EPISODE REVIEW: Falling Skies: "Grace" (Episode 4)

Flabbergasted

Fourth Episode: “Grace.”

We open with the captured Skitter being transported down the high school halls in a cage. Sort of a big, makeshift chicken coop. It doesn’t like it, which I suppose is normal. We’re not even a space faring civilization, but if you stuck one of us in a chicken coop, we wouldn’t like it, either.

Tonight’s episode is a standard two storyline endeavor. The first involves ongoing efforts to interrogate the captured Skitter. The second involves Tom taking a patrol out to a rural motorcycle shop to try and steal some bikes to increase the resistance’s ability to forage for supplies. Each storyline also has a subplot that will prove consequential. For the interrogation, we have the Skitter’s connection to the child freed from a harness last week. For Tom’s reconnaissance, we have the criminal cook, who is being taken along because he knows where the bike shop is.

The Skitter interrogation starts with the attractive lady doctor showing it pictures and trying to get it to say a word. She also offers it water in a sort of dog dish. The doctor who figured out how to take the harnesses off the kids (we’ll call him Wings doctor since he’s the guy from the old TV show Wings) doesn’t have the patience for that. He rolls in the corpse of another Skitter and starts going all autopsy happy to make an impression. The captured Skitter isn’t amused. Neither is the lady doctor, not after Wings doctor sneers “I’m in charge here, and I’m not going to be second guessed by a pediatrician.” He’s a jerk--what can I say?

Tom’s group does a lot of walking in the woods. Eventually they come across four Skitters, but… Seriously, they find them hanging upside down under a bridge, sleeping like bats. I know last week’s review prompted a discussion of why space-faring aliens would even bother to occupy our world. To sleep like bats under our bridges wasn’t exactly the answer I was hoping for. But at this point I guess I have to hold out hope that they just need their rest for the really mind-blowing reason to come. Anyway, the convict cook wants to kill the Skitters. Tom says no, that will jeopardize their mission by calling attention to it.

The kid who had his harness taken off finally wakes up. He doesn’t recognize his father, who is annoyed about that. He goes to demand answers from the captured Skitter, threatening it in various ways. At the same time, Tom’s youngest son has been helping another guy build a crude radio. They start hearing static, which, by the magic of intercutting scenes, we realize coincides with the Skitter getting upset. They have transmitters in their heads. Or their bodies. Of to be honest, for all I know it’s got of those tiny James Bond transmitters from Skitter Q Branch.

Tom’s group finds the motorcycle store. They do various human interests things while gassing up motorcycles. The criminal cook is sent in the back with one guy to look for anything salvageable. Naturally, he beans his guard in the back of the head and takes off on a motorcycle. He does so to go back to the bridge and set the four skitters there on fire. That’s going to prove a problem for Tom.

Back at high school, they start dissecting the dead Skitter’s head looking for a radio. Or the Q branch gadget. Meanwhile, our live prisoner Skitter synchs up with the recently deharnessed kid and gets him to put the harness back on. Wings doctor doesn’t find a transmitter and starts berating everybody for being such losers. Did I mention he’s a jerk? About that time, the crude radio static starts up again. Wings doctor laughs at everyone all the more. The lady doctor and the kid’s father, though, suddenly look at each other and race off. They find the kid about to free the captured Skitter. It actually talks through the boy, just doesn’t say anything meaningful or useful before they rip the harness off again. But what’s even more important, Wings doctor has now been officially one-upped by the pediatrician. I doubt that will improve his mood.

Kids in harnesses with machine guns surround the motorcycle store. Tom refuses to gun them down even when they start shooting. The kid’s are a bit creepy, and maybe there’s a germ of an interesting idea if one Skitter is acting through all of them. Tom creates a diversion and everyone rides off, but not before the controlling Skitter sneaks into the store. That seems kind of dumb. The germ of an idea diminishes as it gets shot repeatedly while shaking its legs at them: “And I’d have succeeded if it wasn’t for you darn resistance fighters!” Yeah, right, go sleep it off under a bridge, okay?

So everyone’s back in high school having the last meal left behind by the convict cook. It gets kind of silly when each person around the table says what they are personally thankful for in our bombed out world. Yet I am mildly touched when that round robin collapses into a simple saying of grace.

In sum, this is still a professionally done show that is watchable. It’s also still not sending off any vibes that it will ever be more than that. It could, however, still be if they have an actual imaginative idea behind the Skitters.

WILL CONSERVATIVES LIKE THIS EPISODE?

I don’t know many conservatives who fantasize about sleeping under bridges, so it’s hard to say. Some liberal babble, not much freedom talk, but aliens do get blown up and shot. Call it a draw. Nothing to specifically psych conservatives up, but no overt turnoffs.

Tags: