Falling Skies – Prisoner of War

The episode begins with harnessed kids learning the importance of recycling. I mean slave labor. Professor and his team are watching from the roof across the street and we get two separate sections of dialog about the fact that the kids are gathering scrap metal.

Now, I’ve heard of the rule of three: say a thing three times otherwise people will miss it, but seriously? I do have eyes. And a brain.

Token black boy who wasn’t killed in the last episode says they should go now: tired as they are, low on ammo and supplies.

Wait, what? You came out here specifically looking for the harnessed kids. Why are you low on ammo and supplies? You should be fully stocked and loaded. Or did you purposefully under prepare just so you could use that underdog metaphor. Whoops… too late: blonde girl leaned on the roof and made a shingle fall.

THAT wasn’t predictable AT ALL.

Ugh. So they run back to the school where they are immediately mobbed by people with photographs of their children. Tall black guy tells the mob to back off and random lady says “We have a right to ask” like she’s the effing paparazzi and she just remembered that Professor used to play something on TV. Tall black man says yes, you do have a right to ask and “you all have kids missing.”

“And you,” Professor says.

“Yeah, my boy Rick,” tall black man says as if he only just now was handed a note by the writer that says “Hey, you have a kid” and he’s trying to remember the name. “Rick,” he says. “Rick. Ricky Rick. Rick Rick Rick. Okay, I think I got it. Hmm… maybe I should write this down.”

So Doctor-who-is-only-a-pediatrician-remember declares that they should all post the photos to the bulletin board and the team will check it periodically. “Height, weight, last place you saw them and anything you think will help us identify them.” Umm. You know, because the team is only going to rescue kids if they’re documented. It’s not like you’re in a fight for all of humanity and will grab any two-legged non metal thing in sight or anything.

Also, why did we just waste 16 hours of my life so that the show could painfully explain something that should’ve taken 2 seconds. The board of photographs is the FIRST thing that would’ve been established in this school. You know why? Because BSG and 28 Days Later and 18 thousand other tv shows and movies have established that in a disaster, people do giant crafts projects of missing persons. You were not the first person to have this idea, so stop trying to do the terribly dull origin story.

So anyway, Doctor-who-is-only-a-pediatrician reveals that the old white haired general is back with news! Blah blah blah, more resistance fighters and alien structures. They need intelligence on the enemy. Because everyone has been completely ignoring the enemy entirely up until this point. It’s not the fact that the aliens don’t speak English or give lists of demands or anything reasonable which has kept us from figuring out anything useful.

There’s also a surgeon! Who has a theory on removing the harnesses! Old white hair is now giving formal permission to get a kid for a medical experiment. There’s some BS about hope and retirement and spy novels. We also get gratuitous shots of children followed by a conversation with everyone’s favorite moper who mopes about the fact that Ben isn’t back yet. Mopey has also learned that when you take the harnesses off, the kids die so Professor gets to REPEAT that we have a doctor who might be able to remove the harnesses safely.

Fortunately Pope comes to the rescue us in the next scene: he’s being held prisoner and is fed food he doesn’t like. Apparently Pope used to be a cook in a prison and insults the use of paprika. We then get ANOTHER scene re-establishing Pope’s credentials as a chef.

If this show only said things once, instead of repeating them in rat-a-tat fashion it would be 10 minutes long.

Also, point of order: Pope makes a big deal about how if he didn’t make good food in prison, big men would rape him or something and so that means he must be talented. I’ve eaten prison food. It ain’t that good.

Blah blah blah… turns out the Professor knows the new doctor and he’s not happy. I’ll spoil things for you right now: Doctor was with Professor’s wife and then abandoned her when the skitters showed up so Wife died and doctor lived but doctor thinks this is okay or ironic or something because doctor can save the life of Professor’s son oh and also it was Professor’s turn to go out and hunt for supplies so really doctor thinks Professor is just feeling guilty.

