Episode Title: "Eight Hours"
Writer: Mark Verheiden
Director: Greg Beeman
Previously on "Falling Skies":
After watching Captain Weaver (Will Patton) experience an apparent mental breakdown, Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) learned from Dr. Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood) that Weaver had been self-medicating himself with amphetamines. He also learned that the dead alien Skitter had been harnessed and that his son, Ben (Connor Jessup) may still be physically changing because of his exposure to the harness. Weaver increasingly cut Tom out of military command decisions and he ordered him to be locked up. Later, Tom's oldest son Hal (Drew Roy) and Jimmy (Dylan Authors) helped free Tom so he could learn the truth about Weaver's plans.
When Tom spoke to his injured friend, Dai (Peter Shinkoda), he discovered that their commander may have been killed by the Skitters and that their reinforcements for the planned attack on Boston were also likely to be dead. Tom attempted to get John Pope (Colin Cunningham) to help him stop the attack, but Pope sided with Weaver. In the end, Tom and his friends managed to reach Weaver before he went completely off the deep end. Weaver and Tom then presented the facts of the mission and allowed the soldiers to decide if they wanted to come. Meanwhile, Ben and Uncle Scott (Bruce Gray) discovered a way to disrupt the Skitter's communications frequency just as Weaver and his forces pulled out.
At the camp, Scott and Ben are able to recreate their work on the radio. But as soon as Scott is alone, he sees evil space Rick (Daniyah Ysrayl) climbing the walls like a Skitter before he leaps on Scott. While attacking the older man, Rick screams that he won't let Scott "hurt them." In the infirmary, Ben immediately realizes that Rick was the attacker and he finds him just before he flees the camp. Rick offers to take Ben with him as he goes back to the aliens, but Ben yells at the top of his lungs that Rick is trying to warn the Skitters. One of the soldiers takes this warning too far and actually takes aim at Ben… only to be stopped by Tom.
Tom goes off on his own to find Rick, but the creepy little harnessed girl named Megan has already found him. She looks like she's mutating into a Skitter as she pumps Rick for information about the 2ND Mass. When Tom finally catches up to him, Rick is in tears as he relates that the aliens didn't care about him or want him back. But he told them everything, including Weaver's attack plan. Meanwhile, Weaver and his men realize that the 4TH and the 5TH aren't coming and that they are truly on their own. Weaver sends Hal back to deliver the news to Tom, while Pope and the rest of Weaver's men press on the hopeless attack.
At the camp, Tom sends the civilians to safety for the impending alien assault. Only Ben manages to argue for staying behind with him to help Scott discover the current Skitter frequency. Margaret (Sarah Sanguin Carter) also takes Jimmy under her wing as the first alien mech attacks. Tom's defenders mow it down easily with the little anti-mech ordinance that they have on hand. But several mechs reinforce the attack and the 2ND Mass defenders are suddenly outgunned. In desperation, Scott and Ben finally find the right frequency and Ben risks his life to jump outside and use the flag pole as an antenna to boost the signal. Incredibly, the mechs are immediately affected and they retreat from the school.
Hal arrives with news about the probably failed attack in Boston. Tom has Scott set up the anti-alien frequency on a jeep so Tom can attempt to find survivors. The first one Tom finds is Pope himself, as he actually tends to the injured Anthony (Mpho Koahu), despite their animosity towards each other. Tom also gives Pope the jeep to get Anthony to safety. As a parting gift, Pope gives Tom a rocket launcher with an alien metal RPG. Soon enough, Tom finds Weaver and helps him get out of his destroyed car. To their amazement, the alien ships appear to be retreating into the large structure over Boston.
Tom realizes that he's close enough to take a shot with the rocket launcher, so he shoots one of the ships down. The ship crashes into the alien structure and sets off a chain reaction of explosions. Tom and Weaver get out of the proverbial dodge before the aliens can mount a counter attack. But while attempting to rendezvous with the 2ND Mass, Karen (Jessy Schram) — Hal's harnessed girlfriend — waits for them in the middle of the road, backed by an alien ship. As an Overlord alien emerges from the ship, Karen explains that the aliens didn't expect so much resistance and they want to talk to Tom. When he spits back the offer in her face, Karen says that this is his only chance to save Ben.
Over Weaver's objections, Tom approaches the alien ship and prepares to board it with Karen and the Overlord. Weaver can only watch in disbelief as it happens
I have to admit to some disappointment that we never saw the failed attack in Boston. It's not as if this episode was action free, but it felt like we should have seen that happen, even on a TV budget. I also have to wonder if the second season will follow up on the implications of the final two episodes regarding the dire situation of the 2ND Mass. Most of their fighters were apparently wiped out in the attack on Boston and the other resistance militias in Massachusetts may also be dead. If the remaining 2ND Mass is truly alone in the fight, it's hard to see how 50 fighters are going to be able to hold out for long.
The cliffhanger with Tom is interesting, but I'm sure he'll be back with the resistance before too long. One of the things that "Falling Skies" has done well this season is making the aliens seem truly alien. We've never gotten the events from their perspective and we don't know what they're thinking. The show avoided the "V" style melodrama and spared us the scenes of some alien Overlord going on and on about their plans for Earth. That said, it is time to learn a little more about them and to see if they're truly willing to negotiate now that they know they can be hurt.
After Rick's actions since he's been de-harnessed, it's difficult to work up any sympathy for him because I can't tell if he's being sincere. Skitter Megan could have easily just told him to reintegrate himself with the 2ND Mass to keep their spy in place, But at face value, it's a pretty heart breaking moment as Rick realizes that he doesn't belong to either side anymore and he finally gives into grief for his father. It was also a good chance for Tom to demonstrate some extraordinary compassion towards Rick. If Tom had been a lesser man, he would have left Rick behind for his actions.
Tom's middle son, Ben has gone from being the MacGuffin of the series to the most compelling of the Mason kids. If Rick is any indication, Ben might develop some Skitter powers of his own at some point. But Ben's big hero moment with the flag pole antenna was impressive and it was a nice cap to his storyline this season.
The big question now is where does the series go from here? The first season of "Falling Skies" wasn't perfect, but it was definitely one of the best shows this summer. If the writers truly follow up on the consequences of this season finale, things should be radically different next season. Unless there are pockets of resistance miraculously still out there, then the war between humanity and the Skitters is essentially over. Even with the aliens in temporary retreat, it's just a question of who can survive and how long.
Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.