EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

'Falling Skies' premiere: Just another day in ghetto paradise

Season 4 | Episode 1 | “Ghost in the Machine” | Aired June 22, 2014

It’s a beautiful day in the post-alien-invasion world of Falling Skies. The members of the 2nd Mass have been on the road to Charleston for 22½ days and are in good spirits as they make their way up a long, high hill. Tom Mason has father-son time with his son, Matt. Walter Payton is name-checked. Ben scoops up his brother for some familial roughhousing: “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.” Matt doesn’t know who Walter Payton is, but Ben knows The Hollies? Oh-kay. People laugh and joke. Families bond. Who are these people, and what have they done with our surly band of rebels? The group crests the hill and gazes gratefully down on Charleston, happy and hopeful.

Naturally, that’s when all hell breaks loose.

Esphemi planes streak through the air and drop obelisks that slam into the ground as fence posts, and immediately fire up to frame a deadly electric fence. Before our heroes can process this, a mech shows up and fires on the group. Everyone scatters into separate groups: Ben, Lexi and Lourdes run off with Maggie. Anne gets splintered off with Anthony. Tom finally gets his Volm rifle up to take down a flyer, but his second shot at the mech knocks him senseless. He winds up passed out in the field with Hal, Pope, Tect and others still fighting around him. Matt is separated from Tom and runs off on his own.



On the walls of his makeshift cell, Tom has etched the entirety of the Gettysburg Address in neat lines that never crash into one another. Basically, Tom Mason continues to be the history professor you never wanted to get or can’t wait to have. Dealer’s choice. Colonel Weaver is shoved into the room next to Tom’s. He screams crazy at the skitter guards, out of which we learn that Jeanne was taken by the new flying things and the Esphemi are collecting people every day. The men reunite. It looks like they’re in a makeshift solitary of a skitter jail in the middle of a ghetto — as in the Warsaw ghetto of WWII, not Hell’s Kitchen circa 1985.

Down in the streets, humans scrounge for food while dodging patrolling skitters. We get a glimpse of the new “thing” that essentially looks like a man-size, mutated hornet with claws and a tail, and see the Esphemi ship that hovers over the ghetto. Tect and Hal try to take down the electric fence with a holy hand grenade or whatever it is they’ve rigged up under Tom’s orders (he’s still directing the resistance from solitary). The guys fail because they don’t have enough juice.

In yet another corner of their whole new world, Anne leads a ragtag group of fighters. Anne is now a badass. She expositions to Anthony how the Volm came, stayed for three weeks, and left. “That was months ago. You’re still waiting for them to come home with the ice cream?” Only if it’s chocolate-peanut butter. A soldier runs up with a report of an upcoming enemy convoy of supplies. They plan to hit it in the morning.

Ben wakes in an run-down bed superstore, where decrepit signs for sales are marked with Chinese letters under English words. Maggie is thrilled to see him awake after a four-month coma. They’ve found refuge there in Chinatown. Lourdes shows up looking fabulous and sounding high. A now young-adult, white-blonde Lexi is the spiritual leader of this new, peaceful, easy-feeling sector of humans that remains free of Esphemi influence or attack. Ben is confused, given that four months ago, Lexi looked like an eight-year-old girl. “I’ve changed,” Lexi says. Huh, no kidding. Lexi wears the same necklace of three interlocking circles that Lourdes has around her neck. She explains that her necklace means unity, “for all three of us.” Oh-kay. Is there Kool-Aid in the post-alien invasion world? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure they’re drinking it. Later, Ben rushes Maggie in the unisex shower and demands his guns, worried about what happens when the mechs find their little slice of postapocalyptic paradise. Maggie tells him a mech did find them a few months ago. She wanted to kill it or run, but Lexi kept telling them to wait; then the mech was struck by a bolt of lightning. “Suddenly, everything in the world seemed to stop.”

At night, Tom slips free of his cell and runs around the ghetto as a masked vigilante on a motorbike. Tom of the Hood! Where he gets the petrol is anyone’s guess. The Esphemi make a food drop, and Tom of the Hood keeps Pope from hoarding all the supplies. Hal and Tect also police the drop. I can’t tell if Hal knows the vigilante is his dad or not. Skitters pursue Tom of the Hood through the ghetto while people line the roads to cheer him on.

