FALLING SKIES: WHAT HIDES BENEATH – The TV Review
With the first seven episodes of FALLING SKIES under our belts, we’ve learned the basics of what our post-invasion world has become. Civilians gathered in camps, forming our own resistance forces and constantly looking over our shoulders for signs of skitters and their devastating mechs lurking nearby. It’s a dangerous new way of life, one based solely on survival, but we’ve also learned that some things may not be quite what they seem.
On Sunday, July 31st, FALLING SKIES continues with its eighth episode — What Hides Beneath — of ten in the series’ first season. Up to this point, I’ve enjoyed the ride, the popcorn thrill of the show that combines human drama with science-fiction and suspense. The development of the main characters now nearly complete, the truth and the fate of the harnessed children is now suspect as Anne and Lourdes make a shocking discovery while dissecting a dead skitter.
Weaver is showing signs of stress and sleeplessness, forcing Tom to question his ability to lead the 2nd Mass. Along with Hal, the three men set out on a recon mission in preparation for an offensive strike on the alien structure being build in the city. In the process, the stumble upon a woman surviving near the hot zone, played by guest star Blair Brown (FRINGE). The mystery continues to build around Ben, Rick and the woman, leading Weaver, Tom and Hal to another new discovery about the aliens, one we’ve not seen before now.
I still contend that Pope is my favorite character; the only source of what little comic relief exists in FALLING SKIES, but also the only truly convincing human badass of the series so far. In “What Hides Beneath,” Pope steps up and contributes a major breakthrough for the human resistance effort, potentially giving the 2nd Mass a significant upper hand in the coming offensive strike.
With Mike dead, Rick’s progress of physical recovery is overshadowed by the appearance of emotional regression, quiet and hollow, he has Anne worried, while Hal continues to notice signs that Ben is not the same kid he was before having been harnessed. All signs point to Ben and Rick being central characters to this story, but what does it all mean?
What Hides Beneath delivers new story arcs, new surprises and clues toward the ever-lingering question of “what the aliens want?” The special effects take on a another level of importance in DreamWorks’ and Spielberg’s vision, as we’re introduced to a new element of the alien enemy, one I shall not spoil by revealing any detail, other than to say the design is vaguely familiar to another of Spielberg’s visions which garnered divided opinions.
We know the characters and we understand what’s at stake, now the story begins to amp up the adrenaline as we presumably approach the first major battle depicted on screen. Over the past seven episodes, the pace has been decidedly comfortable and the danger factor has been kept relatively mild, but I have a feeling that’s all about to change.
FALLING SKIES hasn’t yet completely sold me as a series worthy of a long and fruitful run on television, but it has captured my imagination and set it hooks nears my gills. With even the slightest tug of an unexpected and exciting plot twist, Spielberg can have the hook set deep and begin to reel me in, but I’m not the type of fish to go down without a fight. With so much competition on television with outstanding dramatic series, I for one am picky with where my loyalties lie, but FALLING SKIES certainly still has a place on my DVR for the time being.