Falling Skies Preview: Will Pope Cook Up a Rescue Plan?

TNT’s Falling Skies (Sundays at 10/9c) has introduced the 2nd Massachusetts to a new and most unexpected enemy – the 7th Mass aka fellow resistance fighters who have made a deal with the extraterrestrial devil.

Alas, nobody back at home base realizes that the unit’s kids have all but been sold into trade, while Hal and Mike, who chaperoned the young’uns, are unaware of the double-cross that Lt. Terry Clayton has planned. Nor does anyone know that rascally Pope – last seen fleeing the 2nd Mass after the bike shop raid – is in the 7th Mass’ custody, tied up in the cellar. Will an unlikely hero come into play, before it’s too late? Colin Cunningham, who plays Pope, shared with TVLine his take on what’s to come.

Matt’s Inside Line: Scoop on Falling Skies, Sons of Anarchy and More

TVLINE | What was your reaction first presented with this guy who’s a real badass, but also a persnickety chef?
I tell you, I didn’t read the chef part until later. They were having a little difficulty casting this role, and I think a lot of times actors make the same old stereotypical choices, while I thought, “This guy is awesome! He’s theatrical, and he’s incredibly smart.” I went into the audition with nothing but hair, a goatee, tattoos all over my neck… I really went for it. But the interesting thing for me was I didn’t know what I was audition for! As a general rule I never ask, because if it’s a little thing I don’t want to get lazy, and if it’s a gigantic thing, I don’t want to psych myself out. It wasn’t until way later in the game that my agent said, “This is DreamWorks. Steven Spielberg.” I was like, “Holy s—t!” I’m so glad I didn’t know.

TVLINE | Pope is a character who really “popped” for the audience early on, but then dropped out of the action for a bit. Was that as much a tease for you as it was for viewers?
If anything I respected it because the writers knew they were establishing somebody new, yet they weren’t afraid to have him disappear for a couple of episodes. That showed me their wisdom in looking at the overall story. It’s about the show, not any particular character.

TVLINE | What exactly happened to Pope after he fled the motorcycle shop?
Well, after blowing up the [sleeping nest of] aliens…. Um, you’ll find out in the next episode. I was about to start reciting dialogue form the next episode, but I can’t do that! Let’s just say that he reverted back to his usual ways, which is to do a little pillaging, but then he got nabbed – and by the wrong people.

TVLINE | What is Lieutenant Clayton’s rationale for making this rather treasonous pact with the skitters?
Ooh, that’s an interesting question…. Again, that’s one of the neat things about the show, and it’s what makes [the episodes] “Sanctuary” 1 and 2 some of the more important ones. Just because 98 percent of humanity is wiped out, within that other two percent you’re still going to have a mixed bag of good people, bad people, and people with very strange agendas. Human nature hasn’t changed a whole lot, even though most of us have been wiped out. And Clayton cutting the deal that he did has created this alliance with the enemy.

TVLINE | Would you say that makes him a more vile individual than Pope?
In Pope’s opinion? Hell yeah. That is something Pope would never do. There’s definitely a bit of nastiness in Pope, but he’s not evil – and trading kids is evil. There is a certain honor among thieves, and somebody like Clayton would the first to get shivved in a prison.

TVLINE | If Pope were to escape from Clayton’s camp, do you think he’d readily join back up with Mason and the 2nd Mass?
There’d be a decision he would need to make. It’d be one of those things where he hightails it out of there, gets a mile out of town and stops, has a thought, turns around and goes back. You’ll never actually see that scene, but I almost see it like Robert De Niro in Heat – he’s out, he’s safe, he’s free to go, and then he makes that decision to go back and right something he can’t stomach. It would stick in the pit of Pope’s stomach if he didn’t do anything about it.

TVLINE | What’s keeping Pope from acknowledging there is in fact strength in numbers with the 2nd Mass, versus impulsively acting on his own?
He does see what works, that the 2nd Mass is actually doing something good, and it is successful and they are certainly doing better than Pope and his band of henchmen were doing. But it’s Pope’s nature to be a lone wolf. If anything, if Pope did become part of the 2nd Massachusetts, I see him living in a cave a mile down the road rather than with everyone else.

