Writers: Bradley Thompson, David Weddle, John Wirth
Director: Adam Kane
THE ONE WHERE: A possessed Hal takes Tom hostage, demanding to know the details of the Voln machine. Once freed, Tom is compelled to make a chilling decision, one that may end his son’s life…
THE VERDICT: A lean, tough serving of Falling Skies , short on flab and schmaltz. In many ways it’s a splice of two distinct genres: the first half of the episode is the standard ‘crazed shooter siege’ familiar from untold cop shows, complete with hostage situation, gunfire and perilous negotiation. The second half edges us into Exorcist territory, the expulsion of the Espheni bug playing like Father Merrin removing the demon from a possessed, protesting Regan.
It’s all good, strong, dramatic stuff, brought to the screen with a restless camera by director Adam Kane, where painful moral choices edge us into darker than usual emotional places. There’s the frisson of patricide as Hal points a gun at his father’s head, and something equally disturbing in the moment where he thrusts the weapon at his own throat, prepared to die to end the Espheni control. And there’s something genuinely unnerving in the sight of Tom watching the operation on Hal, steeling himself against his son’s cry of “I don’t want to die like this, dad!”. It’s a harrowingly powerful moment, perhaps the darkest we’ve ever seen Skies , and it’s well played by Drew Roy.
Elsewhere, Pope is given a more cynical twist than usual. His sweepstake on whether the Masons will survive is gloriously reprehensible and prevents the character sinking further into the gold-hearted anti-hero archetype. Bilko would be proud.
FAB FX: Great imagery as what looks like a swarm of black seeds enters Hal’s eyes.
TRIVIA: This was intended as a fast-shot, budget-conscious episode. In the end it took the standard 8 days to shoot, rather than the 7 the producers had planned.
DID YOU SPOT?: The title is a Biblical allusion. In Luke 4:35 Jesus casts out a demon with the words “Be silent and come out of him.”
Tom: “In case you haven’t noticed, crazy is where I live right now.”
Falling Skies is shown on TNT on Sundays in the US and on FOX on Tuesdays in the UK