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Headscratchers: Falling Skies
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    Season One 
  • In the pilot, Tom states that they don't have to defeat the Skitters; they just have to be a gigantic pain in the ass until the Skitters realize that Earth is too much of a hassle to deal with and leave. The justification for this explanation is that Tom points out that humans have successfully done this over and over again though out our history. But he's attributing human behavior to a clearly non-human alien race. Isn't that a very dangerous assumption when you're fighting an enemy you know virtually nothing about?
    • Probably. But he's a history professor, not a xeno-psychologist. His reference pool is history, where that kind of strategy has proven effective many times. What surprised me is you didn't get some hardcore sci-fi fan pointing out the whole "aliens are alien" thing. But that might be more an issue of who's in charge than anything else.
    • While there are very likely differences in psychology between two completely unrelated species, some level of rational behaviour seems inevitable from a technologically advanced species. It's hard to imagine that the Skitters don't consider having their people killed and their ships blown up to be a bad thing, so if the humans can do that enough it could potentially offset whatever it is the Skitters hope to gain from coming to Earth.
      • I feel like the biggest issue with this plan is that in all of the examples he can give from human history, the occupying army had an easy way to get back home, just get back in your boats and sail back across the Atlantic, or get back in your planes and fly away. Whereas we have no idea whether the aliens can just get back in their ships and fly home or if there's some limitation to the amount of fuel they brought.
    • Agreed, the Skitters seem like they're... individuals, perhaps is the best term, not a species of insects willing to Zerg Rush. Still, it would rather suck for humans if the Skitters were like Orks, where fighting is literally all they live for.
      • Surprisingly, in the season finale, after humans have managed to make bullets that can pierce alien/mech armor, create a jammer for skitter communications, and deal structural damage to one of the motherships, the Slenders have offered to talk with the humans in order to understand them better. Maybe Tom was onto something after all?
  • Why pick Earth? Why not invade Mars and not deal with the annoying Puny Earthlings? Or even a random rock in the asteroid belt, or any of the other planets? They all have resources. Come to think of it, why did they even come here?
    • While reactions to the film were mixed, Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon did point out one resource that our planet has in abundance: slave labor.
    • But if that was the case, then why wipe out most of our race?
    • It's easier to harvest slaves when they're shell-shocked and demoralized, rather than in huge numbers. Take a couple sample populations, breed them up, control their knowledge intake so that it conforms with their propaganda, and blammo! Willing slaves in just under a hundred years or so.
      • Which was also used in Transformers 3: The Decepticon invaders make a statement by first forcing the humans to give up the one thing that could save them ( The Autobots), seemingly destroy their only possible saviors in front of them after they gave them up, so they can't get them back, and then kill everything in one of the bigger cities, and use it as a base of comand, effictivly demoralizing the human race. The show has a lot of parrellels to T Formers 3, probably because Steven Speilberg was in on both's creation.
    • Mars sort of has a reputation for having no breathable air and low, low temperatures.
      • And that would matter to an alien life form whose tolerances are unknown to us... how? For all we know, they could be some kind of creature like those that live at the bottom of deep-ocean trenches, or hot vents- extremophiles, they're called. Yes, the Skitters and the Slenders (the tall, skinny ones, due to their resemblance to Slender Man,)) have been shown on Earth, walking around with no problem... but do they have the same lack of problems in other environments?
      • Given that the aliens invaded Earth and not Mars... I'm going to say that they like oxygen.
      • Maybe they don't even need to breathe... The tall ones, I mean. We haven't seen much evidence about them at all, so most of this is just idle speculation. Still, if they want scrap metal, and mechs don't need air, then a martian mining colony (purely automated) for iron extraction... hmmm...
      • Not if most of their resources are isolated incident, and resistance groups have been confirmed elsewhere in America, so surely there must be worldwide resistance, requiring more resources than the aliens can spare right now.
    • Not only slave labor, biosphere in general offers some resources that can't be found without it.
