Falling Skies: "Compass" (Season 2, Episode 3)


So after last week’s narrow escape, the good old 2nd Mass is holed up in an airport hanger. With a lot of wide open space surrounding one big building, it doesn’t strike me as that great a place to hide. But then this is television, right?

Tom’s son Ben hates Skitters. We mentioned that last week, I believe. He kills a wounded one with his bare hands in the opening montage. It makes a nice squishy sound.

Captain Weaver and Tom are arguing about what to do for the winter. Weaver wants his exhausted force to hole up in the Catskills. Tom wants to keep fighting, because the Skitters don’t respect winter break. And if you’re not trying to kill them, they just write you off as a loser, which is pretty much the same thing the ratings will do if you hole up for a few months in the Catskills. So is there any real doubt how this argument plays out?

Pope still thinks Tom has got alien spy stuff inside him from his time with our new overlords. He and his Berserkers kidnap Tom. They drag him out into the woods and make one offer for Tom’s past service: if he just walks away, never to return, they won’t kill him. But then Ben and Jimmy show up, and anyone who watched the opening montage knows better than to mess with Ben.

To make a long story short, Captain Weaver lowers the boom and decides to make Tom a member of the Berserkers in order to increase dramatic tension. It’s one of those things TV shows just do that no one in the real world would ever even consider. It doesn’t last long, either.

Ben and the other young boy, Jimmy, use their patrol as an opportunity to hunt Skitters. That backfires when they run into the sinister Skitter with one red eye from last week’s episode. It glares at Ben, the harness spikes still embedded in his back glow blue, and he freezes. Jimmy gets thrown up against a tree, where he is unfortunate enough to be impaled. The Ben plot thus thickens.

While Dr.Glass tries to save Jimmy, we get a new plot development. A prop plane lands at the airport and out pops a woman named Avery Churchill. She has a story about a new Continental Congress that has formed in Charleston. They need all the fighters to go there. Weaver is skeptical; perhaps he just likes the Catskills.

Jimmy dies. Weaver digs a grave for him. Ben notices that Jimmy’s compass, a gift from Weaver, is missing. Tom finds Pope wearing it. This journey of our overtly blatant title piece leads to a big fight between Tom and Pope. Pope subsequently leaves. They’ll miss their thug savant and his incredible range of manufacturing skills.

After Jimmy’s funeral, to no one’s surprise, Weaver decides to head for Charleston. More ominously, our red-eyed Skitter pays a visit to Ben at Jimmy’s grave. The harness spike remains glow blue again while Ben is helpless.

All in all, a bit of a step back from last week. As an episode of television, though, it still has a lot more energy than most anything last year. And the Ben subplot looks marginally promising.


Why not? After all, how many present day shows have a Continental Congress in them?