So Professor and Tall black man head out to the place where the harnessed kids are to rescue Ben. Ben’s not there but Rick is! Tall black man is so happy that he remembered his son’s name that he screams it out at great volume despite the fact that there are ALIENS EVERYWHERE. So everything happens as expected: the plan goes to hell, they manage to get Rick but in the completely predictable explosions and gunfight, Hal and Blonde girlfriend are left behind. Professor is knocked unconscious and wakes up in an abandoned building. Why? Because… umm. Spark plugs stolen by nuns? He also only has one gun now because the rest had to be left with the truck? And the nuns? To defend against the Nazis and let Maria and her 8 children sing in the mountains?

This show apparently thinks that information that is obvious should be repeated 18 times. Information that is necessary to remotely explain what is going on, should be completely deleted and left to the imagination.

So Professor heads down a tunnel and is randomly attacked by a skitter. After blowing off two of the arms, the skitter… falls down?

Anyway, Professor drags the skitter back to the school–arriving just after his team and the harnessed Rick despite the fact that they had a truck and Professor is dragging a skitter. Yeah.

Professor trades his shotgun for an automatic and heads back out to rescue his son. Sons. People. Who are not with him.

Meanwhile, Hal and blonde girlfriend are unconscious on the ground and blonde girlfriend is dragged off scene by Ben and another harnessed kid.

Yeah, these aliens harness every kid they find so the fact that two fighters were simply knocked unconscious and left there for several hours is TOTALLY plausible.

A few more harnessed kids are trotted out and then a skitter points at Hal, then the kids, and the kids are mowed down by gunfire.

Apparently the message is “Take one of our laborers and we will KILL 6 OF OUR LABORERS!”

Again, Logic reigns supreme.

So back at the school, Surgeon gives a brief history of the development of the harness removal and then takes it off with… wait for it… because this is a totally top secret and revolutionary medical procedure and your mind will be completely rattled by the advancement of our collective technological advances:

a blow torch.

The “secret” is that they need to give the kids morphine first because they’ve been getting it from the harness and go immediately into withdrawal. Call me silly, but if you’re going to make a Big Deal about a procedure, it should look more… medical. I actually prefer the secret as it is: cut the needles rather than pull because that’s less traumatic. Give them drugs because again, trauma. But emphasize that this is something so basic a Geico insurance actor could do it. No, not the caveman. The gecko.

Doctor continues to lecture on the harness, how it has nano technology that sends out roots and Pediatrician is SHOCKED AND AMAZED THAT THIS IS POSSIBLE despite the fact that the harness attaches itself to the child with needles that enter the spine, control the actions of the wearers and arrived with GIANT FLYING SHIPS WITH ALIENS.

Oh, check your watches! 30 minutes into the show Professor gives us a history lesson on Nazis and Allied prisoners of war to explain to Hal (they ran into each other in the parking lot or something) why the kids were murdered earlier. Professor’s go-to explanation for everything is ‘psychological advantage.‘ I would suggest turning it into a drinking game, but I am concerned for your livers.

Pope cooks something edible, Professor has a heart to heart with both doctors and gray hair declares that someone with a background in physiology and anatomy should study the alien.

Because a 6 legged alien is totally the same as a cadaver in a med class.

Professor and Surgeon has a fight over the bit of information I told you earlier. Basically surgeon saved his own ass because he thought his medical skills would be more important to the community which, lets be honest, IS COMPLETELY RATIONAL. Assholish, yes. But rational. But this show spits on rationality like it were the railing of the Empire State Building. Or something else people spit on, or from.

In the last scene: Professor puts a photo of Ben on the board. Why? Because Professor is clearly concerned that NO ONE KNOWS OF BEN’S EXISTENCE AND CAPTURE BY THE ALIENS SO HE MUST LET HIS TEAM KNOW THAT HE IS MISSING.

Oh wait, last last scene: Little Ricky opens his eyes at the same time as the alien. Because they are linked. Like that wasn’t obvious from the mind control.

Sigh. Stay tuned for the next episode in which I learn something from history! And then drink.

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2 thoughts on “Falling Skies – Prisoner of War

  1. Marvelous recap of pure pap. I recited most of the critique contained in this post, almost verbatim, as the dreck unfolded on our screen. I tend toward running commentary (as a sign, I suppose, that despite the fact that it’s only television, I prefer to leave my brain engaged while watching) and did so during this particular episode; continued, that is, until My Beloved Sandra screamed, “Will you PLEASE shut the hell up!” I shut up and left the room.

    Great writing.

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