Falling Skies: “Grace”

Posted on July 05, 2011

We can’t.

No, seriously. We can’t. In fact, we both turned to each other at various points while watching this episode and said with exasperation, “I can’t.” This is almost certainly traceable to our reaction to the finale of The Killing, but it also has to do with the time we spent on V, The Event, and last summer’s Persons Unknown. We can’t waste our time on a show that really doesn’t know what the hell it’s doing. We’ll probably tune in next week (maybe), but unless next episode turns out to be an amazing turnaround, we’re not likely to blog about this show anymore.

So let’s run down the reasons why T & Lo are pissed, shall we? We can boil it down to one major problem: these characters are idiots. Serious morons. At least last week they had enough residual brainpower to put the alien in a cage in the basement somewhere. This week, they move it into the same room where one of their former mind-controlled child soldiers is recuperating from the very experimental surgery, the results of which are still unknown. Sure. That makes perfect sense. It’s not like the resistance has any reason to fear this monotone, mind-controlled drone who doesn’t recognize his father. It’s not like the alien might have some abilities the resistance don’t know about, since this is supposed to be the first alien captured. Stick ‘em in a room together! Then leave! Let the bereaved father, whose poor judgment fucked up last week’s mission and got two people captured, alone in the room with both of them. And a gun!

Also, let’s release the murderous Pope from captivity and let him go on a mission. Why? Because only he knows the super-secret location of a motorcycle dealership. Apparently, rather than being on an interstate, it’s somewhere down in the Mines of Moria or something. Also, let this murderous prisoner roam free. Turn your back on him, if you want. What could possibly go wrong?

Back at the alien daycare center, Doctor Anne argues with Doctor Harris because she thinks he’s unutterably cruel for wanting to cut open this precious creature. It’s much more important to her to lean the alien’s language by pointing to pictures like a deranged kindergarten teacher. Harris may be a ridiculously insufferable asshole whose only personality trait seems to be “I’m an asshole,” but we would have cheered if he yanked those stupid pictures out of Anne’s hands and threw her out of the … whatever room that’s supposed to be where you keep political prisoners and post-surgery patients. Seriously, now; civilization is literally in ruins and virtually all children on earth have been turned into mindless slaves. This is not the time to bust out the feel-good “If we could just understand what this creature wants…” kind of moralizing. It’s fucking ridiculous.

And speaking of moralizing, you’re soaking in it. Since Harris and Tom are being set up as opposites, it makes a twisted sort of sense that Tom’s personality is equally as one-note as Harris’s. “I’m an asshole,” meet “I’m as naive as a person gets while still managing not to fall into open manholes or walk into propeller blades.” And right next to Tom is the named-with-a-hammer Lourdes, the Worst Christian in the World. Or maybe the Only Christian in the World since every time she says something overtly Christian (which means praying, which she does constantly and loudly), everyone must stop and stare at her incredulously. We get it; people have no faith in this hopeless world. But come on. In times of great disaster and hardship, people always turn to religion. If you want to inject it into this story (and we’re not opposed to the idea at all), then it’s wholly unbelievable that only one girl seems to still have the Jesus bug. That’s not the way it works. How do we know that? Oh, just all of human history.

And look, if things have gotten to a point where people have no hope and have lost their faith, then they should have ditched their squeamishness over facing mind-controlled child soldiers a long time ago. It’s all well and good for Tom to hope for a better world, but he’s never going to get it if he keeps acting like such a wuss. He’s a military history professor. The thought of child soldiers shouldn’t turn him into jelly because once again, all of human history tells us that such a thing ain’t exactly new. Are we suggesting they mow down all the drone kids? Well, no. But if ever there was a time for a “holy shit” moment that demonstrates how fucked up things really are, the motorcycle shop scene would have been it. It’s not that we relish the idea of seeing kids killed, but “Don’t shoot the children!” is practically a guarantee that the human race is over. If you can’t bring yourself to fight the enemy’s foot soldiers, you’re never going to win. And if you’re writing a show with this exact setup, then you have to follow through. Otherwise, the characters look like morons.

Feh. We’ve already spent too much time writing about this episode. The setup of the show is not being followed up on and no character in the story so far acts like any recognizable human being. It’s all plot hammering, all the time; and if that’s where you are only 4 hours into the series, there’s no reason for us to be optimistic about the show’s future. We’re pretty much done with this one. We’ll check out Torchwood when it comes back later this week and maybe we’ll pick that one up for our nerdy summer pleasure.

