‘Falling Skies’ Review: “The Eye”
‘Falling Skies’ season 4 rains down its 2nd episode of the year with the “The Eye,” in which Tom plays a desperate gambit to learn more about their Skitter enclosure, while Ben searches for answers to Alexis’ mysterious condition, and Matt’s efforts to rebel within the reeducation camp hit a snag.
Last week’s ‘Falling Skies’ premiere, “Ghost in the Machine,” saw a vicious attack scattering the 2nd Massachusetts, placing Tom and others in a Skitter-controlled ghetto, while Matt languished in a reeducation camp, and Ben discovered a shocking evolution for the ever-mysterious Alexis (Scarlette Byrne).
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Falling Skies’ season 4, episode 2, “The Eye”!
A woman with a young child finds herself confronted by a Skitter hornet inside the Espheni ghetto, for which a man in a Ghost costume intervenes, just before the real Ghost, Tom, saves the day. Upon returning to his solitary cell however, both Tom and Weaver are surprised to find the Skitters ejecting them back into the general population. The hovering mothership drops a harnessed man, who explains that food drops will cease until the ghetto residents turn over the Ghost. Weaver urges Tom not to give himself up, but rather aid in pilfering Pope’s food stash for the time being, while Tom is surprised to find Hal leading a new escape plan in his absence.
Out on the road, Anne confronts a lone Skitter in the wilderness, incapacitating it just enough to allow Deni the chance to translate. Meanwhile in Chinatown, Dr. Kadar expresses his worries to Ben that Alexis’ growth spurts may prove unstable, though Lourdes cut him off from conducting any additional tests, labeling him a “non-believer.” Elsewhere still, Matt and his classmates dutifully recite their Espheni brotherhood rhetoric, as Matt’s friend Skip passes a note for their rebellion to meet after lunch.
Weaver follows Pope into his apparent hideaway to demand access to the stash, before another group of miscreants follow Weaver and demand the store of food for themselves. Weaver and Pope manage to fight the thugs off, before Pope reveals to Weaver that his stash was nothing more than a few cans of beans, an exaggeration to sustain his reputation. Weaver hears a distinct hum in a tunnel nearby, while across the camp Tom meets with Dingaan Botha. The hardened survivor reveals himself as a former physicist who builds Faraday suits to escape the energy fences, the current design of which requires copper reinforcement. Botha also explains how he’d seen the airship above connected to an energy tether outside the fence, for which Tom realizes they’ll need a bird’s-eye view to form a plan.
Deni translates for the crippled Skitter, who explains that the children were being taken to a reeducation camp for the purposes of being led by the “Hybrid” in the future. Meanwhile, Tom manages to raise Cochise on Botha’s radio, in which Cochise reveals that he’d gotten a line on Matt, and agrees to attempt a rescue of Tom’s son. Over in Chinatown, Ben cuts through a line of believers waiting for Alexis, and begs his sister to accept Dr. Kadar’s help. Alexis grows angry that Ben would presume to know better for her than Earth’s great literature, as her anger has a physical effect on her room, though she ultimately agrees to see Dr. Kadar.
With Hal’s help, Tom rides out into the center of the ghetto as his Ghost alter-ego, unmasking in public and inviting the alien ship overhead to take him aboard. Once inside, the Overlord speaks through a harnessed man, revealing that the Espheni will soon begin evolutionary transformations of select adults in order to combat a coming threat greater than either they or the Volm. Tom reluctantly agrees to terms in order to protect his family, all the while secretly observing the ship’s overheard maps of the ghetto, including the secret hatch guards emerge from to answer security threats. Down below, Pope and Weaver discover that an underground tunnel remains blocked by the fence, but would serve as a suitable escape point once the energy grid goes down.
Matt and Mira hold hands and even share a kiss on the way to their rebel meeting, only to discover that Skip has apparently been taken from their hiding spot. Instead, Team Leader confronts Matt and menacingly reveals that Skip had “graduated,” all the while espousing his belief in Matt’s potential. Over in Chinatown, Lourdes violently attempts to interrupt Dr. Kadar taking a blood sample from Lexi, but when the situation grows too tense, Alexis’ powers shake the room and emit a high-pitched noise that destroys the sample. Out on the road, Deni reveals to Anne that the captive Skitter grew increasingly afraid at mention of the “hybrid,” specifically with regard to a location that lies west of them.
With Alexis resting, Ben and Maggie agree to keep the girl isolated for the time being, either glad of the other’s company for sake of someone rational to talk to. Ben goes to check on Alexis, only to find her missing, after which Ben follows her into the wilderness to see her interacting with a hooded overlord. Meanwhile, food drops resume at the Espheni ghetto, during which Tom reveals that he got the information they needed from the ship above, and will soon escape from the camp.
Last week’s ‘Falling Skies’ premiere had not only the awkward task of splitting up the core cast into four separate and distinct storylines to follow, but also to introduce us to new showrunner David Eick, taking over for Remi Aubuchon. Reactions were mixed to say the least, but tonight’s “The Eye” at least had the benefit of lacking any clunky restructuring, and instead focused on the characters within each disparate scenario. Understandably, the divide still makes the series feel somewhat weaker than the sum of its parts, but with the deed done at least, season 4 has a fresh well with which to explore different sides of the conflict.
Despite the hodgepodge approach, it would seem that the Espheni Ghetto again proved the more effective storyline to follow, whether by a more tonal familiarity with the series as a whole, or the concentration of stronger characters within a solitary location. Tom’s time as the “Ghost” may have seemed a bit off out of context, though the gambit to get aboard the Skitter mothership dropped a few tantalizing new pieces of mythology for the war at large, and provided a much more linear set of obstacles to overcome with regard to escaping the camp. ‘Falling Skies’ isn’t exactly a series anyone might have thought to last four seasons, but the direct approach to overcoming adversity tends to be the most effective for the series on average.
The stories that get the least service this week understandably came both in Anne’s roving band and Matt’s reeducation camp, as the former gained a minor bit of intel toward Alexis’ role in the Skitters’ future plans, while Matt hit a setback in his rebellion. Anne’s transition to hardened warrior felt a bit forced last week, and despite a few days to stew in the new status quo, tonight’s hour didn’t offer much in the way of development in her quest for answers. Similarly, it’s impressive to consider young Maxim Knight’s development as Matt over the years, now given his first love interest of sorts, though the story itself only took a minor turn with the disappearance of Skip.
Far and away the daffiest story of the hour again goes to the peaceful Chinatown camp, as Ben employs Dr. Kadar (a pleasant holdover from season 3, but where’s Marina Peralta?) to investigate some of the biological mysteries behind his baby sister, though the end only seems to raise more questions than we began with. Luckily, Maggie’s characterization seems a bit more on-point this week, in spite of the somewhat icky developing relationship with Ben, while Lourdes once again gets the short end of the stick for rational human behavior. Honestly, the entire story seems so bizarrely plotted, especially now that Alexis has some kind of regular Overlord contact, that we’ve no real idea what to make of it just yet.
All in all, “The Eye” felt a bit more even than last week’s premiere, and had a few more moments of hope and logical reason going for it (we’re going to start a drinking game for when characters pose a logical question to absurd developments, then ignore the answers), though it still feels as if the divide among storylines has done more harm than good for the time being.
Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of Skitter-y ‘Falling Skies’ action? What did you think about Sunday’s latest, “The Eye?” Join the discussion in the comments, and check back again next Sunday for another all-new episode recap and review of ‘Falling Skies’ season 4′s latest, “Exodus” on TNT!