As Season 3 of “Falling Skies” opens, seven months have passed since Tom (Noah Wyle) and Anne (Moon Bloodgood), who is very pregnant with their first child, Hal (Drew Roy), Matt (Maxim Knight), Weaver (Will Patton) and the rest of the 2nd Mass reached Charleston, where a reluctant Tom has become the president of the New United States.
During this time, Ben (Connor Jessup), who is still experiencing the effects of having been harnessed, has built an alliance between the government and a band of rebel skitters, who now paint their faces with a red and yellow stripe before battle in honor of Red Eye, their fallen leader.
The humans have been joined in their battle by the Volm, a new race of aliens who are fighting side by side to rid the planet of the Espheni (skitters). The Volm, whose leader is called Cochise (Doug Jones) by the Americans, have brought new weapons that are helping win the war against the Espheni, but can the Volm be trusted? It is a question that Tom faces and for which he has no answer.
Just as things are looking up, the Espheni amp up the action by bringing in Mega Mechs to fight their battles, and it turns out that there is a mole among the residents of Charleston who is feeding their battle plans to the Espheni. Of course, Pope (Colin Cunningham) believes it is the Volm, but Hal is not so sure. He is suffering the ill effects of an encounter with Karen (Jessy Schram) and wonders if he is the one revealing secrets.
xfinityTV got an exclusive interview with executive producer and show runner Remi Aubuchon to get the 411 on Season 3 of “Falling Skies.” Read on to find out what he reveals, as the TNT sci-fi series returns Sunday night.
Is there a theme to this season?
There are a couple of themes that bounce off of each other. If there is one main theme it is: At what cost are we willing to have victory? Are we willing to sacrifice everything to have a victory? Or, are there things that are more important sometimes than just winning? That is not a theme we hit over the head, I am not sure any character articulates that, but we see it in the struggle that Tom Mason is going through.
This season is very focused on Tom Mason and how he leads a group of people toward the goal of getting the Espheni off the planet, yet at the same time holds onto the things he was fighting for initially, mainly his family and the people he has called friends for the last two years of the struggle. That responsibility, which I don’t believe Tom was ever prepared for — even as he read a lot about it as a professor of American history — but he never would have thought of himself as a leader, or of having to step into a position where he was going to have thousands of lives in his hands.
Tom compares the alliance with the Volm to the U.S. and England joining forces with Stalin during World War II? What can you reveal about the trustworthiness of the Volm?
I think that is the really interesting question mark of the season. Are the Volm to be trusted? It is very clear early on that Weaver does not trust the Volm. I think one of the hard parts, and since you brought up the Stalin alliance with England and the United States, is sometimes you have to partner yourself with allies that you might not necessarily trust. But could we really win this war without the Volm? Certainly, history has proven that, while Stalin was not a good guy by any means, we wouldn’t have defeated Hitler without him. I believe that is the same starting point with the Volm.
We have an interesting representative of the Volm in Cochise. He seems to be compassionate. He seems to be smart. He certainly understands the Espheni better than we do. It seems as if he even has a pretty good handle on human beings. So it is a struggle for Tom, because he actually finds himself liking Cochise. I am really not sure that Franklin Roosevelt or Winston Churchill liked Stalin, but here is a case where it is a constant conundrum for Tom, because he is actually starting to really like this creature from another planet.
Can you talk about the addition of Robert Sean Leonard and Gloria Reuben to the cast this season?
I think the reason for including and building up two new characters is we wanted to show different sides of the experience of the post-invasion. In the first season, we were dealing with the arrival of aliens on our planet and what in the hell was going on. The second season was about taking charge of ourselves and trying to take the fight to the enemy. The third season, it has become a way of life now. This is what the world is, so we wanted to expand the cast and show different personalities as we start to get more comfortable with the way things are. I believe both of those characters enhance that idea.
Marina [Reuben] comes from a different point of view. She has clearly had a lot of experience in public life. She understands policy. She understands leadership. Yes, she is Tom’s right-hand person, but in many ways, she is more experienced on the practical side of leadership.
Then we have Roger Kadar [Leonard], who we learn is the person who has been responsible for keeping the infrastructure going in Charleston, with the understanding that he will never leave the basement, or the bowels, of Charleston. Of course, who wouldn’t be curious to find out what actually happened with him [to make him that way]? But the question also is: Is he able to overcome his personal trauma, which obviously was deep and hurtful, in order to become an active participant in the resistance against the Espheni? This is a character I believe we haven’t seen before in “Falling Skies.”
