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Falling Skies: Kids Incorporated

Falling Skies S02E04: "Young Bloods"

One episode of Falling Skies' first season I liked a lot more than most people was "Sanctuary, Part 2," because it put a lot of focus on the kids. Remember, as is the case with every Steven Spielberg project, Falling Skies is really about the tykes, rugrats, and childrens because they're a direct line into themes of family. "Young Bloods" reminded us of that by not only giving Hal, Ben, Matty, and Lourdes (not Jimmy though, he's dead) plenty of story, but also adding a group of survivor kids to the mix.

And once I got over the ridiculousness of a band of children holing up in a warehouse during an alien invasion, a pretty decent episode of Falling Skies rose to the top. No one explained how the kids got there or why they said, "Adults get us killed," so I'll just assume they were all on a field trip when the aliens invaded or their local Chuck E. Cheese had a secret bomb shelter that kept them safe while their parents were plucked out of safety by aliens like in one of those claw games at the arcade. And we'll pretend that Hal and Ben's 2-on-15 assault on the Neverland kids wasn't as easy as it was.

The proliferation of kids to the series was a catalyst for bringing back themes of family, and there was a family theme for everyone! Weaver reunited with his daughter Jeanie, Tom had to deal with Matt's newfound bloodlust, and Lourdes received some bad news about her hometown. It wasn't anything groundbreaking and it was clumsy/sappy at times ("Miss you too, Papa Bear" *yak*), but it laid groundwork for a some character development by opening some old wounds and holding the scalpel pretty close to others.

But really, "Young Bloods" was anchored by three remarkable scenes. The opening sequence was a great example of how Falling Skies can sometimes leave its usually spotty writing behind and surrender to its technical gurus. Matty scootering through urban wastelands while being stalked by Skitters was very well done and suspenseful, and the BOOM headshots on the two Skitters (sniper rifle, close range) rank as number one and number two on the list of all-time Skitter deaths, passing Pope's gasoline grenade on the upside-down hanging Skitters from Season 1. And how great was Matt covered in alien guts saying "That. Was. AWESOME"? At first, I'm sure many of us thought Matt was pulling a Carl from The Walking Dead by wandering around by himself, but the later explanation that he was part of a mission sufficed, even if it was also a dumb idea.

The best scene of the episode, and one of the best scenes of the series so far, took place inside Harnesses R Us, the newly erected Skitter harness assembly line. If you didn't find that legitimately (and delightfully) terrifying, then you are a braver person than I. What can I say? I'm a sucker for watching kids suffer, and the one who got a new alien backpack gave a pretty convincing performance. The direction was pretty incredible. What happened to that harnessed kid, anyway? Did they save him? Does Falling Skies care? The show took advantage of lighting to provide some pretty great effects with the Skitter spine slugs, and seeing the whole process in detail is something that was long overdue. Ben breaking the slug tank was pretty great, and I probably would have done the same thing too. Extra points for copious amounts of foam and goo.

And you know what? I'm a huge fan of end of episode montages, even though they're cornier than a field in Iowa. Kudos to writer Heather V. Regnier for tying everything together through family and forgiveness at the end. Going through an alien invasion sucks, and traditional family structures have been blown up just like the Washington Monument and Big Ben. Now is the time for survivors to find new families or hang on to their old ones, and we saw a few instances of that at the end.

For some it was easy. Lourdes and Jamil connected in the wake of Lourdes learning her family was a pile of dust, and Jamil's sincere encouragement to her made me forget how much I disapproved of their relationship before (he's 31, she's 21 in real life). You win, Jamil! For others it was hard being on the losing end. Captain Weaver woke up to a note from Jeanie saying she wasn't sticking around, and his tears, manly "I lost my family AGAIN!" tears, put a lump in my throat. Totally feel for you, Weavy. Matt, however, is lucky enough to have a father who cares for him and he finally realized that after Tom peeled a worm off his back. I don't normally approve of grown men sleeping under the same blanket as a child, but it was sweet when Matt crawled under the covers with his dad.

Once again, the most interesting case was Ben. During the montage of connecting and disconnecting, there was one curious shot of Ben alone, completely family-less because he's stuck between two families. He's pushing the Masons away (and the rest of 2nd Mass) while remaining unable to deny some weird lingering draw to the aliens. His is by far the most interesting story in Season 2. Now it's time for the writers to push it forward.

"Young Bloods" was more of a standalone episode than one that tied into a season-long plot, but it did something that Falling Skies has had a really hard time doing since its beginning, and that's making me feel something for the characters. Plus those Skitters' heads exploded like a Locusts' when I train my sniper rifle on 'em in Gears of War. More caring and more headshots, and you'll be fine, Falling Skies.