    • I had assumed that the real reason for the invasion was to remove a potential rival or threat AKA those nasty apes that occasionally like to kill each other and everything else that looks at them funny. Lets face it invading a planet full of violent and sentient creatures for resources you can find anywhere else is just plain stupid. This is a problem I had with Battle:LA. "Oh noes they is here for our water!!!!" What have they never heard of comets?
  • Why are there no bicycles in the show? Come to think of it, almost no post-apocalyptic setting features this ridiculously primitive invention (see here). They have motorcycles and cars, but those are rare and require precious fuel that must be found first. Bicycles don't require anything other than air to pump into tires (which cars and motorcycles require too). Bicycles are much quieter than motorized vehicles and are much faster than walking. Admittedly, bicycles don't have the same coolness factor as cars or motorcycles, but a post-apocalyptic survivor would be more concerned with practicality than coolness.
    • Load carrying and terrain are two possible reasons.
    • Also, the webcomic states that motorcycles are preferred because they are more than able to outrun the Mechs.
    • It's also likely that quite a few of the civilians aren't in any condition to ride a bike. If some of your group are on crutches or carried on stretchers, that's going to keep everyone else at walking pace if you're trying to keep together, anyway.
      • A bicycle with luggage racks and saddlebags can haul a good 50 pounds of supplies; not much less than what regular soldiers carry into combat. The Viet Cong were able to move incredibly large amounts of supplies (including artillery) on their bicycles by loading them down with equipment and walking beside them. Often, entire battalions of VC infantry would be mounted on bicycles. The geography of Massachusetts is less uneven than that of Vietnam, so I don't think terrain factors into it.
      • Granted, speed is an advantage. But if the mechs can hear them coming, what's to stop them from just laying an ambush for approaching riders?
      • Bicycles can be rode double (uncomfortable, but not hard when you get used to it), and it wouldn't be too hard to fashion wheeled stretchers for anyone who can't walk and/or peddle (something like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/25831992@N03/2641951145/)
      • A bicycle, however, has a much more limited range. A scout would have to spend all day on a bike to see and report what he can on a motorcycle. He'll also be tired after a long day's ride, which is detrimental to his ability as a scout. And the mechs haven't been actively hunting the humans; they only set up ambushes in places like grocery stores and armories so as to catch the humans who try to raid those places. Otherwise, the aliens only ever bothered to go after the humans when they know where they are.
  • Small problem I had with the American Revolution analogy: Tom repeatedly talks about making a big enough problem for the invaders was what will drive them away, same as the American Revolution. Except one teeny, tiny, problem with that: That isn't how the war ended, the British left because while they were establishing their empire, they pissed off the French, Spanish, and a good few other equally powerful empires, who promptly pushed them into Canada. So is that Tom's plan? Wait until other equally powerful and possibly also evil Alien empires decides to get revenge on the Skitters for some wrong they did to them? Because otherwise, as sad as it is, Pope would be right, being a pain in their invaders ass will just repeat the Indian wars: Thousands of more Skitters will come and Kill Them All.
    • And even if Tom is right in his wrongness, and aliens attack the Skitters and force them to withdraw from earth, what next? If they're bad enough to make the skitters go away, they might not be friendly- earth hasn't had historical good luck with alien contact in fiction, Spielberg's previous works notwithstanding. For all we know, the Skitters could be considered good guys in space...
    • The Indians (and the Little Ice Age) did win against the Vikings. One of the few wars they won, but still...
    • I was wondering that too. One of the reasons the United States lost the Vietnam war was because their was a limit to how much we could escalate and apply our use of force against the local resistance. No nukes, no bombing NV airfields or industrial centers etc. Unless there is a space USSR out there willing to stick up for us puny humans whats to stop them from carpet nuking the planet if they fail to occupy it?
      • The aliens' goal isn't entirely clear yet, but it involves harnessing the children. Carpet bombing the planet into oblivion would destroy the very thing they came for.
