In my last review, I was downright effusive about this season of Falling Skies. It took two episodes to make me decide that I had watched this show loyally for a reason, and it was this season. I was stoked for this episode, which usually means that my expectations are so high that the episode can do nothing but disappoint. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint.
But first, it’s strange that I liked this episode because it pulled one of its “let’s kill a character for no reason’ schtick. This has so far been my least favorite thing about the series, and something which I’ve been exceedingly vocal about. Yes, you need to kill your characters to give us drama and keep the audience feeling like the danger is always there, but when you do it with characters that never really got to be a chance to be characters, it hardly matters. No one cares that the red shirts die in Star Trek, and it’s the same here. Dai was awesome in the first two seasons, but he rarely had more than one line of dialogue and no one seemed to care that he died in the second season finale. That’s the sort of death in Falling Skies that just makes me not want to watch the show.The American Mythology continue to play a subtle symbolic role in the show.
But this episode, death and all, was everything I ever wanted Falling Skies to be, and it starts off with Matt.
Matt Mason has long been an annoying side plot that is there to remind Tom Mason that he still needs to be a dad and stop gallivanting off whenever he feels like it (though, Tom seems to mostly ignore that reminder, even now when he’s the President…). Now Matt is his own honest-to-god character with some agency that exists outside of his dad, and it’s a beautiful thing. Under Pope’s wing, he goes out on the field and feels damn proud of himself for not being in school (and I know for a fact that if I were watching this show as a kid, he would be my role model). As he’s scooting around and helping the Beserkers protect a weapon no one knows anything about, there is a sudden attack, and this is where the episode really gets beautiful in all the ugly ways a television show about war should be.Matt, Pope, and Craze.
We learn from the get-go that the attackers are humans. Wait, not harnessed humans? Nope! Regular humans. And I’m singing in exultation because finally there is an acknowledgement that Mason and his band of merry men may not be the only the humans on Earth with some sort of regiment! One of the previous weakness with Falling Skies was its tunnel vision in regards to the 2nd Mass, and, in particular, the Mason family. Now, we know that other humans are out there and they are none to pleased to see this great big city in South Carolina working with aliens. Things just got a whole lot more complicated and this show got so much more watchable.
Oh, and the original President of the United States? The one that was there before the aliens invaded? He might still be alive and could be the one ordering the attacks on Charleston. If you’re nodding your head and grinning in anticipation for what’s to come, you are right to do so. I’m doing it with you.A captured soldier reveals that she works for President Benjamin Hathaway.
On the mole-front, this episode was fairly light. We get Maggie and Hal discussing whether or not he’s the mole, and deciding that even if he is, he shouldn’t say anything about it because it wasn’t like he meant to shoot the Vice-President. Through this conversation, it’s clear that we don’t know who the mole is, and Hal is likely a red herring.
The other storyline is Anne’s “oh my god, my baby is an alien” plot, which I’m still not sure of, if only because I’m perturbed by how much a baby can freak me out. Somehow this show made a baby something to be scared of, and that’s just… just… I don’t know, but I don’t like it! We still don’t know, and probably won’t know for a while, if Anne is the crazy one or if her baby is developing incredibly fast because it’s an alien spy of some sort. Who knows? Maybe it was the baby who was holding the gun that shot the Vice President…. while it was still in the womb…. Okay, I need to rethink that theory. The long and short of it is this though: Is Anne having trouble settling down and manifesting her need to be on the run from something in her baby? Or is her baby really a space baby that will take down the humans from within? And if it’s the latter, why is it making itself known to Anne at all. It’s official. Babies make bad spies.Tom attempts to comfort Anne.
All in all, a great episode with emotional depth that I never really thought the show capable of. And yes, they killed one of my favorite Berserkers, but we got a new, focused Pope out of it, and Matt emerging on his own as a truly bonafide character. As such, this episode gets my first ever: