Season 2: A Bit Shallow?

We have another guest writer today. Tamara T. comes from Twitter to tell us her take on some of the character development, or lack thereof, in Season 2!

I am going to start by saying I LOVE Falling Skies. (Really I do, so please don’t tar and feather me for this) I drive my poor husband and coworkers crazy talking about the characters and how this show has so much potential. The hubby was a fan the 1st season, but lost interest in the long interval between seasons. So imagine my excitement (and his) when I found this blog. Finally, a place to share all my thoughts and my fascination with people who might actually be interested! After all everything about it screams HIT! The concept is amazing, a great mix of science fiction and human drama. The cast is incredible. From Noah Wiley on down the list, there isn’t a mediocre actor in the group. So, why at the end of season 2 was I left with more frustration than satisfaction?

Season 1 left me feeling excited and curious about what would happen to Tom on the alien ship and what would happen to his kids and the 2nd Mass without him. The end of season 2 just left me thinking “huh?? Don’t get me wrong, there were some great moments throughout the season. But there were so many places where I just felt so much was missing in the development of the characters. The sci-fi aspects of this show are top notch, I couldn’t ask for better. And I am sure there are tons of people out there that think that’s enough, a great science fiction show. But what about the human element? I wanted more from the characters, more back story, more intrigue, more true conflict between the characters, just more.

Let me give you an example using one of my 2 favorite characters, and that would be Tom Mason. What happened to Tom? I don’t mean on the ship during those 3 months, I mean what happened to the depth of this character? Tom was a man that earned my respect early on. A father who wanted more than anything to keep his sons safe, a man who understood the absolute need for humanity to fight back against the overwhelming odds and believed that victory was achievable. He was a widower who missed his partner and helpmate but is developing a strong connection to a new lady. A man who was fighting to balance his needs and the needs of those he loves against the needs of the 2nd Mass as a whole (the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, right?). The more I watched Tom this season, the more I thought where is the depth of character in this man?

Let’s take his relationship with Anne. I am actually all for this relationship. His wife is gone; there is no going back to his old life. But really, am I the only one who feels like it all came too easy? Other than 1 short scene in the hospital (the morning after) where Anne and Tom discuss briefly their old lives and spouses, neither of them seem to struggle at all with the guilt at most survivors of such a loss experience. And when he is with Anne, both at the hospital and in Charleston, where the heck is his young son? Tom and Anne have a room to themselves in Charleston, where is Matt? Who was looking after him in this new place? The Tom I thought I knew would never put his own personal desires above those of his son. I suppose the assumption is that Matt is with Hal, but I don’t want assumptions. I want to be reminded that as a parent sometimes your kids come first. Sometimes you don’t get to share a room with your girlfriend because your 10(?) year old son needs you.

And speaking of the needs of your child, when Tom finds out that Anne is pregnant with his child, he doesn’t bat an eye at the fact that she placed this child in harm’s way by going on this suicide mission to destroy an alien weapon. First of all, why did she go? This is the first mission

I can recall where she is on the front line. I know there are some of you out there right now saying “but she HAD to be there in order for Tom to find out about the baby”. To which I say bull hockey! But let’s go with that line of thinking for a moment, she had to be there, okay? So, wouldn’t it have made more sense to leave her back at the trucks with Lee and Lyle? The aliens would have captured all three of them and then brought Anne in to throw Tom off and force him to give up all his secrets. Nice and neat, and Anne never intentionally put her unborn child in harm’s way.

Back to my original question; why was Tom so calm about Anne’s risky actions? He never says a word. He is all happy anticipation about this new life. Not for one moment does he look at Anne and say “what the heck lady!?! What were you thinking?” I am sorry; there is not a man on this planet that is that forgiving, nor should there be. Her actions require a response. Not a hug.

