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FALLING SKIES Brings the Horror in “Molon Labe”
After a couple weeks of entertaining but flawed episodes, Falling Skies bounces back with what will easily be seen as the highlight of the series to date. “Molon Labe” took the ongoing storyline of the alien invasion and subsequent human resistance to new heights of action, suspense, raw human emotion, and loss of life. Going forward, it will be hard not to compare the remainder of the season to this one stellar episode. It really only had one major flaw, but Jamil’s relationship with Lourdes was never adequately touched on, so that’s hardly the fault of the episode and more so the fault of the earlier episodes of the season. But aside from that, Falling Skies took a huge leap forward in quality and delivered something I will not soon forget.
Picking up where “Homecoming” left off, Karen and Ben are walking through the forest and Karen quickly reveals she only needed Ben to confirm he’d been in contact with Red Eye and his rebel skitters. Suddenly, mechs are everywhere and a single silver alien looms over them. Just as suddenly, a small force of resistance members, led by Tom and Hal, burst onto the scene and let the bullets fly. The element of surprise works in their favor as Tom is able to get his gun pointed at the alien – I’m going to call him the Silver from now on. The mechs immediately cease fire, not wanting to hurt their leader, prompting Tom to take the Silver captive. From that moment on I knew this was going to be an excellent episode. There isn’t a lot of interaction with these guys, but when they do appear it’s always of some importance.
With the Silver as their prisoner, Karen leads the mechs to surround the 2nd Mass, making this a siege war. But things also shift in genre a little bit. While the men in charge are trying to figure out what to do about the situation, things have turned into a horror movie for Anne, Lourdes, and Matt. They find Jamil severely injured in a dark part of the hospital basement, and soon his body is erupting with small, spider-like creatures. The shift is welcome and adds to the growing sense of doom brought on by the alien siege. It starts to look like capturing the Silver was the worst possible thing Tom could’ve done, especially when Karen forces him and the rest of the resistance to watch as Boone is executed after being captured. It’s a tough scene to watch as he’s brutally cut down by mech fire. With Jamil and Boone as casualties, hope is dwindling fast.
Tom’s big weakness is his family. He will do next to anything to ensure their safety. So when he goes to talk with the Silver – who uses Ben to speak to Tom – you’re inclined to believe Tom may let the Silver go if it means setting Ben free from its control. When Ben started seizing I thought it was all over. Tom’s going to let this alien go; the one bargaining chip they had. Instead Tom completely shocked me by shooting the Silver in the neck. What a great move. Here’s this big, imposing alien reduced to screams of pain. That was a powerful moment for Tom, and a turning point in the siege.
They bring in Karen – she has become quite the cocky lady – who practically loses her mind when she sees what’s happened to the Silver. Tom shows her the C4 lining the walls and threatens to blow the hospital up unless the 2nd Mass is allowed to continue to Charleston. Karen yields. I guess Tom was right about the Silver’s importance. So now we’re back on the road again. The 2nd Mass survived what could have been a deadly situation for them, and it will certainly affect them going forward. Lourdes in particular has taken on a new outlook on life. We may not have seen much of her relationship with Jamil, but we knew they loved each other. Losing him has made her very pessimistic, seemingly causing her to lose her faith. This could end up being a good thing for her character. In the first season, her belief in God was a very unattractive aspect of her character, but it was severely toned down this season. Now it seems like it will be completely nonexistent going forward. Whether this new Lourdes is better than the old remains to be seen. “Molon Labe” in general showed a very different side to Falling Skies. There’s a strong story here, it just needs to be told in the right way for it work.