It’s been 10 months since we last saw our favorite resistance fighters, but this week TNT’s Falling Skies came back with a vengeance. In a two-part season 3 premiere, viewers finally learned who, or what, landed in the newest alien ships, and why they’ve come to Earth. Karen has stepped up as the first ever human Skitter Overlord, while Tom Mason has taken over as the leader of Charleston. On top of that, Tom and Anne’s baby finally was born. The mystery of what happens when you don’t remove an eyeworm in time was also revealed. It’s often difficult to pick one stand out performance on an ensemble show like this, but sometimes one performance manages to stand out in many ways. Maybe the actor/character is essential to the show in some way. Maybe they do something extraordinary that keeps them in your mind long after the episode ends. In yesterday’s 2-hour premiere, Noah Wyle showed why a college professor should be elected President of the New United States. This is why he’s this week’s Most Valuable Actor.
In “On Thin Ice” and “Collateral Damage,” Tom Mason attempted to juggle his duties as the President with being a father. Forging an alliance with the Rebel Skitters and the Vohm led by Cochise has created some tensions among the survivors, but Mason believes an alliance is needed to help defeat the Skitters. Noah Wyle does a wonderful job playing the tough, but understanding leader of the New United States, and attentive new father. In the seven months that has passed on the series, Mason has learned to delegate responsibilities among his men, and to use their strengths to his benefit. Though he has risen up to be President, Tom still carries himself as a man of the people. The same man we met back in season 1. Wyle portrays Mason as a guy who believes he is president in title only. In fact when we talked to him about the new season he said, “Well, I think he’s very humble and self-effacing about it being only sort of a title, then an occupation. I think Tom sees it as something that gives a placebo effect to the people. They need a sense of normalcy. They need a sense of calm. And having a figurehead as a leader, and all the pageantry, rituals associated with that has that effect. Whether he intrinsically feels he’s powerful, effective, or talented in that we have yet to see.”
One of the marks of a good leader is their ability to rally the troops together during a difficult time. After the birth of his and Anne’s new baby, Tom attempted to ease the tensions among the resistance in regards to their alliance with the Rebels and the Vohm by reminding them that the Skitter Overlords will do anything in their power to defeat them, and that they should do the same.
“Our enemy is hellbent on our destruction. It will accept nothing less than our complete annihilation. For two long years we have suffered at the hands of our oppressors and yet we have survived.”
This speech was Mason’s St. Crispin’s Day speech, and Noah Wyle delivered it with such passion that even I wanted to take up arms and fight. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. Granted, Mason isn’t Henry V, but like Henry he is fighting an uphill battle against an enemy better armed than himself. Mason knows that the last thing the resistance needs is to begin fighting amongst themselves. “United they stand, divided they fall,” as the old saying goes. Now that Anne is concerned about the new baby, and the boys are all struggling with their own problems, Tom will undoubtedly find his hands full in his personal life as well. Though these problems he’s going to face seem enormous right now, Wyle has made me believe Tom Mason is capable of rising to any challenge before him. Has he made a believer out of you?
Falling Skies Episode 3×03, “Badlands,” Airs Sunday, June 16, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT)
For most of the shows we cover, we find each episode has an actor that stands out more than the others – one who absolutely owned the episode. This vote isn’t about the other actors not delivering or being any less valuable, but as we mentioned, it’s about who stands out in the episode. It could be a combination of great writing, delivered lines, emotional execution; basically, if it gives us goosebumps or moves us in any way it’s getting a vote. We’ve found that, depending on the show, it’s a lot tougher to see who got our vote. This means that for every episode we, at TVAfterDark, will decide who gets our MVA vote. An actor can be voted several times within a season, but only ONE can be chosen in each episode. You can see our MVA’s here.