This Falling Skies review contains spoilers.
Readers might be suspicious of my near perfect rating in this review thinking I’m over-compensating for how bad the previous installments of Falling Skies have been by comparison. But the fact of the matter is “Reunion” is a stellar example of what this show is capable of by anyone’s standards.
It had everything: characters making smart choices, the war effort achieving forward progression, deceptions being uncovered, and relationships strengthening through intelligent dialogue. If the finale is anything like its predecessor, Falling Skies might just go out on a redemptive high note.
So why not a 5-star rating? The only thing that bothered me this week was the antagonistic return of Pope and his Berserkers. Sure, the battle was exciting and suspenseful, and it did bring Anthony back to the fold in a satisfying manner. I suppose the bad guys can’t be blamed too harshly for taking shelter behind red barrels – perhaps they’d forgotten the video games of their youth – but the explosive conclusion to the attack was strangely anti-climactic, especially if it did indeed include the end of the fan-favorite character of Pope. Perhaps there’s more in store in the finale?
Other than that, the episode had me wishing the writers had been doing this kind of thing all along. Mentions of other militias with state names like the 3rd Carolina or the Maryland stirred feelings of hope and broadened the scope of the final push to defeat the Espheni. Even though one group outside of DC suffered defeat while Tom and Dingaan listened, the gathering near the capital city reminds the audience that something is finally, finally happening with the war against the aliens.
Not that the fish-heads are twiddling their over-sized thumbs. Their use of a Lexi clone plays nicely on the discoveries of new war strategies revealed when Captain Marshall died last week, and the fear and suspicion that this ability to imitate humans provokes is palpable. I greatly admired the varying reactions to the Lexi scheme, whether it was Anne’s hardened resolve, Matt’s defensive stance, Tom’s cautious optimism, or Weaver’s consistent mistrust. The show could easily have stretched out this deception over the previous episodes instead of using the 14th Virginia, but the satisfying conclusion to the fake Lexi plotline was sufficient.
It even allowed Anne to use the Dornia weapon, which had an excellent progression throughout this episode, and it gave biochemist, Marty, something to do as a bonus. The Dornia’s narrow focus on vengeance explains nicely the initial danger of the weapon to humans, and the experimentation to make it safe allows us to see its effects in advance of its use on the Espheni Queen. The only mystery remaining is how the Nazca lines and the presence of Espheni on Earth long ago ties into all this. Quite the intriguing puzzle!
Ben’s physical sacrifice in obtaining information about the Espheni plans was fabulously portrayed by Connor Jessup as his face grew sweatier and paler and his arm grew bloodier and more raw. His discussions with Maggie (not to mention the classic line from Matt “We’ve got enough problems”) hopefully bring a conclusion to the love triangle while allowing viewers to have a new focus for the impending confrontation with the enemy: the Lincoln Memorial. How cool!
I perversely enjoyed the punch to the gut at the end of the episode as the enemy swept in with legions of Black Hornets. The suspense, the build-up, the sense of hope for victory – it all lined up perfectly in the penultimate episode of Falling Skies. I’m regretful that the whole season wasn’t like this, but I’m relieved and overjoyed that the story I wanted finally came. And to be honest, only the final impression will really matter when I look back on this great series.