Falling Skies: Door Number Three Review

Falling Skies is a little ho-hum this week when we are asked to take sides on a conflict that audiences know all too well.

The Mason family is back together again! But not everything is wine and roses. Likewise, this episode of Falling Skies provides both reason to celebrate and cause for concern. “Door Number Three” contained moments of satisfying tension while simultaneously taking the narrative down a slow-paced path that stretched credibility. In the end, the suspense wins out, but unfortunately the episode provides very little resolution. It’s not that I was expecting everything to come to light; I would just have preferred more revelation.

The family reunion was nice, though. Maggie and Hal spotting each other across the marketplace was a nice touch for everyone’s favorite couple, and Ben’s sudden attraction to his brother’s girlfriend is both completely understandable and deliciously awkward. Tom and Anne show just the right amount of tenderness before the topic of Lexi comes up, and poor Matt must retreat to his more minor role as “youngest son” now that his story arc is presumably finished. Unfortunately, Tom was unable to properly reunite with his daughter, and that provides the bulk of the motivation for his actions in this episode.

The cocoon, although inexplicably swift in forming, gives further reason for those already doubting Lexi’s good faith in meeting with the Espheni to join forces with new arrivals like Pope and Tector, who were bound to advocate for taking Lexi out. However, the back-and-forth debate between members of the 2nd Mass seems stilted and designed purely to provoke a similar questioning in the minds of the viewers: which side would we choose? But Tom’s anger at Hal, Maggie’s switching sides, Pope’s predictable rabble-rousing – it all seemed so flat. The only standout motivation was Weaver’s solidarity with Tom after his experience with his own transformed daughter – THAT made sense.

What didn’t make sense – and this is nothing new – was Dr. Kadarr’s pseudo-scientific method of helping Anne to access her memories. The appearance of the cocoon excited almost zero emotional reaction, at least none that lasted, and for Anne to start worrying about her dreams seems incongruent to the rising mob problem. The strategy pays off, of course, with Anne reaching a definite decision by episode’s end, and the underscoring of Lexi’s essential humanity makes me WANT to trust her. But the opening of her eyes was so anticlimactic! What, no fist punching through, no visible transformation, no pulsing heat explosion? Just eyes opening? Ho-hum.

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I appreciate the balancing act that Falling Skies is doing with its “Is she evil or is she good?” plotline, and it certainly keeps the audience engaged by having them pick sides. But to temper a great reunion story with such a static plot seems odd. I echo Dingaan Botha’s non-committal response. I’m almost more focused on the minor mysteries like why was Hal looking at the moon; where was Mira Sorvino’s character, Sarah; why did the Volm’s opinion matter so little; and is there more to the burns on Weaver’s hand?

I think we’re about to get serious in the coming episodes now that the 2nd Mass is back together, and I anticipate greatly the return to action and battle. I don’t trust Lexi or The Monk, but I applaud Tom’s decision to stand by his daughter. That contradiction is unsettling but impressive from a narrative standpoint, and I hope they play with that tension some more. They just need to do it with more plausible character actions and less posturing with guns. I don’t think I’ll have to wait long to get my wish.

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3 out of 5