Margaret, or “Maggie”, Falling Skies
I love Falling Skies. There’s something so inherently real about it. Yeah sure, the idea of aliens and space travel aside, what would actually happen if the Earth were invaded by a violent race? Would human beings be able to put aside our differences and unite to fight for our home? I’ve often wondered if we could bring it down to the core fundamentals of what it means to be human or if we’ve grown too self-aggrandizing to change. We are supremely stratified as a culture, in America alone. Across the world, even more so. In fact, I just saw an MSNBC show on a security company that fortifies billionaire’s homes with panic rooms and 12-gauge shotgun mounts hidden inside walls to kill intruders. The proprietor of this firm joked that the last people on Earth would be the billionaire and his family holed up in the mansion stocked full for Armageddon. Is that right? Or even fair? Why do the rich get to survive the Apocalypse?
And what about the Doomsday Preppers? Are they really that crazy or might they have the right idea? If what happened in the backstory to Falling Skies actually occurred and a race came to stripmine Earth of its resources and people then, yeah they sure did. These ‘crazies’ would be the people that might lead the rest of humanity to salvation. They’d be the regular guys, the hunters, the former military and law enforcement, maybe even criminals who’ve learned survival by any means. Throw in a few Call of Duty fanatics who learned strategic guerilla warfare by default and we might have a chance if our active-duty military is decimated. That is if we could just stop being selfish human beings for long enough to band together and organize. But it often takes millennia for humans to change.
The story of the human connection and the will to fight has always been popular. The underdog story, or the reluctant hero character trope. On Falling Skies, one of the most interesting personalities is a secondary character that came in quietly after the first few episodes and made her presence known. Her name is Maggie, we don’t know her last name, nor does it really matter, the conventions of society have gone to Hell. But if you look at it with a critical eye, she has no last name because she is just “Maggie”, the young woman who has survived on her own recognizance and wherewithal. All she has is herself. She’s a total badass.
We first see Maggie as a member of Pope’s gang, a rival and antagonist to our educated and honorable hero Tom Mason. Pope is everything that Tom is not. But Maggie is painted in shades of gray. We don’t know where she stands or if we should trust her until she whips out her guns and shoots two of the gang members in the heart to help Tom and Anne escape. One was Pope’s brother. Turns out he’d been raping her since they took her in for ‘protection’. It was implied that they’d all molested her in some way, but never really spelled out. (Side note: rape as a character developer has come under much scrutiny in the prequel story of Tomb Raider and has many people in an uproar. I may or may not do a post on this as I find the whole notion of rape as entertainment abhorrent. But check this link out in the meantime.)
Nevertheless, her experience with the gang has added to her hardness. If you look closely and pay attention though, she was tough even before Pope’s gang. She was just biding her time. We find out later that she survived cancer in her youth and this is what actually made her the mature, world-weary young woman she is now.
Once she joins the 2nd Mass, a regiment in the Massachusetts Militia, we see that Maggie is a skilled fighter. She can handle a gun as if she was trained to do so. She rides motorcycles and is a strong hand-to-hand fighter. Most importantly, she goes into battle without fear. She carries herself tall and with a brick-sized chip on her shoulder. This season, we’ve seen a bit of a lighter side with her smiling and teasing. Her sarcasm is right up front and center but she’s a good soldier and follows orders because she believes in the cause.
Of course, what badass on TV is complete without the gorgeous looks? She’s blonde and beautiful. She’s a tiny scrap of a thing but damn can the girl wear a leather jacket and motorcycle boots like a pro. She’s got tattoos on her arms and usually walks around with messy hair. I love this because seriously, there’s got to be a lack of hygiene products and water. These women don’t have time to worry about eyeliner or if their armpits stink. Aliens have invaded the planet. They’ve got bigger things to stress over. One of the coolest things about Maggie, played by Sarah Carter, is that sexy, gravelly voice. She’s got “dirt” in her voice as Adam Levine once described Juliet Simms’s on The Voice. It’s raw and earthy and just does something to you. And I’m not even into girls.
This brings us to the love interest, or partner. Hal, Tom Mason’s son: cute, affable, boy becoming a man and a soldier way earlier than he should. He started out as impetuous and foolhardy but has grown into his roll of squad leader. He follows orders and is fiercely protective of his two younger bothers. He is often with Maggie on patrols, or scouting runs. They work well together. I think it’s supposed to be implied that she’s taught him a fair amount over the last few months (we’ve skipped ahead in time three months between seasons). But there’s a flirtation there in their jokes. They smile a lot at each other and tease one another. It’s one of the developing relationships on the show and I for one would like to see it happen. They compliment each other and I think that she could use a man who respects her enough to fight along side of her, who was loyal and who might even treat her like a girl every once in a while. Up to this point, he’s denied that there’s anything between them. We’ll see what happens, because Hal’s actual girlfriend is still lingering around, harnessed and under the control of the aliens. If she ever gets back, you can bet a triangle will exist.
I have to say, if an alien apocalypse ever occurs in my lifetime, I’d look to Maggie to save my ass. Or at the very least teach me how to save my own. We could all stand to figure out how to put our past behind us and find new ground to flourish. It doesn’t matter where we came from, it matters what we do now and the choices we make today. I won’t have a billion dollar panic room or 500 gallons of water stored in my basement. All I’ll have is me.
Pack your ‘go-bag’ and find your leather because you bet your ass when you’re fighting off zombies and aliens, you want them to see you coming and shiver in fear.
Happy Independence Day!