TVLINE | Maggie (played by Sarah Carter) has established a pretty dark background for Pope. Do you think that makes him not 100-percent redeemable? Do you want him to be?
Yes and no. It’s never specified to what degree Pope is guilty of any of that past stuff. I can’t imagine Pope doing anything like [raping Margaret]. I think Pope ended up getting together with a bunch of real dirt bags for the sake of survival. So, with regards to that particular piece of Maggie’s past, I will say the tension between them is because Pope knew about it, and would have stopped it if he could have, but he didn’t. War creates strange bedfellows, for both the good guys and the bad guys.

TVLINE | Given the way that Season 1 ends on Aug. 7 (with a two-hour finale), is it clear what Season 2 is going to be about?
I read how it ended, but I have no idea how that transferred into the final cut…..

TVLINE | Well, is there a game-changing element that casts the humans’ fight in a different light?
Is it a game-changer? No. But… are they able to get closer than they ever have before? Absolutely.

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  1. xav says:

    Is this show good enough to give it a try?

    • Kim says:

      It’s good. It’s scary, but good. It’s scary because you could see it happening.

    • sash fan says:

      I’d say yes. I’m really enjoying it — the story moves along each week we find out somthing new about the aliens. It’s pretty cool.

  2. fireball56 says:

    To me, it’s getting better every week. I’m hooked!

  3. Eli says:

    I love the show. I just wish they would bring back Karen. Shes in need of some rescuing.

  4. Mike says:

    yes you should give this show a try it truly awesome

  5. Sci fi fan says:

    This show it’s a rip off of Terminator, with the Torchwood: Children of Earth premise and the “resistance” plots of The Walking Dead and V. A serious disappointment in my opinion.

    • Melinda says:

      Sci fi fan, I see where you’re coming from, and yes, there are similarities, but I have to ask what you would do in a world where aliens have invaded and most of the population has been annihilated. When all that remains are random pockets of humans willing to find a way to fight back, sooner or later, a resistance movement would have to occur; the alternative is slavery or death.

      It may be an old storyline, but it’s one that I enjoy watching. I just watched Battle:Los Angeles last night and saw many similarities to Falling Skies, but I still thought it was great. I guess you either like it, or you don’t.

      • Greg B. says:

        ITA with Melinda, and I have to kinda laugh at sci-fi fans who only seem to champion low-rated shows destined for cancellation and snark on the ones that actually attract an audience and – gasp – earn a quick renewal. Or do we only get behind the shows that are doomed to fail?

  6. Kaiulani says:

    While Falling Skies certainly has it’s problems, it is still an interesting hour of TV.

  7. johnny says:

    This show wants to be Lost 2.0. From it’s very similiar title page to the Sawyer rip-off in this interview, to Sarah Carter’s character who is Kate with a tattoo. I expected more, but oh well.

  8. Bob says:

    I had my doubts at the start, but this show has grown on me. I agree that the concept is not the most original, but one that can have multiple uses.

    The thing(s) that will have to have to happen to keep me watching next year are: Explain what the skitters want with kids under 20; How did we get to this point; When are they finally going to perfect skitter killing?

    I might be happy with just being able to answer one of those, but I need something to keep me interested beyond the first season.

  9. Scott says:

    I, personally find people who say ANY show, is a “rip-off” of an older show/movie/book. I’ll wager even ½ of Shakespeare are rip-offs of stories he heard years earlier. The old “An infinite amount of time, infinite amount of monkeys”, philosophy is true …. everything really is basically bound the repeat itself.

  10. I am loving the show and every week it get’s better. Especially the latest episodes. I am glad John Pope is back and we are starting to see Ricky’s true side. I think it will continue to grow from here.

  11. John from raleigh says:

    I will agree with others who state the show gets better and better each week. They are moving away from the aliens as the main focus and more towards how the humans interact between each other. Makes for a much more interesting story.

    I disagree with the person who stated it was a LOST ripoff, while there is a little mystery about the aliens and their long-term plan there is no “Hatch / Smoke Monster / Polar Bear on an Island” mind benders which were LOST staples.

    Overall, it is an enjoyable 46 minutes each week if you like drame mix with science fiction.