The Harness: Not One Size Fits All?

I’ve previously discussed my thoughts on the harness here and here, but today BethTX returns to give us some new views on how the harness affects people!

The Harness: Not One Size Fits All?

While watching “Death March” last Sunday a few questions popped into my mind about the harness, the Skitter “guardians” and the process in general. Of course I’m writing this at work again. One of these days I’m going to get confused and send Greg a cost analysis sheet and my boss will get an in-depth look at Falling Skies. No big deal. Her husband’s a fan. Anyway…

So far in the series we’ve gotten to know four harnessed kids: Ben, Rick, Karen and Jenny. Each of them reacted very differently to being reintegrated into human society. Ben awoke glad to see his father, 100% human mentally, happy to get back and eager to fight his former captors. Rick and Karen were the anti-Bens, considering rescue to be more of an abduction that ripped them from their preferred Skitter family and went on to re-harness themselves. Jenny, in the short time we saw her, seemed to be a combination of both: although she related well to Matt and acted human she gladly rejoined her “brother” when he came looking for her.

Why the differences in the way different kids react to being de-harnessed? Is it a difference in their physiology, psychology, or both? Let’s look at each individual and what we know of him. I’m discounting Karen entirely here, as we know literally nothing about her character.

What we know of Rick comes from his father Mike’s stories. According to Mike, Rick was a cheerful kid who liked to joke and was close to his father. He was also dying from cystic fibrosis and the harnessing process cured him. That factor alone could have made him more vulnerable to the harness and seeing the Skitters as saviors rather than invaders. Rick’s identification with the Skitters was so great that he eventually gives his own life to save Red Eye.

My assumption about Jenny comes from a single line where she tells Matt her Skitter guardian and harnessed “brothers and sisters” are the closest thing to a family she’s ever had. If she was an orphan/neglected/abused by her human family, she would naturally easily accept the harnessed (“bonded” in her words) group with the closeness they offer.

In Ben we have an entirely different case. Physically he’s healthy and emotionally he comes from a solid, loving family. The only discord ever mentioned is his ongoing battle with Hal and let’s face it: if bratty siblings were a reason to join another species we’d all be in an Iowa cornfield with tinfoil on our heads waiting for the UFO. Ben had every reason to want to return to his father and brothers and his loyalty is clearly 100% with his species. Even so, after his de-harnessing Ben told Matt that he sometimes missed the closeness of his Skitter Litter and that they weren’t monsters but family.

That brings up the Skitters themselves. We’ve heard them described as family and guardians to the children, show affection to the children under their care, and attempt to comfort a child about to be harnessed. We’ve also seen a Skitter use children as gunmen against Tom’s group in the motorcycle shop and even slaughter a group of children as a warning to Hal for his attempted rescue of Ben. I’m assuming we’ll learn more about the harnesses and Skitters as the series progresses, but my working theory is that the Overlords program them for certain jobs. The soldier Skitters were the ones who sacrificed the children and the guardian Skitters were the ones who cared for them. The guardians seem to do their job well; we haven’t seen one harnessed child who looked injured or malnourished.

We learned two things of interest about the Skitters from Jenny: that when her guardian was killed, none came to take its place and the children were left unsupervised and neglected. Was this an oversight or a deliberate abandoning of that particular Skitter Litter? It’s possible that the invasion isn’t going so well for the Overlords and they’ve lost enough Skitters so that they can’t afford to replace the non-military positions. We also learned that Skitters have genders. Jenny referred to her guardian as “she”.

What about Jenny’s “brother” the green slimy thing that came looking for her? We didn’t get a good look at him, but was he once human and is he the end product of wearing the harness for too long or was he always a different species? Along with the Overlord’s plan that Karen kept smirking about, the Skitters and harnessing process are things I look forward to learning.

BethTX is a Contributing Author here on the Falling Skies Blog, just as sarcastic as me (not an easy accomplishment), and apparently wants me to look over her cost-benefit analyses

Keep the Resistance Strong!


~ by The Falling Skies Blog on August 6, 2012.

3 Responses to “The Harness: Not One Size Fits All?”

  1. Referencing why the group was left unattended after humans killed their guardian: I thought about that, too. My theory is that, like most animals, the kids are ‘bonded’ to a particular guardian so that no other can share that connection with them. If the guardian dies, they’re basically left to fend for themselves. Just my personal theory.

    As for what Tyler is…that’s the scary part. If you notice, they haven’t referenced the dry patches on Ben’s back in a while. Does that mean it stopped spreading? Maybe prolonged exposure to the harness on their backs causes the transformation. I hope that’s the case because I really don’t want a skitter-fied Ben running around in a latex mask!

  2. I think Justin has a point. If that is true then that is part of the reason why Ben isn’t fighting to get back. Hal killed his “guardian” so therefore the bond is gone. As for why he isn’t looking for his siblings they brought everyone back from that group and removed all the harnesses (according to season 1) and all their spikes disappeared except for Rick’s and Ben’s.

    Thank you for writing this BethTX I really agree with you and I am looking forward to learning more as well.


  3. Good thoughts, guys! I like the theory that the harnessed kids are bonded to one Skitter and if he dies the bond is broken. Makes for a lot of orphaned kids, but I suppose they’re expendable to the Overlords.

    Poor Ben. My FS thoughts never stray far from him and I wonder what will happen with his mutation. Of course, he’s with the Skitters now so they should have some info for him. If not, I’d love a scene where Tom tortures the *bleep* out of an Overlord for information about his son. Heh heh.

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