This brings me to my next complaint, why is Tom so forgiving? It’s not just Anne he forgives without effort. Let’s go to the other extreme, Pope. Tom comes back from the dead and the first thing Pope does is try to run him off or kill him. No worries though, Tom understands Pope’s concerns; in fact he shares them. So, he places himself squarely in Pope’s orbit so they can keep an eye on each other. Now, we do have that one fight scene over the compass. I am a big Pope fan, but I have to say, WAY TO GO TOM! Kick his a$$! He completely deserves it. This fight leads Pope to pack up his toys and run off, only to return a few weeks later. And what happens? Tom basically says to the man who wants him dead, “sure, take this gun and follow me into the dark and let’s fight creepy crawly aliens together. I completely trust that you won’t kill me at the first opportunity. And even if I do have doubts, now is definitely the time to put them to the test, right now while the lives of my son and girlfriend are at stake. You got my back, right??” It just doesn’t play for me (which is leaving me very conflicted since I was thrilled Pope was back). Tom has turned into a real too-goody two shoes. Always positive, always nice, always right, and boring, very boring.

This brings us to my other favorite character, Pope. I was intrigued by Pope from the very beginning. Here is this smart, articulate, charismatic man who could have done anything with his life and he chooses to be a criminal. I wanted to know why. Here we are headed into season 3 and I still want to know. Pope is essentially the anti-Tom. But why? And that isn’t my only unanswered question. What is the deal with Pope and Maggie? Cause there is definitely something there. She killed his brother and betrayed him when she joined the 2nd Mass. And he apparently turned a blind eye to her rape at the hands of at least 2 of his gang. And yet they are both still breathing. And more than that, there are hints at a deeper connection. They know too much about each other, and I am thinking pillow talk. But that kind of creeps me out because of Hal. I do not want to spend too much time working out how a 20 something woman is with a 40 something man and then a teenager. But I am getting off track, aren’t I?

My biggest problem with Pope in season 2 is that his primary role seems to be that of signpost. Need someone to clue the 2nd Mass into Karen’s deception and sending them running off after her and Ben? Send Pope off in a huff BUT bring him back in a few weeks just in time to save everyone from evil Karen. And while I am thinking about this scene: what the heck?!? I was so disappointed with the way this was handled. Pope wakes up in full panic mode talking about mind reading aliens and evil harnessed teenagers. I thought a truer reaction on Pope’s part would have been anger. Full on rage that some “Fish head” was digging around in his noggin. And that he would be looking for someone to blame (Tom?) and possibly shoot. But panic? That really isn’t Pope’s style. He might feel the panic, but I don’t think he would let anyone see it; he has too much ego for that.

Anyway, back to my signpost theory. Need someone to move the story along to the next stage? Just have Pope and the gang attempt to break into the armory in Charleston to steal weapons and make their escape. This begs the question, why would you even make the trip to Charleston just to turn around a leave? I know why, to move us along to the next scene. Tector needed that moment of stepping over the line (shooting Lyle) and Maggie had to get locked up (trying to stop Pope) so she and Hal could have their heart to heart. And when Pope and the gang get out of lock-up they are no longer trying to leave, but are back on team 2nd Mass. Please Pope, make up your mind. Pick a direction and stick to it. If you leave we will get over it (sniff-sniff) but really you have to stop with the flip-flopping every other episode just to move us through the story.

The story has more than enough ability to move itself along; we don’t need these “tricks” to show us the way. What we do need, or at least what I need, is a deeper understanding of what makes both these men tick. Show me some of the internal struggle, some of the sacrifice that shapes them both. Because right now they seem a bit flat to me.

And if that’s how I feel about my 2 favorite men of Falling Skies, just imagine how I feel about the rest of our heroes….if this makes in to “print” I may get to come back and tell you more someday. So keep the tar and feathers handy.

 Tamara T. writes a blog entitled “Faith and Substance“, and writes reviews for FanBolt.

Keep the Resistance Strong!

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~ by The Falling Skies Blog on November 3, 2012.

2 Responses to “Season 2: A Bit Shallow?”

  1. Welcome Tamara! 🙂 Tom is my favorite character too. I guess that means we will have to fight over him. Just playing lol. I agree with you, what happened to the old Tom? The man I fell in love with? All I see is Tom and Anne, and Anne and Tom… too much soap opera for me. The only thing I didn’t agree with is I’m not for the Tom and Anne relationship, I think it happened to fast, and he needs to be focusing on his children, but that’s just me. Great Job! Write more! 🙂

    • Thanks for the wonderful words of encouragement Elizabeth! As to Anne and Tom, I think it’s easier for me because I still have Pope. LOL! Really though, I love both characters because they do seem to be flip sides of the same coin. And they are both nice to look at too. 😉

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