The skitters are still among us when “Falling Skies” returns for its second season on Sunday night with a two-hour premiere — and even better, Tom Mason (Noah Wyle), who boarded an alien spacecraft at the end of last season, meets with the Overlord onboard. As the season plays out, we will find out what the Overload wants from Tom, but for now, he is released to return back to the 2nd Massachusetts Militia Regiment.
“We have already recognized in the first season that the scope of the objectives of the aliens is much bigger than we thought they were,” says Executive Producer Remi Aubuchon. “The alien agenda may surprise a lot of people. It is not what we necessarily expect, but I think that the scary thing about Tom’s interaction on the ship is that we come to understand that they have a plan and they would like us to do their dirty work for them.”
Tom, a former college professor and father of three, returns to his unit, where he is welcomed by most, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some who are suspicious that he may now be an alien plant. Still, the fight to reclaim Earth and freedom from the alien invasion continues as the remaining humans realize that life has changed and it isn’t going to return to normal any time soon.
Preview the Second Season of “Falling Skies”:
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Following are six things Aubuchon wants you to know about “Falling Skies” going into Season 2.
1. The stakes are high and anybody could die: Each battle with the skitters takes its toll on human life — the 2nd Mass is down from more than 300 people to approximately 175 — and in one of the early episodes, a viewer favorite is killed by a skitter. It is a tearjerker of a scene as he is laid to rest — and he is just the first of several to die this season. “The traditional TV strategy is to have a guest star that you kill off at the end of the episode,” Aubuchon says. “But we wanted to explore the idea that this is a harsh world now and consequences happen. It wouldn’t have the same impact if we weren’t killing off people that we loved. We chose those people carefully because there will be a few more people we lose throughout the season. I wanted to make sure viewers understood that the stakes are high and anybody could die.”
2. One of the skitters — a red-eyed skitter — seems to have his own plan for Tom and Ben: In several of the early episodes, there is a red-eyed skitter who seems to be looking after the safety of Tom and Ben — and may even be going against the plans of the Overlord to keep them alive. “Since all skitters look alike, we wanted to make sure you could recognize him,” Aubuchon says, explaining why he has a red eye. “We have a skitter that finds himself dangerously too close to the 2nd Mass. The question becomes: What does he want from Tom? The answer is surprising and really complicated.”
3. Just because the doctors found a way to remove the harnesses from the rescued children, it doesn’t mean that they are safe from alien control: Ben Mason (Connor Jessup) may have been rescued by his father and brother, and Dr. Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood) did remove his harness, but there are still lingering effects from it. One of them may be that Ben has become a very skilled warrior for one his age — but there is more to it than that as the unremoved portion of the harness flashes blue lights from time to time. “We saw in the first season that just because the harness has been removed from our kids doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lasting effect,” Aubuchon says. “I think we will certainly see that the skitters aren’t done with Ben — especially the red-eyed one. Whether or not Ben can resist them, whether or not he can fight against them, or if he will be forced to succumb to their power is what we are exploring. The other component that I think is very interesting to explore about that is Tom recognizing that there is something different about his son and wanting to give unconditional love, but at the same time being concerned about the implications of the behavior he is displaying.”
4. Pope may be a hothead, but he is also the one who says what the others are thinking but too afraid to vocalize: John Pope (Colin Cunningham) and his band of renegades either want Tom dead or banished from the 2nd Mass because they believe that as a result of his stay on the spaceship, he may be under alien control, so they plan his demise. “Pope — and Colin does a wonderful job of portraying him — Pope is raw and has no filters,” Aubuchon explains. “He is the only one saying, ‘the emperor has no clothes.’ He calls out the truth and he gets punished for it. Pope is the unpredictable person who is always going to be calling someone out for their crap. I think that is why Tom hates him so much because he says out loud things that Tom is thinking a lot of the time and that makes for a huge amount of conflict between the two of them.”
5. The goal for season two is to get the 2nd Mass to Charleston, where they will hook up with other remaining militia groups: During their travels, the 2nd Mass runs into another group that tells them that Charleston is the rallying point for the freedom fighters. So, Captain Weaver (Will Patton) makes the decision to head south to Charleston. “We do get to Charleston but it is not exactly what we thought it would be,” Aubuchon says. But it is also a good thing because, “it opens up other storytelling for next season and part of this.”
6. “Lost” star Terry O’Quinn will guest star this season: “Terry O’Quinn is our big find,” Aubuchon says. “We have some wonderful guest stars. We have some semi recognizable faces, but we wanted a big, recognizable star to come in and Terry was game for it. He plays a very different character than he has played before.”
“Falling Skies” returns on Sunday, June 17 with a two-hour premiere beginning at 9/8c on TNT.