‘Falling Skies’ Review: “Shall We Gather At The River”
‘Falling Skies’ season 2 crosses into its second episode of the year, as the 2nd Massachusetts must find a way to cross a destroyed bridge and take out a Skitter antenna, while a disturbing discovery about Tom leads him to question whether or not he can be trusted within the group.
Last episode’s ‘Falling Skies’ premiere “Worlds Apart” saw Tom Mason return, remembering the three month interim he spent finding his way back from a Skitter ship, while the 2nd Massachusetts realized a deadly new threat to their survival, and Ben Mason displayed some increasingly dark behavior so how does “Shall We Gather At The River” keep things going?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Falling Skies’ Season Premiere part 2, “Shall We Gather At The River!”
Tom Mason sleeps, while that darned Red-Eye Skitter silently enters his tent, and ominously looms over him. Tom wakes to see it, and it holds him down, but poof! It was all a dream. Taking himself to be examined the next day, Tom theorizes to Anne that the Skitters might have done something to his mind.
The other members of the resistance scope out a nearby bridge, which seems in tact until a wayward Beamer gets shot down, the falling wreckage partially destroying the crossing! Back at camp, Tom catches up on whose been lost in the time he was away, but refuses to pick up his old gun as he tells Weaver he can’t trust himself. Weaver insists that he needs Tom around to provide counterbalance to his leadership, but still needs him to fight as well.
The scouts roll back into camp, taking Weaver and Tom to observe the remains of the bridge, who come to the conclusion that they’ll need to patch it up to cross and escape being bottled in by the Skitters. Someone will need to cross the river and make sure the other side is safe, to which Ben volunteers given his superhuman abilities and stealth. Ben’s abilities somewhat unnerve Tom and Hal, as they discuss back at camp, but Tom insists that he needs a favor from his eldest son. If something should ever happen, if the Skitters really did do something to Tom, Hal needs to stop him…by any means necessary. Tom grows more and more forceful in his plea, before his eye starts bleeding, and he collapses.
While Hal comforts Matt outside, Anne finds something disturbing on Tom’s eye…some kind of tendril. It takes the combined efforts of Lourdes and Weaver to hold him down as Anne (grossly) removes a small, slimy robotic creature from Tom’s eyeball, and places it into a jar before it snaps into a ball. Observing it later, Jamil can’t make heads or tails of it, and Tom insists to the group that he needs to be restrained until they cross the river and can learn more about his condition. Seriously guys, this is a no-brainer.
Out on his solo mission, Ben happens upon the downed Beamer wreckage in the forest, which seems to have some kind of creepy biological engine inside that emits a frequency it pains Ben to be around. Smashing it and taking photos, Ben next happens upon some kind of Skitter antenna out in the woods, surrounded by mechs. The next morning Matt shys away from seeing his father given what happened, and Pope shows up looking to confirm the truth as well. Pope insists that they need to kill Tom because of the danger he poses, but Anthony, Weaver and Hal all insist at gunpoint that Pope back off.
Inside the trailer, Ben shares his experiences with his father, the both of them having been Skitter prisoners, and Ben explains that he uses his hatred of them, and what they’ve made him to prevent them from getting into his head. While Tom agrees that he hates them, he points out that all that hatred means they’ve still changed him, and in fact love of his children is what drives the father.
Later, Ben shares his findings with the group (curiously leaving out that the ship’s frequency pained him), and they make a plan of attack to destroy the dish before they cross the river. As the whole convoy readies itself to move out (including Hal and Maggie flirting, and Jamil sharing a smooch with Lourdes), the small alien device springs to life. It burns its way out of the jar, and crawls upon an unknowing Lourdes, before sprouting wings and flying away to parts unknown!
At night, the dish destroying party lands on the shore, as the convoy readies itself for incoming Skitters, and patches up the bridge. A still-bound Tom does his best to assure Matt that he’d never consciously hurt them , and the attack begins! Pope and the Berserkers distract the mechs from the dish, giving Dai a chances to move in close and take it down with a rocket launcher, and not a moment too soon.
Still, its not over yet, as Pope’s actions have brought the attention of a whole crowd of Skitters and Mechs, and the convoy has to get a move on. When the medical bus gets stuck in the crossing, Tom tensely insists that Matt cut him loose, to which he reluctantly agrees. Once free, Tom races to man the 50 caliber to defend the group as they work to push the bus over the gap. The plan succeeds, but as Tom races to join the others before they blow up the bridge, Pope steps in and blows the bridge early! Cheeky monkey.
The convoy devastated, Hal takes a swing at Pope as the group plots to head to a local airport for shelter. Just then, Tom emerges from the water unharmed! As the group celebrates their small victory, the mysterious Red-Eye watches from the shadows. The small flying but lands atop his face, and crawls into his good eyeball.
The awkwardly titled "Shall We Gather at the River" certainly keeps a better pace than first episode "Worlds Apart, and sets up some very interesting conflicts for the season going forward. Could Tom really be a sleeper agent of some kind, or do the Skitters have other plans for him? And seriously, whats the deal with that Red-Eye alien? Great action this week, too. Let's hope the budget holds out!
Did you get your fill of Skitter-y ‘Falling Skies’ action? What did you think about the episode? Join us next week for another all-new episode recap of ‘Falling’ season 2 episode “Compass” on TNT!