Survival Notes

– Margaret dual-wielding pistols made my pants tight. You will be mine, Margaret. Oh yes, you will. And stop the elementary school flirting with Hal. Are you going to put a spider in his hair next?

– Still waiting for Anne to be something more than a place where Tom stores his spit. Will it happen this season?

– What did everyone think of that guy's freestyling rap skills? He really took a page out of every white guy's attempt at rapping. Eminem and that guy from 3rd Bass excluded, obviously.

– Can someone explain the choice of music during the montage at the end? Spanish Finger-Picking Guitar Sonata No. 5?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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Watched it again now and suddenly thought of looking it up here...
Somehow I can't grasp the whole idea of a bunch of kids sitting out the invasion in hiding alone...
First they get "overpowered" by two guys hardly older than their "leader"...
Then almost all of them get snatched away by the skitters.
The "leader" rushes in without any thought at all with a few kids including one that isn't even "one of his" with the result of being taken and almost harnessed (some even are) to be rescued by the 2nd mass...and what do they learn? NOTHING...yeah, let's do that again!
What a mess...Diego might like to be a leader but he obviously doesn't have any skills to be one...the only one is that he is the oldest...at least when leaving the 2nd mass...

arrrrrgh!!!

And I normally like that show... :(
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I miss Jimmy.



Anyways, one of my favorite parts of this episode was when the newish character Tector (played by Ryan Robbins) came to Tom and offered his help in order to make amends for placing Matt in danger. At least he respects the chain of command, unlike his buddy from the opening scene. I hope in the absence of Colin Cunningham Ryan Robbins gets a larger role in the show, he's great.
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Lourdes looks younger than 21 and Jamil looks older than 31!
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Who's the Skitters carpenter for those spa boards? Seriously that factory was way too human they way it was run plus the sentries conveniently all left for poker night or what? really dumb script writing yet again.
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Staff
Very good episode. I'll keep watching....(for now)...... ::Skitters::
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Falling Skies is one of the most uneven shows I've ever watched. The 2nd and 3rd episodes were great, but the 1st and 4th were bad (I'd even consider them terrible).
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Ugh, I actually quite disliked this episode. The main reason might be that everything was totally predictable... I saw every plot advancement happen 5 minutes or so before it did. I may watch a lot of TV shows, but I'm not very smart... it shouldn't be so easy for me to predict this stuff.



It was totally obvious to me that the kid from The Killing would die or get harnessed... and as was mentioned in this article, I was left wondering what exactly they did with him at the harnessing room.



The last montage with music thing made me want to stop watching this show. Falling Skies shows flashes every now and then of possibly being a damn good show, but then they have a lot of scenes and full episodes that take it back down to Terra Nova territory.



Lazy writing. Yuck. Seriously, if this was on during the fall-spring season and not the summer, I'd probably have given up on this show.
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m&m, great nick!
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Well, as I mentioned last week, the Sci-Fi part is just the backdrop the main story is about the people and maybe I was wrong to expect something like "Star Trek", "Battlestar Galactica" or even "Stargate SG-1". In that matter, seeing the show for what it is, I believe this episode was intense and the strongest so far.



Tho I'm not usually much into that kind of show it has a way to keep a certain interest.



P.S. At the beginning of the episode I was sure that they were pulling another "he's dreaming" on us but it ended up as a pretty good scene.
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The ending song is called "Clair de Lune" by Debussey, from around the turn of the century (1800's to 1900's; THAT turn of the century). Often noted for its wistful, melancholy, often regretful (but with a touch of hope and a smile for good old memories) tone.



I read the scene with Weaver and his daughter differently. I don't think he was asleep -- I think he gave his daughter an opportunity to leave without having to make it difficult. Remember Anne had only given him penicillin, not a pain killer. They went through the trouble of noting that specifically, and I think this is why: so we viewers know Weaver's meds aren't kicking in like he said they were, but his daughter doesn't know.



His tears, then, are because he knew what would happen, and he knows that, even though here at the end of the world his daughter *still* doesn't need him in her life, it's really his fault for ditching his family in the first place rather than control his anger issues. That sadness is somewhat mitigated by the fact that they love each other as much as two distant, "broken" people can, and that she's like him -- a leader who will go back to lead her people.



At first I was angry about her decision. I mean, Diego just about got everyone killed with his hot-headedness. But perhaps she's going back, not only because she loves Diego, but because she knows those kids need her now more than ever?