[Picture credit: TNT]

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=791674745 Kelly Wilson

      “I’m as naive as a person gets while still managing not to fall into open manholes or walk into propeller blades”…  While I agree with your reasons, quotes like this are why I secretly hope you will continue to blog about this show.  

      • Anonymous

        I love the “manhole cover – propeller blades” line, too (also: “you’re soaking in it’ – ha!). But take heart, Kelly: Project Runway starts soon. Great TLologisms, Nina caps, and more are just around the corner.

      • Anonymous

        I love the “manhole cover – propeller blades” line, too (also: “you’re soaking in it’ – ha!). But take heart, Kelly: Project Runway starts soon. Great TLologisms, Nina caps, and more are just around the corner.

    • Becky Cheston

      I get your points (and I REALLY get your cynicism about this show going anywhere), but I allowed the show the stupidities this time, while yelling, “No! Watch OUT! Are you NUTS?!!” at the screen. 

      About the alien and the comatose kid in the same room: Well, they’re in hiding. I don’t expect them to have spacious quarters. Even letting the selfish dad alone in there with the kid. These guys aren’t that organized. Dr. Carter can’t be everywhere at once looking over people’s shoulders. And the “kill or communicate” with the aliens is an old meme.

      I’ll give you the one about letting Pope out on his own. Sheer stupidity and totally plot driven. About not shooting the kids: Well, my “kindly” take on this is that in having the characters struggle over teen bloodshed, the writers are preparing the audience for it. So when they DO start killing kids, we won’t regard it as horrific.

      Perhaps I’m giving this show too much rope. It’s probably wishful thinking. Because even though I’m looking forward to Torchwood, I can NEVER get enough good sci fi.

    • Becky Cheston

      I get your points (and I REALLY get your cynicism about this show going anywhere), but I allowed the show the stupidities this time, while yelling, “No! Watch OUT! Are you NUTS?!!” at the screen. 

      About the alien and the comatose kid in the same room: Well, they’re in hiding. I don’t expect them to have spacious quarters. Even letting the selfish dad alone in there with the kid. These guys aren’t that organized. Dr. Carter can’t be everywhere at once looking over people’s shoulders. And the “kill or communicate” with the aliens is an old meme.

      I’ll give you the one about letting Pope out on his own. Sheer stupidity and totally plot driven. About not shooting the kids: Well, my “kindly” take on this is that in having the characters struggle over teen bloodshed, the writers are preparing the audience for it. So when they DO start killing kids, we won’t regard it as horrific.

      Perhaps I’m giving this show too much rope. It’s probably wishful thinking. Because even though I’m looking forward to Torchwood, I can NEVER get enough good sci fi.

      • Anonymous

        They’re holed up in a massive high school with only 300 people! You’re telling me they can’t find one room to keep the alien in and one to keep the kid in?

      • Anonymous

        They’re holed up in a massive high school with only 300 people! You’re telling me they can’t find one room to keep the alien in and one to keep the kid in?

    • Elizabeth Briggs

      This show is a big let down. Like in V, I don’t care about the characters at all and secretly root for the aliens to win. I spent Sunday’s episode yelling at the TV things like, “There are a bunch of kids with guns coming for you, maybe you should take cover? Maybe? Oh look you got shot. Well, you deserved that.”

      And I absolutely hated how the son dies at his father’s hands, and it’s never addressed again after that. No one is upset about it for the rest of the episode, in fact, no one even brings it up! You’d think Noah Wylie’s character would be concerned since the procedure didn’t seem to work and the other guy was his friend, but instead he’s like, “Ok time to get my son.” I don’t get it.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t think he died.  In the previews for the next episode, I’m pretty sure I saw him.  But if that’s the case, I thought pulling the harness of killed them.  Hmm.

      • Mariah J

        I thought the son died as well and was like WTF the whole rest of the episode, then I saw he’s alive in the previews for the next one. They really should have established that before the end of the episode instead of wasting time talking about Jesus and fucking bread.

      • Mariah J

        I thought the son died as well and was like WTF the whole rest of the episode, then I saw he’s alive in the previews for the next one. They really should have established that before the end of the episode instead of wasting time talking about Jesus and fucking bread.

    • Anonymous

      You totally neglected to mention that Huggy is now put in charge of the radio that doesn’t produce static unless there are alien hijinks afoot! Here’s a science-y newsflash, radios not picking up anything always produce static.

      And I must admit that at first I was all like “Why does a high school have a rolling monkey cage at the ready?”. Then I realised, oh yeah, teenagers. Makes sense.