Catch-up on the Season 2 Finale of “Falling Skies” Before Sunday’s Premiere:
I am really enjoying the like/hate relationship between Tom and Pope. It seems they make inroads toward working together, and then they are back to wanting to kill each other. Will it continue this season?
I think what has always been fun in many ways is they are two sides of the same coin, which is why they hate each other. I think Pope sees in Tom a lot of himself, a lot of what he doesn’t like about himself; and I think conversely, Tom sees in Pope some of himself and things that he really hates about himself. In a weird way, they can’t do without each other and yet they hate each other. In Episode 5, that comes to a crazy head, but that episode especially embodies that they need each other to survive and they will never be friends. Once the aliens go away, I am sure they will be on opposite ends of the Earth from each other, but at this stage, they need each other, they know it, and it drives them crazy.
Hal is having a really difficult year being paralyzed. Will we find out what Karen did to him?
I think we will. What the story is, though, is more about what Hal is doing to himself. The fascinating aspect of it is that he is carrying this deep secret that nobody knows about — the audience is privy to it — but the rest of the characters don’t know anything about what is going on with Hal. At the end of Season 2, he was unconscious. We hear when he finally woke up, he was paralyzed from the neck down. Now, he is paralyzed from the waist down. He is having strange thoughts and dreams. He is struggling internally with what to do about it.
We have a mole in our midst. We have an enemy agent in our midst inside Charleston giving secrets to the enemy. And Hal, knowing that something is wrong and something happened to him, is beside himself trying to discover if he actually could be the mole hidden within himself. That to me is the fascinating story: How does he reconcile that? It drives him to the brink of insanity. Drew does an amazing job this season with that struggle and the balance.
Is Anne right that there is something up with baby Alexis, whom she gives birth to in the Season 3 premiere?
First of all, we are not sure if it is all in Anne’s head or not. We know that Alexis is precocious, maybe a little more than precocious. But we are not sure what is going on with Alexis, except that we know for sure there is something going on. The big question it brings up is: What might have happened to Tom when he was on the Overlord’s spaceship? There may have been something that they did to him. We don’t know. But there are certainly other possibilities. Other ways in which Anne’s DNA could have been infiltrated, or maybe the baby was switched, or something was injected into it. We just don’t know. I think that is damn scary.
Now that there is a special machine to remove harnesses, is Ben eligible? Or has he had his on too long?
I believe they have figured out a way in which spikes can be removed. The one thing we learn this season is there is a down side to having spikes, and that is that the candle that burns very bright, burns twice as fast, so that life expectancy is cut in half for any kids that still have spikes. It’s a trickier operation, but it seems we will learn that they can remove those spikes, probably without aftereffects. The real question becomes: Do they want to have their spikes removed? Is Ben willing to go back to a life where he has to wear eye glasses? Where he is the kid that is not chosen for the basketball team? Where he is the kid that is picked on by his brother and older kids?
When we spoke at WonderCon, you told me you had a 10-year plan for the show, but now you are leaving. So did something better come along that you are off to do?
Yes, we have a 10-year plan and that is all true. My good friend David Eick is taking the baton. I have a lot of confidence that he will be carrying it. There are two factors that have to do with me not returning to the show that have nothing to do with my experience at “Falling Skies.” The first is that I have had a long desire to pursue writing science-fiction novels. The sad lesson I have learned running a show is that you can’t do anything else. I really believe that as time ticks on that if I don’t start that journey now, I might never be able to jump on that. I don’t want to be 90 years old and trying to start a novel — there might not even be novels when I am 90.
The second factor is this is a really, really hard show to write and produce. Hopefully, it doesn’t seem like it’s complicated, but it’s very complicated storytelling because you are trying to balance complex character interaction with a fairly huge mythology. At the same time, trying to get that on screen is just exhausting. All of us, by the time we get to the end of a season of “Falling Skies,” we are just burned out. Those are my personal reasons for leaving. I love this show, which is why I recommended David. I wanted to make sure there was someone who would be bringing the show along.
“Falling Skies” Season 3 launches with a special two-hour premiere Sunday, June 9, at 9/8c, before moving into its regular timeslot, Sunday nights at 10/9c.