Noah Wyle Noah Wyle

There are showers, plentiful food and unexpected reunions awaiting the 2nd Mass when they finally arrive in Charleston, South Carolina, but in the final two weeks of Falling Skies' second season, they soon learn that the promised land isn't quite paradise. In this Sunday's penultimate episode of the alien-invasion drama (9/8c, TNT) we meet Arthur Manchester (played by Lost vet Terry O'Quinn), the leader of the new United States capital, which has emerging conflicts between civil rights and martial law. More important — as far as the 2nd Mass is concerned — Manchester prefers hiding to fighting.

"We always wanted a character who had charisma, who was able to single-handedly organize people and make them believe that they can restart civilization," says exec producer Remi Aubuchon. "Manchester's a thoughtful, brilliant man, but his flaw is that he's a coward who's afraid of the aliens."

Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) has pre-invasion ties to Manchester, but don't expect him, or Captain Weaver (Will Patton), to accept that passivity, especially when they get promising news of the Skitter rebellion. Unfortunately, the 2nd Mass' eagerness to engage makes them enemies of the state in Manchester's supposed utopia.

As the season winds down, Anne (Moon Bloodgood) gets life-changing news and a major battle approaches with some familiar antagonists. There will be casualties. And though "we wanted to give Tom and the 2nd Mass some victories," Aubuchon reveals, "don't think they are out of the woods yet." As a shocking new element in the finale's closing moments makes very clear.

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