‘Falling Skies’ Review: ‘Shall We Gather At the River’ Season Premiere Part Two

Falling Skies part one, “Worlds Apart,” was explosive, as to be expected. But part two, “Shall We Gather At The River,” was even more heart-pounding as creepy moments were seamlessly intertwined with the developing story of what happened to Tom (Noah Wyle) when he was on the alien ship.

Tom doesn’t trust himself, thinking the aliens did something to him psychologically. Paranoid he’s going to hurt the people he loves, he asks Hal (Drew Roy) to stop him — by doing whatever means necessary — even if it means killing him.

Moon Bloodgood [Falling Skies]Second Mass has other more pressing and immediate concerns though, namely that the aliens are moving in from the north and east, pinning the rebellion at the river where there are no bridges to cross.

While they decide to fix one bridge that has just a small gap after a turf war with an alien ship, they realize they need to be prepared to face whatever is across the river. And they decide to trust Ben (Connor Jessup), who can swim across the river undetected, to check out the other side.

But can they really trust Ben? He’s clearly not letting on to the fact that he’s still hearing things, and Hal just seems to ignore Ben’s crazy amount of strength.

Even so, Ben comes back with some important intel: there’s the downed ship in the forest, and following the path of where the ship had been heading, he finds a docking point for ships. It’s also an antenna.

A new plan forms, and it’s naturally not going to go exactly as planned. Some of the boys, along with Maggie (Sarah Carter), will head across the river on a raft to take down the antenna. Meanwhile, Second Mass will cross the fixed bridge, and then once Pope (Colin Cunningham) and his band of degenerates push back the Skidders and cross too, they’ll blow the bridge.

So what goes wrong? Well before all this, Tom freaks out and Anne (Moon Bloodgood) finds one of the most creepiest things yet: a worm in Tom’s eye. In a moment that’s incredibly hard to watch, Anne pulls the worm out of a thrashing Tom.

All of this reconfirms to Tom that he can’t trust himself, because who knows what the aliens did to him. He gets tied to a pole, where his young son Matt (Maxim Knight) ignores him, because he’s scared. But that all changes when almost everyone is across the river, except the medical truck which gets stuck. The aliens are approaching, and Tom knows he can help.

With a lot of encouragement, he gets Matt to cut his bindings, and goes to fight. Matt even helps, yet again, by shooting an alien or two dead, after learning how to shot from Ben in Falling Skies “Worlds Apart.”

Everyone is now across the river on “Shall We Gather At The River”… except Tom. The aliens are on his heels, and no one is willing to blow the bridge yet, except Pope. The brides goes kaboom, the aliens die, and everyone assumes Tom is gone too.

But of course he’s not, because he’s always going to live. Of course this lessens the dramatics. The forced scenes of normalcy throughout the episode — like Lourdes (Seychelle Gabriel) and Jamil (Brandon Jay McLaren) flirting — don’t help much too. But so far all that can be overlooked.

The end of the season premiere offered a lot of promise, not the least of which was the parasite worm escaping from the glass container and crawling into the eye of an alien. That, in fact, might have been the most interesting part of the whole premiere, because who knows what it means quite yet.

What did you think of the Falling Skies season two premiere?

© 2012 Elizabeth SanFilippo at Gather.com

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