Falling Skies 1.05: "Silent Kill" Review

A column article, Shot For Shot by: Danny Djeljosevic , Rafael Gaitan
Falling Skies is a show about aliens and the men who love them. Well, at least, the men who love to shoot them. When aliens invade the planet, humanity bands together in a great big muddled Revolutionary War metaphor/Iraqi insurgent metaphor/riff on The Walking Dead in "Silent Kill," the humans sneak into a hospital and get just a little annoyed with the Skitter they have locked up in their hideout.



Danny:You know, I don't subscribe to the whole "skitter" nomenclature of Falling Skies.

Rafael: It's a hell of a lot better than "cootie," as Pope is trying to make happen. "Cootie" is his "streets ahead."

Danny: It's like calling the zombies "walkers" in The Walking Dead. Just call them what they are -- it's no less silly just because you came up with another name for something silly. It's okay to use your pop culture to name things that are clearly resembling pop culture.

Rafael: Not a fan of the name as a whole, but the reason they're doing it is because of the wartime tradition of slurring your enemy -- the Redcoats in the Revolutionary War, the Brownshirts in World War II, Charlie in Vietnam, etc.

Danny: Maybe I'm not racist against aliens.

Rafael: You should be. If an alien (resident, illegal or extraterrestrial) had the chance, he'd kill you and everyone you know.



Danny: I think the writers of Falling Skies read our reviews. Last week, I thought it was hilarious how every time Noah Wyle wants to find his son, another mission or some other plot point gets in his way. But this week... the mission IS to get his son! FINALLY

Rafael: It only took half the season! (Literally.) I wish they would read our reviews -- they might have come up with better names for those extraterrestrials. In a post-Russell Edgington world, we need all the cleverness we can get.

Danny: Said mission involves getting his older, balder, fatter son to wear a dormant alien harness and sneaking into a hospital where the other harnessed kids are hanging out.

Rafael: One sticking point with me was that on first view -- did they explicitly state it and I overlooked it. Because when we watched it seemed so sudden that he was wearing a harness -- I originally thought that they had somehow cracked how to break the telepathic hold? Then I realized it was dead.

Danny: I don't think the aliens have a back and forth with the kids. I think they use use them as, um, receptacles. Considering when Hal sneaks in, the alien doesn't even question his presence, I think it's just about noticing that he's got some kind of alien slug on his back.

Rafael: But, remember the end of Episode 3, where the skitter wakes up Rick? I guess it varies on when they use it?

Danny: What I mean is that it isn't a two-way thing. The aliens transmit to the kids, but the kids can't sent messages back.

Rafael: Ahh.

Danny: But Hal infiltrating the hospital leads to a great scene where he has to pretend to be sleeping in a huddle with the actual harnessed kids, with one of the aliens sitting over them like some motherly hen.

Rafael: To elaborate, every episode of Crawling Guys has had one awesome moment, surrounded by several pretty okay ones. That was The One.

Danny: That reminds me of when I used to watch Fringe Season 1, which I found condescending and over-expository, and then some insane bit of pseudoscience comes in and I gotta watch next week.

Rafael: If it worked for that show! Though Moon Bloodgood is not as easy on the eyes as that John Noble.



Danny: My favorite part of this episode is the Blonde who used to be part of Pope's gang.

Rafael: Of course she was. You're notorious for your love of having a boner for 42 minutes at a time.

Danny: They develop her a lot in this episode, it seems. For one thing, Hal seems to be in the process of using her as a replacement for his captured girlfriend.

Rafael: It feels genuine, though -- Hal is still a young'un, who doesn't know what he wants, re: relationships. Hence his brashness, like proposing to attach the harness to himself.

Danny: She's a mouthy tough girl, which kind of fulfills the gap that Pope left last episode by motorycling off into the sunset (apparently).

Rafael: True, she was one of his squad. I wonder if they ever practiced mouthing-off drills, along with shooting and such.

Danny: "And... snark!"

Rafael: "Joke! Joke! Joke! Comparison! Russian Reversal!"



Danny: Speaking of Pope, we lost the second best character on this show: Steven Weber.

Rafael: NOOOO.

Danny: Shame we never learned his character's name. Dr. Weber? Either way, poor bastard got choked out by the fleshbags' captured alien.

Rafael: R.I.P. Dr. Brian Hackett.

Danny: You made that name up. That ain't that man's name.

Rafael: To be fair, I did not. His name on this show was Mike. Brian Hackett was his character on the BBC Radio Drama Wings.

Danny: Over in the UK, it's called Winks.

Rafael: Man, I knew he was going to die, but I didn't think he'd get punked out like a sucker. That fate is reserved for your Tim Dalys, or your Thomas Haden Churches.

Danny: If you don't kill off Will Patton, you gotta kill somebody, right? What about Tony Shaloub?

Rafael: DO YOU THINK THE CAST OF WINGS SURVIVED THE SKITTERS? WHO CALLED CRYSTAL BERNARD?

Danny: This is like that scene in Y: The Last Man where they realize all their favorite rock stars were killed in the plague. "The Rolling Stones are dead."

Rafael: Where do you think Roy was when they hit? Do you think he saw Lowell again?

Danny: You just have the Wings Wikipedia open, don't you?

Rafael: No I certainly do. Weber's character felt like he was close to completion, but I wanted a little more before they killed him off. His arc was complete, with his disdain for the skitters and his Goebbels-like view of them. That could have made for some harrowing, and thus excellent, storytelling in the future.



