Season 3: Here Are My Demands

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I started out writing a predictions article for Season 3. In the course of writing that, I discovered that most of my predictions were more along the line of “here is what I want to happen” and “here is what better not happen.”

If you follow me on Twitter, you already know some of my concerns. The other day I thought “You know, if they had done the last 15 minutes of ‘More Perfect Union’ just a little bit different, than it might have been one of the best episodes of television I have ever seen.” I’m not stupid; I know this is hard science fiction, not fantasy, so I’m not asking for miracles. As much as I would like it to happen, I’m not asking for Jimmy to pop out from behind a tree in the season premiere shouting “Surprise! I’m back! Didn’t think a little thing like dying would slow me down, did ya?”

Bear in mind, this is my own personal list. It in no way reflects anything I have heard, read, or gotten from anyone affiliated with TNT.

So, without further ado, here are my demands to be met:

Get the Hell away from Charleston. It is no secret that I am terrified of what Charleston represents from a storytelling standpoint. The Farm in the Walking Dead completely ruined almost their entire second season. Like the Walking Dead, Falling Skies is a dynamic show. I mean that literally, it is a vigorous show. Sitting in one location, occasionally showing us people venturing out to do exciting things for two scenes, will be the death of this show. This show, and the 2nd Mass in particular, thrive on the road. Even if they stay in Charleston for only “half a season” as some press releases suggest without saying outright, that is far too long. I don’t care about how Charleston gathers resources, or lights the hallways, or how its political process runs. All of that is irrelevant to the purpose of this show: fighting the alien scum who have invaded our planet and taken our young hostage as slave labor. Don’t show me nation-building, not yet. Show me war without limits.

Ben needs to become his own character, and return to the Skitter Rebellion. Since the inception of his character, Ben Mason has been defined by others, and his relation to them. He was the captive of the Skitters, the corollary to Rick, the counterpoint of Karen. Of course, above all: he is Tom Mason’s son, Hal Mason’s younger brother, and Matt Mason’s older brother. Everything he did, everything he said, everything that was done to him, was in some way connected to one of these things, especially his family. With the arc beginning with “Love and Other Acts Of Courage” I had hope that Ben was rising up against these constraints, the ties that bound his character to being basically a lens that other characters were seen through. But, quickly, it dissolved into “How does this affect me as the son of Tom Mason? What is Hal’s role in supporting or detracting from this new character progression?” We finally see Ben start to become his own character at the end of “Molon Labe” when he leaves to join the Skitter Rebellion. And what is our reward for this bold step in the right direction? He goes off screen for two entire episodes. That’s it. We get no exposition of his journey. No story involving his adventures with the Rebellion. We get no scenes of him recruiting other previously-harnessed young people, which is the whole reason he left in the first place. And, of course, when he returns, we swiftly see those bonds that he made independent of his family dissolved. A portion of the Rebellion, of course right after a scene where Hal browbeats Ben to return home, is massacred. Red Eye is killed. I was filled with hope when Ben told his family he had important work to do with the Rebellion. But then he changes his mind, deciding that playing monopoly with Matt and staying the humans who mistrusted and ostracized him was better than taking the fight to the enemy. If Ben returns to the Rebellion, we will have an opportunity to see him become a leader, a true warrior, a real character that is not based on his identity as the son of Tom Mason.

We need to learn more about the Skitter Rebellion in general, and the other previously harnessed members specifically. I was really excited by the possibilities when Ben left to join the Rebellion. Here was a chance to learn more about how the wider world has dealt with the events of the previous two seasons. Here was confirmation that not only did other groups exist all over the country, but some of them had also discovered how to safely remove harnesses, just like the 2nd Mass. Who were these other children? What was their life like? How did the groups they were with react to Ben Mason showing up and attempting to recruit these young people, who had been reunited with at least some of their loved ones? What do you say when you have your child back, and somebody shows up to tell them they have important work to do, that they need to go away again, for whatever reason? How do these children fit into the structure and goals of the Skitter Rebellion? Are they leaders, officers, or are they just cannon fodder so the identities of the rebel Skitters can remain a secret? And of course we need to learn more about the Rebellion. What are its ultimate goals? Have the thought past simply destroying the Overlords? What happens to the previously-harnessed after the Overlords are defeated? We need to know these things, because the Skitter Rebellion could be humanity’s greatest ally, or end up being its worst enemy.

Anne Glass needs to not be pregnant anymore. Ok, so we all know Anne is pregnant. We can’t change that. Season premiere isn’t going to be Anne going “JK I thought the pregnancy test said positive, but I was reading it wrong.” Plus Karen used Pregnancy-Detect and Paternity-Determination, the most useless of all superpowers. So how do we deal with this? I don’t know exactly. But we need to. This is the plot point that almost drove me away from Falling Skies for good. And if it had that reaction in me, one of the biggest fans ever (hey I started a freaking blog just so I could talk about the show) what did it for the fair weather fans? The protagonist’s girlfriend getting pregnant is pretty much a requirement for any post-apocalyptic show when you reach a certain point. This is precisely why it is so annoying. You’re telling me that the FS writers I have come to respect and admire for their creativity couldn’t come up with anything better than that to change Tom Mason’s life? When you have three kids already, another one, especially when you have sleeping with a woman for a while, isn’t exactly a “gotcha” moment. What did Tom think was going to happen eventually? What I have said previously, and stand by now, is I refuse to watch a half-season’s worth of “What are we going to name the baby? What is Matt going to think, how do we tell him? Is this the right time to bring a child into this world? What kind of world is this for a child?” It’s done. It’s so freaking done I could write those scripts in my sleep after a night of wild partying (not that I get invited to wild parties). But now that we have the tired, played out pregnancy plot set up, the writers need to deal with it with the imagination and creativity that I have come to expect from this show. You are on thin ice (PUN! That’s the name of episode 3.1!), so tread carefully.