      • True but thats better than just leaving the planet after it becomes too much to handle. If you were in the position of the aliens would you just abandon a planet full of pissed off sentient lifeforms who's very existence now revolves around getting into space and fucking up your shit?
    • Mason's knowledge of the American Revolution is entirely cribbed from middle-school history textbooks. Either he's a master bullshit artist trying to give people hope that he knows is false, or (more likely, given Steven Spielberg's involvement) his dumbed-down patriotic version of history is a (possibly-acceptable) break from reality.
    • Well, as of Season 3, his analogy seems a lot more apt.
  • Why did Maggie bring back heroin of all things when she went scouting for meds? Is there some process I'm not aware of that allows one to create legitimate medicine from heroin?
    • Not medicine. Painkillers for surgery. Morphine is preferable, but the side effects of heroin is better than the nightmare of doing surgery on someone who is fully aware.
    • Heroin is diacetylmorphine - a prodrug that breaks down to morphine and 6-monoacetylmorphine (an equally active opioid metabolite) in the body, hence significantly more powerful than morphine. It's actually used for palliative pain relief in the UK and a few other countries, for pain conditions in which morphine and hydromorphone (Dilaudid) just won't cut it.
    • And with most of the hospitals already looted months ago or under surveillance by the Skitters, raiding a heroin stash is logistically easier than tracking down FDA-approved drugs.
  • Jimmy's character (He's the thirteen year old fighter) is beginning to bug me. One of the first (if not the first) things we see of him is when he screws up a seemingly basic recon mission by trying to save a dog from a Mech. In the same episode, Weaver says he's a good fighter. In Sanctuary, Jimmy is on watch with another character, and their post gets hit by a Mech. Jimmy does nothing; he doesn't return fire, he doesn't make any real effort to help his comrade, he retreats into the school on the verge of tears, where he is attacked by a skitter. Despite having multiple chances to attack and fight back, he doesn't (he does fire into the air when he is grabbed by it and the skitter lets go. But since the skitter probably doesn't want to kill him, it letting go probably had less to do with him getting hit or being afraid and more to do with just trying to get a better angle on him so he can capture him.) He then shows an ineptness in the field of firearms when his gun stops firing bullets and he seems to think its jammed, despite the fact that its very obviously just ran out of ammo, and reloading and firing could've killed the Skitter. In the finale, he helps free Tom by distracting the guard long enough for Tom to get his hands on him. while Tom and the guard are fighting he...stands there watching, instead of using his gun to pacify the guard, either by threatening him with it or hitting him with the butt of the gun. Instead, he chooses to leave for a few seconds to get Hal, putting Tom (and untrained, albeit combat hardened history professor) against the Lieutenant who was guarding him (an Army ranger, if I remember correctly.) This is despite the fact that earlier in the episode, Jimmy was apparently so integral to the inner workings of the second mass that he was with Weaver and the Lieutenant in what seemed to be a private strategy meeting. I guess what I'm saying is that, despite the show telling us otherwise, Jimmy has shown to be an inept and undisciplined soldier. Its really disappointing to me because I was really excited for Jimmy's character (Children and growing up is a main theme of the show, so if he was an alien killing badass it would've really added some depth to some subplots).
    • The point is that is is a kid. That he gets to be a soldier only show how desperate the adults are. Badass kids is exactly what this show doesn't need.