Danny: But even the loss of Dr. Steven Weber resulted in some awesomeness, because we got to see Moon Bloodgood stab an alien in the head up through its mouth.

Rafael: Yeah she did.

Danny: That was DOPE.

Rafael: She shoved that scalpel all into that cluster of nerves. Which is how medical students describe intercourse.

Danny: She went from Moon Bloodgood to Moon BloodGREAT.



You know who's less strangle-able in this episode? Not counting Steven Weber, because he's already been strangled?

Rafael: Who? Please tell me! Is it Hal?

Danny: Your homegirl Mediterranean Olivia Thirlby. Whose name, like most TV character names, I will never bother to remember.

Rafael: Oh yes! Well, you noticed the big difference, didn't you? This episode, she she was involved in the plot. It's amazing what you can do with characters when they're not extras. It's almost like a principle of writing, I think. If I was Principal of Writing I would make everyone have to curse, mandatorily.

Danny: She had other characters to interact with fairly naturally -- not as a heavy-handed commentary on faith.

Rafael: They've been mentioning episode after episode that she has medical training. So it seems like they could have had her in on it sooner. This time I actually cared about what she said, instead of wondering how badly shed turn me down for a date.

Danny: She must be an anesthesiologist, because she's putting me to sleep.

Rafael: Actually I'm surprised she didn't go to culinary school. The way she grated my nerves and frosted my chaps.

Danny: (rimshot)

Rafael: You fucker. Her dad must've been genetically superior, because she looks attractive to me sexually.

Danny: (rimshot)

Rafael: I'm really getting tired of soldier banter. Like, every episode has Hal or someone having a "gun-to-gun" I don't think an episode has missed a "Thanks for what you did back there."

Danny: Yeah, the dialogue is the worst when Pope isn't on screen.



I gotta say, as okay I am with this show, I really like how they're advancing plot points.

Rafael: Oh, absolutely. It shows a marked improvement, and we feel less obligated.

Danny: For example, a couple episodes ago they introduced the idea of surgically removing harnesses without killing the kid in the process, and in this episode we get a bunch of them fixed.

Rafael: Very true! And... consequence! As bloodgreat a doctor as Dr. Moon is, they can't save every child.

Danny: And it fulfills our dead children requirement.

Rafael: Though we both agree, it should have been Noah Wyle's kid that died.

Danny: Yeah, I'm shocked they didn't do that.

Rafael: It would have been deemed too dark.

Danny: I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed.

Rafael: But more than likely. Since we just saw him, it would be kinda cheap to lose him immediately, but I'm for it. My dead fictional children quota must be met.

Danny: The tradeoff of saving a bunch of kids but his son not surviving the process would have been killer. It would make Falling Skies something approaching essential television.

Danny: It would have been a great midpoint for the season, watching Noah Wyle recover and figuring out what his purpose is.

Rafael: Oh, man. It would have put him in the best spot. It would've been pitch black, and thus awesome.

Danny: Think, writers. THINK. I thought TNT knew drama.

Rafael: With his son dead, what would he be fighting for anymore? He has two other ones, sure. But losing a child he rescued would devastate anyone.

Danny: Right, and that quest to get his son back was his driving force. It would have been great to see him try to re-calibrate.

Rafael:Let's rewrite this episode and send it back to Rodat and company.

Danny: With a big post-it note that reads "FIXED THAT FOR YOU"

Rafael: Await job offers and paycheques.

"Also, instead of Steven Weber dying, he retreated to a Nantucket airfield."


"When can we start as staff writers? …Fuck us? Okay."



THE BIG SCORE

Rafael: I'm tempted to give it a 2.0, for the number of wings a bird has, or a 6.0 for the number of seasons Wings ran. Or a 1.0 for the number of Wings alumni.

But I'll settle for a , which is the number of bullets I'm giving this episode. #perdhapley

Danny: I'll give it a , because I didn't feel like I missed Pope all that much. And considering he was the main selling point of the last few episodes, that says a lot for me. True Blood is the only shenanigans I'll take on TV.

Rafael: Graham Yost episode aside, the last three have been good, not great, with hints at something better. They did make up for the lack of Pope quite well, I will say.

Danny: Maybe one day this show will spread its wings and soar.

Rafael: Why did this show have to get defrocked so early?

Danny: It's drier than a nun in West Texas.

Rafael:I have a feeling that in the wake of Steven Weber, this show might just take flight. WINGS IS AWESOME



For more Falling Skies, check out our reviews of previous Season 1 episodes:

Episode 1 & 2 Two-Hour Premiere

Episode 3: "Prisoner of War:

Episode 4: "Grace"




Danny Djeljosevic is a comic book writer, award-winning filmmaker (assuming you have absolutely no follow-up questions), film/music critic for Spectrum Culture and Co-Managing Editor of Comics Bulletin. Follow him on Twitter as @djeljosevic or find him somewhere in San Diego, often wearing a hat. Read his newest comic, "Sgt. Death and his Metachromatic Men," over at Champion City Comics.



Rafael Gaitan was born in 1985, but he belongs to the '70s. He is a big fan of onomatopoeia, being profane and spelling words right on the first try. Rafael has a hilariously infrequent blog and writes love letters to inanimate objects as well as tweets of whiskey and the mysteries of the heart at @bearsurprise. He ain't got time to bleed.

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