neat, they should try and make everything just a little darker, as they did with the death of Jimmy, to take the hope out just a bit. Turning Hal into a more brooding, tortured character could really allow the show to go to some interesting places. But this is just a wish list in the end.
What I can say for sure about the future is Ben has set himself up for some serious hurt. He’s going to either realize Karen is no good or find himself fighting against his family. With how well he’s managed to resist the aliens, I can’t foresee him joining their side anytime soon, so I expect this partnership with Karen to come to quick and sudden end.