    • OP here. I used that answer to justify his existence at first too, but then i remembered that there are 100 fighters and 300 non-combatants, some of which are able bodied adults. So...what? there are adults there who just don't want to fight and they'll let some little kid take their place? it seems like Weaver or Tom might take offense to this. Also, i don't think they train anybody (after all, they probably can't spare much ammunition for firing practice and hand to hand combat doesn't benefit anybody when the enemy is...well, an alien) so it isn't like if they replaced Jimmy with an able bodied adult that they lose someone with training. Also, who decided that it was okay for him to be a fighter? He's an orphan (not sure if they ever said it or not, but i think its obvious) so it isn't like his parents said it was okay. and i have to question the leadership of the 2nd Mass if Weaver passed up drafting adults so he can have a kid as a fighter. Hell, i'm not even sure if he can use a rifle properly; his arms might not be long enough for him to put the butt to his shoulder, he probably has to tuck it between his arms. What i'm trying to say is that him being a fighter only makes sense if he's competent at it. There seem to be people who could replace him, and they probably should, because the only thing he's ever done (on screen) is put people in danger. it may be really emotional to see a kid with a gun, fighting for his life and planet, but in the context we've been given it just brings up a lot of questions.
      • Competent fighters are few and far between. Most of the 2nd Mass has "on the job training". Jimmy is an orphan and so has been drafted to fight out of convenience and desperation rather than any sort of competency. When Weaver calls him a good fighter it's in reference to the other fighters they have available. Jimmy also sees a good amount of favoritism from Weaver, who has his judgment clouded by his fondness for the boy. Jimmy has, however, shown a remarkable ability to cope with the situation, reacting to news of deaths and his own ability called into question with mere disappointment. He is also eager to fight and knows how to use his M4, so that puts him leagues above all the other civilians anyways. The webcomic makes a point of showing several kids being given weapons, with Porter reasoning that they need to know how to defend themselves, too. So the resistance may make wider use of conscripted orphans.
      • Jimmy had probably already been fighting, just to stay alive, before the 2nd Mass found him. Are they supposed to forbid him to do so now, knowing he'd probably resent being stuck with the little kids, and that he'd just be returning to combat as soon as he's a couple of years older? Plus, many of the "able-bodied" adults are either too logistically-valuable to place in danger, like medical personnel and skilled mechanics, or aren't as suitable for soldiering as they look (e.g. someone who's very nearsighted or is known to panic under fire).
    • Wanting to save the dog wasn't a screw-up, it was Jimmy's responsibility to handle and watch out for the animal. It's a trained strategic asset that they use as a decoy, not a pet; if he got in trouble in the process of retrieving it, that was a soldier's tactical misstep, not a child's lack of judgement.
    • If Jimmy is: a) physically fit, b) able to follow orders, c) able to maintain his gear and d) able to hit what he's shooting at more often than not, then he's a better soldier than 90% of civilian adults. If he learned to do so under the crapsack conditions the 2nd Mass works in, where the military takes months of carefully controlled training, then he's a phenomenal soldier for 13. Also, Weaver's fond of him, so that colors his judgment.
  • How exactly did Porter survive? He implies that he wasn't yet retired from the military, so how did he survive the total destruction of all military units and bases?
    • I think it was said that he was a reservist, meaning he was technically in the military when it happened, but he stayed at his own home and reported for duty like a normal job.
    • Even if his unit had been on active duty when the invasion hit, Porter himself could've been on leave at the time and visiting his family.
    • Or he might have made it through out of sheer luck. I wouldn't be even remotely surprised if the areas around Fort Bragg, Camp Pendelton and other places you will find special forces units are considered hellholes by the skitters because the some of the guys responsible for training and initiating insurrections before the invasion survived.
  • Rick had been showing obvious signs of mental imbalance/seditious sentiment for as long as he'd been away from the skitters. Sometime after willingly reharnessing himself and before trying his hardest to rejoin them, did anyone think it might be a good idea to stuff him in a straightjacket? Or at least assign someone to keep an eye on him in case he ever makes good on his openly pro-alien sympathies?
    • The only person who heard his pro-skitter ramblings was Ben, who didn't tell anyone because he thought the problem would go away. As far as everyone else knew Rick had a brief episode where he tried to put his harness back on but nothing since the skitter prisoner was killed. Even if they had some humane restraints to put him in (which I don't believe they did) they had little reason to believe it necessary, and they had other problems on their minds.
