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FALLING SKIES Slowly Builds Toward Chaos in “The Price of Greatness”
Having made reaching Charleston the main mission for a good chunk of Season 2, Falling Skies had a lot to live up to in terms of how this community would look and function. Thankfully it did not disappoint, revealing the people of Charleston had taken up living in the underground portion of a half-constructed shopping mall. Despite some touching reunions – Weaver once again meets up with his daughter, Jeannie, and Tom reunites with his mentor from Boston College, Arthur Manchester (played by the always welcome Terry O’Quinn) – “The Price of Greatness” almost immediately sows a sense of unease in this new setting. The people have beds and food, but are too comfortable and not at all ready to fight a war, which puts the fresh-from-battle 2nd Mass on edge. They’re expected to separate themselves and hand over their weapons, a request that seems ludicrous after all they’ve been through, but this isn’t the outside world. There is a different set of protocols here and they must be observed respectfully… for now.
As Tom, Weaver and the rest spend more time in Charleston, they begin to realize something is really off. Weaver is told there are no plans to attack the aliens and Tom is told by Arthur a new government is being put in place, with Arthur in position to be elected as the new president of sorts. Currently he’s just the majority leader, but everyone does what he says seemingly without question. Certainly the army shows zero backbone when Arthur tells them fighting is not an option. And just how are Weaver and Tom to react to being told they have to fall in line and pretend like a war isn’t happening just outside?
The feeling of Charleston is very similar to the Alexandria Safe-Zone in The Walking Dead comic book series. They too were content to live in their homes while pretending the zombies were nothing more than an annoyance they could mostly ignore. In that situation, Rick’s group of survivors couldn’t cope with behaving so normally after being in the thick of the zombie attacks, and the 2nd Mass’ reaction in Falling Skies is similar. The difference is, when they begin to defy Arthur’s commands, he uses his military force to detain them. At this point in time I was wondering why the army was taking orders from this one man when they knew all too well he was making the wrong calls in the pursuit of power? I had my answer almost immediately when Arthur was arrested and thrown into a holding cell and suddenly Charleston was under martial – hardly a better alternative.
I really enjoyed the escalation of the episode from peace and happiness to all out rebellion. It was gradual at first, with the likely candidate of Pope and his berserkers being the first to consider grabbing a bunch of weapons and taking off, but slowly more began to see these actions needed to be taken. It wasn’t until a de-harnessed boy turned up to tell Tom Red-Eye wanted to see speak with him about the rebellion that a break out mission was conceived. While Tom had good intentions of breaking the trust of Arthur in order to meet with the skitters, his actions planted the seeds for the declaration of martial law. And now we only have one episode left, and since this episode and last week’s had no special effects you can bet the finale is going to be full of them. Chaos is coming to Falling Skies. I can feel it.