Be Silent And Come Out: The Magic’s Back?
Hey folks! Beth returns to us yet again, a seemingly redeemed Falling Skies fan, to give us her take on the latest episode of our beloved show!
Before I get into the review, let me say that I realize that my last article was sadly lacking in Ben props. Greg published it anyway, knowing I’m a rabid Ben fan and would eventually get back to my roots. This article will have Ben not just because he was instrumental in the outcome but also because two Benless articles in a row will probably get me IP banned from this site.
Wow. Let me start by saying that I consider “Be Silent And Come Out” to be the best-acted episode to date. Everyone’s performance blew me away to the point that I’m still trying to process it and I think that’s because everyone was finally given something of substance to do. Sure, there have been moments in a lot of episodes for an actor to shine, but this episode gave them all a chance and all of them rose to the occasion.
I know I’m in danger of belaboring a point here, but this episode worked so well because it was devoid of the things that have wrecked Falling Skies in the past: soap opera romance and Anne, who has so far in 3 seasons been good for nothing but furthering soap opera romance. Falling Skies has some of the most talented and underrated actors in the business, but there’s very little even a great actor can do with a substandard, cliché script and unfortunately that’s what they’ve been getting since mid-season 2.
“Be Silent And Come Out” was the perfect mixture of action and character dynamics that added up to a well-balanced episode because it really got us back to the first season where Tom was focused on his sons first and leadership/Dr. Chewtoy last. Seasons 2 and 3 led Tom so far astray from what his character was– a solid, loving father to Hal, Ben, and Matt and the cornerstone of the Mason family– that half the time I wondered if he even remembered he had sons. The boys wandered unsupervised from dangerous situation to even more dangerous situation like orphans while Tom played general with Weaver and footsie with a woman he barely knew. This episode is a complete return to the reluctant hero and protective father of season one and I love it.
The episode was Mason family-centric , which is as it should be since they’re the stars, but it also gave each supporting character his starring moment to spice up the drama, which is the purpose of the supporting character. I know a lot of us have been critical in the past of the lack of use for the non-Masons and assumed they were just there as furniture and cannon fodder. “Be Silent And Come Out” broke that trend and really gave us a reason to like the background folk.
Will Patton earns my coveted Scare the Cat Award for Weaver’s priceless scene in the bar. I thought the quiet, understated way he handled it was far more menacing than any amount of screaming could have been. As soon as he walked in and saw that Pope and his Berserkers were betting on the Masons’ lives I knew the nitrogenous wastes were going to strike the fan. When he went all Clint Eastwood, grabbed Pope by the neck and threatened to hang his head as a trophy I let out a weird, surprised laugh that scared the cat off my lap. After three years he really should know not to sit there during Falling Skies.
Marina, Marina, Marina. I don’t like you, Marina. I don’t trust you, Marina. But I do admire you in a way. There’s something reaaaally rotten and single-minded about her that I can’t quite put my finger on, but it would not at all surprise me if she’s the ruin of Charleston and the death of at least one character by the finale. I may not like the character, but I do like Gloria Reuben and the way she’s playing her because I don’t think we’re supposed to like and trust the woman who’s been going behind Tom’s back.
This brings me to Colin Cunningham and Pope, who seemed ready to move in and hang curtains with Tom last episode but was cheerfully waiting for his chance to pop a cap in his son this episode. This is what I love about the character: he’s consistent only in being inconsistent and that’s fun to watch when it’s well-written and well-acted. Pope is the anti-Tom and great at presenting the alternate viewpoint in the most vehement and offensive way possible. Dammit, I hate it when characters make me rethink my cherished beliefs about other characters and Pope sure did that this week. Of course, Hal being a Mason, I was completely sympathetic. The poor guy was under the influence of an alien device and not responsible for his actions, right? Well, Pope was pretty vocal about not seeing it that way. His parting shot of “Next time I’m arrested I’ll use the alien bug defense” hit the mark; I mean, Hal supposedly killed a man, consorted with the enemy, and kidnapped and tortured his own father while under the influence but is allowed to ride off into the sunset with no consequences? Hal could have come forward about his suspicions and odd feelings, but he chose not to. Pope made me think about how we wouldn’t excuse someone’s crimes because he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, so why now? Ugh, Pope…
I have never liked Lourdes, partly because of her early Holy Joe routine and partly because she’s just been altogether flat and uninteresting. She was basically Mini-Anne, existing only as an appendage to Hal or someone to bounce a plot point off of. Based on this episode, that bullpuckey is gone and she’s grown into someone who’s useful and independent. Good news for the fans and Seychelle Gabriel who I always felt did her best with what she was given. Although I haven’t seen enough of Lourdes to totally reverse my opinion, she was so decisive and competent with Hal’s treatment that I’m cautiously optimistic. The only thing is that I don’t see both her and Anne making it long term. That seems to be too much of a medical safety net in a series where we’re supposed to feel that the lives of the 2nd Mass are always on the line. If I have to choose, I’m flying my Lourdes flag, kthnx.
