Monday, August 6, 2012

Falling Skies: Pushing Onward to Charleston

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

I'm not necessarily one to notice the soundtrack to something. In fact, I think the only movie soundtracks I've ever owned are Waiting to Exhale, Grease, The Purple People Eater, and Clueless. I didn't personally buy any of them (though they were all well-worn in the mid-nineties). The only one I ever considered buying (but didn't) was Little Nicky. Now, when I go to the movies with someone and s/he immediately starts talking about the "killer soundtrack" the moment we walk out, I'm generally at a loss. It's not that I don't have an appreciation for music (I came to theatre through music, for those who remember that I was a theatre scholar before turning to television journo-blogging), but I don't notice things going on in the background. However, the opening moments to this episode of Falling Skies really grabbed my attention. The music was so captivating that I paused before any dialogue was spoken so that I could turn my full attention to the screen (and away from my slice of chocolate pie, but I digress). This isn't the first time that I've noticed the music in this series, but it's high time I made some serious note of it here.

Now, juxtapose the music in this opening scene with the title of the episode: Death March. Maybe I've read one too many anecdotes from Holocaust survivors (entirely possible), but I couldn't shake the morbid images that come to mind when I read those words. Thinking about them alongside the springy, pizzicato notes didn't mesh well for me. Jumping right into Tom's starting into the darkness didn't help. At Comic-Con, the Falling Skies panel revealed that both a fairly major character would die this season, and that Charleston wouldn't be what the 2nd Mass was expecting. So, I was in the mindset that they were heading to their doom... and when they first come into sight of the southern city, I was afraid that I was right. Luckily, they hadn't come all that way for no reason after all - but I won't spoil it for you early...

Falling Skies "Death March" (S02E08): Still on the move to Charleston, the convoy is beginning to worry about running out of fuel, and even Matt has written out a will in case they don't make it. [when your child who can still count his age on his hands thinks he's going to die, things are really bad. in case you didn't know.] Weaver and his driver (an experienced Marine who doesn't plan on staying in Charleston once they're there) stumble upon the an injured young girl, Jenny, who has a damaged harness. [how did Weaver not know anything of his driver's background before now?] Jenny talks of how the others connected with her were like siblings, and that was the only family she ever had. [awww.] She begins to feel "her brother" Tyler's presence so the convoy temporarily stops. Tyler bangs on the med-van for Jenny, and she pushes everyone out of her way to go to him. [...if she was part of the story for a total of eight minutes, why bother?] They press on, but find that they've reached the end of the line when they see that the bridge leading into Charleston has been destroyed and that the city is in shambles. [... and this is where I started to wonder...] Everyone begins to wonder if there was ever something there, and Weaver tells the 2nd Mass that Charleston was a bust, but he should have known better. The dream wasn't bad, but they're going to have to work harder to build a community. They begin to head back to the vehicles when they meet the First Continental Army, Porter, and Hal. [yay!]

Oh yeah, Hal. See, he and Maggie were driving the scouting truck, with Pope in the back, dropping cans every now and then to mark the path. [what is this, Hansel and Gretel??] The vehicle began to overheat due to low water in the radiator, and Hal took Pope's advice regarding where a river might be. [hearing that Pope used to have children in Florida surprised me... I bet this will come up again!] There's a hole in the radiator hose, which Pope patched while Hal went to get water. Maggie stayed with Pope, and he convinced her that she needs to tell Hal "the whole truth" about "what" she is. [for a split-second there, I was a little afraid that maybe she had once been harnessed or something!]
Photo Credit: Cate Cameron
When they get back on the main road, Maggie jumped right in to giving her life story... after the tumors, she got hooked on drugs, broke into houses, went to jail, and had a baby while in the correctional facility. [yep... that IS a big pill to swallow!]
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