Noah Wyle at the 39th Saturns Awards | ©2013 Sue Schneider

Noah Wyle at the 39th Saturns Awards | ©2013 Sue Schneider

Stars:  Noah Wylie, Moon Bloodgood, Drew Roy, Jessy Schram, Maxim Knight, Connor Jessup, Will Patton, Colin Cunningham, Sarah Sanguin Carter, Seychelle Gabriel, Mpho Koaho, Gloria Reuben, Robert Sean Leonard
Writer:
David Weddle, Bradley Thompson, and John Wirth
Director
: Adam Kane
Network:
TNT, airs Sunday Nights
Original Telecast
: July 7, 2013

The first five minutes of “Be Silent and Come Out” have a lot going for them.  This latest episode of FALLING SKIES boasts an intense, frenetic opening sequence that begins with Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) arguing with his fellow Charlestonians about how best to search for his wife and child, who’ve been abducted by their alien oppressors the Espheni, and not leave their city defenseless in the process.   It ends with Tom’s son Hal (Drew Roy) popping up in the middle of an equally heated argument between Tom and his vice president Marina Peralta (Gloria Reuben) over the true intentions of their erstwhile alien allies the Volm, and then pistol-whipping her and taking him hostage.  Those unexpected, fast-paced shifts grab your attention quickly.  But once all the craziness has subsided the episode gradually loses steam when we realize that the rest of it will involve characters trying to talk Hal out of the alien mind control that’s making him do this, intervention-style, and then we’re going to watch Drew Roy pretend to wrestle for control of his own body like he’s Ash in EVIL DEAD 2, (only played for deadly seriousness rather than slapstick humor), and that’s going to feel like the fairly stale Sci-Fi trope it is.

Apparently FALLING SKIES’ creators had had enough of the “Hal’s possessed” storyline and they decided to wrap it up this week.  I’m okay with that, and hope they institute a moratorium on “human-possessed-by-alien” arcs for a while, because it’s not exactly fresh anymore.  But it did work better than the other major storyline in “Be Silent and Come Out.”  As the hostage standoff involving Hal and his father grinds on, with Hal holed up in an abandoned building and surrounded by armed, restless troops, a resentful Pope (Colin Cunningham) goes to Charleston’s post-apocalyptic watering hole and takes bets from his band of “Berserkers” on which, if either, Mason will survive the encounter.

On one hand, I get that Pope is bristling with jealousy and resentment over the golden-boy Mason clan getting to run the post-alien-invasion world, and how someone in his position would be justified in thinking that this has a lot more to do with the Masons’ good looks and good breeding rather than their otherwise spotty record of decision making.  (It probably doesn’t help now that the oldest son is behaving like a traitor, and no one assumes that anything other than alien mind control could be the culprit).  Yes, this would be annoying.  On the other hand, Pope’s been playing this same resentment note since his character was introduced in Season 1, and his shtick is wearing thin at this point.  In the previous episode, when Pope saved Tom’s life in the woods after the two had been tearing into each other emotionally and physically since the start of that ordeal, we might have assumed that this act of decency signaled the dawn of some sort of transformation in Pope’s character.  But apparently he’s just going to double down on the whining about how the Masons always get their way now, which is not encouraging.

There is a nice moment when Col. Weaver (Will Patton) ventures into the bar, sees what Pope’s up to with the bookmaking, and we see that Pope’s instant reaction is conspicuous shame.  Hopefully he’s just hitting bottom in this episode and this presages some future change in his character.  And I really don’t care what it is at this point.  Make him better, make him worse – I just want him to stop with the whining!

Besides all this, probably the brightest spot in Season 3 so far has been the introduction of the character of Marina as Tom’s Vice President, and the intensity that Gloria Reuben brings to this role.  So I’m appreciative that “Be Silent and Come Out” ends with the Mason clan riding off on horseback to save Anne (Moon Bloodgood) and her baby Alexis by themselves, while Marina is being sworn in as the new President.  I find the Masons about as tedious as Pope does most of the time, and I’m comforted by the thought that, if something were to happen to those guys, and they never actually made it back to Charleston, a reboot of this show based around a new President would probably work a lot better than the show they have now.  (ER fans probably wouldn’t take it too hard, anyway).   It certainly won’t happen though, so I can only hope that future Mason-heavy episodes of FALLING SKIES show enough improvement to make me reconsider this opinion.

Related: TV Review: FALLING SKIES – Season 3 – “Search and Recover”

Related: TV Review: FALLING SKIES – Season 3 – “At All Costs”

Related: TV Review: FALLING SKIES – Season 3 – “Badlands”

Related: TV Review: FALLING SKIES – Season 3 premiere – “On Thin Ice” / “Collateral Damage”

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Article: TV Review: FALLING SKIES – Season 3 – “Be Silent and Come Out”

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