Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Powerful Catholic Character in a New Science-Fiction Television Show -- "Falling Skies"

Taking things a little (but not entirely) off topic--and, hey, it's summer and time for some fun--I want to commend to Mirror of Justice readers a new television program this summer—“Falling Skies” on TNT on Sunday nights. Now I’m a huge sci-fi fan, so I’d be easily intrigued by this series set in the near future when civilization has destroyed by an alien invasion, most of human-kind has been wiped out, and a small band of humans continues to fight on as a guerilla movement near Boston. The story isn’t only about the aliens (who appear only occasionally) but really about people and how people respond to tragedy, fear, the loss of everything and everyone around them, and the need to simply survive from day to day.

 

For this Mirror of Justice audience, I want to draw your attention to a continuing character in the show who is a faithful and thoughtful Catholic. Lourdes, played by Seychelle Gabriel, is bright (she was a pre-med student at age 17 when the invasion came), young, pretty, Mexican-American, and openly and unapologetically Catholic.

In the opening episode, Lourdes explains that she had fallen behind the group as it moved to a new location because she had stopped in a church to pray (saying, amusingly, “it was Episcopalian, not Catholic, but it’s close”). Another character mocks her faith and she responds:

Karen:  “Next time you get on your knees could you see if the Big Guy can get us a operational B-2 Bomber loaded with nukes?”

Lourdes:  “I don't pray for God to give me things. I don't think it works like that.”

Karen: “Then what do you pray for?”

Lourdes:  “I ask God to show me what I can do for Him.”


 

In the most recent episode, the small human community hiding in an abandoned high school is able to scrabble together the ingredients to bake bread for the first time in a long time. Lourdes leads the group at her table in prayer to “The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” The camera pulls away to show the hard-bitten, cynical military commander, who lost his family in the invasion and is doubtful about allowing the civilians to accompany the fighting division, sitting at a table and facing the opposite direction, but mouthing the prayer along with them.

Lourdes is a powerful character in this series, all the more so because she is not powerful in any conventional sense. She is very young, she’s among the civilians tagging along with the military division, and she acts as a servant to others in the make-shift hospital. It is her faith that makes her come alive and touch the others.

If you’re a sci-fi fan, you really need to check this out. And even if you’re not, call up some of the earlier episodes on “On Demand” and see what you think.

Greg Sisk    

https://mirrorofjustice.blogs.com/mirrorofjustice/2011/07/a-powerful-catholic-character-in-a-new-science-fiction-television-show-falling-skies.html

Sisk, Greg | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834515a9a69e201538fdf2877970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference A Powerful Catholic Character in a New Science-Fiction Television Show -- "Falling Skies" :

Comments


                                                        Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I thought the scene you describe was genuinely touching. It could easily have been an embarrassment if it had not been handled so well. I think it was critically important for the scene that pediatrician Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood) supported Lourdes and encouraged her to continue.

What are we to make of the scene when the Skitter gathers the children together, petting some of their heads, and goes to sleep with them like a mother hen with her chicks or a cat with her kittens? Are we to be utterly creeped out that an evil alien is treating children like pets, or are we to see some kind of affection? Certainly the aliens seem utterly ruthless, but I wonder if we are not in for some surprises as the series continues.

Posted by: David Nickol | Jul 14, 2011 11:08:07 AM

I thought the scene you describe was genuinely touching. It could easily have been an embarrassment if it had not been handled so well. I think it was critically important for the scene that pediatrician Anne Glass (Moon Bloodgood) supported Lourdes and encouraged her to continue.

What are we to make of the scene when the Skitter gathers the children together, petting some of their heads, and goes to sleep with them like a mother hen with her chicks or a cat with her kittens? Are we to be utterly creeped out that an evil alien is treating children like pets, or are we to see some kind of affection? Certainly the aliens seem utterly ruthless, but I wonder if we are not in for some surprises as the series continues.

Posted by: David Nickol | Jul 14, 2011 11:08:08 AM

I gotta say I didn't really like the whole Lourdes thing. Is that why they called her Lourdes I wonder... the whole religious thing felt a little off to me. I would expect a kid of that age to have given up on God and to be feeling angry, frustrated and generally moody, not giddy and into the Lord.

Posted by: Falling Skies | Jul 14, 2011 5:13:15 PM

I gotta say I didn't really like the whole Lourdes thing. Is that why they called her Lourdes I wonder... the whole religious thing felt a little off to me. I would expect a kid of that age to have given up on God and to be feeling angry, frustrated and generally moody, not giddy and into the Lord.

Posted by: Falling Skies | Jul 14, 2011 5:13:16 PM

Falling Skies,

There is no accounting for the crazy thoughts and feelings of religious people. You should check out the "First Thoughts" blog over on First Things. :P

I disagree. I think one of the appeals of post-apocalypitc fiction is that rather than despairing, often the characters find their lives more meaningful than they did before the catastrophe. People become more reliant on one another, unlikely leaders emerge, and ordinary people wind up doing extraordinary things.

Posted by: David Nickol | Jul 14, 2011 6:53:02 PM