      Meanwhile, I was utterly fascinated by the whole Boston-617-area-code-JP-snob conversation that God Girl had with Unwashed Hillbilly Boy; WTF? That was a really long scene, totally obscure and for the life of me I can’t figure out what it was in aid of.

      Blurg. Another dry sci-fi well. And yes, I am just killing sci-fi time with this annoying seen-it-before mess until “Torchwood” and “Warehouse 13″ come back on.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Catherine-Rhodes/602850414 Catherine Rhodes

      I am please to read your post and find that I am in complete agreement with the trenchant and incisive observations of the TLo team. I too turned to the people I was watching with, and said, “this is my last episode.”

      Aren’t there any good writers left on cable TV? WTF is going on, the pilot seemed smart and promising.

      The stupidity of the caged alien is what did it for me. Leaving him unguarded, opening the cage to give him water, showing him pictures of earth — beyond moronic. And what are the rules with these creatures? I thought they could shoot laser beams.

      You’re so right about the Lourdes girl. Ever heard the adage ‘there are no atheists in foxholes’? Even the Jews in the concentration camps continued to pray and secretly observe religious rituals, hoping their god would save them.

      • Joalissa Jean

        FYI, there are atheists in foxholes. 

    • Anonymous

      It is already off the DVR lineup.
      There is only so much crappy tv shows I can watch a week and this has really turned out to be a disappointment. 

    • Anonymous

      Visualizing a motorcycle dealership conveniently located in the Mines of Moria is lifting the heavy pall of a Monday morning falling on Tuesday.

    • Anonymous

      Visualizing a motorcycle dealership conveniently located in the Mines of Moria is lifting the heavy pall of a Monday morning falling on Tuesday.

    • Anonymous

      No, seriously, tune in an hour earlier for Leverage.  Those people actually know what they’re doing.  The producers even have “competence porn” — the audience enjoys watching the team come up with the cons, not just executing them.  Granted, it’s not science fiction, but it is rather like a live-action comic book.  Not a show for recapping, but more of a palate cleanser.

    • Anonymous

      No, seriously, tune in an hour earlier for Leverage.  Those people actually know what they’re doing.  The producers even have “competence porn” — the audience enjoys watching the team come up with the cons, not just executing them.  Granted, it’s not science fiction, but it is rather like a live-action comic book.  Not a show for recapping, but more of a palate cleanser.

      • Anonymous

        Yes! Leverage is awesome! Always well written and always entertaining. Plus it has Gina Bellman aka “Crazy Wacky Jane” from BBC’s “Coupling”.

      • MilaXX

        love Leverage and the show it’s modeled after, Hustle.

      • Anonymous

        “Competence porn”. At last, proof that there is a term for my favourite genre!  :)

      • http://twitter.com/shinobi42 Shinobi

        I love Leverage, but I am so sick of the “Lets go steal an un-stealable object” catch phrase. 

    • Didi None

      Now, hold on a second, here.  Last week you were admiring the creative restraint of this show, making “favorable comparisons” to Lost and BG, and saying “IF there was one complaint with the show, it would be…” [emphasis mine]. And now fast forward one week and you are jumping ship and saying you’re pretty much done, the plot is hammering, and there’s no reason for you to be optimistic for the show’s future?  Huh?

      I agree that this week’s episode was pretty slow, and there’s a lot more that I think could be done with the show.  I agree that the religious girl is pretty much unbearable and she is a god-awful cliche that the show could do without. I agree that I was shouting at my TV “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?” when the people were approaching the alien with the cage door down. But, I am enjoying the show, enjoying the possibilties that the story line is presenting, and hoping that we don’t spend as much time dwelling on rather boring characters (the blond son who monitors the radio, the girl who constantly prays) and invest in more interesting characters like Pope.  Let’s get some good character and plot conflicts going!

      • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

        The quote you’re talking about is, “if there’s one criticism we have of the show, it’s that it’s relying on
        the characters doing really stupid things in order to give us story
        possibilities”

        In other words, it’s exactly the same complaint we had about this week’s episode. Except this week, it got so out of hand that we’re not willing to put the time in on it.

      • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

        The quote you’re talking about is, “if there’s one criticism we have of the show, it’s that it’s relying on
        the characters doing really stupid things in order to give us story
        possibilities”

        In other words, it’s exactly the same complaint we had about this week’s episode. Except this week, it got so out of hand that we’re not willing to put the time in on it.