I don't know. There's a lot of emotional resonance to unpack from that last scene.
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As good and as plausible as that sounds, the fact that they also showed Weaver barely being able to open his eyes and kind of fumbling his way to picking up the note made it seem like he kind of was asleep. His face also showed a second of surprise when he read that she was leaving. Maybe he did so subconsciously, but overall, I take it that he really was falling asleep but the guitar kinda woke him up.
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I don't think he was asleep either.
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this week's "Falling Skies" TRIVIA :



Did you know that ...



... you are a true sniper when you are able to hit a target's head on 20 ft ?



... the tag line " Trouble in paradise?" has a death toll of 2,00000000 est. ?



... skitters preferably use metric screws and screw-nuts to fixate their captives ?
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If an episode can bring me to tears, I have to give it a thumbs up. Well done Falling Skies.
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I know, I wept for everyone involved with the show as well, but at least it's a paycheck.
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I really enjoyed this episode, consider my faith restored.
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I would like this show so much more to go in the direction of where the aliens are getting attacked by the 2nd Mass and start to see them seriously as a thread. It would be great if the 2nd Mass finds a soft spot in those robot things and then start taking them out in a way that the aliens are getting worried that they might not have enough of them.

Sure, some characterization is nice, it doesn't have to be all action and no drama all the time, but right now they are going down the road of being boring.

That part of where the kids almost get harnessed is the most exciting part so far (and I'm counting season 1 too).



The writers should take a good look at the stargate series. There was action, comedy, discoveries and drama, but, most important, every few episodes they let the humans win a battle against the mind controlling aliens. That series lasted 10 seasons, so they did something right.



I don't see Falling Skies making it that far.
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OH yes i almost forgot. Matt on the first pic totally does the ^_^ eyes.
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That thing with the chick dual wielding the guns was probably the most corny part, but hey :D



I still don't see what you have against the 31yo guy dating the 21yo, pretty common for guys to date girls that are a good deal younger than them.



And yes there needs to be more kid death/torture/roughhandling by the aliens, to not make the show fall into PG/PC territory. So glad they killed off Jimmy, worst child actor ever.
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See this is why kids shouldn't go off by themselves.
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What a terrible episode...just full of holes and illogical situations...This show is just so badly written, people don't act in their best interest, just in the way that is necessary to further the plot. Making it up as you go along only works if you're more gifted at writing than these writers.
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I (almost) never like kids in movies/series. Usually it means nothing terrible will happen anyway and they lived happily ever after (the Disney/Hollywood factor). A few exceptions here and there of course.



I still don't know what to think of this aspect in Falling Skies though. On the one hand I think it is still holding back this series, because tbh if an alien invasion is anything less than utterly brutal it's not a real alien invasion...(f.e. why was there no security at the harnessing station? because the kids had to be saved?).



On the other hand Jimmy died last week (yaay!), and they do touch the aspect of kids having to grow up really fast to deal with the new world they live in. And the opening scene of this episode was great (loved the cat as well), so they certainly show that it's not entirely a Disney story when it comes to the kids.



But perhaps this is just more a problem with the whole alien invasion theme. If aliens invade, by default it means that they are faaaaaaar superiour to us, but that would mean we would be wiped out instantly and I agree that doesn't make a good script. ^^



I'm still not entirely convinced by this series because there are certainly some gaps here and there and if you want to take an alien invasion serious that's a real mood killer, atleast for me. But I will certainly keep watching as there is a real lack of good sci-fi series atm and this one is not bad, could be better, but not bad.
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The alien invasion is just a back story that is why many of us were deceived.

All series about that subject have never lived long anyway. This will probably be the last one.
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The smiling cat picture is hilarious. One thing that stands out about this episode more than anything was the harnessing scene. Whoever that kid was that got harnessed really sold that scene. The idea of being pinned down with an alien slug attaching itself to your spine really creeps me out, and watching it happen to a kid seemed oddly realistic on a show where very little seems realistic.
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I can see the kids hanging out by themselves. The kids just want to survive and "live a little"



Apparently all of the adults they run into are about fighting back. So in that case, adults DO get them killed.



I mean, in a show like this you can't really just ignore the kids. They're there with the group trying to survive. And if you thought they were pains in but *** at a movie theater... imagine how annoying they are now that you're trying to survive in post-invasion.
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I've watched this show from the start and have no idea who Margaret is. Its not good when you can barely remember the character's names.
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I just call her "Hal's blonde chick".
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Margaret is the blonde on the last photo holding two guns, they sometimes call her Maggie.
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Ugh. And just when you thought the family friendly kiddie stuff was over then they do something like this. Why, why would they do something like this. Why, why would they make us try to believe that what transpired could actually happen. Now I can buy the whole alien apocalypse and everything. But where i draw the line is a military man father who just finds his daughter that he thought was dead, would ever in his ever loving life allow some guy trot off with her to an alien stronghold to rescue some kids. I grew up in a military family and Dora's brother Diego would have had a .223 in the back of his head and Jeanie would have been on lock down. So what transpired with them is a little beyond ridiculous.



