“Falling Skies” returns to TNT in just a couple of weeks for its third season, and we joined a conference call with Noah Wyle to get a preview of what to expect.
When the second season ended, the new aliens had just landed in their pods, and when “Falling Skies” season 3 picks up, seven months will have passed. We see that Charleston has formed a new alliance with the Volm, whose leader, Cochise, is played by Doug Jones, and is just one of several new characters who will be introduced. However, just because they’ve formed this alliance doesn’t mean that Tom doesn’t have his doubts. “He’s not a stupid man, and I know that he’s got the same questions and misgivings that everybody else does,” Wyle told reporters, explaining there were two main reasons he put this confidence in this alliance. “The first is that on a gut level, he just sort of trusts this character of Cochise, the lead alien. There’s something about him and the rapport they’ve developed over the last seven months that, despite all signs of trepidation, he inherently trusts him. The second and really more compelling argument is that it’s working, and you can’t really argue with results. These guys show up, they have a technology that’s far superior to anything we have, and through this alliance, our group has not only been able to defend its borders, but expand them, and for the first time since the invasion begins, we’re winning.” It’s also because of this new alliance that Tom has had his change of heart regarding his leadership role. In “A More Perfect Union,” he was all ready to leave Charleston behind and refused the responsibility of being in charge. Now, while he may be the new President in season 3, the actor admitted that his character feels more like “the mayor of a very small town,” comparing this arc to wearing a suit that doesn’t fit very well at first. In the beginning, “he’s sort of playing at being the president as opposed to feeling or being the president.”
We also found out that Anne was pregnant as season 2 came to an end, something that did change things creatively for season 3. Originally, the plan had been for Moon Bloodgood’s character to be developed into an action hero, which they had started to do last year. Instead, the actress’ pregnancy opened the doors creatively to explore what it means to bring a child into this world. While Wyle does see how having a baby in this world could seem “inherently cruel,” he also pointed out that it’s “a biological necessity” and something that seemed right for these two characters where they are in terms of moving on from what they’ve lost. However, he also previewed, “The baby is pretty much embraced by everybody until the baby starts to exhibit very odd behavior.”
A third storyline that carries over from the finale is Hal and his eyeworm. While the one Tom had in the beginning of the season was a way for Red Eyes and the rebels to locate the 2nd Mass, it’s a very different story in his son, which turns out to be “a huge part” of season 3. It’s “basically creating a schizophrenic personality within Hal where he’s no longer conscious of his actions at various intervals, and that’s a really sort of terrifying process, to have in essence a mole within our ranks.”
We’re also going to meet two new recurring characters played by actors with whom Noah Wyle has worked before: Gloria Reuben, who starred alongside him in “ER,” plays Tom’s assistant, Marina, and Robert Sean Leonard, with whom Wyle did the movie “Swing Kids” in 1993, plays Dr. Roger Kadar, a scientist who lives underground in Charleston. Wyle likens Marina to “Tom’s Gal Friday”—at first. While she does help him adjust to his new role as President and the responsibilities that brings, she also serves as “a way of creating conflict within Tom’s learning curve of power.” “We come to realize that she’s fairly ambitious in her own right,” he teased. “She’s got an agenda of her own and doesn’t necessarily always agree with Tom’s decision-making.”
As for Kadar, we’ll see him in six episodes of the season, and it turns out they had initially been looking for a similar character for season 2. (That character developed into Jamil, who suffered his creepy fate in “Molon Labe.”) But they still wanted “to have somebody with a lot of technical expertise who could be a bit of a MacGyver in a crisis…and rather than make him a fully-functioning human being, we wanted him to be almost like a savant or somebody who was wounded to the extent that they were completely anti-social, so that they had their own internal obstacle to get past in order to contribute to the group.” That was where Kadar comes in as someone who has lost his family and so now lives beneath the city, responsible for maintaining the generator system that gives them power. However, Wyle previewed, “We need him to do more than that,” which leads to more conflict.
Finally, he called “Strange Brew,” written by John Wirth and directed by David Solomon, his favorite episode and “the best show we’ve done yet.” While it was filmed last, it will be airing eighth (on July 21). While he couldn’t say much about it, he did tease, “It’s the first time that we really play with the concepts of time within the body of an episode, and it’s just a very clever show. It’s a break with the traditional narrative form for us.”
Other notes from Noah Wyle about season 3:
- This season, the Mason boys get the independence they’ve wanted, “for better or worse.”
- There are “three or four gigantic storylines, all of which had an element of science fiction to them.”
- “There is something up with Tom, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the eyeworm” he had in the beginning of season 2.
- “There are a couple of episodes coming up the latter half of the season that should be pretty terrifying.”
- Each time the tensions reaches the boiling point between Tom and Pope and is ready to pop, “there’s always something that interrupts it from coming to its final conclusion, which is one of them killing the other one.”
- The “probable fourth season” would stick to the 10-episode format.
“Falling Skies” season 3 premieres June 9 at 9 p.m. on TNT.
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