        • Anonymous

          Exactly. They jumped the shark in a big way this week. The characterization plummeted from last week’s mildly annoying stupidity in service of the plotl to this week’s completely ludicrous idiocy.
          If the human resistance movements in V and this show are the best humanity can come up with, the aliens deserve the win.

    • Maria Rosenfire

      I had the same objection to the pilot of Rizzoli and Isles. If the
      characters were stupid enough to steadfastly refuse to take reasonable precautions against people who want to kill them, they wouldn’t have lived this long.

      About Torchwood (SPOILERS): now that they’ve killed off half of the
      show’s only gay relationship and probably de-gayed the other half for
      American audiences, I just can’t bring myself to be interested. Also,
      they’ve offed 3/5 of my favorite characters (the surviving ones being
      Rhys and PC Andy).

      • MilaXX

        Saw a few  promo’s of Barrowman over the weekend. He left enough hints that have me still interested. I”m going to try and catch a free screening this evening.

    • Anonymous

      Preach it, TLo!
      What bothers me most was the surgeon, the quintessential cold-hearted “scientist” who, confronted with an alien species, will a priori exclude anything weird or different about it. And won’t be curious about their evolution, but just wanted to “kill ‘em all!!!”
      You know, tv writers, there are real scientists who will gladly help you in coming up with more realistic science men and women.

    • MilaXX

      can’t say I blame you. This week pretty much bugged all around. Dad being allowed to majorly screw up things once again  was stupid and Jesus girl is so over the top that she’s a cartoon. I had high hopes for this show and I’ll  probably still watch simply because it’s summer and other than reality tv there’s little else to watch, but it won’t be must see tv. In fact With Torchwood coming back, it may go on the dvr for those times when I am truy bored.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you.  After reading your thoughts on The Event, Lost, and Walking Dead I was willing to give this an honest chance.. even though I almost always despise Spielberg’s sci-fi flicks.

      I made it through maybe a half hour of the pilot episode. And then I turned it off with a slightly bewildered sigh.

      I mean, I don’t expect this to be BSG. They’re clearly not shooting for that sort of an atmosphere or even that sort of science fiction. I don’t expect it to be Babylon 5, because frankly few writers-for-TV have Straczynski’s chops and they’re obviously not attempting that level of complexity anyway. I don’t expect it to be hard sci-fi or even particularly coherent sci-fi, because hardly anyone tries to put that on a TV screen anyway, but -

      Really, not a single interesting character in the whole first half-hour? Am I actually that far out of the target demographic that they’re not even throwing me a token bit-part to keep me hooked ’til next week? 

      They made plans. They walked around. Everyone wore green and they were so low on supplies that there were only three personalities to share between ‘em. 

      Ugh.

    • Joshau Norton

      I get an uncomfortable feeling that this current series of shows that have a long story arc are doomed to be a big let-down. Since the clumsy handling of “Flash Forward” they have seemed to develop a whole new genre of writing. Angst ridden and boring, all at the same time.

    • Anonymous

      I’m so disappointed in this show.  It could have been fun.  Even I would out survive these people and I don’t have many street smarts.  And the guy just kills his kid when they are finally talking to the alien??? WTF?  And what happened to the skitters zapping people like they did in the pilot?  Bah.

    • http://twitter.com/MandyAndyCandy Anonymous

      I’m still planning to watch the show (for now), but I am more disappointed with each episode.  Pope bugged me from the beginning, and now the thing with the captive skitter and the harnessed kid.  I think I was completely spoiled by Battlestar Galactica… not that it was perfect, but they were really good at portraying people in bad situations behaving in ways that I found believable.

    • Anonymous

      When the Asian guy ( I don’t know his name) stood in the big open doorway as the kids came walking up with assault rifles, I just thought how stupid can you be, of COURSE you’re going to get shot, they acted all surprised when the kids started shooting at them.

      Of course maybe he was dazed from getting knocked in the dome after turning his back on the murdering prison cook.

      At the same time, I do enjoy the show. Stupid characters aside, I’ll rationalize it as these aren’t all trained soldiers or prison guards.

    • Mariah J

      Yeah all of the decisions made in the episode made very little sense. That and them still wanting to pick up the kids when removing the harness seems to fail to do ANYTHING at all…hello?!?
      Also using the EXACT SAME velociraptor sound effects for the skitters is getting old fast. Come on.