  • The aliens nuke Boston, and the EMP fries most cars and electronic gizmos...but what about all the stuff that sits in basements or metal boxes or is otherwise shielded or hardened? And presumable all the mechs they've blown up and taken apart lately can be raided for semiconductor devices...power transistors at least. It's even made a point in some later episode when Pope is melting down the mech that the insides look like they could've come from any Earth-built industrial robot.
    • Working electronics is hard to come by even considering that some of them may have been shielded at the time of the attack.
  • Where the hell did Tom get a fully automatic AK-47 in Massachusetts? They're illegal for civilians and the US military doesn't use them. Did someone upconvert a semi-automatic model or something? Not to mention where is he finding 7.62mm ammunition when everyone else is using .223 Caliber AR style rifles?
    • Automatic weapons are not illegal in Massachusetts, just extremely restricted. They are legal with a very rare "machine gun" license, which is rarely issued except to bonafide collectors of antiques or law enforcement trainers. Tom may have been a gun collector before the invasion (given his obsession with history it would be in-character) or the 2nd Mass may simply have looted the gun from someone who was licensed to own it (or from someone who illegally owned it). Ammunition is a trickier question, but there are AK-47 variants that shoot .22 caliber so it's not out of the realm of possibility.

    Season Two 
  • So from somewhere in Michigan back to Boston... you think he crossed the Great Lakes to Canada, or did he go south through Ohio?
    • Tom can travel over 600 miles from (the very closest part of) Michigan to Boston, with nary a Skitter to bother him. Why not lead the 2nd Mass back to that wide open area with no Skitters?
      • The 2nd doesn't want to go where there are no Skitters; they want to go where they can fight Skitters.
    • Where did he get gas for the bike?
      • Picked clean every drop he could conceivably find.
    • The girl waited until they got to Boston to talk to him about... anything?
      • Her mother was just killed, after an alien invasion wiped out the better part of humanity. Chances are she's too traumatized to even speak very
  • In the second episde, why did Ben swim across the river when there was clearly enough of the bridge left to jump or step across?
    • I think Pope said something about the bridge not even being safe enough to walk across. And even if it was, walking across the bridge would have made him a sitting duck with no cover if more flyers came around.
  • Where do you find a DShK in New England?
  • Why are the "Mech bullets" conspicuously absent, even though fighters routinely fire hundreds of rounds at the Mechs?
    • Possibly saving their materials for their higher caliber rounds that would be more effective at taking down a Mech. The 50 Cal machine gun in particular.
      • It appears that a DShK can pierce mech armor, unless it was in fact loaded with those rounds. Earlier in the premier the characters mention using a Barret .50 to set up an ambush and imply that a .50 can penetrate the armor.
  • In "Death March", if Hal, Maggie and Pope are the sole advance scout, why are they taking a different road from the main convoy?
    • I didn't get the impression they were taking a different route until they had a breakdown. They were riding ahead of the convoy to scout out the road and find a clear passage for the main group, but had to take a detour to see to their radiator. If they were taking a different route, then it would have been to scout out the surrounding area for signs of aliens or for alternate routes the convoy can take.
  • Why was a full bird Colonel out on a patrol?
    • Uh, crippling manpower shortages? More likely the soldiers found Hal and crew and brought them to Porter, who realized that the 2nd Mass was out there and decided to take out a group to meet them. It would certainly explain why the rest of his patrol was dressed for the job and he wore only his uniform.
    • I didn't see a particular lack of men in uniform there.
      • It's possible that Manchester would only allow Porter to take out a patrol if he led it. Or, see the above where Porter joined the patrol to greet the 2nd Mass.
  • Was the Season Finale originally intended to be two episodes? Because the entire episode felt extremely rushed and poorly directed. To me, anyway.
    • It seemed well directed, it just fell into that sweet spot where its too much content to fit into one episode comfortably, but not enough to make two episodes out of without a ton of filler.