The lack of the soap opera has benefitted Maggie the most. She was always a ballsy and likeable character, but it never made sense that someone so tough and practical would throw herself into a giggling teenage affair, especially only weeks after escaping a vicious rape gang. I always felt like she was more of an appendage to Hal, which was not fair to a gifted actress like Sarah Carter, but this episode really gave her some layers. On one hand, Maggie was her usual badass self, but she also clearly felt guilty for letting the Hal situation get as far as it did when she should have reported it. You can’t keep a good Maggie down for long, and she decided to take responsibility and solve the problem.
On to the Mason family. I can’t say enough about everyone’s performance, but Drew Roy stole the show this week. The transition between EvilHal and OurHal was painful to watch, but in a good way. I clearly saw the internal struggle as OurHal fought to overcome the mind control and I felt every single moment of it in my gut. This wasn’t an easy thing to portray; do it too over the top and it’s laughable. Do it too understated and it fails to have an impact. Drew Roy found a happy (unhappy?) medium and I actually had tears in my eyes when OurHal came through.
I’m a Noah Wyle fan and I’ve never seen him fail to pull off whatever he was going for, so it was no surprise that he hit his mark in all scenes, but two really stood out. First was where he talked to Hal about his mother, yes as a tactic to get through to OurHal, but also expressing real regret for not being there as much as he should have been. It seemed like something that had been eating away at Tom for a while and he just found a time to let it out. The second was when he was watching Hal struggle for his life during the debugging. I could almost hear him think, “Dear God, I killed my son.” The scenes between Tom and Hal are the kind that stick with me after the TV goes off. This is pure season one Mason family dynamic and I’m glad to have it back.
I’ve loved Matt since the first episode, and one thing the writers have done well over the seasons is show his realistic transition from token cute little kid to a real soldier. Maxim Knight has rolled with the transition like a pro and has changed his physicality and the way he delivers lines to reflect Matt’s experience as a kid growing up in a totally different world than he came into. Case in point, Matt took charge and really saved Hal’s ass when he led Maggie and Ben into the building. No way was he going to let Tector kill his brother. Tom was the final holdout, but he’s acknowledged Matt’s maturity or he would have left him behind in Charleston.
Okay, well that does it for another article. Thanks for reading and see you next time.
Just kidding. Put down the pitchfork, Greg. Of course I can’t let an episode review go by without mentioning the heroic contribution of my favorite hybrid. According to the synopses earlier, Ben had the choice of removing the harness that he hates; unfortunately, it would mean the end of his superhuman abilities and the tradeoff was not worth it to him. Good news for Hal, as it turns out. Unharnessed Ben would never have been able to overpower him and keep him from giving himself a lead love note to the brain. Bad news for me, because he was able to find out where Dr. Chewtoy and Creepybrat are, so I’ll call it a wash. Anyway…it seems to me that with Hal riding the Eye Booger Express and Tom playing politics Ben has stepped it up as head of the Mason family. He’s taken his little brother under his wing and is calling his own shots. He’s come a long way toward making peace with who is he and reconciling the bad parts of being harnessed to the good. Connor Jessup has always been very skillful with Ben and his metamorphosis from awkward teenager in season one to angry outcast in season two to someone coming to terms and getting comfortable in his own skin in season 3.
I’ll end with a few plot points I loved:
- Goodbye President Mason, welcome back Tom! If one good thing came of the Hal situation it was that Tom realized that he could not be a father and a president at the same time. He’d missed way too much of the most important things in his life.
- The separation of the Mason family from Charleston. I’m looking forward to the last three episodes concentrating on them reconnecting as a family and dealing with the changes they’ve all been through. I think Tom may get some surprises.
- President Marina. What is she up to? What will Charleston be like when the Masons finally return, if there’s anything left to return to? What’s her interest in the weapon? I hope Weaver keeps a sharp eye on her.
- I’m stubborn in my opinion that Hal is NOT the mole. Too obvious and the whole thing was dismissed too quickly. Everyone just assumed and moved on, which I think is going to cost them I the season finale.
“Be Silent And Come Out” was a hell yeah episode for me. Action, character development, and the Masons being there for each other. This is what got me excited about Falling Skies in the first place.
BethTX is a Contributing Author here on the Falling Skies Blog, just as sarcastic as me (not an easy accomplishment), and mentioned Ben just enough times to get this published!
~ by The Falling Skies Blog on July 8, 2013.
Posted in Author BethTX, Contributing Author, Episode Reviews
Tags: Anne Glass, Ben Mason, Connor Jessup, Contributing Author, falling skies, Falling Skies Season 3, Falling Skies Spoilers, Hal Mason, Maggie, Noah Wyle, Theories, Tom Mason