    • http://twitter.com/BootLadyTeri23 Teri Horne

      Gah – I’m rewatching the first two seasons of Battlestar Galactica as a palate cleanser. Like you, I’ve been burned too often to waste time on another ‘great premise, lousy execution’ series.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1322813522 Lizabeth Joy

      What sums it all up for me is when my husband looked at me half way through the episode and simply stated, “I don’t care”.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HXGIQGVFKRD23QPTOQX4Y4DVUY Rachel

      Lads– PLEASE watch Misfits on Hulu. They’re releasing an episode every Monday. It’s hard to describe, so I’ll be really trite: it’s like Heroes, but British… and the similarities end there. I’d be really interested to hear your opinions on that show. The AV Club is covering it right now, as well.

      • MilaXX

        I’ve heard good buzz on Alphas coming n Scy Fy, which also had people with abilities like Heroes. Here’s hoping they don’t mess it up.

      • Joalissa Jean

        Love Misfits. Hoping the thirds season starts soon because the second season didn’t quite measure up I gotta admit (that last Christmas episode was just weird).  However, word is my favorite charater, Nathan, is not going to be part of the third season since the actor won’t be coming back. I’ll miss that foul mouth of his.
          

    • Anonymous

      I watched the whole show saying OH NO! I had hopes for you! Incredibly ridiculous. The guy is insane over saving his son, the son wakes up and hasn’t a clue who he is, and he leaves him in the room with the alien?? What was worse though was the a hole doctor showing the alien the dead alien when the woman doc had the cage door OPEN. WTF? Also ridiculous was them leaving the cook/villian guy totally unattended in the bike shop. I had hopes for this show, and the whole hokey prayer/breaking bread thing……yeesh. The only good thing I can honestly say is Noah Wylie is actually a good actor, he’s trying, but the script is god awful. This could have been a good show.Breaking Bad, Dexter, and Boardwalk Empire cannot get back on TV soon enough.

    • http://liptonrm.livejournal.com/ Lipton

      LOLOLOLOL My friends and I started watching the show because what’s not to love about an alien apocalypse? Plus, it’s summer and all of our other shows are on hiatus. But we spend most of it screaming at them about how stupid they’re being. I’m sorry, I know I’d be the person in the quai-military cum hippie lovefest commune that everyone hated, but they need to kill all of those poor harnessed kids, they’re a liability and that’s that.

      I am so over the sermonizing. Bring me some Walking Dead where things are horrible but people ar trying the best they can, not this sentimental garbage. Please, it’s a worldwide war against an invadeing alien force of superior resources and techonogy, sacrifices must be made. These people need to pull they’re heads out of their posteriors and get down to business.

      Oh well, I’m sure I’ll keep watching, if only so I can bitch at the stupid people on the screen and feel superior. It’s sad, though, I’d hoped for so much more form this show.

    • Amanda in Austin

      Thanks for taking the bullet on this one, T and Lo. I appreciate getting the recaps from you, and the final assessment that this show isn’t worth watching. Much appreciated!

    • http://twitter.com/shinobi42 Shinobi

      I really wanted to like this show, but am seriously annoyed that only men and 4 hot women managed to survive the alien invasion.

    • r0ckmypants

      Every episode of this show has been like playing Capture the Flag. They leave from base, go out to get the flag (motorcycles, food, harnessed children), and return safely from enemy territory without being compromised. BORING.

    • r0ckmypants

      Every episode of this show has been like playing Capture the Flag. They leave from base, go out to get the flag (motorcycles, food, harnessed children), and return safely from enemy territory without being compromised. BORING.

    • vmcdanie

      Uh oh. The vortex of suck for The Killing is so powerful that its mere mention is enough to chase me away. I’ve only watched about 20 minutes of the second episode (sometimes I skip the premieres until I’m sure I want to commit.) Maybe I’ll wait to see what you say next week before I banish from the Tivo.

      Why no True Blood this year? Did I miss something? At least it’s an interesting mess. With nudity.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GP7DZT63SM6WR25QXFFLMO6TFU Tim

      Hey Girls? Take your Mydols.  You’re BOTH cramping………..AGAIN.  Clue IN GIRLS!

    • Anonymous

      ok, so I just watched the entire season in one day, thanks dvr. And…it was OK. but what I really, really, really want to know is: are you going to review Terra Nova? It’s like, Lost – with Dinosaurs! LOL. I think. Since I didn’t watch Lost. Ever. (Don’t hate! I thought it looked stupid!) Anyway, Just wondered if you were going to do TN since it’s Spielberg and the show is costing about $20 MILLION. Anyway, Love ya, mean it, show ya later! XO