‘FALLING SKIES’ REVIEW: Season One, Episode Four

Review of “Silent Kill” (01:04)


Falling Skies’ fourth episode finds several differences of opinion among the survivors. Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) disagrees with Capt. Weaver (Will Patton) over the next move for the 2nd Mass. Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood) and Dr. Michael Harris (Steven Weber) disagree over how to deal with the captured skitter. Anne sides with communication and pacification, while the doctor is much harsher.

The show is smartly playing with the theme of reason vs. instinct, or maybe it’s war vs. negotiation. In this way, the series is setting itself up as a cut above the rest, much like Battlestar Galactica. Aliens are all well and good, but there needs to be something of importance to grasp. Falling Skies realizes this boob-tube truth, and it’s only the fourth episode.

One of the big, yet subtle, revelations in “Silent Kill” is when Weaver hears Scott (Bruce Gray) playing a familiar song on the record player. The militant captain almost sheds a tear at the memories that begin to surface. It’s obvious that the man has lost a close family member, perhaps even a child or wife, but his secrets remain locked under key for the time being.

Noah Wyle in "Falling Skies" — Photo courtesy of Ken Woroner / TNT

Surprisingly, the action of the episode comes to a halt when Dr. Harris is fatally attacked by the captured skitter. Weber, a fine television actor, says goodbye to Falling Skies too soon, but his death proves pivotal. With the violence of the aliens now evident to all of the survivors, Anne’s somber approach isn’t going to fly anymore.

Weaver steps in and issues an ultimatum: Anne has 24 hours to gather some type of usable intelligence from the skitter, and then he pulls the plug by pulling the trigger.

On the fighting front, Hal Mason (Drew Roy) develops a new idea to sneak past the aliens and rescue his brother: What if he poses as one of the child slaves with a harness on his back? Weaver likes the idea, but Tom naturally resists any threat that might hurt another one of his sons.

Hal and Weaver win out, and the mission is a go. The icing on the cake is when Anne figures out a way to kill the skitters by striking an area toward the back of their throat. Her test victim is the skitter that killed Dr. Harris. I guess Ms. Peaceful isn’t so peaceful.

After an exciting sequence in the lair of the aliens, Ben is able to lead the zombified children, including Ben, to safety.

For a show that thrives on struggle, difficulty and pain, “Silent Kill” actually offers a few glimmers of hope for the survivors. The episode reveals quite a lot of information …

• The skitters are violent, even on a personal level.

• The skitters are vulnerable.

• The harnessed children have some profound connection to their captors. Call it a form of Stockholm Syndrome.

• The only way to win this war is to think outside the box.

Falling Skies has proved its lasting effect on audience members. The characters and storylines are interesting and worthy of repeat viewing. It’s not perfect, and still hasn’t achieved a genuine feeling of episodic reality. But it’s getting there.

What the television series now needs to focus on is the big and the small.

Big: Maybe it’s time for a change of scenery and a few new characters to emerge.

Small: What makes these survivors tick? Let’s get to know Weaver, Tom and Anne more intimately. I’d rather not suggest the cliché flashback device, but it could work wonders with a show that focuses so heavily on the present.

Whatever the tea leaves hold, we’ll keep watching.

By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com
  • Falling Skies

  • TNT, Sundays at 10 p.m.

  • Created by Robert Rodat

  • Starring Noah Wyle, Moon Bloodgood, Colin Cunningham, Maxim Knight, Steven Weber, Drew Roy, Will Patton and Dale Dye

  • Rating: ★★★½

  • Click here for more information.

John Soltes

John Soltes is an award-winning journalist. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Earth Island Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, New Jersey Monthly and at Time.com, among other publications. E-mail him at john@hollywoodsoapbox.com

One thought on “‘FALLING SKIES’ REVIEW: Season One, Episode Four

  • July 29, 2011 at 6:49 am

    I have to say that I am loving Falling Skies. It continues to get better each week, in my opinion. I have watched up to episode 7 Sanctuary part 2 and the next episode what Lies Beneath looks awesome. You can check the latest trailer out at the Falling Skies Fan Site at http://falling-skies.org


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