“Falling Skies” Executive Producer Remi Aubuchon wasn’t kidding around when he told XfinityTV in an interview to launch the season that “the stakes are high and anybody could die.” Sunday night’s episode was proof he is a man of his word when viewer favorite Jimmy Boland (Dylan Authors) died.
Jimmy had been out secretly hunting skitters with Ben Mason (Connor Jessup) when the two young boys came upon four of the aliens. They managed to take out two, but then Jimmy was thrown to the ground by one, landing on a tree branch and impaling himself. Despite the best attempts of Dr. Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood) to save him, Jimmy died after surgery.
“That was a tough one,” says series star Noah Wyle, who plays Tom Mason. “It is great storytelling when you kill a character that everyone has grown fond of. It is really hard on the cast to one week feel you are part of the cabal club and you are in for the long haul — and then you get the script and that is not the case. It sends shock waves through the production.”
The import of the death was played out at Jimmy’s funeral. It was a touching moment as the members of the 2nd Massachusetts Militia Regiment paid tribute to their fallen young comrade — and it hit home that any one of them could be next.
“At the funeral, I was bawling,” admits Bloodgood. “I wasn’t even acting. I was really crying. It was a good sendoff. At some point, I was, ‘Am I going to get killed?’ You don’t how long you are going to be dancing at this dance. It always scares me when a character dies because you feel as if you are dealing with your own mortality as well.”
But for Drew Roy, who plays Hal Mason, an on-screen death can also be taken as a compliment that the character was loved enough that their demise would mean something. “The producers are not just going to kill some nobody who doesn’t amount to anything,” he says. “There is so much in the power of a death. It pulls those heartstrings and demonstrates what world we live in now. It shows that we are human.”
“It certainly keeps us on our toes,” adds Colin Cunningham, who plays bad boy John Pope. “I think we have all wondered from time to time if we were going to be next. I think the bigger picture is the strength of the show. It is bigger than any one piece. If the story dictates that someone dies, well, that is kind of what happens in real life, too. I think the integrity of the show is to go with that.”
So what happens behind the scenes when a cast member dies?
“We throw a good party for those people, buy them a nice gift and tell them they are a huge part of what has made [the show] a success up to this point, and that it’s a family they are going to be included in for its duration and you wish them all the best,” Wyle concludes.
“Falling Skies” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on TNT.