Ben Mason: Quiet Strength or Dangerous Instability?

Update: This article is slated for revision in the next week or so, in light of the events of “Molon Labe” and other episodes. If you have any suggestions, requests for information or examination, let me know! -Greg 7/29

Everybody knows I think Ben is the best character on Falling Skies. But I’m not a blind fanatic or hazy fanboy. I recognize flaws within him.

If you want some background on a few of my thoughts on Ben you can visit or just click the “Ben” category on the right side of the screen!

Ben most certainly has the most interesting story arc. He has shown the most growth and change as a character. For both good and ill.

When we first met Ben in season 1, he was harnessed. No free will, a blank zombie. And even with a blank face you could see the character behind the eyes, even through that blankness you could see flashes of Connor Jessup’s acting. Ben shows no reaction to seeing his brother Hal sprawled out on the ground as Ben and the other harnessed kids drag Karen away.

Cut to “Silent Kill” and “Sanctuary Pt. 1”, when we first see Ben unharnessed. Unlike Rick, Ben seems to regain his emotional and intellectual faculties quite rapidly. He laughs, he jokes, he plays a prank on Matt using his spikes, and he talks freely about he remembers of his time as a harnessed child. He shows genuine concern for what others think of him, and is determined to not be judged by how Rick acts. Ben tried to play off and hide his developing physical super abilities for as long as he can, making excuses to Hal that he must have left the timer on when he had jumped rope for over 2 hours. He even volunteers to go with Terry Clayton (nice judge of character there, Ben), to reduce the risk to the 2nd Mass.

In another contrast to Rick, who is so enamored with regaining the harness that he attacks Uncle Scott and runs off to tell harnessed Megan everything about the 2nd Mass, Ben risks his health and his sanity to help Scott not only find the frequency to jam mechs, but runs to the flagpole to set up the transmitter.

Cut once again, to the season 2 opener “Worlds Apart” and we once again see a completely different Ben. Cool, calm, confident (for the first 10 minutes, then he shoots Tom by accident), jumping out of windows just to kill a skitter with a knife. Greg Beeman wasn’t kidding when he told Connor Jessup to get in shape; that Ben was going to be a warrior this season! In between seasons, Ben has formed a strong an improbable bond with Jimmy. To the point that they go on un authorized skitter hunts together (with eventual disastrous consequences). His transformation created conflict Hal. He and Hal differ on the proper role of a child like Matt, post-apocalypse. He taunts Hal into trying to attack him so he can show off that he “isn’t the math Geek” Hal “used to push around”

After Jimmy’s death, and his first contact with Red Eye, we can see Ben’s world start to crumble. Thus far his whole life has been getting back at the skitters. He tells Tom in “We Shall Gather at the River” that his hate is all he has left. Now he learns that not only may his whole world view be based on a lie, he may have to oppose his own family to do what he thinks is the right thing.

From then on, Ben is mostly motivated by fear. As Ann (my Ann, not Dr. Glass) put it, “He is not secretive for the sake of being secretive”. He is deathly afraid that the 2nd Mass will go after him. He tells Hal, at the end of “Young Bloods” that he isn’t going to sign his own death warrant by talking about the glowing spikes. He then, in “Love and Other Acts of Courage”, confesses that the reason he didn’t tell Tom is because he didn’t want to be viewed as the enemy, damaged, or broken.

Ben’s loyalties are certainly divided somewhat at his point. He wants to help Red Eye “change the world” as Tom says. He wants to stick by his family, he desperately wants to help the human race. And, only time will tell but he meant when he told Matt that he had to go away for a little while!

Keep the Resistance Strong!


~ by The Falling Skies Blog on July 13, 2012.

3 Responses to “Ben Mason: Quiet Strength or Dangerous Instability?”

  1. The character of Ben is very interesting because he is multi-layered and the writers are doing a good job developing Ben and involving him in subplots. Keeping in mind Ben is a teenager who believes he and he alone has the answers. That is his character, pre-alien he loved books and was different from his brother, Hal, who was a team player. He is looking inward for his answers when he should be looking to involve others in the solution. Will this be his flaw? However, he is a teenager feeling the answer of the human race rests with him, it is a heavy burden. He feels different and like any teen, he does not want to be different so now he wants redemption by saving others. Hope his heightened abilities serve him well. Writers – keep him multi-faceted!

  2. […] After being assured by Robert Prentice of (he has behind the scenes access I can only dream of. Check out his review of “Homecoming” btw) that next week will be Ben heavy, and answer a bunch of questions, I may revise and expand the article. […]

  3. […] With the Ben-heavy events of “Homecoming” and “Molon Labe” I thought it was appropriate to take another look at my favorite character and his interactions with the 2nd Mass. To peruse more of my previous thoughts on Ben, navigate over to the “Ben” category on the right, and especially check out Ben Mason: Quiet Strength or Dangerous Instability? […]

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