Falling Skies 3.02 "Collateral Damage" REVIEW

TV REVIEW: Bringing up baby.

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Episode: 3.02
Writers: Bradley Thompson & David Weddle
Director: James Marshall

THE ONE WHERE: With a spy still among them, the rebels plot a tactical strike on a power plant. Anne and Tom’s baby, meanwhile, continues to display unnerving levels of intelligence.

THE VERDICT: We may be in a post-apocalyptic world where mankind fights to survive among the blood and rubble of a ruined civilisation, but cliches, like cockroaches, can clearly survive anything fate throws at them. Yes, this episode packs a few hoary old howlers, from Matt’s declaration of “You can’t tell me what to do, you’re not my mother!” – a line recently disinterred alongside a woolly mammoth in a frozen lake in Siberia – to Dr Kadar’s loss of his glasses at a crucial moment (“I can’t see!”). Rote moments like these can’t help ringing untrue, like someone assembling drama with a Meccano kit.

The supernaturally smart baby edges close to SF cliché turf too, but for the moment it’s one of the show's more intriguing arcs (and at least she’s not aging at an alarming rate like some Space: 1999 starchild). The scene where Alexis disappears, laughing and crying “Mommy!” carries a genuinely unsettling shiver.

House ’s Robert Sean Leonard gives a nicely jittery, absent performance as the agoraphobic Kadar. Good to see some less obviously heroic members among the 2nd Mass. And it’s an episode with some memorable visuals, too: particularly liked the shot of the glowing Mega Mechs in the dark and the primally disturbing sight of a Skitter dragging a radiation-poisoned human corpse away with one disdainful alien leg.

Can't quite process the concept of a world engaged in a daily life-or-death struggle for survival where a kid is actually bored , mind...

TRIVIA: The flamethrower wasn’t in the script – it was a last minute suggestion by the stuntman and the effects team, and director James Marshall went for it.

TRIVIA 2: The shoot-out in the woods used up the ammunition budget for the entire season. Expect pea-shooters, spud guns and catapults to feature prominently in the next eight episodes.

Pope: “I’m telling you, when this war is finished up, you, my friend, are going to be standing behind a counter serving hot dogs and Superslurps to bubble-heads in Hawaiian shirts.”

Falling Skies is shown on TNT on Sundays in the US

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Nick Setchfield
Editor-at-Large, SFX Magazine

Nick Setchfield is the Editor-at-Large for SFX Magazine, writing features, reviews, interviews, and more for the monthly issues. However, he is also a freelance journalist and author with Titan Books. His original novels are called The War in the Dark, and The Spider Dance. He's also written a book on James Bond called Mission Statements.