  • How did Porter make it to Charleston? He tells Weaver and Tom that only five of his unit survived the attack by the aliens so they decided to head south to Charleston. Ignoring the irresponsibility of just up leaving when he knew other units still assumed he was in command, how did he even know Charleston was a thing when the 2nd didn't find out for months?
    • Perhaps he ran across the girl in the biplane and she directed him to Charleston.

     Season Three 
  • So what happened to Avery Churchill, the girl in the plane who told the 2nd Mass about Charleston? Did she ever return? Did she get shot down? Was she able to find anyone else to send to Charleston?
  • In "Journey to Xibalba", Tom takes a boat from Boston to Charleston with evidently no problem at all. If boats were available, why didn't the 2nd Mass send a few scouts sailing down the coast to Charleston in the first place?
    • A boat was available, and it was a tiny sail boat at that. He did tell Pope "I found a boat" which implies they aren't readily available everywhere. Your question is like asking "If Pope has a plane, why doesn't the 2nd Mass just use planes to get everywhere?"
  • If the eyebugs are so effective at controlling people, why do the aliens bother with harnesses at all?
    • Maybe the eyebugs are too expensive to mass produce, which would explain why we have only seen two people infected by them and only when the overlords were starting to get desperate.
      • But Lourdes looked to have 10-20 in her, when 1 was shown to be enough in Hal.
      • Presumably the Overlords were just being Crazy-Prepared regarding Lourdes.
      • Or perhaps Lourdes was simply storing the extra bugs in her body, looking for opportunities to infect others.
  • Why does Tom assume everyone wants to keep fighting? Surely there are some humans, families with children, or elderly and frail who really would want to be shipped to Brazil. Tom professes to believe in democracy and freedom, but he seems pretty quick to make an assumption without asking people what they want first. Surely some people ought to go to Brazilnote , just to ensure the continuation of the species - or at least split it up into two groups.
    • Because the vast majority of people have expressed their distrust of the Volm to Tom even before the relocation, he was pretty much the only one that trusted them. Sure, maybe a few people would have actually wanted to go but the point is he felt he knew how his people would react, and seeing how they reacted when the Volm showed up, he was right.
  • I guess The Laws and Customs of War are out the window on the human side, too. When Karen comes under a white flag to talk, Tom summarily shoots her. This is 'absolutely prohibited. Of course, given the atrocities of the other side, being conscientious is tantamount to suicide, but still. On the other hand, Karen brought a Mech to the meeting, which would also be prohibited (Mechs being tantamount to heavy armor).
    • Yes, obviously the "laws and customs of war" are out the window in this case. The only practical reason any nation today still obeys those laws and customs is because if you disregard them toward the enemy then the enemy will disregard them toward you. But in this case the enemy has long since disregarded the customs of war, and our idea of "humane warfare" is sure to be completely alien to them anyway.

     Season Four 
  • It's been over a year since regular civilization ended, and kids will still crack jokes about Walmart and the History Channel? Adults, yeah - but for kids "normal" is well into ancient history.
    • Considering the kid who did both of these jokes was Matt, son of Thomas Mason (a history major who is physically unable to go five minutes without lecturing someone about some previous historical event that matches with the current situation), one can see how. Besides, the kids probably just picked it up from hearing what the adults said. If all the adults quip about that, the kids will of course pick it up.
    • A year isn't that far away. Most of these kids are old enough to remember life before the invasion, and it's not like they'd magically forget all that stuff in just a year's time. If the show jumps ahead to the point when most of the children seen on screen were born after the invasion, then the jokes would seem weird.
  • Where are the Espheni finding all these unharnessed kids? I thought the earth was largely depopulated, and kids were a rare commodity.
    • Depopulated in relative terms. There's still a sizeable number of humans left, but presumably way lower than our current numbers.
  • Just how in the blood-soaked protestant Hell did Mason's needle penetrate Scorch's armor, which has been shown to block bullets beforehand? And how did Scorch remotely think it was a good idea to track down Mason without any guards?
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