Tom doesn’t only have Lincoln’s words on his wall, but a grid map of the ghetto too, hidden behind a broken picture. Weaver has a nightmare about Jeanne. Tom ignores the rambling and tells Weaver he’s working on a way out of there for all of them. He doesn’t think the Esphemi want to kill them anymore. “They want us lucid; they want us sane. Why?” The men agree the aliens need the humans, but Tom is still thinking over the why. “Well, let me know when you think up an AK-47,” Weaver snarks. Heh.

Matt is stuck in an alien version of the Hitler Youth (Hitlerjügend in German, or HJ) complete with a blond, Aryan overseer, and propaganda films on which a British-accented woman extols the merits of uniting with the Esphemi for a happy, peaceful life. These are the Esphemi Youth (EJ). After the video concludes, the kids line up for food, but have to recite the party lines before they’re allowed to eat. Matt is earmarked to be squad leader, and as such, is supposed to corral the kids who resist. Later that night, a few of the kids gather in Matt’s dorm room to go swing dancing plan a resistance.

Back in the ghetto, Tect and Hal head into Pope’s bolt hole, where he’s living it up in his bathrobe, watching bootlegged episodes of Gilligan’s Island. They want to borrow his generator to make another attempt on the fence, but Pope is done being a contributing part of the new society. Hal tries to take it, but Pope jumps him, and though Hal fights back this time, he still loses. Tect helps Hal up. “Boy, you are your daddy’s son.” A stranger intently watches them as they head out.

Anne’s team hits the convoy. When the explosives don’t work, she orders Dick to take off his shirt. Good call. Anne makes a quick Molotov cocktail and blows up the truck. Huzzah! Dick runs over to give us ample time to appreciate his ripped chest. Anthony shows Anne the surprise cargo: children. Dick puts his shirt back on (damn it!) as Anne’s team shows Lexi’s picture to the kids. Anthony realizes none of the kids are wearing harnesses. They split the team up so that one group takes the children to the checkpoint while the other follows the road to see where the truck was headed.

Tom of the Hood meets up with Cochise on opposite sides of the fence. Tom’s a mite angry since it took four months for Cochise to show up. Turns out while the Volm thought their families were safely hidden in the Alicante 8 Cluster, the Esphemi found the Volm’s safe house galaxy, so they had to leave the humans to save their own species. There are now only a few scattered tactical teams of Volm left on Earth, and they believe the Esphemi are constructing a new power source that would make it impossible for the Volm to help the humans. They are under orders not to engage the Esphemi. Cochise adds that the ghetto camps are worldwide, and even the Volm don’t know the Esphemi plans anymore. “I fear the human race is facing extinction.”

Hal and Tect are out of options for the fence. The stranger from outside Pope’s bolt hole joins them. His name is Dingann Botha, and he’s escaped from ghettos before, though each time the Black Hornet has scooped him up and dumped him somewhere else. I knew it was an alien hornet! He is sure there’s a way out of Charleston’s ghetto too.

Weaver catches Tom returning to his cell via an elevator shaft. He’s a lot calmer, so Tom loops him in: He’s working on a way out of the ghetto for everyone, but it’s still too risky at the moment since they don’t know enough about the enemy. Weaver wants to be filled in, but now, finally, Tom begins to suspect his friend’s sudden appearance, rapid changes in behavior, and demands to know all of Tom’s plans. Tom is determined to get the whole 2nd Mass family back together.

Under the full moon, Lexi sits in her dojo, calmly flipping through a book. On the wall is a tapestry of the three-ring emblem. Out in the bush, Anne wakes up with a shout. Anthony checks whether she’s having the same dream, and Anne corrects that it’s a memory of being on the Esphemi ship while Karen touches inside her. “I have to find Lexi.”

Outside, a random man spray-paints a stencil of Tom of the Hood on a wall that calls him GHOST. Up in the zeppelin, a new type of overlord observes all. He sends a message to someone down below: Bring me the vigilante immediately, or we exterminate every last one of them.

End credits.

What did you think of the premiere? Is Weaver a spy for the Overlords? Will Lexi lead them all to doom or salvation? What is up with that symbol? Are there typos in Tom’s rendition of the Gettysburg Address?

Falling Skies airs on Sundays at 10/9 C on TNT.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

You May Like