Falling Skies is back on Sunday — and things are getting a lot more intense and dangerous for our heroes. But how is this sharper-edged state of affairs going to affect the characters we bonded with in season one?
We spoke to the stars of the show, as well as the new showrunner Remi Aubuchon, a while back. And here's what they told us about what's next for the main characters. Spoilers ahead...
A bump in the romance between Tom and Anne.
Tom's decision to go get on an alien spaceship will cause a few wee complications in his growing romance with Anne, the Second Mass' doctor. In a conference call with reporters, Tom Mason actor Noah Wyle said:
Last year, we showed that there was a great chemistry between the two characters but the practical demands of the day sort of kept them apart. And that's how we didn't a nice job sort of slowly building to that one moment of intimacy at the end when he entrusts his kids to her care and drives off on what could be a suicide mission.
And then the clock gets reset a little bit, as it's been three months since we've seen her, she's assumed, she's dead, he's assumed that she's dead. And all the inherent complications about opening your heart up once it's been destroyed, give them a little bit of an obstacle to have to get past. But ultimately, we end up sort of together.
In our exclusive phone interview, Anne Glass actor Moon Bloodgood added: "You think someone is passed [away], and they come back. You can't simply pick up where you left off. There is a nervousness, and a self-protectiveness that arises. There is a slight chill. We don't get right back into it... We're kind of shy and awkward around each other. You can't not talk about the big elephant in the room: is he contaminated? Is he a fake? They eventually start off from where they left off, and that romance happens. But this isn't a show that dwells on big romantic storylines."
Pope gets his own crew
The good news is, Pope is never going back into the kitchen. "They put a gun in his hand as opposed to a ladle," says Cunningham. After that, there's no going back.
Pope even starts to be taken a bit more seriously as a source of ideas in the fight against the aliens. "The common sense that Pope has, in terms of how he chooses to fight this war, there's a good measure of truth to it. And I think the Second Mass begins to see that. And therefore needs to come around a little bit more, to the way Pope does things, as opposed to the way they prefer to do things."
That said, Pope does not think strategically, and that's not going to change. "I've never seen Pope as the type of man who expects to live one more day." He never misses the opportunity to kill a Skitter, no matter what the big picture might be.
In season two, Pope assembles a group of renegades called the Berserkers, who are "assigned a lot of the dirty work in terms of the fighting."
Oh, and Cunningham promises that Pope will not get a love interest this season. "Maybe he and the Professor share a wink and a smile from across the dance floor, but no. I don't think it's going to happen."
Meanwhile, Pope's history with Maggie (Sarah Carter) gets explored a little bit more, and we learn that there's more to the story than we've heard so far.
Hal's having a weird love triangle
Drew Roy says that Hal Mason is still a teenager, but he's having to be a surrogate father to his two younger brothers, while Tom is missing. And Hal being a father towards Ben, "whom I've pushed around and picked on my whole life," is tough for both of them. Ben, meanwhile, is becoming more rebellious and refusing to listen to Hal's orders or advice. Hal is put in charge of his own unit, but his biggest discipline problem comes from his own brother.
And because Ben is enhanced by the remains of his harness, he's too strong and tough for Hal to push around physically. "Hal is basically embarrassed in front of his girl," says Roy. "That sets the tone for those two characters."
But meanwhile, Ben continues to be the ultimate outsider because of the spikes in his back — and Hal is in a position of constantly sticking up for him.
And meanwhile, there's sort of a weird love triangle going on with Hal, according to Roy. His girlfriend Karen has been taken by the Skitters and harnessed, and now even speaks for the aliens. "He feels an extreme amount of guilt for that," says Roy. "Karen was the first person Hal has ever fallen in love with." Meanwhile, Hal is drawn to Maggie, who has a mysterious past with Pope, among other mysteries. They've been going on missions together for months, and they have a deep bond — which starts to look like more than a friendship, after a few near-death experiences.
Hal Mason has to keep asking himself: "Is this going to distract us and get somebody killed?" Or is his relationship with Maggie provide a "motivation to keep on living and fighting? That's what we're going to see in the second season." Adds Roy: "I was tickled to death to see how the writers did it," because this story goes to some intense places but "never gets too sappy."