‘Falling Skies’ Review: “The Price of Greatness”
‘Falling Skies’ season 2 bunkers down with its ninth, and penultimate episode of the year “The Price of Greatness,” as the 2nd Massachusetts finally arrives at Charleston , and Tom finds himself butting heads with his former professor Arthur Manchester (‘LOST’s Terry O’Quinn) as the group realizes salvation is not what it seems.
Last week’s ‘Falling Skies’ episode “Death March” saw the 2nd Massachusetts braving the open road in search of Charleston, happening upon a little harnessed girl while Weaver tried to figure out Tector, so how does “The Price of Greatness” keep things moving?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Falling Skies’ season 2 episode 9, “The Price of Greatness!”
As the 2nd Massachusetts is led downstairs into the Charleston complex, the amenities of the city wash over the dazed survivors. Pope remains suspicious, as Tom takes the hand of an incredulous Anne, and the whole compound offers a standing ovation. As they help themselves to some of the grub, Weaver’s daughter Jean resurfaces! She’s lost a number of her group since we last saw her, including her boyfriend Diego, but Weaver remains happy to see his daughter.
While the Berserkers are none too happy with their new arrangements, Matt expresses excitement at the prospect of other children his age, and the potential to go back to school. Just then, a familiar face calls out to Tom, that of Arthur Manchester (O’Quinn), his former history professor at Boston College! Apparently a majority leader of Charleston, Arthur invites Tom to share some of his experiences later, after they’ve settled in.
Weaver, Porter and Tector (Now Gunnery Sgt. Aloysius Murphy) pay a visit to the Charleston Brass General Bressler, but quickly find that Bressler isn’t interested in launching any new offenses against the aliens, at least according to Manchester’s rule. Hal breaks up the meeting requesting Weaver’s attention, as outside the military forces order the 2nd Massachusetts to turn over their weapons! Though initially outraged, Tom reluctantly follows Weaver’s example, arguing that they need to start thinking outside their own group now, and follow the rules.
The next morning, Tom follow’s Arthur’s invitation to speak in his office, learning that Arthur needs his help in securing a vote to re-up his leadership. Tom agrees, but stresses that they should act upon the recent Skitter rebellion, though Arthur insists on keeping it quiet lest they incite a panic among the people. Back in the mess hall, Weaver greets his daughter once more, who reveals that Diego and their friends weren’t killed prior to their arrival in Charleston, but rather scattered, and she was denied any opportunity to form a search party, something she plans to speak about at Arthur Manchester’s public forum.
Meanwhile, Anne arrives for her new duty with the medical clinic, though the on-call physician treats her rather rudely by dumping his pediatric patients off on her while he attends to his heart-surgeon responsibilities. Anne combats him by asserting herself a s a combat medic, earning at least a modicum of respect from the dour doc.
Afterward, Tom and Anne reconvene in the mess hall, though with the food selection somewhat less appetizing, as Jean explains to them that both the hearty meal yesterday and their luxurious sleeping quarters were special treatment not afforded the others. While they observe how oddly calm and care-free everyone seems, the Berserkers case the armory before being confronted by Lt. Clemmons, and a newly re-enlisted Tector. The Berserkers don’t take kindly to the idea of falling in line, while after target practice Weaver tells Hal that he should keep his cool as he’ll likely be leading some of the more inexperienced soldiers. Meanwhile, Maggie pockets one of her old guns.
Later that night, Tom learns that Matt was suspended from school for assaulting a boy trash-talking the 2nd Massachusetts, while Pope and his gang attempt a late-night robbery of the armory. Maggie attempts to stop them, but shortly after the military shows up, and Tector even puts a bullet through one of his former cronies before taking them all into custody, Maggie included. The next morning, Tom pleads with Arthur for at least Maggie’s release, but Arthur brushes it off as a military matter. Tom pleads that they need to continue fighting the Skitters, General Bressler included, but Arthur insists that they should focus on rebuilding the government, including his election later that night.
Hal pays Maggie a visit in lockup, insisting that he’ll get her out, but she’s still giving him the cold shoulder for not having much of an emotional response for her big revelation last week. Meanwhile in the main hall, Jean speaks publicly that Arthur Manchester is wrong for ignoring the outside world, something Tom corroborates when it’s his turn to speak. Admittedly still finding his footing after so long on the road, Tom reads a passage from Arthur’s own book on the revolutionary war, “From Darkness Democracy,” where the professor once wrote on the need to drive the enemy from their lands. Just then, the rally is broken up by a soldier who claims they’ve captured a de-harnessed boy with a message for Tom Mason.
The boy turns out not to be Ben, and doesn’t even know the boy, though he claims to be speaking for the Red-Eye Skitter waiting outside the compound to speak with Tom. Though everyone wants to go through with it, Arthur protests and demand they lock the boy up, hoping the aliens will simply leave them alone. Arthur chides Tom for not mentioning his own son was part of the resistance, and could have in fact led the aliens to them, as much as Tom protests his former professor.
Arthur next tries coaxing Pope into getting some dirt on Tom Mason, plying him with wine and a nice meal, though Pope insists on being the one to bring Tom down himself. Downstairs, Tom and Dai attempt to break Maggie out of lockup, with the help of Tom and Colonel Porter, though they’re quickly stopped by Bressler and his men. Despite Tom’s pleading for Bressler to do the right thing, he has the whole group locked up, including Tector fore respectfully refusing to obey the order to capture them.
Arthur next bemoans Tom not speaking up about the implant in his eye, or Weaver’s infection, wondering if they all might be under alien control. He orders all the 2nd Massachusetts rounded up and isolated from the others, but a short time later winds up placed in a cell himself! Bressler has overthrown the good Professor Manchester, and staged a coup to put all of Charleston under martial law!
It only took eight episodes, but we’ve finally reached Charleston, and the ‘Falling Skies’ season 2 storyline is kicking into high gear. Unfortunately, that only leaves one episode left to deal with the Skitter rebellion, and the war at large, but the change in setting and leadership dynamic continues to work well for the second season of TNT’s Spielberg-produced alien actioner. Not to mention that we always love to see ‘LOST’s Terry O’Quinn turn up in another semi-villainous role.
Did you get you fill of Skittery-y ‘Falling Skies’ action? What did you think about the episode? Join the discussion in the comments, and be sure to check back next week for the all-new episode recap of ‘Falling Skies’ season 2 finale “A More Perfect Union” on TNT!