Watching Falling Skies has become a game of weighing the admirable dialogue and acting against the implausible situations and pacing. There was plenty to like about “Drawing Straws,” especially with the events surrounding Lexi’s rise to power, but each week we are asked to swallow one improbable, miraculously correct guess after another, especially with regard to the Espheni beamer. Tom coincidentally finds the hatch? The whistle remote control? And now this?
Tom says it best: “What we are about to embark on may not be the most rational plan, but I believe it is the plan that has the best chance of success.” No, it’s not rational, unless you can somehow get Matt to stumble across the controls for pitch, thrust, yaw, and roll. Oh, that happened? Well, don’t worry about navigational skills; if you just get it NEAR the moon, the base MIGHT remotely pull it in. C’mon, really?
And in the continuing parade of Volm almost-assistance, even Cochise is relying on guesswork about the beamer being able to make it to the moon. The writers simply can’t let the superior Volm technology bail the humans out, and the beamer’s failsafes make it impossible for Cochise to make the flight with the 2nd Mass. The convenient narrative manipulations are just too much to take sometimes!
The fact that it took the entire episode to load the explosives and decide who was going to make the flight was tempered somewhat by the continued skillful acting from Noah Wyle and Moon Bloodgood, playing Tom and Anne. This couple has always been one of the most interesting of the series, and their discussion of doubts and reasons for Tom’s decisions (especially his fixing of the straw vote) are always a highlight of any episode. However, dialogue can’t carry an episode, and while I admire the exploration of Tom’s single-minded leadership style, it isn’t exactly anything new.
By far the most interesting bits of the episode belonged to Lexi, and I never thought I’d say that. It has become very clear that Scorch’s misgivings are justified concerning the levels of power the Monk is allowing Lexi to achieve , and it’s definitely an oddly risky scheme for the Espheni, who are already winning the war on Earth. Teaching her to manipulate the force of gravity (although, to be honest, it looked more like she was working with nuclear forces at the atomic level) to destroy things while maintaining the “bringer of peace” charade is a tough sell, even to the brainwashed Lexi. I loved that she learned the “shadow plane” communication method and caught the Monk off-guard in his final moments.
Blowing beamers out of the sky is a neat trick, too, to be sure, and it certainly takes care of the problem of the Volm not being able to help with their superior technology. Lexi’s power, although it drains her energy, trumps Volm tech by a mile! But will her return to the 2nd Mass be heralded and applauded? Probably not. In fact, I predict Lexi is not long for this world and will likely not last the season. Can’t make things too easy, after all.
The relationship woes between the two Mason brothers and Maggie provides a nice bit of tension, too. I can’t say I understand why Hal forgives Ben in the end or whether I even believe him, but to allow the viewer to decide who’s right and who’s wrong in this scenario is a nice bit of storytelling. I only wish the rest of the script, and this season of Falling Skies in general, held the same standard.