‘Falling Skies’ 3.1 Episode Recap and Review: On Thin Ice

Hey Falling Skies fans! Welcome to the first Falling Skies Recap/Review of Season 3! This is my first time writing about the series for Fanbolt and I am super excited for the opportunity. So, let’s get started!

“On Thin Ice” opens 7 months after the season 2 finale with the 2nd Mass rescuing harnessed kids from a mining operation run by the skitters. Weaver, Jean, and Matt are doing a little recon of the area when Jean spots her lost love, Diego, among the harnessed workers. Matt is sent in to plant what appears to be some sort of electromagnetic grenades that knock the Mechs out when activated. And the fight is on! Ben and Denny attack from above while the bulk of the team charges through the front gates. Things seem to be going according to plan, nice and smooth. The skitters are killed and the harnessed kids are being loaded into the back of a truck for transport. Just when Pope is ready to give them all a pat on the back for a job well done all hell breaks loose again with the appearance of two Mega Mechs. These are obviously new to the 2nd Mass and totally unexpected. As skitters begin to pour out of the mineshaft Ben and Denny clasp hands and their spikes turn blue (very cool!). A moment later rebel skitters appear on the rise and join the fight. These skitters are marked with red war paint, reminding us of their fallen leader “Red Eye”, who was killed in the season finale last summer. Things are looking really bad when suddenly more help arrives on horseback. It’s Tom, several other fighters, and one Volm (new alien) and they are all armed with modified guns that shoot some sort of energy pulse (phaser rifle anyone?).

It is at this point that we begin to learn very quickly that a lot of things have changed. Capt. Weaver is now Colonel Weaver and Tom Mason is the President of Charleston, completely changing their working dynamic. Hal is back in the fight, but partially paralyzed. It seems that when he first woke up after Karen’s “death kiss” he was paralyzed completely but over the last 7 months he has been working hard to regain mobility. He and Maggie are definitely a couple now, sharing a room in the Charleston complex. Anne is very pregnant by this point and seems to be running the hospital. There is a great scene in which we get to watch her use Volm tech to remove the harness from Diego. Matt has grown considerably and is obviously a more active part of the 2nd Mass. Even Pope and the Berserkers have settled into to life in Charleston. Pope has opened a bar (yep, I can totally see that) called “The Nest” and even seems to be moving up the ranks within the 2nd Mass (however, there is definitely scheming going on in his mind, Pope has a plan and we can be sure it will not be something our new President will approve of).

Life seems good, at least as good as you could hope for. With the Volm’s and the rebel skitter’s help humanity has managed to win some pretty impressive victories against the Espheni (otherwise known as the “Fish heads” or “Overlords”). One problem, it would seem that there is a mole in Charleston. Someone has obviously been feeding information to the Espheni. There is much debate and suspicion thrown around. Most folks seem inclined to mistrust the skitters and the Volm (who can blame them?). Tom obviously does not consider either party a threat as he includes them both in the debriefing of the last mission. Cochise, the Volm representative, expresses the opinion that the very fact of the mole is a good sign. They have the Espheni on the run, forcing them to resort to espionage, a tactic that is usually reserved for far more advanced cultures than humanity. Bressler isn’t having it, it is apparent that he resents both the Volm and the skitters and is frustrated with the lack of progress in the war. However, it is very clear (at least to me) that Tom has complete confidence in our alien allies and feels that the mole is a human. He assigns Arthur Manchester to ferret out the mole.

It would seem that Hal is having nightmares about Karen. He claims that he doesn’t remember the dreams, but Maggie doesn’t really believe this. It is obvious that Hal is hiding something from her. He is scared of these dreams and what they represent. Maggie expresses her concerns to Lourdes, who points out that there is nothing physically wrong with Hal. I enjoyed this little exchange with Lourdes, it’s nice to see her interact with someone other than Anne!

Arthur Manchester has a meeting with Anthony to enlist his help in tracking down the mole. As a cop Anthony has the experience that Manchester lacks to properly investigate the people that Manchester suspects. He gives Anthony a list of names, many that Anthony knows well. He wants help narrowing the list.

Tom and Weaver visit the rebel skitter camp to meet with the rebel leader. Through Ben the leader tells them that he has received intel that the Espheni are planning a major offensive against Charleston. This information is met with a certain amount of doubt. It seems that this is not the first time Charleston has been attacked. Since the Volm arrived and help to strengthen Charleston’s defenses they have attacked 3 times and failed. The rebel leader says this new attack is due to the fact that Charleston has been instrumental in throwing the Espheni’s timetable off, and they don’t like it. He also expresses concern about the Volm motives concerning Earth, reminding Tom and Weaver that the Volm are the Espheni’s true target. Before Tome and Weaver leave there is one more piece of intel they need, there is a new Overlord in town to replace the one Tom killed. This one is rumored to be even more ruthless than the last, and human. You guessed it, its Karen. That girl is nothing if not resourceful!

And now we get a quick peek around town. The humans have moved above ground as Charleston has grown. We take a quick walk with Jean has she shows Diego around and then pass Ben and Denny discussing Manga (??). Pope appears on the scene with a case of booze and we get a quick glimpse into the Nest. Then we are back to the main compound where Anne’s water has broken and the Mason clan has gathered to await the new baby. Meanwhile Manchester is working in his office and seems close to uncovering the mole when he has a visitor. One who shoots him with one of those modified weapons. Tom tasks Anthony with solving Manchester’s murder and then returns to Anne’s side just in time to welcome their daughter, Alexis Denise Glass Mason, into the world.

This first episode closes with a few more mysteries to keep us hooked: we catch our first glimpse of baby Alexis and how she may be different from most children when her mom finds her standing up in her bassinet. Maggie finds Hal’s boots hidden away in the wardrobe, covered in mud and leaves. Strange, since he can’t walk. After a rousing speech by Tom at the citizen’s forum (one that doesn’t impress Pope, our resident schemer) we have a private moment with Weaver where he expresses his doubts about Tom’s alliance with the Volm. He makes a very good point, this is a human war and they need to be very careful about trusting any aliens. This leads Tom to share a secret with Weaver. A secret he has been keeping from all of humanity. The Volm have been building a weapon, something they believe will be the deciding factor in this war. Tom has been using all the skirmishes with the Espheni to distract them from this weapon. He obviously believes strongly in this weapon and his alliance with the Volm. It is also obvious that Weaver has his doubts. And we fade to black

Okay, that’s it for now! I will be back with part 2 of the season premiere, “Collateral Damage”, just as soon as I get it written! In the meantime, I would love to get your thoughts on this episode and the season ahead. Who do you think the mole is? Do you trust the Volm? The rebel skitters? What do you think of Tom as president?


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  1. I like that 7 months have passed so there’s plenty of history for the writers to reveal as the season moves along.

    Right now, I’m going with Hal as the mole since Karen can control him. But that might be the obvious answer. Time will tell.

    I’m with Pope on the Volm. There’s more to why they’re helping Tom and company.

    Looks like a great season ahead. Thanks for the recap!