TNT's Falling Skies isn't just about fighting aliens, it's also about fighting for one other. While Captain Weaver (Will Patton) is supposed to be the leader, the show has established itself, week after week, as the story of Tom (Noah Wyle) and his boys.
That said, every time the show puts Tom's life at risk, it's not nearly as dramatic as it could be, because Tom is the glue that holds the people together. After surviving the alien ship, it seems like he'll survive just about anything, even Pope threatening his life. When Pope (Colin Cunningham) and his team of Bezerkers take Tom out in the woods to kill him, it's Ben (Connor Jessup) and Jimmy (Dylan Authors) who come to his rescue.
While the story of season two, episode three, "Compass," starts about TomÂ—and how he joins the Bezerkers to keep an eye on themÂ—it's really the story of Ben. That's because Ben and Jimmy have been on the hunt for skidders every time they're on patrol.
"Let's kill some cockroaches," Ben says just before they blow up some with a flamethrower. But there's one skidder they don't manage to kill. After Ben is pushed aside, Jimmy tries, but is only thrown into a tree. The skidder approaches Ben, stares at him, and Ben's spine lights up.
But there's no time to wonder what's happening to Ben, because Jimmy landed on a tree with a stick stabbing him through his abdomen. Miraculously, Ben gets Jimmy to Dr. Anne (Moon Bloodgood), and there seems to be hope for the young soldier. But that doesn't stop Ben from feeling guilty, especially with everyone from the Captain to his brother Hal (Drew Roy) angry with him.
Through all this, there's hope on Falling Skies "Compass." A low-flying plane has landed helmed by Avery Churchill (Camille Sullivan) who has direct orders from the continental congress in Charleston. There's a central command there, and Tom pushes the Captain towards moving south to Charleston, rather than retreating into the mountains for the winter. Tom doesn't want to give up.
And Tom also has some advice for young Ben, telling him it's a lousy situation, but "you don't have a choice but to go on." But first, Ben has to deal with Jimmy's death, because the young soldier's heart fails him. And where's Jimmy's compass? The one Weaver gave him when Jimmy once got lost from Second Mass?
Turns out Pope has it, and he claims "finder's keepers," to which he gets pummeled by Tom. Tom admits he's snapped, causing himself to worry more about his state of mind. But a kissÂ—finallyÂ—with Anne helps, at least for now.
But this story, again, is more about Ben and his grief at Jimmy's death.
"How do you measure somebody?" the Captain asks. Jimmy died a hero, for what he did for everyone in Second Mass. With Jimmy buried and Second Mass dwindled from 300 strong to only 176, they decide to move out to Charleston. But first Hal needs to find Ben.
Unfortunately, a skidder discovers Ben first at Jimmy's grave, and he activates his spine yet again. Thankfully Hal rides in just in time, and the skidder leaves. But is Ben really safe? What is the alien doing to him? That's another mystery for another week.
What did you think of Falling Skies "Second Mass," and are you concerned more for Ben or Tom?