As I’ve been digging through my thoughts and feelings about this first season of Falling Skies, I’ve found myself returning to two major themes: the nature of man, and the nature of skitters. And as I look at these two opposing forces, I can see the metaphoric principles that are underlying in the conflict. I found an interview with Mark Verheiden, one of the producers of Falling skies in Entertainment Weekly, where he defined Falling Skies as a show about “people who are trying to hold on to their humanity”. And that is an excellent definition of the show. Every conflict, every element, everything that the 2nd Massachusetts have done was to hold onto the humanity that defined them.
In an apocalyptic setting, humanity has everything removed from them that they know and love. Housing, basic food sources, neighbors, media, even the idea of total security disappears. So, what do these people have left? They have themselves, their relationships with friends and family, and the hope that they’ll somehow get out of this. Now, many people will let one or more of these desires take over themselves, and their very being. These desires are very good, in and of themselves. However, when people are left alone in their desires, they have a tendency to become encompassing, and eventually take over the person’s life. It’s when a person comes into a community of others that they are able to focus and use these desires for the better-ment of all.
We see these themes constantly appearing in Falling Skies. Tom Mason’s primary desire is to find his son, Ben. However, being the second in command for the 2nd Massachusetts, and having Captain Weaver limit his choices tempers that desire. While him his fellow fighters gather around him, and desire to help him find Ben. It also allows for a community to provide a voice into his goals, and make the best possible choices. In the end, Mason’s goals couldn’t have been reached without the 2nd Massachusetts.
Meanwhile, we have the individual John Pope. A bit of a loner, he is an Ex-convict, and a loner. He had gathered himself a gang in the earlier months of the invasion, and was then captured by Mason and the 2nd Massachusetts. But his independent nature has turned his desires towards self-fulfillment. Pope normally finds that through the slaughter of Skitters, oddly enough. That makes him a threat. he relies on no one else, which keeps him in a dangerous position. The same can be said about Captain Weaver, whose personal desires and drug use have put him in a dangerous leadership position, that makes him sporadic and uncontrollable. He seems to act independent of other’s opinions,and not relying on others for consolation or advice. His unwillingness to listen to the reason of Tom Mason also hurts his relationship with the whole of the 2nd Massachusetts. Even though these two men are contrasted in their desires and positions, they are hindered by the same problem, a lack of community
The contrasting character types of Mason and Pope/Weaver act as the base for how humanity can act. Humanity has always been designed with the need for community. If a person neglects this need, they will likely become lonely, narcissistic and random. Eventually, they will be hard to rely on. However, if one consistently returns to a community, whether it be small or big, they will find far more meaning from what they do. Canadian Philosopher Rene Vaulier once said that “To work for Community is to work for Humanity”. This communal aspect is one of the key to the survival of humanity. If we live without others, we are nothing, but if we live with others, we will find strength, and purpose for one’s life.