We need more Anthony, more Crazy Lee, more everybody but Hal, more Maggie away from Hal (but not less Ben). Shows need main characters. This is a fact of life. It is neither good nor bad. We need identifiable faces to emotionally commit to a series. Tom Mason is always going to be the main character of Falling Skies, this is immutable. And we are always going to see more of him and those connected to him than we are going to see of, say, the guy in the background handing out ammo before an op. But it is time for other characters to step up to the plate. There is no shortage of articles on this Blog that detail the need for character exposition of support cast, so I won’t rehash all of those. But we do need to learn more about Anthony, who he is, where he is coming from. Otherwise he is just a stock character, and he the potential so be SO MUCH more. The same goes for Crazy Lee. I have written so many times about Hal and Maggie that I will not go into all of it now. We need to get Maggie away from Hal. Maggie has some of the greatest potential of any character. But it is wasted as simply the object of Hal Mason’s sexual infatuation and teenage need for conquest. Even the revelation of her “deep dark secret” was a plot tool to advance or detract from Hal Mason’s interest in her. She has lost that complexity that she had in season 1, and for that matter so has Hal. I hope this implied “Evil Hal” plot brings that both for their characters.

So there you have it folks. I don’t have solutions for all these things, just thoughts. I will be updating some of these as time goes on. I also plan on writing another one fairly soon about things like Matt’s role in Season 3, the new aliens, etc.

Keep the Resistance Strong!

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~ by The Falling Skies Blog on December 16, 2012.

4 Responses to “Season 3: Here Are My Demands”

  1. I really think commenters who respond “This!” to a post and leave it at that should be hanged by the neck until dead. That said…THIS!

    Agree times ten. Does that save me from the hangman? No? Okay. Here goes actual commenting: you basically read my mind with every point you made. A season finale should be the biggest episode of the season, a teaser so suspenseful that the fans are slightly frustrated that we have to wait, but that also leaves enough speculation to keep us interested in coming back almost a year later.

    Hm. Mission partially accomplished. The majority of fans I’ve either spoken to or seen comment are frustrated, true, just not in the good way. The episode was decent enough with some solid moments, but completely ruined with the pregnancy cliche reheated from X-Files, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story…add pretty much any scifi/horror show here. I think every writer and guest on this blog has ranted about that, so just letting it go by saying it sucked eggs.

    What Skitter Rebellion are you talking about? There wasn’t a—oh, unless you mean the one they talked about endlessly like it was going to be a huge turning point but then was over in a hot minute offscreen. Sorry. I must have blinked during that part. My only thought is that there will be some reveal in S3 and it leads to something?

    I fully admit that I was wrong in thinking that Charleston was an Overlord trap, but I still maintain it was a trap of another kind: a plot trap. Keep Tom Mason behind a desk as Temp President and show the everyday goings-on of Charlesyawn and you lose fans. Especially if you combine this with discussions about the baby a la Rick, Lori and Shane.

    Falling Skies can count (at least) one less fan for next season. I’ll be reading this blog and see what you all have to say and watching my reruns on BluRay until the problem is fixed. Get rid of Anne, give Tom his manhood and focus on his boys back, and I’ll gladly return.

  2. First, I love this: “Pregnancy-Detect and Paternity-Determination, the most useless of all superpowers” laughed so hard at this one, it is too true!

    I completely agree on all points. On the subject of Charleston, we need to get the heck out of dodge! Something else has been bugging me too, why did the writers choose Charleston of all places? The climate does not come close to matching Canada, so when I see everyone running around in heavy coats it is distracting. Heavy coats are not really a requirement in Charleston most days. Please writers, get the 2nd Mass back on the road, and this time go someplace where the fictional weather comes close to matching the actual weather where you are filming. It’s just annoying to see stupid little inconsistencies, they take the focus off the story.

    I have already gone on record many times with my “more Pope” pleas, so I’ll skip it here. But more Anthony, more Crazy Lee, and more Maggie without Hal is a war cry I can get behind! Yes, Tom is the lead, but this we have a great cast and they are very under utilized. This is not the Tom Mason (& the Masonettes) show, it is Falling Skies.

    No more pregnancy is also a war cry I will take up. Please find a creative way to get rid of this baby. Sorry, but scifi pregnancies have been done to death.

    Okay, I’m done. Thank you Greg, for speaking up for all of us. LOVE this post!!

  3. […] Now for the continuation of my requests and suggestions for Season 3! Bear in mind there are NOT predictions. They are just my own personal preferences for where I think the show should go. Find my previous demands HERE. […]

  4. As far as Charleston goes, I could not agree more. Although the idea of the 2nd Mass going to Charleston didn’t necessarily bother me, I had hoped that something would have happened to prevent them from getting there — a bridge being destroyed to make the invaders think Charleston was deserted was not what I was expecting — and the idea of a group of people who survived above ground on what they could scavenge deciding to become shut-ins, and give up their only means of defense up to that point, was absurd. And Tamara T. hit the head on the nail about the climate. I have lived in SC [about 20 miles south of Charlotte, NC] for about 14 years living up north for most of my life. For the last 10 years or so, I have wore a pair of jeans about 10 times. It could be a little more realistic, couldn’t it?

    Ben Mason is probably one of my favorite characters thus far – IMHO, a more important character than a pregnant Anne Glass — and they did him an injustice by sending him off to fight a skitter rebellion, and then not let the viewer in on it.

    Killing off Jimmy was a mistake as well. Could it have been an opportunity for Ben & Jimmy [along with a few others] to focus on the skitter rebellion?

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