As unfair as it may be, and despite how much I enjoyed the show, I felt the first two seasons of Falling Skies were too similar to AMC's The Walking Dead, in many ways. Yes, I know, one is aliens and the other is zombies, but they both had that same sort of on-the-road survival feel, with a massive worldwide threat that those of us in the real world can't possibly comprehend because, well, there has never been a zombie infestation or attacking aliens on our planet. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy both shows, but it irked me slightly that there was this unseen connection between the two, as if they were both being fueled by the same umbilical cord of tonality, that made it feel on some small level, that I was watching the same show twice. However, I am rather happy to report that, after watching the two-hour Falling Skies Season 3 Premiere "On Thin Ice" and "Collateral Damage", this unseen connection that perhaps only I myself experienced, has been severed, most likely for good.
Be warned, while I will avoid any spoilers for these episodes, I will be delving into aspects of Season 2, so read on at your own risk, starting... now. As Season 2 came to a close the 2nd Mass had finally reached Charleston, the new capital of the United States lead by Dr. Manchester (Terry O'Quinn), the former mentor to Tom Mason (Noah Wyle). The very last shot of Season 2 introduced us to a brand new alien we have never seen before, who plays a huge part in Season 3. That creature's name is Cochise (Doug Jones) from the Volm, who have come to Earth to help humanity defeat the Espheni aliens that first invaded the planet. Seven months have passed between Season 2 and Season 3, and, with the help of the Volm and their highly-advanced technology, the humans are no longer fighting to survive, they are actually starting to turn the tide. The Volm have even provided Charleston with a machine that can remove the harness devices with absolutely zero side effects,
There is a LOT that happens in this two-hour premiere, so much that I'm rather surprised and impressed they could fit this much in. Tom Mason now serves as the "President" of the nascent United States, although he hates being addressed by his formal title and still continues to fight alongside his comrades in the 2nd Mass and a group of skitter rebels, who have painted their faced red and yellow, in honor of their fallen leader "Red Eye." The show opens up with a fantastic battle scene that is probably the best of the series, where, in one fell swoop, we're introduced to the Volm and their superb weaponry, the skitter rebels, and their primary new adversary known as the "Mega-Mechs." What also happens in that scene is we become aware that there is a mole within Charleston feeding intel to the Espheni leaders, which sets up several intriguing possibilities running throughout the season.
All of our old favorites are back, with Anne (Moon Bloodgood), expecting her baby with Tom, whose own sons are going through quite a few changes of their own. Hal (Drew Roy) is now confined to a wheelchair after his mysterious injuries at the end of Season 2, Ben (Connor Jessup), serves as the mediator between the humans and rebel skitters, and Matt (Maxim Knight) has gotten a bit of a rebellious streak in him. Maggie (Sarah Carter) and Hal are now finally a "couple,' but she knows something isn't quite right with him. Captain Weaver (Will Patton) is enjoying a newfound relationship with his long-lost daughter, although he still doesn't completely trust the Volm yet. Lourdes (Seychelle Gabriel) continues to work with Anne in the medical ward, and possibly my favorite character in the show, Pope (Colin Cunningham), continues to fight with the 2nd Mass, while setting up his own colony of sorts known as "Popetown," which I can't wait to see more of. We even get a few new faces as well, with Gloria Reuben starring as Tom's trusted adviser Marina Peralta, and Robert Sean Leonard showing up in the second hour as the reclusive scientist Roger Kadar.
As much as there is to like here, my favorite part of this premiere is that the producers and writers are finally tapping into the enormous scope they set up right from the beginning. It's not just about the 2nd Mass trying to kick some alien ass and survive one day at a time, it's about forming a new country from the ashes created by these alien invaders. In the first two seasons, they fought the Espheni literally so they could see another day. Now that they are firmly entrenched in a (more) secure community, the fighters of the 2nd Mass and Charleston truly have something to fight for, to defend: their home. It is this sense of place and purpose, along with the SLEW of other developments I didn't mention, that I think will really make this season of Falling Skies stand out from the rest.
If you agree, disagree, love, or hate what I have to say, follow me on Twitter @GallagherMW and let your voice be heard. The two-hour Season 3 premiere of Falling Skies, "On Thin Ice" and "Collateral Damage", debuts Sunday, June 9 at 9 PM ET on TNT.