Now the rest of the episode was blah. Matt being skitter bait was dumb. It wasn't dumb that they did it. It was dumb that they would think we would buy that he was in danger of getting captured by skitters. And then they did the same exact thing when they let him go off with Diego to the alien stronghold and almost get an alien backpack (see what I did there). I am starting to think that Hal is the smartest of Tom's kids if only because he kind of listens to Tom. I am not sure about Tom's wife though, the way his kids act she must have been a relative to Lori from The Walking Dead.



Now the whole reveal of Ben's glowing spikes to Hal that is going to be Hal's undoing. And really it had to be said by Ben that no one trusts him because to the viewer everyone trusted him except for Pope. This whole build up to what looks to be the big Ben being an alien traitor at a key moment seem a little expected at this time. I wonder if this is too obvious and they are trying to pull a switcheroo on us. But it is tiresome. As was the super hearing.



And lastly, who in the alien controlled world would let all of those kids go off by themselves. Kids and the apocalypse don't go well. I envision some Alien apocalypse type of Children of the Corn kind of thing.



Overall it was a mediocre episode. I thought and was kind of glad they were going away from the kid friendly, family fun kind of episode so they wouldn't go down the road that Terra Nova did. But it seems they are still trying to walk that fine line. But hey at least Jimmy is still dead.
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The song was Debussy's Clair De Lune, and I actually liked the guitar version. Only ever heard it played on piano.
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The smiley kid and and smiley cat in the first picture are perfect!
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At least there was a good part with all those kids: when they left at the end.
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In connecting with these characters for the first time, you helped me realize something, Tim. I didn't. I actually don't care about any of these people. I don't sympathize, empathize or any other kind of "-ize" with them. I have never FELT their plight - with the aliens, with all of the death and destruction around them (of which they've show far too little), with the loss of family and friends, with the struggle to survive, etc. It's all been too glossy, too neat. So even when they FINALLY give us a lot of what we want, I'm just going through the motions of watching a show, waiting for something or someone to make me FEEL anything. The only person I came even close to responding to this week was Tector (awesomely played by Ryan Robbins of Sanctuary).



Mostly while I was watching, I was thinking how it's like they read the articles and comments for previous shows on this site before writing this episode. Awesome skitter deaths - check. Show how kids get harnessed - check. More Margaret and Lordes - check. Talk about / show struggle to survive - check. Tim's musical montage to end the show - check. The only thing I don't recall someone ever saying is "Gosh, you know what this show needs? More kids.... like Terra Nova." That one must've come directly from Spielberg himself (or WWSD).



All in all, it was a better (if not pandering) episode that was still held back by some writing inconsistencies.



Margaret? Awesome. One of the best things about this show.



Anne? Nothing to do but make out with Tom, except when people are hurt.



The beat-boxing was pretty good, the rapping was okay.



Every rag-tag group of alien apocalypse survivors needs a Spanish guitar player, especially ones from Massachusetts.
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If someone had kept my daughter alive during an alien invasion, I'd hug and thank him for keeping my daughter alive! And why was she strapped to the table to receive a spine-bug? I'm not sure what the cut-off age is, but she's pretty grown up IMO.
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Hard to understand, why a bunch of kids would rather be alone, than with 170 others.
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That goes with the mentality the show is deploying:

Disobey your parents (adults) and you'll be treated as a "hero", and, "adults get us killed"...



We're going to see a lot more of those messages in the series.
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I'm actually not going to read the article this time before I watch the show -- a statement that, to me, means it is becoming more interesting.
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I understand the character development but I didn't find anything new out this episode that I didn't know last week (except for the fact that the general's daughter is alive...). I think they spend just too much time with the character development instead of killing aliens. I completely agree with you on Ben! That kid is a prick! Pisses me off beyond belief.
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I thought it was a very good episode. The character development was great and they told the story well. I just wish they will get an all ben episode where we can finally some movement there. All his acting weird is reminding me of that annoying kid in Touch.
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Wow this show gets more dramatic and pointless by the minute. So much secrecy and irrelevant storytelling that has nothing to do with the main plot. Horrible. Who writes this shit...?
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